Don’t rely on luck when setting out your trail camera. These handy tips are guaranteed to produce stellar shots.
A trail camera is a key tool in every hunter’s bag of tricks.
By alerting you to the presence of game, size or rack, travel movements, and overall activity, your odds for a successful hunt increase greatly.
1. Pay Attention to Position
The setting or rising sun can produce sun flare and backlighting, significantly corrupting images or video.
If possible, position your trail camera due north. The second best choice is south.
2. How High Up?
Many hunters position their trail cameras too low, which can result in cropped out heads in images. Keep in mind what animal you are targeting.
For whitetail deer, five to six feet up is a good starting point. If chasing coyote, three to four feet should do the trick.
Angling the trail camera slightly down will help capture game that come in close. A small branch wedged between the top of the unit and tree will help with this adjustment.
3. Sensitivity Setting
The higher the sensitivity the better your image or video will turn out. Saying that, if your area is comprised of long brush or grass, turning the sensitivity down will negate the chance of wind-blown grasses triggering the cam.
Keep the setting high if faced with wide open areas.
4. Neutralize Scent
Scent is easily transferred from your hands to trail camera when setting them up. Best practice is to wear gloves in conjunction with a scent control spray or wipes.
5. Camouflage Your Unit
Game animals easily notice things out of the ordinary. A trail camera, strapped to a bare tree out in the open, is one such thing.
Use sticks or branches to partially conceal or break up the outline of your unit. Careful not to block the lens or IR sensor.
6. Go with a Big Card
Have you ever retrieved your camera only to discover that your memory card is maxed out? It happens to us all.
Choose the biggest card your trail camera will accept. Videos burn through memory quickly compared to still images, so always be conscious of that.
7. Take a Test Shot
Most of my trail cameras have a built-in viewing screen. This is great for checking images out in the field, but also for reviewing a test shot before walking away from your camera.
A test shot will ensure that your height placement is correct while also detailing the coverage area. If your unit doesn’t have a screen, a quick snap with your cell phone – placed on top of your trail camera – does the trick nicely.
Game cameras are essential to having a successful season. Consider these tips and get out into the woods!
Images Courtesy of Justin Hoffman