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The Non Hunters Guide to Trail Cams



What to Look for When Purchasing a Trail Cam

Trail cameras, game cams, or trail cams are not just for hunters who are tracking deer in the area. They have other uses that can be quite beneficial when you are not there to see what is happening on your property. For those who are considering getting a camera to watch over part of your property, it is important to understand what they are, how they function, and why they are so valuable.

What is a Trail Camera?

This is a camera that runs on batteries and is attached to a motion sensor so that whenever a person, bird, or animal passes in front it will take a picture or video depending on the type of camera that is used. Trail cams are waterproof and resistant to the elements, so they can be set up anywhere outdoors and will activate when something trips their motion sensor.

Because they are lightweight, compact, and portable, you can set them up on a tree, post, or any elevated surface so they can take photos or video of the area in front of the lens. They also come with night vision equipment which means that even in the dead of night they will take clear images of whatever passes in front of the lens.

Also, they are encased in hardened plastic so even the most determined creatures will have great difficulty getting it open and inside. Many come with common batteries which are only used sparingly when the device is activated.

A Fox out for an early morning walk in front of game cam

How Trail Cams Work for Non-Hunters

Although game cams are quite popular among hunters because it lets them know about the game in the area, its uses go far beyond that.

Identification: Do you know about the different animals that live on or around your property? It is important information to know for several reasons. First, by knowing what animals are around, you can take action to either dissuade them from being on your property or encourage them depending on their type. By knowing that deer pass through your property, you can put out feed to keep them around if you desire.

Find Pests: If you have a flower bed or garden that is being ravaged by pests, you can find out what they are and when they strike by setting up a trail cam. It can be used night or day to spot animals that are raiding your garden or flower bed so you can identify and take the appropriate measures to stop them.

Trespassers: If you are having an issue with trespassers on your property, but are not around to catch them in the act, a trail cam can do wonders to help. It can be set up discreetly so that it is not spotted by the trespasser and record their activities while on your property. This is video evidence that you can take to court and have them stopped.

What to Look for in Game Cams

When shopping around for trail cams, it’s important to know what you want to use them for so you can get the right one for your needs. Naturally, you will need to set a budget so that the camera you choose will be affordable. Plus, you will need to consider where it should be set up so that you can determine what features it should have to get what you want.

Purpose: You will need to narrow down the purpose for purchasing trail cams. It helps if you can answer the following questions;

  • Are you trying to capture an image in a specific location?
  • Are you trying to identify an animal, pest, or human trespasser?
  • Is the area you want to have photographed large or small?
  • Is the camera for a short-term or long-term purpose?
  • Are you looking at mostly day or night imaging?

Basically, if you are trying to identify the pest that is invading your garden, that will require a different type of camera than capturing images across a wide part of your property. So, look for the type of trail cams that best fit your purpose.

Mountain Lion

You never know what will show up in front of your trail cam

Lens: While many trail cams will boast about the megapixel count, it will not do a lot of good if the lens is only average. You should look for game cams that have good optical lens that provide a clear picture. The best way to find the right one is to see a sample picture from the camera itself.

Intuitive Design: A trail cam is basically a camera with a motion sensor attached, so there should not be anything complicated about its use. So, you should select a camera that has the right features for your needs and little else that complicates its operation. If you can, look over the camera when you shop for it at your local retail store. If you can only purchase it online, look carefully at the camera to see the operation.

Batteries: While a rechargeable battery is nice, that means your camera will be down for a short time. You might consider on that uses batteries you can replace which is a little more expensive, but that means your camera will be working again in short order.

Money Back Guarantee: Of course, even the best research may not get you the right camera for your needs. Or, your needs might change quickly if you discover that the camera is not well suited to a new task that is needed. So, get one with a money back guarantee so that if you discover the camera is not right for you, it can be returned.

Finding the right trail cam means having a device you can easily set up so it can go to work for you. Be sure to go over several cameras first and then choose the best one for your needs at the lowest price. That way, you get what you need which will fit into your budget. Good game cams are relatively easy to find, so you can have one working for you in no time.



2 Responses to The Non Hunters Guide to Trail Cams

  1. Laura Hammond says:

    We started looking at cameras in the last few weeks to see what wild life we have on our property. It’s in SW Montana so we think there are some mountain lions in the area. By the way, did you take that picture of the mountain lion above? What was the cat looking at – do you think it heard the camera?

    • Although I personally do not think most critters hear the camera, they do have some sense it’s there and often mover to check it out. The key to seeing what animals are on your property is to place the camera on used trails. The IR lights although low intensity can be seen but are not nearly as much of a shock as the old cams that used flash. Remember that if a large animal is on your property they are most likely looking for something such as food. Keep this in mind when placing cameras as the more remote spots might not be the best spots. Look for sign when placing cams.

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