When you’re looking for a new way to improve your hunting game, you may start to wonder what tools you can use. Once of the best tools you can get is the trail camera. A trail camera will be able to help you watch the game out in the areas that you want to hunt. This means you will spend less time and energy when you’re in the field on figuring out where the game is hiding.
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- 1 Top 5 Best Trail Cameras (Summary)
- 2 9 Best Trail Camera Reviews 2020
- 2.1 1. Best Cellular Camera – Spartan 4G LTE GoCam
- 2.2 2. BigFoot Cellular Camera 3G
- 2.3 3. Bushnell 24MP Trophy Cam HD
- 2.4 4. Wildgame Innovations 360 Cam
- 2.5 5. ECO Trail Camera with Solar Panel
- 2.6 6. Moultrie M-50 Game Camera
- 2.7 7. Bushnell 16MP Trophy Cam HD
- 2.8 8. Stealth Cam G42
- 2.9 9. ENKEEO Trail Camera
- 3 What is a Trail Camera
- 4 Benefits of Using a Trail Camera
- 5 How Does a Trail Camera Work
- 6 Pros and Cons of Using a Trail Camera
- 7 Types of Trail Cameras
- 8 Different Uses of Trail Cameras
- 9 How to Choose the Best Trail Camera
- 9.1 Camera Options
- 9.2 Trigger
- 9.3 Durability
- 9.4 Battery
- 9.5 High MP Counts
- 9.6 Infrared Flash
- 9.7 Detection Circuitry
- 9.8 Wireless
- 9.9 Image Quality
- 9.10 Built-In Viewer
- 9.11 Accessibility
- 9.12 Video or Picture
- 9.13 Memory
- 9.14 Security Box and Anti-Theft Cables
- 9.15 Viewing Screens
- 9.16 Extras
- 9.17 Price
- 10 Factors That Determine How Many Trail Cameras You Should Get
- 11 Top Trail Camera Brands
- 12 How to Mount and Use a Trail Camera
- 13 How to Maintain a Trail Camera
- 14 How to Repair a Trail Camera
- 15 Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- 16 Do’s and Don’ts To Do with a Trail Camera
- 17 Quick tips on How to Take Better Pictures with a Trail Camera
- 18 Trail Camera FAQs
- 18.0.1 What is the difference between a trail camera and a game camera?
- 18.0.2 How should I mount my camera?
- 18.0.3 How high should I place my camera?
- 18.0.4 Is there a difference between night and day picture quality?
- 18.0.5 My IR triggers with every photo, not just at night?
- 18.0.6 How do I keep my camera from being stolen?
- 18.0.7 What type of batteries should I use in my camera?
- 18.0.8 What affects my camera’s battery life?
- 18.1 What is the best trail camera for $100 or less?
- 18.2 Is there a trail camera that sends pictures to your phone?
- 18.3 Where should I set up a trail camera?
Top 5 Best Trail Cameras (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
Getting the best trail camera for your hunting style and purposes can really be the best thing to do for the hunter that wants to take his hunting to the next level. However, you will need to figure out which trail camera is the best for you. We’re going to go through some features to keep an eye out for as well as some suggestions on the best trail cameras out there to get you on the right track to improving your hunting game.
9 Best Trail Camera Reviews 2020
1. Best Cellular Camera – Spartan 4G LTE GoCam
Everything in life is a tradeoff. Maybe the features can be downgraded a bit to get the most convenient and easy to use system available. Sure, you still want great image quality but it doesn’t have to be excessive. As long as you can get a quick trigger, decent range, and good coverage there is little more you really need from a camera.
The Spartan is a fairly simple and spartan camera. The image and video quality are reasonable at a max of 8mp and the trigger time is a respectively quick .6 seconds. Anything that passes in front of the camera is going to trigger it, at least out to 80 feet which is plenty far for a wildlife camera.
The battery life will vary greatly on your settings and the local climate but you can get a lot out of a single set of batteries. It may not be the half a year length but you can get most of a deer season on a single charge. Especially if you use a longer trigger interval.
Where this camera begins to shine is in its advanced 4g connection. Not only can it send you all of the pictures and video it captures but you can even change settings and access all of the features of the camera straight from a browser. This isn’t going to cost a fortune either as it uses a Machine plan that can run as little as $5.00 a month.
When time is precious, this is a camera that will help you save it and spend it wisely. The added bonus is that you can see what is going on in your hunting area without ever setting foot on it. No spooking the deer or leaving scent behind.
- Great range
- Good battery life
- Wireless setup
- 4G connection
- Monthly fee
- Lower resolution
For those of us with busy lives, wireless cameras are a lifesaver but if we are a little lighter in the pocketbook, affording one has always been an issue and everyone knows one is never enough. Now you don’t have to spend a fortune to get wireless images in your own home on your downtime. Setting up a Bigfoot camera can be a game changer.
The camera itself isn’t anything special. It is far above the quality of a budget camera and manages to hold up to most other cameras in its price range with quality 12mp images and up to 720p video. It triggers at a respectable 62 feet and has enough IR power to get out there for clear images even on the darker nights.
But the big selling point is the wireless. It may only be 3g but it’s not like you are waiting around for it to send, it can do that in its own time. Cost of the plans is cheap and can run as low as 5 bucks a month. Get those images on your cell phone or in your email.
The biggest downside of this camera is the craving to head to your hunting ground every time it sends you a pic of a buck. When it comes to planning your next outing, this camera is an indispensable tool. Once you use it, you won’t know how to get along without it.
- Good resolution
- Adequate range
- Very affordable for a cellular camera
- Cheap cellular fees
- Lower range
- Weaker IR
- Harder to set up
Sometimes you get a product that is so well designed that you don’t know how anyone is ever going to beat it. This happens when the company appears to have thought of everything and made the perfect design decisions to deliver the most amazing product for just the right price. Be forewarned that owning just one of these will never be enough.
So, what makes this camera so great? Firstly, it’s the amazing 24mp resolution images and HD video that can be triggered in under a 5th of a second. Other companies do that but none offer it in a camera that can get those images out to a full hundred feet in day or night.
Bushnell didn’t stop there though. The single battery charge run time on this camera is a full year and that isn’t just a claim, it’s a guarantee from the company. One true year on just a few bucks worth of batteries.
Couple all of that with the little details like no-flash IR and easy setup and you have one of the best trail cameras on the market. It may not have everything but it does have everything you need. Go ahead and get a couple, you are going to want them.
- Very fast trigger speed
- Outstanding resolution
- Amazing battery Life
- Very long sensor and IR range
- No cellular or wireless
- Could have more image storage capacity
Seeing a new product from Wildgame Innovations almost feels like Christmas. You never know quite what it is going to be but you are pretty sure it’s what you want. I can’t think of any outdoor company that does exactly what their name says. When they use the word Innovations, they really mean it.
So, what makes this product so unique? It’s a panoramic game camera, that’s what! You get panoramic images! Full 360 degrees worth of panoramic images. And they aren’t the crap quality you would expect for such a novel idea but a full 12mp of clear imagery for each shot.
It’s no slouch on the range either. You get a full 70 feet of detection and illumination. Pair this up with your stand feeder and get a shot of everything coming and going. There is no better tool to get a good census of your local deer population.
