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Fun with a Hidden Camera

Updated on July 29, 2013

My Favorite Toy - My Video Trail Cam

Maybe it is because I've always loved mysteries and have often wished I could be a fly on the wall, but some of my favorite toys are my trail cams. Trail cams are also called game cameras, surveillance cameras or scouting cameras. They are used primarily by hunters to determine what type of animals might be in a particular area to decide where to hunt. I am not a hunter, but have a lifelong interest in nature and observing animals, so I have found them to be fun for a person like me, who doesn't hunt, too.

My husband gave me my first game camera several years ago as a gift. He thought I would enjoy attaching a hidden camera to a tree to see what species of wildlife roamed around a piece of rural property that we had recently purchased. It has given me many hours of enjoyment and is one of the best gifts that I have ever received.

In addition to being surprised by catching photos of species we had no idea lived on our land, we have used a trail cam to see what our dogs do when we are not home and as a security surveillance camera when there was a burglary in our neighborhood.

I'm really not a gadget person or even very knowledgeable about cameras or photography, but I had so much fun with my first hidden camera that I have subsequently purchased several more. Read further to see which trail cams I've used and some of the surprises they've revealed.

Have You Ever Wished You Had a Hidden Camera? - Would you like to be like a fly on the wall?

Am I the only one who enjoys having hidden cameras, or are there others who think they are fun, too?

Have You Ever Used a Hidden Camera?

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My Bushnell Trail Cam 8MP Trophy Cam - One of My Trail Cameras Mounted to a Tree

My first trail camera was a digital Leaf River Trail Cam that was given to me as a gift. I enjoyed it immensely, but with advances in technology, I've upgraded and purchased several newer ones. We have several trail cameras set up in various places on some rural acreage that we own but don't live on. This is one of our newer Bushnell trail cameras mounted on a tree along a well-used path that winds through the forest on our land. The trail is heavily used by wildlife and sometimes by humans passing through. We leave this camera in place for weeks or months at a time when we aren't around to see what animals pass by and also as a security surveillance camera to monitor human trespassers. As some added security, we purchased a metal case and lock to help prevent our camera from being damaged or stolen.

(Photo by VickiSims)

The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Trail Camera - Our Newest Hidden Camera

Here is one of the newest trail cams that we purchased to see what wanders around our land. We also bought and recommend some additional accessory items.

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition
Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition

This is the current standard Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam that is similar to the model we purchased a year ago. For its surprising affordable price, it takes great videos both night and day and is easy to set up.

 
Master Lock 8417D Python Adjustable Locking Cable, 6-Foot X 3/16-Inch Diameter
Master Lock 8417D Python Adjustable Locking Cable, 6-Foot X 3/16-Inch Diameter

We purchased this locking cable for increased security for our trail camera. It fits through the holes in the case and helps anchor the camera and case to a tree.

 
SanDisk Standard - Flash memory card - 32 GB - Class 4  - SDHC Retail Package
SanDisk Standard - Flash memory card - 32 GB - Class 4 - SDHC Retail Package

Make sure to have a flash memory card with plenty of memory if you plan on leaving a camera set up for several weeks at a time like we do.

 
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack
Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA 12 Battery Super Pack

Don't miss a photo because your batteries went dead. These AA lithium batteries will last longer than regular AA batteries.

 

The Trail Camera at a Distance - A Nearly Invisible Hidden Camera

Hidden-Camera
Hidden-Camera
Naturally if you know where to look for it, you can see the camera on the tree, but when mounted in a good location, trail cameras are not very noticeable. We have captured videos of people walking along the trail who obviously didn't see the camera.

(Photo by VickiSims)

Surprise Visitors on our Hidden Camera - Videos Taken with our Bushnell Trophy Trail Cam

We had never seen one, so we had no idea we had this wildlife species on our land until their photos were repeatedly captured on our hidden video camera both night and day. My husband put several clips together and posted it on YouTube. This video also gives a good idea of what to expect from both day and night videos taken from a Bushnell Trophy Trail Cam.

Here is a video of several clips of these elusive creatures that were filmed on our trail camera.

Some Tips for Getting Good Photos and Videos from a Hidden Camera - Where to Place a Trail or Surveillance Camera

Through trial and error (and a lot of blank photos and videos) we have learned a few tricks for where to place a trail camera to both keep it hidden and get some great photos.

  1. If you want to film wildlife, look for a well used trail with evidence of a lot of traffic, hoof prints, tracks, etc.
  2. Fasten the camera about 4-5 feet high in location that will be shady all day. You won't get good photos or videos if the sun is shining right into the camera lens. It helps to angle the camera toward the ground - we usually just use a stick behind the top of the camera to get the right angle, but if you are handy, you can make a wooden wedge.
  3. To make the camera less noticeable place the camera in a tree under a limb, but make sure the branch doesn't hang in front of the lens
  4. Place the camera in a tree where the trail is straight and has a downhill slope. If you point the camera downhill it will help to get photos or videos of both large and small animals. The taller ones will be seen from head to toe further away on the trail and the smaller ones will still be seen. If you happen to capture a moose on film like we did, you want to be able to see the entire animal - not just its body or feet!
  5. Be sure to prune any branches from trees and shrubs in the camera's motion detection area that may move in the wind. It is disappointing to see you have captured many photos and then download and view them on your computer and see that you have mostly branches moving in the breeze.

