Trail Cameras 101
There aren't many deer hunters who are not using trail cameras. Yet, most still don't understand how to properly run them. So, let's dig in.
I run my cameras from June or July on throughout the entire season, so June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January... 8 whole continuous months... 2/3 of the year! That's a lot of scouting intel to gather, especially when we are only targeting a few select deer or similar deer in terms of age and size.
What I look for in a trail camera:
1) battery efficiency
2) picture quality
3) ease of use
5) # of batteries
For instance, I run a lot of the original Radix Trail Cameras PS-1 (no-glow) and PS-2 (low-glow) subcompact models. They run on 4 x AA batteries and last forever. The picture quality is amazing. Trigger speed is very fast. They're super! The do take the microSD cards which I have a ton of. I use to be the VP of Operations for Radix, so I might be a bit biased. Yet, I believe in the product.
Here are a few photos from the PS-Series cameras that I have gotten...
Here are DEFINITE NEEDS for setting up the camera physically in the woods or on field edges the right way for good photos:
• Always face your camera North or slightly NNW
• Don't get too far from the target area (4-8 steps)
• Keep camera about 2-1/2 to 3 feet off of the ground
• Keep camera level
• Keep out of shadow areas as much as possible
• Natural light is the key to quality photos
• Whether mineral, field edge, log, etc., try to force deer to stop in frame
If you capitalize on these things, you'll have very high quality photos, which are great for showing off your deer to friends and family.
Here are the SETTINGS that I program into my trail cameras:
• 2 or 3 Photo Burst Mode
• 1 to 5 second Delay/PIR Interval
• Timer or Time-Lapse OFF
• High IR Flash
• Low to Medium PIR Sensitivity
• 24-Hour Operation
When choosing the proper settings, you want to make sure that you end up choosing the most efficient settings for your camera's battery power and usage. If you can, I recommend getting a portable external solar powered & rechargeable battery. You'll thank me later.
HOW TO USE CAMERAS
I will do another post later on this year about how cameras help and hurt us with our hunting strategies/plans as we get into the end of the pre-season into & during the hunting season.