Why use them – Game or trail cameras are a handy way to monitor what is going on in your hunting area when you are not there. They let you know what game is around, when that game uses that particular area and they are also great for observing game completely un-disturbed.
Where to use them – Really you can put the camera any where, however, you need to consider what is going to trigger it and how often. Some things to consider are:
- Grass or trees in front of the cam which may trigger it
- Will the animals walk past, or are they likely to stop and stand for a while
- If in an area with other users, is the camera well enough hidden
A few places that I have had success with my camera’s are:
- Overlooking scrapes
- Overlooking wallows
- Overlooking preach or rub trees
- Game trail junctions
- Heavily used game trails
How and what to attach them to – I have found the height of your chosen quarry’s head is perfect. So if you are after red deer, the height of a red deers head, this will get you some great shots. In areas where other users are common, it might be wise to attach the camera higher than normal, possibly even climbing a short way up the a tree. This will aid in its security. I generally do not lock my cameras a they are on private blocks, however, majority of camera’s these days come with locking devices and a simple cable lock with a padlock will suffice – just remember, if someone wants it gone, they will stop at nothing! 99% of the time I am attaching my camera to some sort of tree. Ensure the tree is solid, not likely to fall down any time soon and is thick enough to not sway in wind (unless it’s a gale). This will minimise the chance of non-animal triggers occurring and wasting your batteries or cards. You could also attach your camera to a fence post/star picket, stump, log, or anything else for that matter which provides a sturdy and reliable platform.
Set up and options – When looking to buy a camera (or cameras) its important to consider the camera’s actual features. Things to consider are:
- What megapixel the photos are
- Can you aadjust how “big” the photos are (file size)
- Can you adjust how many pics it takes when triggered
- Does it take video
- Does the video have sound
- Will it take colour photos at night
- What info is stored with each photo (time, temp, date etc)
These are the basic things to consider
What to look for in a camera:
- Battery life – If you are able to check your camera and replace the batteries regularly (weekly) then this is not such of an issue, however, if you can only get out there once a month, or even bi-monthly then battery life is something you should definitely want to consider as you want the camera functioning as much as it can between your visits. Most camera’s run on readily available AA batteries these days, some still use bigger and separate systems though. Just consider cost of what powers it when you are looking to purchase
- Quality – I tend to look for a high megapixel, good quality camera. The reason for this is the better the photo, the more analysis you can do with it. You may be able to distinguish from a young potential trophy to an old cull target easily. One of the best quality camera’s on the market uss a Sony S600 hand held camera, although not cheap, these “homebrew” style game camera’s offer some fantastic photos.
- Case – You are going to be leaving your camera out there in the wild, you want your investment to last, not be seen/stolen and not deteriorate from day to day weather exposure. Make sure the case is hardened plastic (pelican are a good example of this), ensure it secures easily and tightly and ensure it has multiple easy and functional ways to be able to attach it to your chosen anchor point
- Weather seel – This is very important as the camera will be out there doing the work, whilst you sit back in comfort during that nasty winter storm. Ensure the weather seal is in good condition and test it prior to usage in a bucket of water at home (remove the camera first!). The case also needs to seel well from insects, I have seen a few camera’s that have turned into some fantastic ant homes due to bad or deteriorated seels.
Game/trail cameras are a solid investment to any hunters equipment list. It is extremely exciting to gather them from the field and then remove the pictures back at home on the computer and when you capture that trophy stag, it just makes the investment all worth while.
Here are a few trail camera pictures from our cameras.