Sure, it doesn’t take video but why would it? The pictures are all of the evidence you need. There are really no comparable products on the market so when I say this is the best panoramic trail camera, the competition is very small. Luckily, they did a good enough job on this one to make it worthy of the title.
Occasionally you will get some strange photos with panoramic cameras where things just didn’t work correctly. This is unavoidable but will happen so rarely that you will probably never have an issue.
- True panoramic 360 degree images
- Good resolution
- Great range
- Decent trigger speed
- No video mode
- Requires special mounting
- Some images may be inferior
Batteries are prone to failure, no matter how long a battery life a device has. Not only will the amount of activity around the camera run down your batteries but using a higher resolution, more powerful IR flash, video, and even temperature can make your batteries die an early death. That is where solar recharging trail cameras like the ECO come in handy. Even if the batteries run down tonight, they will charge again tomorrow.
Of course, solar can’t be the only selling point of a camera. Who cares how long it can take pictures if all of them are crap. No worries with the ECO. This is a solid 16mp camera that also shoots amazing full HD video. The range won’t leave you wanting either at around 80 feet which is on par with any non-solar unit for the price.
You can expect about 8 months between battery changes with this unit with the solar charger topping them off when they run low. Eventually, the will give out on you but you have plenty of time between to get them changed. Set this out in July and take it down in December to cover the entirety of scouting, rifle season, and bow season.
- Good battery life
- Solar charging
- Good range
- Good resolution
- Lower trigger time
- Less customization
Moultrie is another company that is synonymous with deer seasons, having produced some of the best deer feeders on the market for years. Their foray into the world of trail cameras has also been a resounding success. They don’t mess around with gimmicks, just a quality camera that is rugged and dependable to get you’re the evidence you need.
For a start, this is a 20mp camera that also takes 1080p full HD video that will give you superb, crisp, and clear images. Nothing escapes this camera and to ensure that, it triggers in less than a third of a second and can reach out over 100 feet with one of the most powerful IR flashes in the industry.
The runtime may vary but you can get up to 19,000 images from a single set of batteries on the right settings. If that won’t get you through a season you have far too many critters around. It runs on 8 AA batteries and will accept SD cards up to 32gb which should keep it up and running for months.
Did I say no gimmicks? Well, there is one. The M-50 is compatible with Moultrie Mobile which means you can see everything your camera has seen from the comfort of your home on any mobile smart device. There is a small monthly fee but one that is well worth it for hunters with less time to make it into the woods.
It’s tough to beat the price of a Moultrie for what they do and the quality they bring to the table.
- Great battery life
- Good resolution
- Fast trigger speed
- Great range
- Monthly payment for moultrie mobil
Bushnell is back again and much like the bigger brother of this camera, it has all of the features that most hunters care about but none of the fluff to drive up the price. For those hunters on a somewhat tighter budget, this camera won’t just get you by but will serve you well. This is a great option for people who need a number of cameras to cover their land.
To break it down you get a 16mp camera that takes full HD video. Set the camera up to take instant follow up shots or as few as 1 per minute to preserve your batteries. Trigger time is an impressively low 1/3 of a second and will trigger out to 100 feet. The IR has the same trigger range so you can get those deer that are lurking in the distance.
Just like the higher priced model, this camera has a true 1-year battery life and with the use of a 32gb memory card, you can leave this in the field for weeks or longer with the need to check. All of your pictures will be time stamped so you know when the area was active most. When it comes to scouting this is one of the best out there.
Don’t leave any ground uncovered, stick a few of these around and you will be ready to go when the time comes to hit the woods. Bushnell does cameras right and though there aren’t any of the really advanced options on the Trophy Cam, it is an amazing tool.
- Good resolution
- Amazing range
- Very fast trigger speed
- Great battery life
- Great value
If you are hunting close to home or just outside the suburbs, those deer can be a little extra cautious and may spook easily. The game quickly turns to cameras that can capture what you need without startling the local wildlife. Stealth Cam is a company that says what they do up front, provide cameras that are quiet and unobtrusive for those more skittish creatures.
Stealth isn’t the only thing they do though, these are fine cameras that take amazing 10mp images and 1080p video. The trigger time is less than half a second to catch deer on the move even at a distance of up to 100 feet from the camera. Just because this is a budget system doesn’t mean it isn’t quality. In the price range, this is among the most popular cameras out there.
But getting on to the ‘stealth’ thing. What makes this camera so unobtrusive? The use of a technology called ‘black IR’ which is, in reality, only IR that doesn’t emit that red glow that can startle the local animal population or keep them away entirely. There is also no audible trigger click when the camera goes off. This makes for a camera that can get your photos without causing any alarm.
It may not have the year-long battery life of some cameras but with good batteries and appropriate settings, you can get several months between changes but since you will have to visit this camera to get your photos, battery changes aren’t that big of an issue.
- Decent resolution
- Great range
- Short battery life
- Longer trigger time
- Less customization
Rounding out the lineup with the ultimate budget camera, ENKEEO has done a superb job. Not only is the camera affordable but is high quality with great images and a ton of features. Just because you are shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on everything.
For a camera in the budget category, the ENKEEO still offers 12mp camera and full 1080p video in an up to 120-degree arc in front of the camera. Even those evasive deer that always end up just at the edge of the picture will be clear with this camera. Trigger time is less than half a second out to a range of 65 feet. None of that may knock your socks off but it is far better quality than even the best cameras a few years ago.
If you consider it a drawback, this camera is a little light on customizable settings. It works right out of the box with no messing around with menus. You get what the camera is set for but the settings are generally what most hunters use anyway so the downside is minimized to a greater degree.
The IR on this camera is low-glow to keep from spooking deer and it does have a lot of the features common to most trail cameras like time-lapse and photo intervals. Don’t be fooled into thinking this camera is a wash just because it can’t be customized, it has enough to keep most hunters happy.
- Wide sensor arc
- Good resolution
- Low glow IR
- Slower trigger time
- Less customizable
- Short range
What is a Trail Camera
Trail cameras are typically used to monitor activities and movements of wildlife. That’s why a lot of professional researchers and wildlife observers make use of this gear to document and keep up with the behavior of the animals and everything that happens in the wild. If you’re also a hunter and you want to watch your target or oversee any movement in the hunting ground, a trail camera makes it possible for you to do it without you being there.
Benefits of Using a Trail Camera
Before you set out an outdoor adventure to hunt or just to observe the animals in the wild, you need to gear up with the best equipment and you’re probably considering investing in a trail camera. But what are the benefits of using it? Is it really worth your money? If you haven’t decided yet, the following benefits will help you out.
Extensive and Precise Monitoring
It is fascinating to see how the animals interact with one another and how they survive in the wild. There’s definitely a lot to know and a trail camera has a keen eye to watch and document their movements and behavior. You can monitor their activities, what sounds distract them or stress them out, and how they live. Basically, you can easily manage wildlife and learn more about their life and natural habitat.
Engineered with a preset recording option for high-quality images and an intuitive interface, a trail camera can provide extensive and precise monitoring and evaluation from the collected data and captured images or videos.
If you are around for the hunting season, there’s no need to count the hours and wait around all day or spot your target from a climbing tree stand. You can easily observe your target from afar or monitor the animals that visit the hunting ground.
