Identifying Bucks From Trail Cam Pics in an Encounter

Choas checking out the food plot early season

Being able to see a buck is great experience while hunting, and its something that we all can just hope to see as we sit in a tree stand waiting. After the many hours on stand we sit, we all have said it to ourselves, “I’d just love to see a buck.” Honestly seeing a buck and comparing that with trail cam pictures is something that we haven’t been very good at. Some deer you think look a certain way on camera but is different in person, could be bigger or smaller. Some deer obviously might have a very unique characteristic that will make it easier for you to identify them. We will run through some deer to elaborate on what we mean.



Deuce for his giant 2 point side is a deer with that unique characteristic that will certainly help you identify that it is him.. This one is pretty easy to tell that it is him. Never seen this deer while hunting, and he was first daylight on cam, the day after my rut-cation that year ended. It was not long after that he shed his 2 point side which had made me kinda sad but I was still hard after him. It was late December when he was shot on our farm about 1,200 yards where I had seen him ritually on camera. Without a doubt when this deer was seen, we knew exactly who he was.

Deuce Rocking 1 side

West Side

West Side Hitting a Scrape

West side is barely a 10 pointer that we got the pleasure of locating after scouting a bean field in late August. Supporting a ridiculously wide rack we feel like when we see him we will know it is him. We have yet to see this deer in person during season, but have some awesome velvet pics and some hard horn of him in season. On this set of pictures he gave us the show we seldom get in Illinois.


Most Daylight buck we have ever had, in season or not, hence Sunshine

This buck threw me for a loop on an encounter October 25th. I seen him come out of CRP with his head down and was walking towards us making him look bigger and a deer I would be happy with taking. Sunshine from the pics was hard to tell exact ago but we wanted to see him in person to get a better judgement. When I seen him it never popped in my head that it was him. With both of us having enough time to glass him we were in agreement that we were going to attempt a shot when he gave it to us. We encountered Sunshine for about 5 minutes total, plenty of time to get a good look. It was not until after the shot, reviewing the footage that we saw it was him, going back to that kill mode thing. (See last blog). His body had made such a jump in that month it really threw us off.

Sunshine standing in our plot during our encounter

Magnum P.I.

Magnum P.I. is a buck we have 2 years of history with and now an encounter to add to it. This year not getting him on cam in early season like last year, we threw a couple more cams out and found where he had moved 2 miles away. Within 5 seconds of seeing this buck I knew exactly what deer it was. I saw his kicker which was on his far side at the time but I knew we had pics of him. It was during that encounter we saw how truly big he was. It was later that afternoon when we had a deer with same characteristics last year, it literally just hit us like a ton of bricks.

Magnum P.I. 54 Yards during our encounter

Bud Heavy

Another one of our target bucks that we have yet to encounter. We have him and Bud Light, well did, but both 8 pointers who could easily get mistaken for one another based on a few trail cam pics. There has been many times I envisioned one of them coming in and mistaking it for the other and screwing it up. We no longer have to worry about that as Bud Light is dead. Bud Heavy has day-lighted 3 times, one time while we were in Missouri and another while we were helping a buddy track a deer. There should no longer be any mistaking him for another deer if he shows up while we are in a tree.

Bud Light For Reference


Choas in Velvet in 19

Choas, another mythical buck we have been chasing for 2 years and have yet to encounter. This year supporting and much wider rack while maintaining his 8 point frame and swooping up main beams, should be unmistakable on the hoof, that is when it actually is him. (RIP Bud Light). A frequent nocturnal visitor to our cams we have only had him on camera in daylight one time in season. Cody had held up on the edge while the farmer picked the corn field and we think the combine bumped him. Last year he rolled out October 25th for the rut and didn’t show up until Summer trail cam deployment. This year he has stayed around our property, he is just a nocturnal buck.

Choas in 18
Choas in 19


Not all bucks might be as recognizable as you think no matter how many trail cam pics you have of them, or how much you hope to see them. We are trying to figure out a way to identify these bucks every time, but also keeping in mind what we call those “Rando’s (random) bucks can show up at anytime. Sometimes there isn’t much time and you just have to get it done. Hopefully after all said and done its a pleasant surprise at the end of the blood trail.

This week’s blog is brought to you by Veteran Innovative Products Veteran Broadhead

Leave a Reply