CAMERA TIPS AND TRICKS
Always try to place your trail cam
looking north or south. If faced into the rising and setting sun
the light will wash out any pictures that are
taken during that time.
When placed in a small cleared out
area where there is tall foliage across from the camera, the sun
in the morning warming the leaves will sometimes set off the
clean the area in front of
the camera of any vegetation that can be moved by the
Usually 20 to 30 feet is enough unless it is a large weed or
brush then a greater
distance would be
Be aware of the sensing capability
of your camera. Place your camera well with in
range. Too close or too far will result in missed pictures. In most
cases 15 to 20 feet
the target area in the summer is about right. During the colder
weather some cameras
sense out to 100 feet. This
can be a problem when cold and darkness allows the camera to
trigger outside the range of the flash.
When placing your trail camera to
watch a rub line or scrape you should elevate the camera well
above the eyelevel of the animal and have it looking down on the
desired area. A flash coming from above will not bother these
wary critters as much as if was at eye level. It is believed
that the flash coming from above is similar to lightning and
does not scare the bucks. This also applies to the IR flash
cameras. This is important in that if you plan to hunt this same
area you would not want to have this animal disturbed and
possibly abandon the area due to being scared by the flash.
When putting your camera to watch
scrapes and you are getting a lot of activity, it is felt that
this the bucks way of advertising. When this activity at the
scrape drops off suddenly that is the time the buck will be out
on the chase and is a good indication that the rut is in full
The average trigger time (movement
to picture taken) with most cameras is 2 to 5 seconds. Aiming
the camera directly across a trail in most cases will result in
pictures or a lot of
animal tail ends. We have found that aiming the camera so it is
looking at an approaching or exiting animal is most effective
for trail watching.
When possible have it looking up
or down the trail. When viewing a feeder or salt
or areas where the animal will have prolonged exposure just get
your right sensing distance and observe the north south position.
We found that after placing a new corn feeder in a field our
deer movement in that area stopped. Week after week passed
before we learned that you should camouflage the feeder.
See how we
bungeed limbs to ours and placed it on top of a small pine.
Immediately our camera began to capture deer photos!
The advertising for trail cameras
always show the camera mounted to a tree. This is acceptable if
the tree is in the 8 to 10 inch caliper.
on smaller trees will
work because after the leaves have fallen the wind will have
effect on the tree movement.
During the time of full
foliage the wind will move
larger trees to the extent the camera will trigger.
The best solution to
to build a camera stand that is pushed into the ground next to a
tree. The camera
are not affected by the wind and when placed next to a tree
concealment and a place
to secure your camera from theft.
Click here for some of the engineers own camera
Mounting height can be
24 to 40 inches. When mounted low, small
game like armadillos and squirrels
trigger the camera. These, will in most cases will be missed if
the camera is
mounted a little higher.
With the IR flash
cameras in movie mode, a flickering
glow is put off by the camera. This red glow will really spook a
deer. To avoid
spooking deer with the
flickering red glow from the IR flash, place the camera
the animals eye level looking down and they will not spook.
Grabbing frames and
video at animal's eye level.
- Case Camo Idea with Sharpie:
This camera is textured like tree bark,
but all one color. Take a Sharpie pen, and highlight the
These small high dollar items are
a prime target for would be thieves.
We have really worked on this
problem. In some cases we have used the camouflage tape used for
archery and such to disguise the appearance of the cameras.
method is to use the small bungee cords (I found them in Home
the camera and just use the vegetation you have cleared away
from in front of the camera to disguise it from view. When doing
this be careful not to have any of the cords or vegetation
covering any of the sensors or lenses.
In real problem areas we
chose to use
well disguised camera to watch a camera.
Good locking devices and
camera cages are
must. Most of the manufactures have a security box that can be
purchased to fit the
In the cases where a
locking cage was not available we built our own. We prefer
over chain because they are a little harder to cut with a bolt
cutter. Here is the Buckeye Cam Base mounted in a
Here is the Buckeye Cam in a
wire frame cage
mounted on a stand. Check out all
When you unpack your new
camera in preparation to take it to the woods, take the time to
serial numbers and scratch in an identifying name or number so
if lost those numbers
be reported to the authorities.
Camouflage your camera with the engineers own design.