Animals are easily distracted by noise, sounds, and movements around them. So, it is pretty much not a cakewalk to observe and study them while you are in sight and gandering at their every move. Much worse is when the wild animals found you in their territory, they might see you as a threat or some kind of tasty food to be feasted on. You definitely don’t want that to happen.
Truly, it’s hard to stay quiet as possible but that’s what a trail camera is good at. No more tiptoeing or hiding in the bushes just to get a good look at the animals. You won’t have to take the burden of getting through a lot of guesswork. And because you won’t have to be there, you can minimize the noise and eliminate any disturbances that might scare the animals away; overseeing the wildlife and monitoring the animals can go easy as a breeze. You can keep your distance and observe behind the camera lens and just let the trail camera do all the monitoring job.
Enhanced Level of Security
When you’re in a remote area and spending the day to observe the environment and possibly catch a glimpse of the animals, you may put yourself at risk. There are a lot of wild animals that are territorial and with just one wrong move, you might find yourself in a dangerous situation.
It is true that you can frolic in the adventure and enjoy nature, but it is better to think ahead and contemplate the possible effects. As you won’t be vulnerable to potential perils and you can just observe from afar, you can keep yourself safe and secure with a trail camera.
Alternative to Home Security Cameras
While trail cameras are primarily used as a wildlife watcher that observes and documents the behavior of the animals and their natural habitat, they are not limited to this. A trail camera can also be an alternative option for home security cameras.
Contrary to the conventional CCTVs, a trail camera utilizes advanced features that can detect heat and motion and therefore, a reliable lookout to deter any possible dangers from theft and robbery. It can also relay high-quality images and videos for better recognition and clear surveillance.
Easy to Set Up
Setting it up takes no sweat and not as complicated as you might think it should be. You just need to find a tree where you wish to set up the camera and you might want to opt for a spot where animals would often go around to make sure you get the best coverage. A trail camera comes with a strap that you can just wrap around the tree at waist height. A cable lock is usually included in the kit and you can use it to secure the camera and keep it fixed.
Another impressive feature of trail cameras is their heavy-duty quality. To make sure they withstand the wavering temperatures and extreme weather conditions out in the wild, not to mention the vulnerability to wild animals, these cameras are typically engineered with tough materials that weatherproof design. Although they are not waterproof, these trail cameras are water-resistant.
How Does a Trail Camera Work
Also known as a remote camera or game camera, this motion-activated camera is built with functional parts and advanced technologies that work to provide efficient performance in documenting wildlife and learning more about the ways of wild animals. With the gathered data, researchers and wildlife observers and biologists have a reliable basis of what to evaluate and conclude in regard to the survival of the wild animals in their natural habitat and interaction with the other animals.
Keeping all these remarkable results in mind, how does a trail camera really work? How does it collect data and capture images? Jot down the following notes:
- It has detection circuits. Trail cameras activate when it detects any movement or change in the temperature and the common feature responsible for this function is the Passive Infrared Sensor or PIR. Most trail cameras are backed up with an infrared technology such as this, which works to detect motion or heat due to the infrared radiation from that living things emit.
Besides the infrared technology, every trail camera is engineered with a specified detection range and detection span. If there are any changes in the infrared radiation from one object to another, this factor triggers the camera to capture images or record a video.
- The battery powers it up. Trail cameras need a reliable power source to make sure they won’t die out while in use. Batteries power them up that keep the camera working and sustaining it. Some users opt for rechargeable batteries for extended use but some manufacturers require users to purchase a separate pack of batteries.
Typically, trail cameras require four to twelve AA batteries to function and operate for about a year. Therefore, to make sure it works efficiently and to its utmost capability, it is best to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the battery specifications.
- It is designed with a stamp function. To give you the in-depth details of the videos and pictures of when they are captured, there are trail cameras that feature stamp function. This relays comprehensive details about the exact moment when the images and videos are taken such as the date, time, moon phase, and temperature. If you are in need of comprehensive data for your research and study, this feature will definitely be useful.
Pros and Cons of Using a Trail Camera
While trail cameras are innovatively designed with durable quality and dependable technology, they also have their share of drawbacks. Learning about their benefits and disadvantages will give you a much clearer idea of how they really work. Take note of the following pros and cons:
- Helps you monitor and observe wildlife activities easily: Monitoring the animals in the wild and studying about their life and habitat aren’t walk in the park. That’s why many professional researchers, hunters, and wildlife observers take a lot of time and effort to drive or fly out to a remote area and take a closer look at these animals and their environment. Luckily, these trail cameras are built to carry all the hard work in keeping up with the movements and activities in the wild. Just strap it around the tree and you’re all set!
- Provides detailed and precise documentation: Probably one of the major reasons why a trail camera is a must-have for many researchers and hunters because it can document everything that takes place on the covered area. It collects data and captures images or videos, that relay precise details for hassle-free evaluation.
- Stays low in distance and sound: Because you do not need to show up in the territory and do all the monitoring and studying, you won’t have to worry about making noises or sounds that can scare the animals away, cause disturbances, or even stress them out. You can keep your distance and just observe from afar and get back to the spot to check the data once you’re all done.
- Easy installation: Another advantage of trail cameras is the easy installation. When you found the perfect spot to put up the trail camera, all you need is to strap it around the tree and secure it firmly. You can save a lot of time setting it up and spend more on studying and working on your research!
- Captures high-quality images: The image quality is one of the most important features of a trail camera which makes it a lot easier to review and evaluate the data and images you’ve collected. Each type and brand of trail cameras offer a wide range of photo and video resolution settings that can capture and highlight the animals, allowing you to take a closer look at them and their activities. Typically crafted with a night vision mode, you can also observe and study these wild animals even in the dark!
- Subtle design: To blend with the surroundings and be invisible to the animals, manufacturers keep the design subtle as much as possible. The neutral tones and camouflage designs make these trail cameras unnoticeable which serves as a form of protection from possible attacks from wild animals and therefore, damages the camera.
- Versatile design: Trail cameras are reliable surveillance tools to oversee wildlife activities but can also work as a personal security system that you can set up on your very own home. Many users also consider using these trail cameras in their business areas, facilities, and on the farm. This security system helps them monitor any suspicious movements and intruders that can prevent possible dangerous situations such as theft and robbery.
- Limited coverage: Even if you want to get wider and larger coverage of the field, you can only capture images and videos and collect data within the designated detection range and capacity of the trail camera that you’re using and you cannot go beyond its specifications and range settings. When you strap it around the tree, the camera can function and document any movements using the specified sensor range and view angle of the lens.
You can work on this and get more than a single perspective. If you want to maximize the scope and cover more areas, you can put up more trail cameras in reasonable ranges or distances to have multiple vantage points of the animals in the wild and their habitat.
- Price range: While you may find affordable options for trail cameras, the price tag becomes a disadvantage if you want to obtain more perspectives as mentioned above. Setting up a trail camera on a designated tree or area will only give you a limited view. Getting multiple angles and perspectives, it’ll cost more.
- Vulnerable to wild animal attacks: Although manufacturers try to keep it subtle in terms of the design and color, trail cameras are no exception from the attacks of wild animals. When you strap them around a tree in a remote area or deep in the forest, these cameras would be out in the open at all times, making them vulnerable to vicious attacks and probably will cost you more for the damages. You may have to repair your trail camera or buy a replacement.
