The use of trail cameras is increasing in popularity as more hunters realize the benefits of using one.
The uses of a trail camera can include:
- See if there are any trophies in the area and if so, their size
- Pattern the game behavior
- Scouting while minimizing human presence
- Establish the extent and variety of wildlife in the area
- Measure food plot and feeder success
- Establish buck to doe ratios
- Determine if there are any trespassers
When deciding where to locate a camera, several places stand out:
- On trees near main trails that lead to fields, mast flats or other feed areas
- Overlooking a waterhole
- Close to a mineral lick or salt lick
- Well used trails
- Close to scrapes and rubs
When placing the camera outdoors, a few points to consider are:
- Mount the camera 24 – 36 inches off the ground
- Mount the camera 10-20 feet away from the intended photo area
- Choose a tree that is large enough not to blow in the wind
- Make sure the sensing area is clear of vegetation
- Secure the camera with a locking bracket, cable and padlock
- When choosing a location, try to pick a secluded spot that is not used much by hunters.
Unfortunately some hunters will remove the camera or memory card if they find it [especially if it holds evidence of them trespassing]. Even if it is secured, some people will return with bolt cutters or saw to remove the camera.
It is easier to conceal the camera in a place that isn’t obvious than figure out ways to prevent its removal.
Some manufacturers now offer a camo version for an extra $20, which is well worth considering.
Most hunters when purchasing a trail camera now choose a digital camera as they don’t require film and it is easy to end up with lots of images. So spend your money on the camera and not the film. You also need a personal computer, a cable to connect the camera and computer, and software that is supplied with the camera to transfer images to the computer.
When deciding on what type of flash to have with the camera, the trend is to go with an infrared flash. It disturbs the animals less, and if the camera is used on public property, does not attract attention.
If using the camera over a food plot, ensure you buy one with a strong flash and a wide detection zone.
Some of the newer cameras record the date, time, temperature, moon phase, and barometric pressure providing a wealth of information.
For hunters determined to harvest a trophy buck, a trail cam provides an extra tool that reduces scouting time and human presence, and provides valuable pattern information that significantly increases the odds in the hunter’s favor.