Ben Thomson Interview Part 2 - Finding Deer & Using Cameras

Ben Thomson has killed at least one 150"+ deer every year since 2003. His biggest is a ridiculously massive 239 5/8" double drop tined brute he called "Hoss" that he shot with a muzzleloader in 2012.

I interviewed Ben in early October 2017. This is the second of several video segments from our discussion. In this segment we go over his strategies for finding big deer, including how he makes use of trail cameras.

Some of the key takeaways from this segment are:
  1. Recon is Key. The first step to hunting trophy whitetails is finding them. Then once you've found one, you need to learn everything you possibly can about it and the areas in which it lives. To do this, Thomson suggests:
    • Scout extensively - know your hunting areas inside and out.
    • Use trail cameras - several of them. Move them around as needed. Don't worry about whether they're looking at the sun or whatever. If it looks like a good spot, put the camera there. You can always delete the useless pics. 
  2. Build & Use a Network. Keep in touch with other hunters. Share what you're seeing. Even non-deer hunters can be tapped to feed you information on where a potential trophy may be lurking and when he may be moving. Incidentally, a case of beer is a great way to thank your friends for being your eyes and ears around the county. 
  3. Focus on Field Edges and Coves. Deer tend to follow the path of least resistance. In the ag world we live in here in Iowa, that path is often along field edges. Trace those back to secluded coves and you're likely to find big deer. Those are prime spots to deploy cameras.
  4. Use Available Technology. These days everything is online, including recent aerial photos and landowner information. Get to know your local Geographic Information Systems (GIS) sites. These are powerful tools for reading the landscape and finding the right places to hunt.
  5. Match Photos with Weather Data. Thomson said that when he was hunting Hoss, his biggest deer ever, he would find past weather data and compare that with the date and time stamps on his trail camera images. This gave him insight into the conditions in which Hoss would move, where he was coming from and where he was going during certain conditions, and much more. It all fed into an overall understanding of that particular deer and ultimately ended in success.
We talked about a ton of stuff during this interview and this clip only covers some of it. In the next post, Thomson shares with me what he wears to the field and the essential gear he takes to the stand. Stay tuned. 

As always, if you like what you see here or if you have some of your own insight to share, leave a comment. Trading insights helps us all to be more successful. 

Good luck out there!