- You’re tempted to check it every now and then: As much as you want to keep your observation as discreet as possible, you may have the urge to go constantly back to the spot where you’ve set up the trail camera and check some of the data and images you have collected.
There is nothing wrong with getting all thrilled with the results, but going back to the remote area where the wild animals are possibly just roaming around is putting your safety at risk. These trail cameras are designed to render the utmost convenience in wildlife observation and hunting. You just have to sit back and let the camera do the monitoring job but some users just don’t take advantage of this benefit.
Types of Trail Cameras
There are different types of trail cameras and each kind exhibits distinct technology and function that will help you with your monitoring tasks. If you want to get the most out of your trail camera and benefit from its efficient performance, you should find the right type that will correspond to your needs and preferences.
Cellular Trail Camera
This type of camera is integrated with your device or phone. It operates with the use of a SIM card which is dependent on a wireless telecommunication service provider. And because it delivers data to your device wirelessly, you can receive and review the images and videos that your camera captures right on your phone. It is portable and easy to use. Just make sure you get a very good signal or phone reception when you use it. Otherwise, it won’t work very well.
Wireless Wi-Fi Trail Camera
As the name suggests, this trail camera uses WiFi that connects to your phone or gadget to transfer the images and videos. You can also use it to link one trail camera to another or multiple trail cameras for hassle-free file sharing. As long as you have a strong WiFi connection, you can transfer all the files you need seamlessly.
Motion-Activated Trail Cameras
These are the ones that you can set up in the woods and leave it there to record videos and capture images of the wildlife. You won’t have to be there in the area to watch and observe everything that happens in the wild. Do know that every motion-activated trail camera is engineered with a specific detection range that tells you the depth of its coverage. And if the subject is within the detection zone, this type of camera will capture images and videos when it detects any changes in motion and temperature. Whether you use it indoors or outdoors, this trail camera works efficiently.
If you need to reinforce the security in your business area or properties may it be in the woods or not, security cameras might probably the backup you need. Although most security cameras may cost a bit more, they are designed to be a durable surveillance tool and reliable lookout around the area and monitor potential hazards from the intruders and wild animals. They can also capture photos and videos in real-time and some units are programmed to transfer these files to your device or computer.
Infrared Trail Cameras
The highlight of these trail cameras is the clarity of the images and videos. They are typically designed with high resolution that can capture images and videos during the day and even when you monitor the area in the night. It utilizes an infrared technology where the infrared automatically switches on and off. While this type of camera stands out with its high-resolution features in low light or in the dark, it can also cover longer distances. This is also not recommended to use indoors as it won’t deliver high-quality results as it would outdoors.
Flash Trail Cameras
This type of trail camera is best used to capture images at night with the use of a flash. Under this category is the Infrared Flash Trail Camera that works to capture images of wild animals in black and white and in a discreet manner. It allows you to take snapshots of the animals and their environment without causing any disturbance.
The other one is the Incandescent Flash Trail Camera that captures images in full color, making the pictures a lot clearer and more vibrant than those taken with an Infrared Flash trail camera. But there are a few pitfalls with this kind: Incandescent flash trail cameras are pricier, consume more power, and have slower trigger speeds.
Each type has respective advantages when it comes to capturing images at night. Probably the major downside with flash trail cameras is the use of flash. Some animals find it threatening and you might end up scaring them away.
Different Uses of Trail Cameras
Trail cameras are not limited to wildlife observation and documentation. While they are innovatively designed to capture photos and videos, they are also integrated with different types of technologies that elevate their performance. Depending on the type and features, you can maximize its function according to your needs and other monitoring activities. Listed below are some of the uses you can try.
Monitoring and Scouting
It is probably one of the primary uses of a trail camera: to monitor the animals in the wild. You won’t have to use a spotting scope for hunting or wait all day at your tree stand to observe the animals and how they interact with one another. With a trail camera, you can keep your distance and watch quietly as you learn more about their behavior, what they feed on, and their survival in their natural habitat.
As you are observing in a discreet manner, it can minimize any noise or loud sounds that can scare them away and stress them out. A trail camera won’t be a threat unlike when you’re right there on the scene. If you are a hunter and want to learn more about your target or the animals that visit the hunting ground, trail cameras can also make monitoring a lot easier for you.
Moreover, a lot of professionals and biologists find trail cameras very useful in documenting anything that happens in the wilderness as they can easily oversee the animals while also keeping themselves away from any possible danger.
Home Security System
Putting up a security system in your home is also one of the common uses of trail cameras. With the prevalence of violence, assaults, theft, robbery, and other types of perils, people may feel a lot less safe than before. Using trail cameras as a home security system can make homeowners at ease and feel secure as they detect suspicious acts and intruders and therefore, prevent any possible dangers like theft and robbery.
While it works to keep your home the safest place to live, the visibility of these trail cameras can also pose a threat to anyone who plans to invade your home and do something terrible. This helps you prevent any crime right before they happen and also alert the authorities when you have to.
When you need to closely watch and oversee activities in your home or at your workplace or business area, surveillance cameras make it a lot easier to monitor everything that you need to see and help you to implement any actions that need to be done. It can be used outdoors to monitor various activities while some rely on surveillance cameras to identify intruders and make investigations.
When it’s off-season and you want to pay more attention to what’s happening outdoors, a trail camera can take this job. If you set it up outside your home, you can check any suspicious movements or probably just want to keep on the watch when your kids, dogs, and other family members are outside playing. As you can closely monitor them even when you’re away or inside the house, it can prevent accidents and other possible dangers.
As it is installed outside, a trail camera can also capture license plates or other objects that may be crucial for future references, particularly if any problem occurs within the vicinity.
Typically engineered with high-quality images and HD video recording features, trail cameras can also be a reliable reference for investigations. The videos or photos captured may serve as evidence in the event of a crime or other predicaments. Depending on the range of coverage, authorities can take all the data as a basis to solve crimes and other problems.
You won’t have to keep on wearing comfortable bike shoes and roam around your property to monitor employees and or just to check if it is well taken care of. You don’t want to spend hours checking your business areas or establishments every now and then when you can just observe from afar with a trail camera.
Without a doubt, everyone wants to keep their businesses, equipment, and other properties secure and fully protected against intruders and robbers. With the help of a trail camera, you can keep on the watch all the time. If you’re also using it in a business area, you will have the ability to check whether your employees are working properly or just slouching during work hours!
Farm Security System
If you ever own a farm, caring for a vast land is a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, farms can also be vulnerable to potential hazards such as theft and robbery, and intruders that harm your animals as well. That’s why some farmers opt to set up a surveillance camera to monitor all the activities on their farm, including the workers that stay there for hours or all day. It can be an effective watcher to keep track of everything that happens on your farm even sightings of people who like mountain biking. This serves as a protection to your animals and property against any form of theft and intrusion.
As you gear up with your premium hunting boots and waterproof hunting wader and pack your bag with a sharp knife meant for hunting, you’re probably all prepped for deer hunting. But as you get there, you had waited for hours and no deer showed up. That is definitely a waste of time and effort which could have been avoided if you had just observed the deer and the hunting ground before. Even if you have the world’s best hunting backpack with all the essentials in it, it is no use if you are not fully knowledgeable about their behavior.
