Trails cams help paint a pretty picture

One of Danny Dillard’s trail cameras caught these three bucks feeding on acorns in Anderson County.

When it comes to big bucks, seeing is believing.

Just ask Danny Dillard.

Dillard has put eight bucks in South Carolina’s all-time state record book, and he had seen all eight via trail camera photos before he squeezed the trigger.

“I started getting serious about trail cams about 2008,” Dillard said.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that all of his record-book bucks have come since.

“I like to know what I’m dealing with, and the trail cams tell me that,” Dillard said.

Dillard keeps his trail cams out year-round, which helps him determine if there are any “target bucks” he should be looking for when the season rolls around.

He has no fancy approach or strategy, but he does prefer to mount the trail cams considerably higher than do most hunters.

“Most people put them just a few feet off the ground, but I reach above my head as high as I can,” Dillard said. “Then I tilt them downward. The reason I do that is because you don’t have as much noise and reaction from deer when it’s that high. It doesn’t spook them as much.”

Dillard uses as many as five trail cams simultaneously on one property, three on another. And because the tracts are private and he regulates the hunting pressure, the vast majority of his photos are snapped during the day.

“Most trail-cam pictures you see have been taken at night,” Dillard said. “But that’s one of the benefits of having multiple places to hunt; you can leave these deer alone, and they go about their normal business. Most of mine are daytime pictures, which tells me that the deer feel comfortable and are doing what they’re supposed to do.”

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