While I love to digiscope wildlife all year long, I find my digiscoping setup to be of the most value when I’m scouting for the upcoming hunts. I personally use a phone skope adapter with my cell phone. I also carry a point and shoot camera with a longer zoom lens so I can take good footage of animals that are closer than 200 yards (Right now I’m using a Panasonic Lumix FZ200, the newer model is the FZ1000). Any video camera with a 20x+ zoom lens would work great.
Here’s my 3 steps to making your scouting more successful using video and photos through a digiscope setup.
- I often get caught up in the moment and a certain pose of an animal. I’ll be the first to say that I misjudge animals. This can be due to a lot of different reasons, but it happens. It usually happens during the first glance/sighting. Animals can look bigger/smaller based on their surroundings, posture, angle, etc. This is where taking a photo or video makes a big difference. After the adrenalin of seeing a trophy animal is gone, you can be more bosed and able to make a more accurate measure of the size of an animal.
- Take video of your animal. I always take a video that is long enough for the animal to move it’s head. Different angles will allow you to get a much better look at the frame and point length and allow you to really judge more accurately. I don’t video every critter I see, but those that have potential to be target animals.This buck was a big framed 3×4, but a still image wouldn’t have capture him very well. It was also very early in the morning, so the movement really gives a better look at his frame and points.
- Build a Database on Google Earth. When you add placemarks to Google Earth, you can also add an image. If I’m scouting bucks, I’ll often put a placemark for a deer, and in the description upload an image and a date so I know where he was, and what he looked like on that day. I know some folks think naming deer is stupid, but I do it because it makes it easier to talk about, and remember particular bucks.
I often find, that once I’ve returned home, and look through my video and photos, I can come up with a much more accurate idea of the size of each buck or bull and plotting their locations on the map also makes for a great way to plan a hunt around a particular animal, or try to predict where they might be when the season starts! Good luck out there this season, it’s already starting!