If you enjoy hunting, then you know how valuable trail camera is. They are your hidden eyes, and they help you hunt successfully. When you use them properly, they will show you every game that passes through a particular area, the direction in which they travel, and their active time.
In this article, we’ll give you a detailed guide on how to set up a trail camera perfectly so that you enjoy all your camera’s capabilities.
A trail camera is a battery-operated, weatherproof camera used for tracking wildlife in their habitat without disturbance. It has LED and infrared options to capture the target’s image at lightning speed.
How Do Trail Cameras Work?
Trail cameras have components that make them work: SD cards, infrared emitters, motion sensors, batteries, and lenses. The motion detectors equipped with heat detectors trigger the camera to capture movement. The heat detector ensures the trail camera captures only valuable photos. You need a clear and smooth lens that takes better quality photos. The camera transmits infrared light that is unnoticeable by animals. For more camera stealth, you require high-quality infrared emitters.
The photos and videos are stored on an SD card. Notably, a good SD card provides ample storage for your photos and videos. Lastly, your trail camera requires long-lasting batteries for more extended use in the field.
How to Set Up a Trail Camera Properly
Many hunters only have basic knowledge of how to set up a trail camera. Here are a few tips to consider for the perfect trail camera setup.
1. Trail Camera Locations
The trail camera location is the first step in setting up the beginning of the entire experience as it gives you the right direction. Depending on the time of year, your trail camera location should be where there is high traffic for maximum surveillance. Here are a few ideal locations:
- Food sources like wildflowers, shrubs, vines, wild berries, etc. Identify where and when the plants grow.
- Water sources: lakes, streams, wallows, or stagnant water.
- Trail intersections
- Bait stations and mineral sites
- Mock scrapes and runs
2. Trail Camera Distance
Your trail camera’s distance from the target will determine the quality of videos and pictures. The rule of thumb is to set your trail camera 10 yards or less from the target. This is because the best cameras’ clarity is enough to identify a buck within 10 yards and have a flash range that is over 30 feet.
3. Trail Camera Placement
First, begin by identifying your goals for placing trail cameras. Some places, like food plots, are for plot watching or inventory, not necessarily to identify bucks. However, your trail camera placement needs to be more strategic if your goal is to capture individual bucks’ behavior, movement patterns, and characteristics.
You will then need to get the camera angle correct. The general trick used to get the right angle is the stick trick. First, place your camera on a stick and ensure the stick is firm and immovable even in the worst weather. Next, move about 10 yards from the camera, stand in the area you expect bucks will walk through, and ensure the camera is aimed at your chest.
Also, avoid hanging your trail camera facing west or east as the sun can blind the camera. Facing your camera south can also be problematic as it is in the sun all day. The ideal direction to face your cameras is north.
Trail Camera Height
The appropriate trail camera height produces the best videos and pictures. If within the recommended 10 yards there is a post or tree, you have the ideal place to hang your camera. If there are no trees or poles, drive a trail camera mount/stake or a T-post to the ground and hang your camera on it. Ideally, your trail camera should be around 3 to 4 feet off the ground or chest height.
When placing your camera in a high-traffic area where it may be accessible to thieves, use a climbing stick to hang it at least 10 feet off the ground and then angle it down toward the place you expect the game to walk through, such as a food plot or game trail.
5. Trail Camera Settings
The trail camera settings can be daunting to deal with. Therefore, before leaving your trail camera in the woods, it is essential to spend a day using it to understand all its capabilities.
Tips for the Best Trail Camera Settings
- Understand your capture mode, whether you want videos or pictures. This allows you to choose the correct setting and set your preferred picture intervals.
- Set the right date and time. It helps you know the exact time the buck walked by. Also, check time zones and daylight savings to ensure they are accurate.
- Know how many photos you want your camera to capture per trigger and the length of your delays.
- Understand camera sensitivity to know when to set it higher or lower.
- Get the best batteries for your trail camera. Lithium batteries last longer in cold weather, unlike alkaline batteries that experience chemical reactions as temperatures drop, affecting your camera’s performance.
Trail camera settings allow an optimal probability of capturing bucks and aid in identifying and scoring the buck. In addition, the best camera settings will produce the best pictures and videos to enable you to review the behavior, characteristics, and specific identification features of the bucks.
Trail Camera Monitoring and Maintenance
It is advisable to check your camera after every two weeks at a minimum. This allows ample time for data collection to give you detailed information on the game’s movement patterns and behaviors.
For maintenance, place your camera in a security box. You can then fasten your camera to a tree or pole or trail camera mount. This reduces its chances of being stolen or being knocked down by animals, minimizing potential damage. In addition, the security box locks offer ample stability and protection.
Setting up your trail camera should be goal-oriented. Ideally, the best trail camera setup should not only provide information on the game you are hunting. Instead, it should help you gather high-quality data you can use to hunt them successfully. We offer a vast collection of trail cameras you cannot resist. Visit our store today for more details.