It is a form of tradition while some hunters just do deer hunting for fun and for the sake of good meat. And for successful hunting, you can rely on trail cameras to observe how the deer survive their natural habitat and which places they frequent for food and bedding.
Plant Ecological Monitoring
To preserve the beauty of the environment and the balance between plants and other organisms, plant ecology monitoring is essential. Trail cameras can be utilized to observe and study these plants and organisms closely and therefore, reliable and in-depth data and information about the intricate process these plants go through. Biologists and ecologists can make use of the time-lapse feature to capture the complexity of the processes in nature such as photosynthesis.
Another use of a trail camera is to deter any damage from pest infestations. These tiny menaces can wreak havoc and leave the environment with nothing, particularly in agricultural lands where food is produced. But the good news is trail cameras have the capability to monitor any pest infestations and eliminate them right before they cause destruction. These cameras can gather data as a basis for better and effective pest management not only today but also in the long run.
How to Choose the Best Trail Camera
For something that sounds simple, figuring out the best trail camera is about a lot of different features. Some of these features may be less important to you depending on what you really need out of your cameras. However, make sure you understand the basics of all these cameras to ensure that you know exactly what you need to keep an eye out for.
Like with other cameras, there are many options that you will have to think about when you’re considering a trail camera. Each of these features can help with something different. Depending on your purpose, you may have a priority for some features over others.
The field of view is more than just how far forward the camera monitors, it also the amount off to the sides that it can see. Some trail cameras are built to have a wider field of vision that doesn’t reach out quite as far. Some cameras can see very far forward, but can’t see that far off to the sides.
This information will be most important if you already have an idea of where you need the cameras to go. If there is an area where you want a wider view, then you will want to focus on getting a trail camera that has that wider view. Otherwise, a standard camera that has a further reach is a little bit more important.
Along with the field of view, some cameras are more sensitive in their field of view than others. This is especially important for those hunters that are after smaller game that isn’t always caught by typical cameras. This feature will also have to do with your trigger speed, but we will get to that shortly.
Having pictures or video from night can be really important. The game that you’re hunting may be more active at night in the particular area where you are hunting. But night vision means that you need a camera that won’t use a bright flash to capture images of the game. Scaring away the game is the last thing you want.
There are a variety of different cameras that focus on getting images at night. Sometimes this involves lower light settings for the camera itself. Sometimes it’s also about the LEDs that are on the camera. There are tons of different options. You might want to do research about the area and the game that you are hunting before you decide on what kind of night vision options you pick out for your camera.
However, if you are particularly worried about spooking game or other wildlife, then I would suggest picking up an infrared camera. These cameras are actually a little bit better for night because they’re triggered by movement and heat. They tend to use LED panels that light up instead of a flash bulb. This means that the light is less sudden and less threatening to any wildlife that passes in front of it. However, what will work best for you will depend on what you’re intending to do.
This is an option that you will see on almost all cameras, not just trail cameras. The number of megapixels that a camera has informs how nice the pictures are. As trail cameras are improving, you will start to see more and more cameras that are having improved megapixel count. If you need multiple cameras, then you might want to sacrifice the number of megapixels that you are looking for so that you can get multiple cameras instead of just having one really good camera.
However, if you only need one or two cameras, then you might want to be better able to decipher the images that your camera takes. In that case, look for cameras with better megapixel counts. The highest Megapixel count that you are likely to find is right around 20. This is fantastic for a camera, but it will cost you a little bit to get all the other great features of a good trail camera along with that megapixel count.
Having a movement trigger is a little bit of option. Many cameras will have this, but they will also have other options on top of it. However, if you are planning to use the trigger, then you will want to look for a camera that will trigger fairly quickly. While animals don’t always spring through an area, you want to make sure that if something is in front of your camera, you get a picture of it. The faster a camera can take a picture, the more likely you are to see what set it off with better clarity.
However, even with a quick trigger speed, your camera might not be picking up on all of the creatures that pass in front of your camera. If you are looking to catch smaller game, then you are going to want to have a camera that will be triggered by that smaller creature. This isn’t always a given with a camera, so you might want to read some reviews or ask at a local hunting store about the cameras that will pick up all of the right animals.
Beyond the trigger, you might want your camera to take pictures at set times throughout the day. This is an option in a lot of cameras. In fact, most cameras will allow you to set specific periods of time to take pictures. Being able to decide when you want your camera to take pictures is incredibly important. If it doesn’t give you options, then you might be wasting time and space on a memory card.
This isn’t a feature that you might think about right away. In fact, it might be in the back of your head while you’re looking for a camera to put out there. However, this is an incredibly important thing to consider. If you are hunting with a gun or hunting creatures that tend to get aggressive, then a more durable camera will be able to survive more of what you put it through.
While you’ll probably be aware of where your cameras are, you might forget when you’re lining up the perfect shot on something. A glancing blow of a bullet is something that you will probably want your camera to be able to survive.
Beyond your own firing, you may be hunting game like wild boar or pigs. These creatures can get quite aggressive at times. This means that your camera might be hit by the game that you are hunting. If your camera is durable, then it should be able to stand up to anything that comes at it. Of course, the camera will eventually fall apart because it is not designed to last forever. But getting a camera that will last through the hunting season will always be a great purchase.
One of the other important things is how long your battery will last. If your battery doesn’t last that long, then you’ll have to go out there to get the battery swapped out for a fully charged one more often than not. There are ways to get around this. Cameras that use LEDs might last longer just by their design. In addition to that, there are solar options out there.
These solar cameras will have to be placed in areas where they will get sunlight, but if you are hunting in an area that gets more sunlight, then this option might be fantastic for you. If you live in an area that is much darker and rainier during the hunting season, then you may look for a camera that has better battery life on its own.
High MP Counts
MP counts or the Megapixel counts are one of the major features to consider when choosing a trail camera. Generally, the total count does not go over 5 MP. And if the trail camera uses higher megapixel counts, it will use up all the memory in your camera, leaving you with insufficient storage capacity. That is why it is best to stick with the standard megapixel count and going beyond the usual level won’t do any good.
Some trail cameras use infrared technology to capture images of various objects in the wild. This is commonly used for taking photos in the dark or at night. There are units that have this feature and deliver images in black and white. Under this category are low-glow flashes that emit red light after the flash and No-glow LEDs or blackout LEDs that do not project blinding flash that may scare the animals away.
The efficiency and accuracy of trail cameras depend on the detection circuitry which is comprised of three elements: Detection Zone, Trigger Speed, and Recovery Time. Each plays a significant role in how the trail camera would function properly.
This refers to the distance and width between the subject or animal and the trail camera. Measured in feet, every trail camera is engineered with a certain detection range that allows you to determine the total scope of location the camera can cover. This range may go approximately 50 feet up to 85 feet or more in higher-end units. The wider the detection range, the better unless you are setting up a camera that focuses on a narrow field of view.
This refers to the time that the camera takes to capture images right on the dot after the motion sensor or heat is triggered. The faster the trigger speed, the better chances you will have to capture images of animals even when they move swiftly.
Recovery time, on the other hand, refers to the time on how fast the camera registers the image captured and becomes all set to shoot another photo. If the recovery time is slow or runs below par, there will be a delay and you might just miss the opportunity to capture quick-moving animals in action.
