How to Set Up a Trail Camera Right the First Time

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To help you have a bountiful hunting season, trail cameras are your eyes in the woods. A game camera will inform you of what wildlife passed through, when they traveled and in which direction they went. Below I  have outlined how to set up a trail camera right the first time.

Setup and Maintenance of Trail Cameras

It is not hard to set up wildlife cameras for game such as whitetail deer. Irrespective of how many trail cameras you are hanging, height and orientation must be correct.

While hunters view the hunting scene at human eye level, game camera photos require a different perspective.
For best results, hang your trail camera 3 to 4 feet above ground.

Unfortunately, this also makes them susceptible to theft. Depending on whether the trail you intend to hang your camera is public or private, hang it higher using a climbing pole.

Ten feet from ground level is a great height, aimed downwards towards the food plot or deer trail. Pick the sturdiest tree you can find, and clear any debris that may impede direct sightlines. Some hunters prefer video to still photos, as it better shows travel patterns.

Deer Scouting Camera Height Setup Considerations

The first one is whether you are running them on public or private land. The private property cameras are mounted at chest level.

Public acreage cameras are either hidden better or elevated further and faced downwards.

On deciding the correct height setup, it is time to ensure the photos that result are the best. This includes avoidance of sun lens flare. For every trail camera you mount, head to its field of vision and assess if the camera is aimed properly.

Due west and east are not the directions to aim your trail cameras at, due to sunset and sunrise washing out photos. South is no-no due to being in the sunshine all day. The best direction to hang your wildlife camera facing is therefore north.

Trail Camera Mode Settings

When attempting to learn the correct game camera settings, many errors are made. Study its manual in order to learn its every capability ahead of hanging it and leaving it.

Wildlife Camera Settings Guide

  1. Learn what capture mode is – Do you prefer video or photos? Video files are larger and take up more memory.
  2. Set the right date and time – This is the second most important aspect to the settings, the first being the photo itself. Learning the exact moment a big buck travelled through is the entire reason for being for trail cameras.
  3. Delay time, trigger time and photo shooting frequency – For mineral lick or bait trail camera setups, image frequency should be set to 1 or 2 images per capture. SD card space will also be saved by turning the delay to 2 to 5 minutes. Deer trail frequency should be 2 to 3 images with a delay of 0.

Camera Sensitivity: What Is It and How Is It Set?

A trail camera’s PIR sensor sets in motion the chain reaction that culminates in a photograph. It itself in instigated by infrared heat temperature differentials and motion detection.

When it’s warmer out, sensitivity should be set higher because an animal’s temperature and the ambient temperature are almost the same.

In cooler conditions, sensitivity should be set to low due to the larger difference between the two. Sensitivity should also be lessened in the case of ‘wind pictures’. This describes the camera being triggered grass blowing in the wind or leaves scattering over a food plot.

Edge of a field or farther distances require higher sensitivity. This enhances the chances of capturing a photo from farther away.

SD Card and Battery Advice

Reformat your trail camera’s SD card. Trail cameras and digital cameras write and read data differently. Before leaving your trail camera in the field, set-up the SD card.

It is very important that your trail camera uses the best batteries. Many trail camera models employ AA batteries. Do not attempt to buy cheap ones, or rechargeable ones.

Lithium vs. Alkaline Batteries

It is worthless to hang your camera in the field with inferior batteries. Alkaline batteries have been shown to not last as long as lithium ones in cooler conditions. Performance is affected in alkaline batteries due to their electrodes, which are water-based.

Lithium batteries can work brilliantly in very low temperatures, while lasting way longer than alkaline batteries. This means you will get way more images off a set of lithiums than you would an alkaline set.

onX Hunt App

onX Hunt App

All these trail camera top tactics will be advantageous to your hunting success. In order to kick it up a notch, integrate the onX Hunt app into your hunting repertoire.

  • Waypoints

Users of this app have found colored waypointsto be revolutionary. An onX member will use various waypoint colors to highlight morning and evening tree stands. Different colors can also be used to denote cameras hung in different locations.

Photo waypoints describes the syncing of trail camera locations and actual photos. This helps with figuring which camera took which photo.

Waypoint sharing connects hunting partners. This allows for communications between hunting enthusiasts that can make the hunt that much more exciting.

  • Tracking

Keep off common game trails by creating your own trail camera tracks by using the app’s tracking feature. It also saves these unique tracks you create.

  • Weather and Wind

Checking on your trail cameras is made easy through this app’s wind direction and weather tracking capabilities. This feature appraises you of the latest climate conditions. (Image / Courtesy of Spypoint)

(Here are more trail camera set up tips.)

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