What do you do if you want to observe wildlife but have no time to stay in the woods for the day? Then let a trail camera do that for you! It will take pictures and store on the SD card so that you can view them later and learn a lot about the habit of the animals you are interested in. Better yet, chose a wifi trail camera that allows you to upload pictures (and even videos) to your smartphone so that you do not even have to come to the spot and collect the SD card. However, it is hard for first-time owners to expect great informative photos if they do not know how to set up, use or even protect the device properly, hence some handy tips below:
Leave the camera alone
Sound weird, doesn’t it? When you first own a trail camera, you will be eager to check if the photos come out well and whether you catch the sights of the animals you need. Naturally, you are tempted to visit the spot often. But wait, your repeated visit can let the animals detect your presence and run away; therefore it is likely that you end up with no worthy photos at all.
If you have to check your camera, use a scent-blocking spry to mark your scene. Try to leave the camera alone for about a week. You need to be as discreet about your visit as possible.
Remember to update software
Your camera runs on firmware and you absolutely do not want it to malfunction. By updating software, bugs and problems can be fixed for the device’s smooth operation. You can go to the manufacturer’s website to check and download the right software for the model you own. Remember the rule: make sure your camera is properly updated before you use it.
It is easy to remember your location if you have only one trail camera or two. But what if you deploy a lot of cameras across the forest? It is recommended that you number each and every camera and chip. If your cameras allow this, you can set the imprint on the photos: it can be some type of character or number, depending on your preference. That way, you can organize your photos better and do not mistake chip No 2 for camera No 1. Also, since you put a lot of cameras (aka money) out there, you can track GPS for each location and make sure you will lose no camera. It is a great way to stay organize and know which photo is from which location.
Place the camera to face North
The reason is quite simple: you do not want your expensive camera to face the sun because the camera can be triggered without any actual animal movements. You will end up with lots of useless pictures that take up the valuable space on your SD card. To determine the direction, you can use a compass.
Hang the camera at the appropriate angle to the trail
This is a very simple that can actually help you get more informative photos than you think. The exact hanging angle to the trail is 45°; from this angle, you can have the best view of the animal. Please avoid handing the camera perpendicular to the trail or you may only have photos of the animal’s butt at most: it can be very frustrating.
Protect your investment from thieves
You may spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars for your trail camera but the sad reality is that it can be stolen anytime when you leave it in the middle of nowhere. While you have to accept that risk, you can apply various methods to keep it at bay from thieves and protect your data.
One simple way is to hang it high enough so that thieves will hardly notice it or have difficulties getting it down. Of course, it means you may need a stool ladder to do so. Your camera should be placed in discrete locations. Security cables or lock boxes are also possible options.
Or, if you do not want thieves to get access to your property, use a securities code. That way, the thief may get your camera but not your photos.
Choose batteries that last long
You definitely need good battery life if you want your camera to take lots of valuable pictures and you do not have to visit the spot regularly. Do not go cheap on it or you may regret your decision later.
Remove obstructions for the camera
Brushes are ideal location to hide the camera; however, you need to make sure they do not block the view of the camera.
Choose a high-traffic area
Location counts big time in determining the quality of your photos. Take note of places near food sources and bedding areas where the animals gather often. Say, you want to take pictures of deer so it is a must to look for deer tracks. Also, choose the right time of the year for high traffic.
Pay attention to the background
You do not need a background that is too distracting or it will be difficult for you to read information in the pictures. A contrasting background is highly recommended.