If you are looking for a smooth and hassle-free file sharing, you may consider choosing a trail camera that features wireless technology. Modernized units, nowadays, are capable of transferring the images to your phone or device through a Wifi connection. Cellular and Wireless Wifi trail cameras are the types of trail cameras that have this feature.
As they can transfer photos and other data to your phone seamlessly, you can back up your data or review them right on your phone. You can access the files seamlessly or integrate with multiple cameras for more results. However, cameras with this advanced feature usually fall in a high pricing mark.
To get the clarity of the images, it is important to check the resolution of the trail camera. Measured in megapixels, this will define the quality of the images whether they are clear and crisp or bad and blurry. The average megapixels for trail cameras usually range between 5 to 7, although some units can offer higher than that. It can also go as low as 1.5 megapixels which may not be the ideal resolution if you wish to view the images in full screen. But the advantage of lower MPs is that they are cheaper in price.
However, do know that when you opt for high resolution, it will require a larger storage capacity. If you do not have enough memory, you may not have sufficient space for the images. Cameras with high resolution also tend to be more expensive.
Not all trail cameras have this feature but the built-viewer is considered a good add-on to your trail camera if you want to enhance the convenience of checking your data. This allows you to check and review the pictures from the camera without frequenting the woods and remove the camera from its spot. This would be very useful for hunters or researchers if the location or the hunting ground is very far.
While this maximizes your time for hunting or researching, you will be able to determine easily whether you’ve set up the camera correctly. You can monitor right from your computer which settings to improve and fix or if the storage capacity has already reached its limit. You won’t have to take the camera from the woods and delete the photos. You can do this using your computer.
However, this extra feature also requires an extra cost, although many users don’t have any problems paying more for the built-in viewer. The additional cost compensates for the advantages.
The storage and battery are vital elements of a trail camera that need to be closely considered. If you are using it to observe wildlife and you have set up the camera somewhere far, it will probably take you long before checking the batteries and replace them if needed or clear the storage space for more images. Therefore, having the ability to access your camera is a very important factor. When you install it on a designated spot, make sure you can access it easily every time you need to.
Video or Picture
Choosing the best trail camera means settling for superior quality for video and picture. As mentioned before, the average resolution of images for a trail camera is between 5 to 7 megapixels. The MPs may still vary according to brand and type of camera. However, it is best to stick with the recommended resolution as it is just enough for the quality you need.
You may still opt for higher resolutions but it will cost you more money and storage capacity. Some manufacturers also take advantage of this feature to advertise their cameras for better sales.
There are trail cameras today that feature both pictures and videos. When it comes to the video quality, you can check if it delivers high-definition videos and some of them are capable of recording videos from 3 to 300 seconds. You may also want to check if the camera delivers video in black and white or in full color.
Your goal is to observe the animals as discreet as possible and you don’t want to spook them with a blinding flash or LED lights when you try to capture them in color. If you want to obtain great quality pictures at night, you can opt for an infrared camera. It captures images in black and white but they keep it low in light and uses invisible flash, allowing you to take snapshots of the animals without scaring them away.
The next important feature to consider is the memory. Most trail cameras are backed up with 32GB SD cards and some can accommodate as low as 8GB. Choosing the ideal SD card capacity depends on how much your camera can accommodate. There are units that can store more images and videos while some only have limited space.
You must also know that the resolution of the images and the quality or duration of the videos are significant factors that affect the memory or storage capacity. As mentioned, higher resolution images will consume more of your storage and leave your memory full in a snap. This can be a bummer if you want to capture more images but don’t have enough memory to use. The same thing applies to videos with a long duration. You may have to clear out your storage and delete some files more frequently than you should.
Just make sure that when you’re all done with the files, do not forget to back them up for security purposes. You don’t want to start from scratch and wait for weeks before you gather the data again. Always opt for the best quality of SD cards to prevent any errors that will corrupt your files. You should also double check if it is compatible with your camera.
Security Box and Anti-Theft Cables
To keep the camera from any possible damage or theft whether in the woods or in your property, you should consider getting a security box and anti-theft cables. Typically built with durable steel material, these security boxes provide optimum protection for your camera against any scratches, damages, attacks, and possible theft. The theft cables, moreover, secure the camera and keep it firm on its spot.
When choosing a security box, always consider the size of your camera to determine whether it would fit the security box or not. They are generally easy to install so you won’t have too much trouble setting up your camera with it. When it comes to the cables, they are designed with a locking system that secures the camera tightly.
Trail cameras that are engineered with viewing screen render multiple advantages, particularly setting up the camera on the right angle, height, and direction. While you can modify the settings of your camera right there and then, you will also have the option to review the images or videos that you have captured and view the pictures on full scale.
When the memory of your trail camera seems to have reached its limit and you want to free up the storage space, you can also delete the pictures or videos through the viewing screen.
Putting up viewing screens on the exterior of your camera might make it look clunky and some may find this inconvenient. However, it’s not always the case and many users opt for this feature to elevate the efficiency of the camera and the convenience of using it. And to protect your camera, you can purchase a protective cover to keep it from potential hazards in the wild.
Viewing screens are available in different sizes and you can choose which size works best with your camera.
There are some options that you can find that are not standard on every camera that might make your life just a little bit easier. Two of the best options have to do with how you get your pictures. There are cameras out there that are capable of using the wireless internet as well as a cellular signal to send images to you.
This option may cost a little bit more and have fewer options than other cameras, but being able to get your pictures without having to deal with physically going to your cameras can be incredibly important for people that don’t want to go out to their cameras or can’t always get to their cameras on a regular basis.
This option works best when paired with triggered pictures. It means that you’ll get notified when animals are around your camera. It can help you when you’re trying to make plans to get out there and hunt.
There are other smaller extras that people can have like solar panels. However, like we said, these extras can often make a camera a little more expensive.
The price of a signal trail camera can affect what you decide to do if you need more than one angle covered by a camera. The decision to get multiple cameras might mean that you get one in an important area that costs more and is a little bit better. After that point, you might consider getting smaller, less expensive cameras that you can use in other areas that you might move around as time goes on.
Just make sure that you work with your budget to find the camera combination that works best for you.
Factors That Determine How Many Trail Cameras You Should Get
If you wish to get more than a single perspective of the animal or any subject you’re studying, you may consider getting multiple trail cameras. But before you decide on whether it is necessary to add another trail camera or if it is better to put up multiple trail cameras, there are some factors you have to consider first.
The ‘’V’’ of Coverage
As discussed earlier in some points about the coverage of the camera, trail cameras do have a limited view and getting the best angle depends on how and where you would set it up. When you put a trail camera around a tree in the woods, the lens is pointed outward which makes a V-shaped coverage of the area. It is usually measured in 35 to 70 degrees. But if you think that the scope of the trail camera is not enough to cover your desired location, you probably need to set up another trail camera.
Depth of View
Trail cameras feature specified depth ranges that define the distance from the camera. Some units have narrow fields of view while there are trail cameras that can provide full coverage. If you are trying to cover a large area or property, you should go for a trail camera that has a deeper field of view.
If you are a hunter or a researcher and you frequent multiple terrains to figure out where to set up your trail camera, it is fundamental to evaluate the surrounding area. There are those who want to capture and document movements the deer and how they survive in the wild.
