Hunters this time of year are out with trail cameras to explore the wildlife on their hunting property.  These relatively new additions to the hunting arsenal can be a tremendous scouting tool.  Probably a person most aware of this is Rodnie Beckham, Product Manager for Bushnell Trophy Cam.

Speaking to writers at the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers recently in Branson, MO, he outlined some salient points for Trail Cam users.

Before taking your trail camera into the field it is wise to gain an understanding of which features it offers and think about way you can take advantage of that technology.

A popular feature is time lapse imaging which allows you to monitor activity not captured by the sensor on the camera.  The Bushnell 2x Field Scan feature allows you to select two windows of time to capture images at a programmable time interval from one to 60 minutes.  You can use it to scout a food plot or field at both dawn and dusk.

Using high quality batteries saves time and money in the long run.  Beckham recommends Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries.  They last longer and are more durable in extreme temperatures.

If you are about to hang a new treestand hang a camera with it.  It gives you a better idea or what bucks are passing your shooting lanes and what brush needs to be pruned in order to give you a shot at that deer.

In order to get spot on photos of deer, it is important to hang the camera no higher than 40 to 48 inches.  Above that you get only pictures of the woods through which they are passing.  Below that you will see their legs and feet but will not know if they are bucks or does and certainly will not see any racks.

Once in place, trigger the camera a few times to see what it is actually taking an image of.  It will give you a view of the entire “field of view”.  You might find that it is necessary to make adjustments to the camera to get it on target.  Or it may be necessary to trim some limbs or grass so that its movement will not keep triggering the camera without any wildlife present.  It would help to take advantage of the entire field of view too.

Rain on the camera as well as sun rising and setting can also trigger false images.  One common problem is the straps used to hold the camera in place.  If allowed to hang down they can blow in front of the sensor and cause false triggers.

Consider using time lapse technology to ensure that you capture animals further away from the camera as they feed, approach a feeding area or pass on a game trail.  The distance away from the camera also factors in when setting the flash to illuminate the animals.  If they are 30-40 feet away, you may want to set the flash to high.

Finally do not over check your game camera.  You can disrupt the habitat to the point that you leave too much scent and scare away animals that see you moving into and out of the area.  Take the same precautions with regard to scent and travel that you would when hunting.


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