View the before
and after pics
Batteries and solar
Literally all the camera companies
that use D cell batteries, recommend the use of Duracell or
Energizer brand batteries.
This process becomes
expensive when several cameras are involved. The use of the NIMH
4500 mAh (as a minimum) rechargeable batteries is a
better answer. They are a little less in voltage but all our
work fine with them.
Some of cameras use
rechargeable lead acid sealed batteries
as the 6 volt lantern and 12 volt UPS batteries. These are
available at Radio Shack
and much cheaper
Batteries Plus Stores.
In most cases the
aftermarket chargers like
battery tenders that can
be found at ATV stores and Battery Plus outlets are best.
We have adapted most of our
cameras to solar panels. This really extends the battery life
and lessens the hassle of battery changing and charging.
It is our practice to carry multiple batteries and memory
cards when we make our rounds to check our trail cameras. It
has been reported that an individual was transporting the 6
volt battery for his
Moultrie trail cam on the way to the field when the battery
rolled under the cars seat. The protective caps that came on
the battery had been removed and when the battery slid under
the car seat it made contact with some metal and resulted in
a fire that destroyed the individual’s automobile. Some of
the cameras we use have the larger 6 and 12 volt batteries
similar to the computer UPS batteries and they also could
cause a fire if not properly handled. Care must be taken
when handling and transporting and be sure that the
protective caps are re installed after charging to prevent
the accidental shorting out of the terminals.
No contest here, the digital wins
Our film cameras work very well
but sometimes it takes weeks to fill a film role then it must be
taken for that
cost increasing processing.
A role of film plus one
processing equals the cost
some 64 MB cards. The
cards can be used over and over hundreds of times.
pictures taken by film
cameras are what you get and are a final product. The pictures
from a digital camera
which are stored on a media card can be downloaded to your
Once on your computer they can be enhanced using simple programs
Google's free download
Google's Picasa Photo Management Software
Click the photos for a larger version
(taken with the Leaf River camera)
Those really dark
pictures will probably reveal
animal in the background once lightened using simple enhancement
techniques. (see the examples above using Picasa)
Other advantages are that once on
your computer those images can be emailed to
friends or other places you chose. These images also will be a
game animals, movement times, movement areas, problems like
dogs, and unwanted animals.
Keep Lenses Clean
- Use Lens Wipes
to clean the lenses each time you check your cameras.
- Build hoods to keep the rain and dew off the lenses or
pictures like these.
- Place desiccants inside camera cavities
to absorb moisture.
Viewing pictures in the field
A number of viewers have asked the
question “will this work?”
Ants in your camera?
After hearing reports of this problem we
decided to test a solution.
We have used ortho home defense insecticide for a number of years in
our homes and businesses. One of the choices for using this chemical
insecticide concoction was the lack of that terrible insecticide
odor and its very good effectiveness. My thoughts were to take a
Cudde cam and spray the inside and let it dry and install the
batteries and put it out for a test to see if the smell bothered the
deer. I would assume that it would not, being that it is inside the
cam. If this should work it might be an answer to the new
development where the ants are setting up house inside some of the
new cams. We found that this spray is very residual and will kill
months after application. My plan will be to actually hang the cam
on the corn feeder and put another cam to watch the reaction of the
animals around the feeder.
The following pictures show a Cuddeback camera
strapped to a feeder after being treated with Ortho. The deer
do not appear to mind the smell: (click for larger view)
Phase II of our testing shows this camera,
powered up with batteries resting in an active red ant bed.
hours there were no ants in the cam. Last night there was
slight chance of rain so we put a small roof over the cam just
incase we got a few drops.
Ortho Home Defense will keep the ants and insects out of your
cam, and it appears to not be offensive to
deer. This will be good news to the 06 Cudde owners, just a
little spray and a roof and two of the major problems with the
06 Cuddebacks will be minimized.
PIR Sensor Damage
everyone is pulling their cameras out of the closet and getting
ready to deploy them in the field here is a word of caution. We
handle and move around several cameras at a time. This past month we
have had a couple of those cameras cease to function up to par. Upon
inspection of these units we found that we had managed to damage the
sensor lens on each camera. This was done by stacking them together.
Some of these cameras have sharp edges like the Leaf Rivers that can
make a nasty gash in the plastic. Even a small scratch in the sensor
lens will reduce its performance. Put some type of padding around
your cams when transporting them.