As your shoes for trail running take you to different spots, you may need to consider whether that location is a place for bedding or feeding. As deer move swiftly, you want to make sure to get every movement in a quick snap. But if the camera you are using seems to function with slower trigger speeds, you should think of putting another one for precise documentation. Trail cameras with fast trigger speeds will do.
If you want to secure your home with full surveillance, you should consider the places where you should install the trail camera. These trail cameras do make excellent lookouts and help you manage and monitor the activities or any suspicious movements around your house. But, yet again, trail cameras have limited depth range and you might want to put trail cameras for every entrance in your home for better coverage.
Top Trail Camera Brands
There is a plethora of trail cameras and the market and oftentimes, it is difficult to choose which brand and unit you should settle for. And if you are still undecided on which trail camera to pick, looking into the top trail camera brands is one effective way to start with.
Campark is one of the most reputable brands in the industry of trail cameras. Derived from an American company, this brand offers a wide selection of heavy-duty and high-quality trail cameras or game cameras. Some of the types of trail cameras mentioned earlier fall under this vast collection such as wireless trail cameras, incandescent cameras, and infrared cameras.
To make sure they provide superior quality and performance with their products, Campark utilizes advanced features and technologies. You may find cameras that are engineered with high-resolution images, high-definition video recording, wireless technology, infrared technology, and a lot more.
Apart from these stunning collections, Campark also has a lineup of action cameras, baby cameras, kids’ cameras, and dash cameras.
Whether you’re up for wildlife observation or just in need of better and reliable home surveillance, Moultrie might just have the trail camera you need. With their impressive lineup of game cameras and accessories, you can gear up with the right equipment before you head to your activities and monitoring tasks.
You’ll be impressed with their high-resolution images and HD video recording features as well as the images in the full spectrum.
Moultrie also houses a remarkable unit that renders the widest angle of the detection zone: the Panoramic 150. One of their flagship units is the A-40i Pro which provides a stunning 14-megapixel quality.
This Chinese brand has also landed a name in the trail camera industry. They are known for producing portable audio recorders, digital videos, hunting cameras, and dash cameras but they also offer a vast selection of game cameras. What’s great about this brand is how they keep up with their innovative designs to fit everyone’s needs; you can find trail cameras that exhibit high-end and basic features. You can also find affordable options, especially if you are on a tight budget.
Browning is another trustworthy brand you can check out if you are looking for modernized features and excellent image quality. They offer game cameras that feature remarkable image quality, time-lapse, night vision, infrared technology, and fast trigger speeds. While they take their game cameras above par, Browning also has a lineup for optics and firearms.
You can also give other brands a chance if you are in need of a great quality and heavy-duty game camera or trail camera. As some of these brands are not as popular as the ones mentioned above, they are usually more affordable. SpyPoint, Tasco, Stealth, Victure, and Tec. Bean are some of the brands you can find that won’t break your bank but also doesn’t skimp on the quality.
How to Mount and Use a Trail Camera
To get the most out of your camera and get the best angles, it is important to mount or set up your trail camera correctly. You can check the following ways on how you can do this:
Find a location where you plan to set up the camera. If you are a wildlife biologist or a researcher and you are planning to use it for wildlife observation, look for a tree that has a good vantage point or view of the animals.
If you are going to use it for hunting, you should also do the same thing but you have to find the best hunting grounds. If you are hunting deer, put up the trail camera on the rub lines, funnels, or scrapes for the best view. Your trail camera may seem like a reliable hunting GPS that helps you detect and locate these animals.
Turn on the camera.
Point the camera to the north for a better angle. This also keeps the camera from capturing overexposed photos and videos due to the bright light from the sun.
Use the strap to wrap the camera around the tree at waist height.
Secure the camera firmly. You can use a cable lock to secure the camera around the tree and lock it tightly.
For better results, leave the trail camera in its spot for four weeks or five weeks.
How to Maintain a Trail Camera
Keeping your trail camera in its best quality will save you from costly repairs in the long run. You can maximize its function and performance as well as extend its lifespan when you take time to care for it. Therefore, proper and regular maintenance is a must. But if you are not sure how to do this, consider the following tips:
Check the batteries regularly. In doing this, you’ll be able to determine whether the batteries are in their best condition or have already been depleted. If they are rechargeable, they need to be fully charged at all times.
If the batteries seem to have worn out, replace them. Do not replace the battery piece by piece. It is better to replace them all at once to ensure a reliable and stable power source.
When you are not using the camera, remove the batteries to prevent any damage.
If any software update is available, make sure to update your camera regularly. This will fix bugs and other possible errors to keep your camera working according to its function and features or even up to its peak performance.
Handle your trail camera gently and keep it in a secure and safe storage. Do not put it away with your other stuff. Place it in a separate holder or bag to prevent any damages or scratches.
Refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the proper cleaning guidelines. Generally, you have to gently clean the lens of the camera using a damp cloth or Q-tips to remove any residues. Do not use any abrasive solution or cloth to clean it.
When you set your trail camera out in the wild, find a spot where you can keep it away from insects as much as possible like ants and other pests. These insects tend to sneak into the tight spaces of your camera and may damage it eventually. You can use insecticides to kill these pests and insects but make sure not to spray it directly to your camera.
Trail cameras are not designed to be waterproof. Although they are durable and water-resistant, keep them dry at all times. Do not let it be submerged under the water.
How to Repair a Trail Camera
Your trail camera won’t always be in its best condition. You might come across some issues with the software or some of its parts might not be working properly, making it difficult to collect data, document movements and sightings, or capture videos and pictures.
Luckily, you can solve this with just a few tweaks and repairs but you have to be very careful when you fix it. If you are quite unsure of what you’re doing, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional.
On the other hand, there are some tips and solutions you can try if ever you’re experiencing some problems with your trail camera such as the following:
When the LCD Does Not Switch on or the Night Mode Just Goes Black
Check the batteries to know if they are placed properly.
If the batteries seem to be placed improperly, remove them and place them correctly.
If you positioned the batteries correctly and the trail camera is still not working properly, consider replacing the batteries with new ones.
If the camera still does not work despite replacing its batteries, your camera might already be defective or completely worn out. You need to purchase a new trail camera.
When You are Experiencing Some Issues With the SD Card
One way to fix the error messages is to format your SD card. To do this, remove the SD card from the camera and put it on your computer.
When your computer reads the SD card, open the folder “My Computer” and right-click on the SD card file. Choose “Format”. Once you format the SD card, all the data will be erased including the errors.
If your camera does not read the SD card or does not store new images and videos, check the card again to see if it is compatible with your camera.
If the SD card seems to be compatible with your camera but does not save new images, the memory of your SD card must be already full. Try clearing out some storage space in your SD card by deleting some photos and videos.
If you have tried any of these steps and your trail camera still does not work properly, you should ask help from a professional.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When it comes to choosing a trail camera, spending more doesn’t always mean better quality. There are units that cost more because of the advanced features and the technologies used. Some also consider the brand reputation which adds up to the price while others offer excellent warranty coverage that counterbalances the hefty price tag.
However, there are a lot of affordable options for trail cameras on the market that will comply with your needs. Either wireless or cellular trail camera units that offer advanced features fall into a vast price range where you can choose a price that best suits your budget.
