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Wildlife Cameras

Updated on September 10, 2014

Where should you place your Cameras?

When placing your trail camera, a little homework and a little legwork will pay dividends. Look for areas animals frequent in order to get the most out of your investment. One important consideration is the location of the sun. A game camera should always face north or south, with southward facings having and edge in winter, northward in summer. This will minimize the glare from the sun, which will ruin a lot of pictures. It is also important to be able to identify areas of animal activity. This doesn't mean you have to be a world-class tracker however.

A game trail or run is usually pretty easy to spot. Look for trails running between feeding areas and areas of cover, water sources, and other areas game animals frequent. Look for things like trampled grass, bare earth, and animal prints to get an idea of where the animals are moving.

All animals require water, and a watering hole is a great place for a camera. When placing a a trail cam near a waterhole, look for areas where vegetation has been worn down or is absent, animals frequently drink from the same location and have preferred paths to and from the water hole.

Depending on local laws, baiting wildlife may be legal. Baiting is usually done with food items or a salt-lick, however there are some hormonal based attractants on the market as well. A good tip would be to place the bait on the edge of a clearing rather than in the center, wild animals are usually skittish and may not frequent a salt-lick or baiting station far from cover. Also consider placing the camera a small distance from the baits, to allow for a wider picture and the possibility of capturing multiple animals at a time. It is important to check your local wildlife laws for rules and regulations. Some states only allow baiting for part of the year, and usually require all baits to be removed before hunting season opens. There may also be regulations on what type of baits can be used, and how often they may be used.

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Primos Truth Cam 35

The Primos Truth Cam 35 is a great value for those on a budget.

The Primos Truth Cam 35 is a great entry-level camera for those who can't invest a small fortune on cameras. It features good battery life, a 40 foot daytime/20 foot night time range (officially it states it has a 20 foot nighttime range, but under normal conditions 15 ft is more accurate), both video and still shots, and accepts SD cards up to 8GB (about 1600 pictures).

The Truth Cam 35 has a trigger speed of 1.5sec from sleep, and .3 seconds when active. In order to get the most out of this unit, try placing it at a 45 degree angle to the trail, this helps ensure the animal is in the field of view when the picture is taken. The Videos will eat up a lot of space on a an SD card, meaning the card should be downloaded frequently, less than ideal for hunters who should avoid the area they plan to hunt as much as possible.

Pros:

-Good battery life

-Sturdy camera, not easily damaged

-Very easy to use with instructions printed on the camera

-Great overall value-not quite as good as top of the line cameras, but serviceable and much less expensive.

-Time, moon phase, date, and temperature stamped on each photo.

Cons:

-Only good out to 15ft at night, not 40ft like the product claims

-Better suited to use in more open areas, the motion sensor is very sensitive and will take many 'empty' pictures at high or medium settings, but may miss something at low settings.

Overall, a great wildlife camera for those on a budget, and does reasonable well as a trail cam for hunters. There are better cameras out there, but nothing else in its price range competes.

Moultrie D-444 8MP Low Glow Infrared Game Camera

Great all around camera for hunters or wildlife enthusiasts.

The Moultrie D-444 8 mega pixel Low Glow Infrared Game Camera is a a great wildlife camera. Daytime shots are crystal clear and nighttime shots, while not as clear as daytime shots, still produce very high-quality images. Featuring motion-freeze technologies, a trigger speed of less than 1 second, and FastFire picture taking at a up to 4 pictures/second, this is definitely a must have for the serious hunter or animal lover. This Trail camera will also accept up to 32GB SD cards, meaning this trail camera can store a lot of pictures.

Pictures are taken in 16:9 widescreen format. Pictures can also be taken in anywhere from 1-60 second intervals, though this will tend to wear the batteries out fairly quickly. Images can be taken of animals at ranges of up to 60 feet at night, though 30-40 feet is a more realistic expectation. The low-glow infrared LEDs do not bother wildlife; in fact most animals seemed oblivious to the fact that they were being filmed!

Pros

-8m/p photos provide crisp, clear images.

-Very fast trigger speed of less than 1 sec

-32GB SD card

-Time-stamp includes Date,time,camera ID, barometric pressure, temperature, and moon phase to make sorting images easy.

