Trail cameras are one of the best ways to keep an eye on your property without spending hours sitting in a tree stand. With different features and options, you might need help figuring out know where to start. That's why this article is here to help! We'll go through everything, such as, what trail cameras are, how they work, and what kind you should buy. You'll also find tips for using them effectively and responsibly to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment.

What is a trail camera?

An outdoor camera that can take photos or video clips when left unattended at regular intervals or when motion is detected. It helps you observe animals you don't normally see and monitor them without disturbing them. They are primarily used by hunters, but are also of great value to wildlife watchers and wildlife researchers. Trail cameras are used by nature photographers, hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and landowners to gather data about wildlife while remaining unobtrusive.

 

2023 Trail Camera 101 Things You Need to Know

 

How do trail cameras work?

The Trail camera is a heat and motion-sensitive camera, and the Trail camera is designed to be almost like a standby, fully awake part of the time with a PIR motion sensor. When the PIR detects motion, the image sensor is woken up, takes one or more pictures or videos, and stores them on the SD card. When there is no motion, the camera goes back to sleep.

How much does a trail camera cost?

Trail cameras range in price from $60 to $450, depending on features and capabilities. There are many types of models, each with advantages and disadvantages. Some trail cameras rely on a set of four (or eight) batteries that need to be charged every few nights. If you don't want to use batteries, you can buy trail cameras powered by solar panels. Some more expensive models enable you to download and view captured footage on your smartphone screen via WiFi or Bluetooth. Example: Campark TC03 4K 32MP Low Glow Flash Trail Camera. It only has basic functions, very suitable for beginners. The camera is only $59.99. Campark TC17 2K 4G LTE Cellular Solar PTZ Trail Camera & Security Camera, 4G Cellular Camera, Solar Power, Built-in SIM Card, 2-way Audio Off. This type of camera has more functions and costs $239.

Trail cameras have ten key features:

  1. Pixel 
  2. No infrared light and red light
  3. Trigger speed, recovery time and detection area
  4. Battery
  5. SD card
  6. Waterproof grade and working temperature
  7. Concealment
  8. Install
  9. Function

If you want to know more about the features of trail camera, please check 9 Things to Know Before Buying A Trail Camera.

2023 Trail Camera 101 Things You Need to Know

Recommended location for Trail Cameras

For best results, place your trail camera on:

Where you see signs of animals. Examples include: near animal tracks, droppings, or other signs such as scrapes and abrasions, in woods, at the edge of a woodland, or along the edge of a stream.

In a stable location: Examples include tree trunks that are at least 10 inches thick (so the trunk doesn't sway in the wind and trigger the motion sensor), fence posts, or specially installed supports.

Target food or water sources: Deer and other animals need to visit water bodies frequently. Walk around the water source and look for tracks, you're more likely to get photos of the animals lingering. But be careful not to include water in the camera frame, as moving water will trigger the motion sensor.

On Paths: Target some public areas including logging roads, creeks, fence gaps, and paths at 45-degree angles. Because it takes a few seconds for the camera to take a picture, each camera triggers at a different time, and if you don't leave enough time to react, the animal may have traveled far down the trail. So to include as much of the trail's view in the shot as possible, it is recommended to aim for an area about 25 - 35 feet in front of the trail camera.

In a cool place: Both heat and motion will trigger the camera, and the greater the difference between temperatures, the more likely the camera will snap.

Do not face the rising or setting sun: this will trigger the heat sensing mechanism.

At Animal Height: Mount the camera at the height of the species you are most interested in. The trail camera should be mounted at the same height as the target subject's chest. To capture large game such as deer, it is recommended to mount the camera about 3 feet off the ground. If there are any tilts or slopes, you will have to improvise to position the camera correctly. Or, if you don't mind taking pictures, mount the camera high and aim low for more flexibility on the animal's back. If you feel the need to mount your camera high up, make sure you point the camera down where your subject is expected to be. Keep in mind that this reduces the detection range, causing subjects to be closer to the camera.

Where to focus. Once you understand how animals move in the woods, you can mount your mount and camera at the event to ambush them. However, if one location does not produce a good picture or video, move the camera to different positions and angles until you get a picture or video that pleases you.

Here is a picture of a trail camera installation provided by Campark. It can be installed according to the recommended height in the picture.