Do’s and Don’ts To Do with a Trail Camera
To maintain the quality of your trail camera and let it function according to its primary features, there are things that you should do and not do with it. Take a look at the reminders below:
- Inspect your camera regularly for any damages and faulty software.
- If you are going to use it to monitor wildlife, make sure to strap it on a tree and secure it there tightly.
- Set it up on a tree at waist height for a better angle and view.
- Make sure to check the manufacturer’s manual for the type of batteries to use.
- Invest in high-quality batteries for a reliable power source.
- Clean the lens of your camera before you set it up in the woods to make sure you get the best quality of images and videos.
- If you are not going to use the camera, remove the batteries to prevent any power depletion.
- Always backup your files after every trip to make sure you get all the files saved. Transfer the images and other files from the SD card to your computer then format the SD card right after.
- Do not submerge them in water. Trail cameras are not waterproof.
- Do not keep them in a storage bag together with your other stuff to prevent any scratches or damages.
- Do not just use any type of batteries to power up your camera to prevent it from malfunctioning or even destroying it.
- Do not use an abrasive cleaning solution to clean the lens of your camera. A damp cloth or Q-tips will do.
- Do not make any repairs on your trail camera if you are not sure what to do. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual or seek help from a professional.
Quick tips on How to Take Better Pictures with a Trail Camera
Trail cameras are engineered with advanced features and technologies to capture images and videos the best quality possible. But if you have tried setting up a trail camera and the pictures captured seemed a bit off, here are some tips you can try to take better pictures:
Clear Out the Area
If you want to get a better view or angle of your subject, you may want to clear out the area and pick up twigs and branches that might distract your view when a strong wind comes in. however, you do not want to keep the trail camera out in the open where wild animals can clearly see it. You still want to keep it hidden as much as possible.
Point the Camera to the North
To prevent any glare from the blinding light of the sun, you should put the camera facing north. This will also maintain the quality of the photos and prevent any overexposed images.
You are probably excited about the results or which pictures were captured, so you head onto the camera and check the files. There is nothing wrong with reviewing the data and photos. But if you keep on doing this every 20 to 30 minutes, you might just scare the animals away and you’ll just go home with nothing.
When you get into the woods, it can cause disturbance and you might just miss the opportunity to capture and document these animals. The longer you wait, the better. You just have to be very patient and control the urge of going back to that same spot to check your data. Four to five weeks would just be enough. Stay away from the area as much as possible and let the trail camera do its job!
Choose Infrared Cameras for Night Photos
Infrared trail cameras are designed to capture high-quality images at night without using a flash. While you can have the opportunity to take great snapshots of these wild animals in the dark, infrared trail cameras without a flash will also prevent the animals to run away as some might get spooked with the flash.
Trail Camera FAQs
What is the difference between a trail camera and a game camera?
This is the most common question asked about cameras. Simply put, there is no difference. Some companies use one term where others may choose to use the other. There is no other difference than what a company chooses to call their camera.
How should I mount my camera?
Most people use a mounting strap that is often provided with the camera for mounting. This is the most expedient method and will make the camera easy to relocate should you need to. As long as you mount the camera in a way that it won’t shift or move, it will work for you. The strap is just the simplest method and the one we recommend.
How high should I place my camera?
There is a lot of contention as to how high to mount a camera but the conventional wisdom is to mount the camera between 3 and 5 feet. Some people have good luck mounting a camera around 7 feet and then angling it downward.
For the best mounting location, somewhere around 4 or 5 feet with the camera level will provide you with the most range and best effect from your camera’s trigger.
Is there a difference between night and day picture quality?
Most pictures taken with IR will appear a little grainy. This is a limitation of the IR technology and not the resolution of the camera itself. A camera with a higher resolution will generally perform better with less grainy photos but all photos may be a little less crisp at night.
My IR triggers with every photo, not just at night?
Check the location of your camera and make sure it isn’t in an area where it is constantly dark around the camera. Trail cameras use a light sensor to switch between day and night mode so keeping them under a dense pine tree may not allow enough light for the camera to switch to day mode.
How do I keep my camera from being stolen?
The tried and true method is to purchase lockable boxes to store your cameras in. This is a marginal defense but one that can be effective. Also, consider concealing your cameras with brush or in hard to see places. Just make sure your lens isn’t covered. Getting a camera stolen in high traffic areas is just a risk we take.
What type of batteries should I use in my camera?
Rechargeable batteries will give you the worst overall life for a camera and should be avoided. Both standard batteries and lithium batteries provide good lifetime but lithium are preferred for most cameras to get the longest possible lifetime.
What affects my camera’s battery life?
Many of the settings on a camera can affect the usable battery life. Things like the brightness of the flash and image resolution will drastically shorten the battery life of a camera.
Pictures taken at night also use more battery power as do lower temperatures. There is very little you can do to change these factors and are often something we just have to live with.
Use the lowest resolution and range you need for the placement of your camera to get the most out of your batteries. Keep them in sunny spots to keep them warmer and prevent unneeded use of the IR flash whenever possible.
What is the best trail camera for $100 or less?
There are a lot of trail cameras at a price range of $100 and below and it’s hard to tell which stands out among them, although you may consider the popular brands such as Campark, Moultrie, Toguard, and Browning to find the best trail camera that won’t break your budget. If a trail camera is available at your preferred price range and has the features that you need for wildlife observation, hunting, or can be used in any way you want to, you may consider it as your best pick for a trail camera.
Is there a trail camera that sends pictures to your phone?
Yes, there is. There are actually two types of trail cameras that you can consider if you need or prefer a feature that can transfer pictures to your device or phone. Cellular trail cameras are designed to connect with your phone using a SIM card that is dependent on a service provider. And to make sure it functions according to its feature, a steady phone reception or signal is a must.
On the other hand, Wireless WiFi trail cameras offer convenient and wireless file sharing through WiFi. With a strong WiFi connection, you can easily transfer the pictures to your phone and also connect with multiple trail cameras.
Where should I set up a trail camera?
If you are going to use it to monitor wildlife activities in a remote area, you need to find a tree in the woods where you can get the best view and angle of your subject. Typically, you will have to strap it around a tree at waist height, secure it there, and leave it for four or five weeks.
If you wish to get sightings of bucks or which areas deer frequent for feeding and bedding, you may find funnels, rub lines, and scrapes the best places to set up a trail camera. You may set up two or more cameras for multiple perspectives or you can position the trail camera to different spots or locations every few weeks to track their routes.
Whether you’re using a trail camera for your home security, your hunting area, or even your ranch, a good trail camera will serve you well. You’ll have to consider exactly what you need out of your camera as each camera has its own specialty that it will excel at. Once you’ve got a good camera set up, you’ll be happy with it for a long time.
In a nutshell, trail cameras make monitoring and observing wildlife a lot easier. Although they are known for this primary use, these trail cameras utilize updated technologies and features that make them highly functional and versatile. While you can set up a trail camera to work on your research and study, you can also make use of its features to monitor various activities whether in the wild, in your property, or in your home.
Mentioned above are the in-depth information you need to know about trail cameras. Keeping all these in mind will help you learn more about its function, benefits, downsides, and how you can keep it in its best quality. This comprehensive guide will also help you determine if it’s really worth investing in a trail camera before you set out on your next adventure!