Though it is hot and humid outside now, believe it or not, now is the time to begin setting up game cameras on your hunting property to begin tracking and planning for a successful season ahead. There are a myriad of reasons to setup cameras now. Watching bucks grow antlers and morph through the velvet stage is one. Keeping an eye on fawns and survival rates also. If there is a predator issue you might want to take some needed steps for example. In this first tip segment we will cover the basic trail camera and what the features mean. Next week we will cover a few setup basics for improving your results for great wildlife photos.
Remember last year when you had a few cameras that just did not cut the mustard? Either they consumed batteries way too soon, made poor pictures or were down right undependable, nothing can be more frustrating than expecting to have some great images only to find out there were none. You can always try a few things before canning the old cameras. Always use fresh batteries! Next, try a firmware update from the manufacturer by going to the appropriate websites and following their specific instructions. Clean the camera lens and IR LEDs with a soft lens cloth and glass cleaner. Check the battery terminal springs or clips for corrosion. Baking soda and vinegar and an old toothbrush will clean any corrosion if needed.
If you determine that it is time to dispose of the old camera, now is a great time to get a new one with some really improved images and battery life. Over the last few years the latest trend and one of our most popular sellers is cellular game cameras accessible through AT&T and Verizon data plans. These cameras can save a lot of trips to the woods to check cameras, therefor reducing your human scent and disturbing the property. If you have used your cell phone to send and receive text messages, emails, photos etc. on your hunting land you should be able to use these type cameras successfully. Since not knowing when this tip will be read, I can only suggest some of the brands we carry that feature the technology. Check our website for availability. Cuddyback, Spypoint, DLC Covert, Primos and Stealth are among the leaders in this category.
Megapixels…more is typically better as you would assume. What it really means is the higher the pixel number, the more you can zoom in on a photo and make out how many points are on a distant buck in the photo for example. A higher pixel camera would be beneficial for a food plot or field where some targets are further away. A close quarters heavily wooded trail may not need the higher resolution. Normally though, the higher pixel count will provide a sharper image in any case. Be aware that just because a camera touts a high megapixel count does not always mean a better image. The quality of the lens used, and the software that encodes the image can severely impact the final result.
Trigger speed and photo burst count is the next thing to consider. The faster the trigger speed, the more likely you will get an animal in its entirety in the photo if they are moving through the field of view quickly. Essentially the trigger speed is how long it takes the camera to wake up and snap the photo from the time the motion is detected. Burst speed indicates how many pictures of a particular event the camera can capture at the trigger point. Be aware that high burst numbers like video footage can eat up a memory card pretty fast if set for high resolution.
Passive Infrared or PIV refers to the degree and distance that the camera can sense movement. Wider angle and further distance is better. Cameras with a PIR sensitivity adjustment mode can customize setup for small animals like birds and squirrels to large animals like deer.
Capture Modes refers to the availability of the camera to take still pictures only, stills and video, stills, video, and burst, time lapse or any combination.
Basically, there are three choices here.
While the least expensive of the flash types white flash is like the name implies, a strobe like flash like a typical cell phone shot with manual flash on. You see it, the deer sees it, your fellow hunters may too. Yes, it does make the best night photos and yes it will spook deer at first but they seem to grow accustomed to it after a while.
Low Glow flash is not a visible white burst of light but not completely invisible like the NO Glow coming up. The LED emitters give off a faint red glow that can be seen if looking directly into the light. Probably not enough to spook most deer. Night pictures in this mode are strictly black and white. This is a great choice for budget minded hunters.
Black flash is more expensive but emits zero glow. This is the premium for stealth albeit a tad shorter range for the most part.
Time lapse simply takes a photo at a pre-determined interval at a set window in time. For example, from 6AM to 6PM every 5 minutes it takes a snap shot. Most cameras provide a playback option that stitches the single clips into a movie sequence. These are excellent on food plots to determine entry and exit patterns all day and duration of events. Cameras that provide time lapse and PIR triggers provide the most coverage possible.
There are a multitude of brands we carry that have been tested and reviewed by thousands of hunters and can easily be googled for how they stack up. We recently added what seems at first to be a new kid on the block in the trail camera world until you research who they are and what they have accomplished. Boly media has been making many cameras under many brand names you already have been using for years. In fact, they pioneered current IR technology current manufacturers use and they actually invented and patented a series of world-leading technologies for image scaling, no-loss data compression, video streaming, motion tracking sensing and high-quality image processing that is utilized by most everyone making cameras today. We expect to be receiving the new 4G cellular cameras soon so stay tuned. If you are seeking a quality game camera with superior image quality and dependability for a budget minded price, check out the BOLY line of cameras.
Next we will discuss setup techniques to maximize your game photos. Be sure to check back in next Tuesday for Part 2!