As deer season becomes closer and is beginning in many states, you might have started employing trail cameras on your property. If that is the case then chances are you have asked how to set up a trail camera before. Here is a step by step guide on how to set up a trail camera and some other trail camera tips.
Step 1: Trail Camera Purpose and Purchasing
Figuring out what information you want to capture with your trail cameras is the first step in this trail camera guide, and the first step when discussing how to set up a trail camera. Are you trying to retrieve intel on the following: a food plot, scouting for turkeys, scouting for deer, over a mineral site, trail camera survey, mock scrape, trail, bait site, deer feeder or another simply for capturing photos of other wildlife? Generally, any and/or all of these should be researched further in depth for specific tactics and trail camera tips, but more vitally what camera to look into that has the requirements and can capture that specific info.
Step 2: Trail Camera Location
Defining what you want to achieve with your game camera will tell you where to put it, it’s really that simple. Trail camera location is step number two in this trail camera guide, and after the initial trail camera requirements is the next most important consideration.
Step 3: Trail Camera Installment
Each trail camera location that you end up installing a trail camera on will come with its own characteristics and limitations. A perfect tree will not always be available, rather it seems most of the trees you encounter are entirely too small or too large in diameter. When hanging and installing trail cameras, remember that you are not always limited to a tree or a fence post, and if you are, there are other tools other than a strap that can connect it to a tree.
Step 4: Trail Camera Field of View (FOV)
What is in the field of view for the trail camera? This is nearly as important as the consideration of how far the camera can detect and take pictures. What is in the FOV can determine a lot about the quality of intel you get. A branch, bush, tree, feeder, or another object in the FOV and frame can either set off the camera multiple times in the wind or block the image entirely. Objects can also interrupt the trail camera being able to detect wildlife, as well as catch the flash during the night.
Step 5: Trail Camera Night Photo Distance
Flash range distance during night events for trail camera should be considered when purchasing and determining the best steps in how to set up a trail camera. Step 5 in this trail camera guide is here for good reason. Often times night flash range and the ability to accurately judge what is in the photos/video during night events is often forgotten and ends in frustration of missed opportunities. A lot of wildlife, including deer, move during night-time hours, this is common knowledge, so be sure to include it when you are setting up your trail cameras.
The trail camera settings for the flash will include the sensitivity settings, high sensitivity should be used for open expansive areas such as food plots, bait, mineral, mock scrapes, watering holes, and feeding sites. Low sensitivity should be used on areas in thick areas and on trails.
Step 6: Trail Camera Direction
The sun can have a profound effect on the information you receive from your trail cameras. This is not discussing night vs. day activity or the events, rather the blinding effect the sun can have on the images themselves. Facing the camera East and West will result in white images or images that are unclear due to the sun. South is acceptable, but when setting up trail cameras always try and aim the camera north.
Step 7: Trail Camera Scent
This is especially true for deer, or just for keeping your trail camera safe from critters! Most people, when it comes to setting out trail cameras don’t think of, or simply do not care enough to worry about scent control and trail cameras. This is a big mistake. Number 7 on this trail camera guide is trail camera scent and it can be critical. Trail cameras set out for deer is one obvious reason to take consideration of the scent you leave behind.
Step 8: Trail Camera Memory Cards
Trail camera memory cards are a significant consideration when learning how to set up a trail camera. Not having enough memory, and keeping the cameras out for an extended period of time could render the camera useless over time. Another consideration is also formatting the memory card to the trail camera. With today’s trail camera like the Pro Cam 12 or Pro Cam 10 offering higher and higher resolution video and ever increasing high-quality photos, the need for more space is evident.
Step 9: Trail Camera Batteries
While some of the very first models of trail camera ran off of huge D batteries, most trail cameras now run off of AAs. These have more options, are more readily found, and are quite easy to set up with rechargeable batteries. These might be the best options, especially when running several trail cameras. Cold weather has quite an effect on technology so always be sure to check your trail cameras battery life during the fall and winter months. Both Muddy trail cameras, the Pro Cam 12 and the Pro Cam 10 have operating ranges between -10 and 140 degrees.
Step 10: Trail Camera Settings
With everything else optimized the most crucial step is putting the trail camera on the right settings, this is where most mess this up.
Step 11: Trail Camera Security
The last step is often forgotten or not thought about, its trail camera security. Cable your trail cameras, it's as simple as that!