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 Scouting with Trail Cams
Choosing The Perfect Camera
Translating Pic's Into Success
Whitetail & Trail Camera's
Building an Arsenal of Cams
Perfect Camera Placement
Backwoods Whitetails
  P.O. Box 372
240 West Main St.
Ipava, IL 61441
Phone: 309-224-2853
always searching for that perfect spot to regularly catch
weary whitetails on camera year around. Believe it or not,
one of the best spots to plant a trail camera and just let it run
for the entire year is under a community licking branch. It has
never been a hidden secret to quite a few hunters as to what
a community licking branch is or what it has to offer. But it is
still something that has just gone unnoticed by many hunters
for allot of years. Thankfully, due to the ever advancing
technology of trail cameras, hunters are now discovering allot
more about what a whitetail is really up too all of the time.
So what is a community licking branch? For those that aren't
aware of just how to go about picking one out. You are going
to find it allot easier than expected. Most every hunter have
already been looking to them for information on rutting buck
activity. Some just innocently didn't understand what they
were actually looking at or what other information that site
had to offer. So go get out the aerials to your hunt sites and
get some cams around. Because we are about to open up the
whitetail window a little wider on methods used for
understanding and/or scouting whitetails.
Before the days of the trail camera, hunters could not spend
24 hours a day  for 7 days a week in the woods. Therefore
were only able to view, interpret and understand the location
of community licking branch as a simple ground scrape.
Because each community site only showed different levels of
ground activity during just the hunting season. Hunters were
left to define those sites as either a boundary scrape, a
secondary scrape or the primary/community scrape.
Fortunately hunters were able to somewhat monitor the
aggression levels of bucks by looking for scraping activity in
the same spots every year. And it was pretty easy to pick out
a spot for hanging a stand during the rut as certain scrapes
grew to be exceptionally large due to the daily pounding of
buck activity. But regardless of the scrape size hunters can
now know that ground scrapes mark the locations of
community licking branches.  
Now in reference to the different ground scrapes, if you
(especially over the bigger scrapes) there is usually always a
branch that is broken up & beat to death that's hanging over
those huge ground scrapes. Well that broken down & beaten
up branch is the community licking branch that most all
whitetails in the area are using to rub their forehead, nasal &
pre orbital glands and lick on ALL YEAR LONG.
Although community/social branches are mainly being used
by adult deer. You will occasionally find that there are the
occasional fawns that are using these sites as well. So
because mother nature requires that all whitetails be social
animals. Deer simply cannot resist stopping to lick on & rub
their glands on these branch in order to keep in touch with
other deer in the area. Therefore, this makes community
licking branch sites the perfect spot to hang a trail camera
and just let it run all year long and it is the perfect spot to
catch a trail cam weary whitetail for seeing what he is up to.
For hunters that were never aware, are just getting into using
trail cameras or are limited to time in the field. You may have
never considered placing your scouting cams over these
sites until a ground scrape appeared. But if you know where
there is one of those large heavily used ground scrape that
always appears during the rut. Go hang a camera there and
you will soon find that you have been missing out on some
good information about the deer in that area. And because the
same deer use these very sites each & every year. What
better way to see if that specific buck you that you have a
hankering for is still alive after the season. Even if that deer
doesn't winter there he is sure to advertises his presence
when he returns to the area in the spring.
So because you don't have to wait till the rut to start getting
results. Get your hunt aerials out, reference all of the spots
where you find scrapes each & every season. Pick out the
spots where the biggest & most heavily used ground scrapes
appear to hang your cams. You will probably find that some of
the more active sites will be where you found big ground
scrapes close to bedding areas. But again, just to get started
on figuring out which ones are producing the most results.
Concentrate where you found the biggest & most active
ground scrapes regardless if it were in the middle of a
bedding or feeding areas. You are probably going to find
yourself wanting/needing a few more cameras to cover all
those spots. But just keep in mind that a man can never have
too many trail cameras in the woods.
  A few things hunters will discover.
1st. You will find that these are some great sites for placing a
trail camera year around.

2nd. You will also be able to detect when bucks are beginning
to transition to and from other areas. You will know when
bucks are beginning to expand their home ranges. You will
probably even learn that specific bucks will move/transition
to other areas even as early as August due to the sudden
shortening of daylight hours.
In several instances each year I have seen where the same
bucks will leave a summer home ranges at the same time
each year to then show up on cams I have placed on other
farms from 2 to 4 miles down the road. Then around the end
of September I usually discover a few more bucks that will
transition into other areas as well. Then usually around the
middle of October, an exceptionally large transition will take
place signaling that the peak of the seek & chase phase is
3rd. You will discover that there will be several buck that
come to a licking branch/scrape site during the peak of the rut
that all display a different attitude or level of aggression. You
will probably discover that most bucks won't even bother to
paw the ground/leave a ground scrape. I have seen instances
where 10+ different bucks had visited one specific licking
branch (aka ground scrape) where only 1 of the 10+ bucks
even bothered to paw the ground. Some just simply licked
the branch and then carried on. Some licked the branch,
rubbed Pre-Orbitals where others just showed up to only
urinate into the ground scrape.
So what are you looking for at these licking branches. I
personally set my cams on video so as to monitor the
attitude/aggression levels of the bucks. It not only tells me
what the current transition of the rut may be. But if i see one
specific buck that just rips the ever loving hell out of the
scrape. I know that buck is one that can easily be grunted
and/or rattled in for shot.
So get your cams on these sites and leave them on these
sites year round. Give your cams the opportunity to gather
the knowledge that you will need to become a more
successful hunt.
4th. Most importantly, I think it is going to teach/show you
how to read & understand the activity on specific deer. You
will find that for all those years you showed up at a traditional
scrape site to see that the ground wasn't torn to shreds and
leave thinking there wasn't a buck one in the are. You will find
that there were bucks visiting those sites all along. And it will
help you to determine the best place to prop up a stand in
hope of bagging a specific whitetail buck.
So don't wait to get started learning more about the bucks in
your area. Locate the licking branches and get some cams
hung as soon as possible. Best of luck to everyone this