Nowadays hunting and fishing are so full of gadgetry that seem to all make
the “must have” list.
Some of the basic skills, including patience, have now been replaced by electronic devices. One of these devices is the trail camera that not only tells you what came by the location, but the time of day as well, so their use shortens the time you have to sit out in the cold.
For many modern hunters who target trophy animals (but hopefully also use the meat,) these cameras allow you to see the animals using that meadow or trail so viewing their body or antler size allows you to decide about setting up for them in or near that location.
Wildlife viewing opportunities are also enhanced by the use of these motion-sensing cameras as viewing in person can happen after you’ve established that animals use that location for one purpose or another. These photo-grabbing devices are also quite useful for security purposes around your garage, cabin or other rural properties.
These cameras range in price and sophistication from entry level (which is what I have) to much more complicated units. The prices vary from just over $100 to a few thousand dollars. To adequately meet the needs of the average user, a price under $200 will likely fill all your needs.
These devices are typically powered by between two and 10 AA batteries and of course using higher quality batteries give you longer and better service. With the unit powered up and fastened to a tree, the batteries last in the range of six to 12 months.
The more features on the unit, i.e. video and sound recording and type of flash can draw more on the batteries and shorten their life. Continuous cold weather also affects battery life, but the manufacturers still suggest six months or more battery life even in the cold.
Size-wise a common trail camera is about 13 cm (5.5”) tall, 9 cm (3.5”) wide and 5 cm (2”) thick. Available in darker colours or blend-in camo they are fastened to a tree or post with buckle straps, Velcro or bungees and are pretty secure when fastened according to instructions. Locking security containers are available if you are concerned about someone stealing your camera.
Most trail cameras will take still pictures, series of pictures or video day or night. They come with night vision, infrared and/or LED flash and some have audio recording, as well. These units are adjustable for sensitivity (a fluttering leaf in front of the camera will activate the camera hundreds of times if the sensitivity setting is too low) and distance to subject.
Also, the camera has a day/night sensor that automatically turns the flash on or off.
Various megapixel levels are available for high quality colour resolution.
Like other digital cameras, these units use memory cards. The images can be viewed on a screen in the camera or by taking out the memory card to view on other devices.
If considering a purchase I urge you to do your research and get a unit that meets your budget, purpose goals and skill level.