Comment: I have a hunting lease in Mason County where my family and I go deer hunting. I don’t put out game cameras until mid-August as I do not want to have the deer spook from an IR or a flash or camera and break or damage a tine or main beam during summer antler growth. I have seen way to many bucks in the last 15 or so years when I started taking photos in June that would have a perfect rack, but then the next photo of him that night he would have a broken tine or even beam. For deer hunters in Texas that don’t know, June is the month were most bucks put on about 40 percent of their total antler growth for spring and summer, the year.
Response: Interesting account of your deer hunting experience in Texas. I’ve been hunting whitetail deer just about all of my life, but have never heard such a take on using game cameras during the summer to monitor antler growth in bucks. Most hunters use cameras heavily throughout the summer to monitor bucks on their property, but your experiences suggest that cameras may be causing bucks to spook, causing antler damage during the growth process.
I have to admit that in theory what you are saying sounds very plausible, but I have not witnessed this myself in bucks since I’ve been using cameras over the past seven or eight years. Additionally, I’ve not heard many accounts out of the deer hunting community about the phenomenon you speak of. However, I wonder if the antler damage situation you have observed is something unique to your set-up, as in the type of feeder you have.
I can imagine a situation where a feeder design could create antler damage, and especially if bucks where spooked by a flash and tended to move their heads in a certain direction in reaction to the disturbance. It could be something as simple as changing the location of the game camera or re-designing the feeder, if that is where your camera was placed. Lastly, I would find it difficult to believe that if cameras were placed in open areas that whitetail bucks would suffer any antler damage at all. I would recommend that anyone concerned about impacting summer antler growth in bucks place cameras in open areas, so that at least spooked bucks don’t damage antlers while in velvet.
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