I listened to an interview today, it was an outfit that does land improvement utilizing natural vegetation/flora when possible.
Anyways, they did an unofficial study for over a year on trail camera's and deer interaction and found interesting observations.
(I will preface this as don't shoot the messenger; also the Outfits findings were their findings and the observations may or may not hold true for you)
They accidentally left the video setting on one of their camera's instead of the photo setting. They watched all the videos of the deer that came onto their plot (instead of getting snapshots they were getting the entire interaction of the deer). They happen to notice that both the doe and the bucks were skittish, the doe would tend to more readily " accept " the little box in their living room whereas the bucks were very skittish, and would avoid, back away, almost jump to avoid it.
So they hypothesized and figured, its the flash, its a sound, its the IR.......etc.
They did a test. They took a dead camera and mounted it. They then put a camera in a tree looking down onto the dead camera and video'd the deer. Guess what they found? Same reactions to the dead camera. They'd all look at it, skittish and move away, avoid it etc.
They also talked about putting a camera on a post in the middle of a food plot as some folks will do. They noticed that the plot would get hit regularly however there would be an approximate 50' area around the camera where the plot was thicker, taller, lusher. They summized the camera was in play here as well.
Like many, I enjoy the camera, the pics I get and seeing certain animals grow, the new fawns etc and won't stop using it.
But I will be more careful on where I place them. I have had a camera within 5 yards of a stand site before, and killed a deer by the stand, but if we're talking a chance at a good deer, and he stays just 50' away because of a camera............I'm def going to stick with what I have been doing the last year. Keeping it well away from my stands.....well away.
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."