Cons:

Battery life is an issue with time-delay pictures, due to constant use of IR lights at night.

This camera is the logical choice for the hunters looking to scout the local woods for a trophy white-tail deer, or the animal lover who wants to see what is living on their property. Great images, good battery life (except in time-delay mode), and very reasonably priced, this game camera is a no-brainer.

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Bushnell X-8 6MP Trail Camera with Night Vision and Field Scan
Bushnell X-8 6MP Trail Camera with Night Vision and Field Scan

The x-8 is a great choice for viewing wildlife and game animals. Easy to setup and use and good quality images both day and night make this a Trail cam a great choice.

 

Bushnell X-8 6MP Trail Camera with Night Vision and Field Scan

Great trail camera that will capture amazing images of wildlife.

The Bushnell X-8 is a great trail camera that will meet the needs of any hunter or wildlife lover wanting clear, good quality images of animals day or night. Image quality is programmable, with selections of 2,4,or 6 megapixels available. Battery life is an incredible 9 months with 8 lithium AA batteries taking up to 30 pictures/day. It supports SD cards up to 32GB. The sensor is also programmable, with high, medium, and low settings available. Nighttime range is advertised at 45ft, but in real-world conditions 15-20ft is more accurate.

Pros:

-High quality images both day and night

-9 months of battery life and the ability to hook up to external power

-Fast 1 second trigger.

Cons:

-Instructions are somewhat difficult to understand.

-Not as user-friendly as other models, but does offer more options.

-Color should be more inconspicuous, to deter theft.

Overall this trail camera does its job, and does it well. The Bushnell x-8 is great aid to hunters wishing to bag a plump turkey, or a trophy buck. It is also great as a wildlife camera for nature enthusiast hoping to catch a glimpse of a doe with her fawn, or maybe a curious coyote. No matter the use, this game camera is sure to please!

Tips to get the most out of your Trail camera

A few tips for using trail cameras when hunting

A trail camera is a great tool for hunting. They allow the hunter to scout an area intensely without having to make frequent pre-hunt scouting trips. The multiple pre-hunt scouting trips that many hunters make just prior to opening day can and do spook animals, causing them to leave the area, especially in heavily hunted areas. Instead, simply put the cams in place, and then collect them a few days or a week before the hunting season begins.

Hunters should use multiple trail cameras when scouting an area, if possible. Attempt to place the cams along logical paths the target species will travel. For example, place one unit at a food or water source, and then look for trails to and from it. These transitions zones are usually near and through cover. By positioning cameras at both the attractant (either natural or man made) and along ingress/egress routes, a fairly reliable picture can be developed about how the targets are approaching the hunting site. Once this information is gathered, the hunter can then choose the best spot to set up for the shot.

If there are no obvious attractants or game trails, then the hunter may have to go into the woods several times to check the trail cameras and move them as needed until a good area is found. Doing so well before hunting season will ensure that the animals aren't alerted and don't leave the area.

It is always advisable to use locks when placing trail cameras in public hunting areas, especially areas that see a lot of hunting pressure. Also try to camouflage the camera with foliage, but MAKE SURE to keep both the LEDs and the lens clear of obstructions. Nothing is more frustrating than retrieving a game camera only to discover that all the night time pictures are ruined because of glare caused by the Infrared LEDs reflecting off of leaves and all the daylight pics are obstructed. Well except of course coming back to retrieve the camera and finding that someone else has stolen it.

Tips for Wildlife Cameras

Many of the same tips for hunters apply for those wishing to simply capture images of wildlife with their cameras. Always face the wildlife camera north/south to avoid sun-glare. Look for the same signs of wildlife that a hunter would, and place the cameras in the same locations. Normally, when using wildlife cameras on private property theft is less of a consideration, but some effort to hide the camera is still worthwhile, Doing so keeps the wildlife cam from attracting unwanted attention from wild animals; there are plenty of incidents where a curious bear or other critter has destroyed a camera.

Since animals on private land that isn't open to hunting aren't under a lot of pressure, the video modes and time-lapse modes can be used more freely. The animals won't react as strongly to the presence of humans if they aren't being hunted. This means that the Data can be recovered more often, and the batteries changed more often, which will be necessary when using either mode on your wildlife camera.

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