Not Seeing Bucks on Trail Cameras?



Its late summer, and it is the time you should be getting memory cards filled with velvet bucks, but instead you have very small bucks or just mostly does. You’re not getting any trail camera photos of bucks, so what’s going on? Will they return in time for deer hunting season?

Its late summer, it is the time you should be getting memory cards filled with velvet bucks, but instead you have very small bucks or just mostly does. This year I am actually right there with you, I do not have a single picture of a buck on this particular property where as last year I did. So what’s going on here and maybe on your property as well? Will this affect your deer hunting season?

One possible explanation is that in the summer month’s deer are on their summer pattern of feed bed feed and this at least for the Midwest means they are feeding in summer forages like alfalfa and soybeans. They are concentrated on feeding in those Ag fields and foraging on plants high in protein like soybeans for antler growth. Now this year all of the Ag fields surrounding this property have been planted in corn with the nearest alfalfa or bean field 2 miles down the road. This means any bucks that were here last year have moved their summer core areas to that bean field and a close bedding area.

So ask yourself where the nearest summer forage is and would a buck’s core area around that field be on my property. This might be one explanation for why your property has no bucks. Another would possibly be human pressure during the offseason before you even start deer hunting. It could also be a substantial decrease in the habitat and safety of your property.

Now the most important question to ask is should you be worried? Should I be worried? The answer is most definitely not. A buck’s summer home range can greatly differ from his fall and winter range. In the Midwest, September and October are not only the opening months of deer hunting season but also the months when bucks start switching their home ranges. Usually from beans or alfalfa to the oak hardwoods and properties with abundant cover, fall food plots, and does.  This property has both, and I know once September is here my trail cameras will start to again capture bucks.

If you’re not getting any pictures of buck don’t worry they will most likely return in the fall. For now try moving your trail cameras around the property or spend your time scouting a different area or public land. For more information on this and anything else white-tailed deer find the buck advisors online at

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