Trail cameras are equipped with a motion detection system that detects an animal or human intruder into an area. It triggers a camera that takes either video footage or a series of still images. Trail cameras are primarily designed for hunters to look out for deer patterns in a hunting area. These cameras are increasingly used for wildlife observation. Here are some tips on where to set up a trail camera.
Are you using the trail camera to learn the pattern and behavior of a particular animal? Maybe you want to scout or watch a food plot. Determine what you want to take photos of, and you will know where to put the trail camera. If you’re going to scout or watch a food plot to see when, how many or which deer comes to the plot, you should place the camera somewhere high that provides a view of the entire area. You can put several cameras on one food plot to get more detail. The most popular camera locations for summer are mineral, over bait and salt stations. Here are some tips to consider.
- Mock Scrape
Set up the camera over a mock scrape if you want to find bucks when they relocate. This is usually done in the early season. Mocks can attract up to 90% of the dollars you will hunt. Establish several scrapes in every area and hang trail cameras on the most active ones. Rake forest debris and grass 5′ away from trees with an overhanging licking branch 5′ to 7′ above the ground.
- Mineral Lick
If you want to determine the quality and quantity of buck on your property in late summer, you should set up your camera over a mineral lick. Look for an area with moderate to heavy traffic. Establish one or two mineral licks per 80 acres and give the animals up to a week to discover them. Point the camera down toward the lick by jamming a stick behind its top edge. Each lick should be situated 10′ to 30′ from a tree so that you can easily mount the trail camera.
- Food Source
It’s best to set up a camera over a food source such as clear-cuts and grain fields during the late season. This will help you know which bucks have survived the hunting season. Put the camera within 30′ of the area with the most massive traffic. If there are no trees near the food source, you can mount the trail camera on a tripod and conceal it with a brush or grass.
If you want to know where resident bucks are going and whether they’re in the area, you should set up the trail camera over a pipe. Look for terrain features that display buck movement and place a camera near rubbing activity and fresh tracks. Check the trail camera every 3 to 5 days as the animals move fast. Mount the camera at a 45⁰ angle to the trail.
It’s also important to choose the right settings. Don’t forget to input the correct date, name, time and information. The most common configuration is a clear photo. Many people prefer a three-photo burst with a delay, but this can be shorter for trails and longer for bait sites and food plots. If you want to get high-quality images to identify unique bucks, you should pick this setting.
The video is usually used to learn social interactions and behaviors of animals as well as to get an idea of size and age of the animals when they’re moving. You can also choose a hybrid. This setting provides high-quality images and a video of the animal you want to observe. If you’re going to watch food plots, the time-lapse setting is just what you need.
Baiting is among the best locations and applications for trail cameras in the offseason and summer. The camera is usually placed over a salt lick, supplemental feeding station or mineral lick. Due to their high potassium and water diet, deer are extremely attracted to mineral and salt licks. As such, they suffer from sodium deficiency and crave for salt while plants are lush and green. If you put out salt or minerals in the surrounding area, you will attract any doe, fawn or buck.
The target area should be approximately five to ten yards away from the trail camera. There should be no trees, weeds or anything that can set off or disturb the camera. Use a chainsaw or weed eater to remove everything in the area if necessary.
Limit human pressure when setting foot on the area. You don’t need to check trail cameras. If you want to observe a particular animal, you can set up a wireless trail camera. This way, you can get photos without disturbing the area.
It’s important to keep your scent off of the surrounding area and the trail camera to avoid reducing deer encounters, pictures or videos. Practice methods for good scent control during the offseason.
The number of trail cameras that you should set up on the area depends on your preference, the city, habitat diversity, terrain and certain spots that require a camera. You should put at least one camera for every 100 acres of land, but this mostly applies to survey sites, mineral sites and to attract deer to the area. If there are two mineral sites, a watering hole, three food plots, and several trails, you have to set up several cameras.
A security lock can help protect your trail cameras. These cameras can be cable locked, preventing thieves or trespassers from stealing or opening the camera.
Bucks will start to change home ranges once fall begins. When acorns start falling, bucks change home ranges, testosterone intensifies, and antlers harden, it is time to change the trail camera location, setting, and strategies. You will need to focus more on staging areas, food plots, monitoring trails, and mock scrapes
Trail cameras should be maintained as well. Clear memory cards and replace the batteries. Proper organization of the trail camera videos and pictures is essential as well. You can organize the files by location, property, months or year.
Follow these tips and get your desired results from your trail camera.