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Game Camera Locks
Protecting Your Trail Camera Investment
As a general rule, people typically do a pretty good job of protecting their valuables. The concerns about theft normally result in automatically taking actions to not leave your property unsecured.
- You wouldn't leave your wallet on the restaurant bar while you go to the restroom.
- You wouldn't leave your car unlocked and leave the keys in it.
- You wouldn't leave your cell phone on a park bench and come back later to get it.
So why do we not take the same precautions with our trail cameras? I typically lock up all of my game cams with at least a cable lock and a padlock. I say typically, because I do have a game camera in the woods right now that is not locked. The only thing holding it in place are two flimsy bungee cords that are holding it to a tree. I paid over $100 for that Wildgame Innovations X6C, and any passer by would just pick it up and walk away with it. I would be insane to take a one hundred dollar bill a tree and expect to come back a few weeks later and still find it there, right? So what is the difference?
This concern really hit me when I went to retrieve my scouting camera memory cards yesterday, and saw a trespasser on the land. As I went to check on this specific camera, I was very concerned that it would not be there. As luck would have it, it was. So I pulled that camera down, and will wait to put it back out until I have some type of game camera security device to secure it.
Micro Game Camera Lock
Lack of Micro Game Camera Security Features
The trend toward micro format game cameras has created an issue with physically securing these devices. Small game cams are in. Every trail camera manufacturer is creating smaller and smaller scouting cameras to meet this growing demand. These micro format cameras are being designed with no good way to secure them though. Due to their small size, there just isn't the real estate available.
The larger game cameras of years past were always designed with padlock holes that would allow you to add your own lock and security cable to lock the cam to the tree. While this type of security wasn't bullet-proof, it was very helpful. A trespasser with a pair of bolt cutters was still going to take your camera if that was their intention. There padlock holes prevented the crimes of opportunity though. The guy who wandered past your game camera couldn't just pick it up and walk off with it.
My newest game camera is the Wildgame Innovations 6 Red. While I really like this camera, I am disappointed once again to see that there is no way to secure it. Even worse, there is no way to secure the door that leads to the memory card. You can see from the picture that I was able to use a cable lock and a small gauge lock to lock the cam to a tree using one of the bungee cord mounting slots. That slot is thin plastic though, and could easily be broken off. While this at least is an effort toward physical security, the latches to the door could easily be opened and my 8 GB SDRAM memory card could be stolen.
If the trend toward small form factor trail cameras continues, I would really like to see all game camera manufacturers implement electronic security into the circuitry. This would require that owners set a password (or pin) and use that pin to power on and use the cam. If all game camera companies used electronic security, it would reduce theft because the thieves would know that the cams would be unusable.
Thru-Chassis Cable Lock
A Solution to the Problem...
A great solution to the problem of physically securing micro format game cameras are the thru-chassis cable locks. Many of the popular companies are starting to implement a channel that runs directly through the housing of the game camera's case. This channel will accept a Masterlock Python cable lock and will allow you to properly secure the camera. This is one of the best options available for these small device.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of lock is that they are inexpensive. They cost much less than the scouting camera security lock boxes that are on the market today. These cable locks are easy to pack in and out of the woods, and are an ideal solution. I just wish that all of the game camera companies would get on board and start implementing this solution.
Game Camera Lock Box
At the present time, the only other good option for securing the micro format game cameras is a security lock box. They are usually manufactured from a high strength steel and have a powder-coated camouflage finish.
Not only will they protect a scouting camera from theft, but they will protect it from damage as well. If you use your cams in an area where bears are prevalent, then you are probably already aware that these curious beasts are known to rip apart unprotected cameras.
On the downside, a game camera lock box adds additional cost to owning and operating each camera you own. For the game camera hobbyist or hunter with multiple cameras, this cost can add up. On average, they can be picked up for thirty dollars (plus or minus a few bucks). It is kind of like buying that extended warranty on your new LCD TV. You may never need it, but if you do, you will sure be glad you have it.