A very well placed IR camera will still scare the hell out of an approaching buck. The result is a picture of a mature buck in mid jump as a result of a flash going off. The fact is that any visible flash technology is scary to deer and target animals.
Because of the range of the PIR sensing zone, this normally demands that the camera be placed at eye level to the approaching animal for optimal sensing. Just the box (camera) hanging off a tree in a animal’s domain is of concern but when it starts to glow, the IR array is enough to scare the hell out of some mature bucks.
Mounting the camera up high, facing down, and out of line of sight is an option that can yield good results in reducing the spookiness of the red and white flash cameras but this also reduces the camera PIR range.
We have tested many cameras where the flash going off causes a small click we call filter clunk. This will also alert a spooky old buck to the fact that something has happened. Most IR cameras will have a filter arm that moves sometimes creating a click on each picture, while other cameras move the filter at dusk and dawn.
During testing of IR red flash cameras in both photo and video mode we were able to document the fact that in total darkness the deer approach the target area, stop, stare at the cam, and turn and run away. Burst mode can enhance the spook effect.
We have reviewed thousands of pictures on most of the popular outdoor forums and see picture after picture of great bucks so our field tool called a scouting camera does work. It is just the folks putting them in the domain of a wise old fellow that must pay attention to placement and scent control with little disturbance to the area to achieve maximal results. A food source or mineral attractant will increase an animal’s tolerance to visible flash technologies.