My First Trail Camera - A Leaf River Trail Cam

Leaf-River-Game-Camera
Leaf-River-Game-Camera

This camouflage pattern Leaf River Model DC 2BU was my first trail cam that was given to me several years ago as a gift. At the time it was cutting edge technology with a digital motion-activated still camera that could be set up to take color photos by day and black and white photos by night. It has a built in memory (no memory card) that can be downloaded by USB cable to your computer. It came with a USB cable, RCA cable, steel mounting bracket, security bar and a mounting strap. Although there are cameras available now that have more advanced technology, we still use it and it works great. Below you can see some of the fun I had setting up this camera to see what my dogs did while they were home alone. This model can sometimes still be found available for purchase on Amazon or eBay.

(Photo by Guy Sims)

Leaf River Digital Game Camera - My original trail camera

We still have my old Leaf River Trail Camera and it still works great.

Leaf River 2.1 Mega Pixel Digital Game Camera (DC-2BU)
Leaf River 2.1 Mega Pixel Digital Game Camera (DC-2BU)

The Leaf River Model DC 2BU is motion-activated and can be set to work day, night or both. It shoots color photos by day and black and white at night with a flash. We've had this for many years and still works great.

 

Another Hidden Camera Near a Deer Feeder - A Photo of some whitetail bucks from a Wildview Trail Cam

Bucks-on-trail-cam
Bucks-on-trail-cam

This photo was taken with a Wildtree Trail Cam another of our hidden cameras that is positioned near a feeder where we occasionally place some corn. You can see that the quality of the photos isn't very high definition, but if you want an inexpensive hidden camera to see what visits an area it works well.

Using a Trail Cam for Security Surveillance - Our Wildview camera takes pictures of our Road

Security-camera
Security-camera

The position of our infra-red activated Wildview camera near our deer feeder is also aimed to take photos of our private road, so it serves double-duty as a security surveillance camera to help identify anyone who may have trespassed and stolen or vandalized our property.

Wildview Digital Trail Camera - An inexpensive but fun camera

We have two of these inexpensive Wildview Digital trail Cameras that we move around to various locations on our property.

Wildview 2.0 Mega Pixel Digital Camera with 30 ft Flash and 16 MB Memory
Wildview 2.0 Mega Pixel Digital Camera with 30 ft Flash and 16 MB Memory

If you are looking for a very affordable digital trail or security camera, this inexpensive Wildview trail camera will take photos of what has been in the area. It is triggered by infrared heat and shows a the counter on the front to easily see how many photos have been taken.

 

Trail Cams for Sale on Ebay - Find a Scouting Camera at a Bargain Price

Fortunately if you are looking for a trail cam, either for watching wildlife or security surveillance, there are many inexpensive models to choose from on eBay.

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Share Your Experiences with Hidden Cameras - Please leave your comments here

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I also love a good mystery. With all the wildlife on and near my mountain property, I know I would very much enjoy a game cam (or two or three). Not so long ago, I borrowed one of these cams from a neighbor. My dogs had been acting extremely freaked out by a scent near my cabin. I was curious what kind of animal could instill such fear. They wouldn't go near the areas with the scent. I wondered if it was a mountain lion, as they are very prevalent around here. Still haven't solved that mystery. I think a trail cam would make a great gift.

    • profile image

      DebW07 3 years ago

      I've never used a hidden camera but like the idea of capturing photos of wildlife up-close.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 3 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I am an outdoors man and have many game cameras. Until recently, I lived on a piece of property that bordered a wooded area, so I had my cams out year-round. I had captured many pictures and videos of deer, turkey, foxes, and coyotes. I had even captured some unique videos of bucks fighting. Although, the most bizarre video I ever caught was of a construction worker who decided to take a squat and 'relieve' himself right in front of my camera. That was something I didn't need to see. ;-)

    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 3 years ago from Northern Arizona

      How very cool! I never thought about having one of my own for this! In my case I would probably see lots of coyotes, skunks and rabbits.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 3 years ago

      Great lens. I have some great experience with Bushnell products especially binoculars/ Good company and great equipment. I have used the auto-focus model while on my boat to find cove or inlet channels from a distance and they work great. Love the animals. You can see a few of mine here: http://www.squidoo.com/love-for-all-animals Thank you for sharing those gorgeous bobcats, we also had a few in the Adirondacks and they were quite aggressive at times..

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I'm thinking there is no way back for you, you caught the fire and it will burn all your life....and why not when your having so much fun along the way. The first one was really a gift of a lifetime of fun...congratulations on being featured on Bravo Squidoo....and may I say, bravo! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I'm thinking there is no way back for you, you caught the fire and it will burn all your life....and why not when your having so much fun along the way. The first one was really a gift of a lifetime of fun...congratulations on being featured on Bravo Squidoo....and may I say, bravo! :)

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 3 years ago from Albany New York

      I would see deer, even though I live in town! Nice lens and congrats on being in the top 200 lenses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Cool lens. I especially like the pics of the deer!

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