From a land and wildlife management point of view, scouting cameras are one of the best tools available that you can utilize. Just like any other tool in your arsenal, it’s only useful if used properly, whether you’re in management or are a hunter. Luckily, you don’t need to be a camera expert in order to extract valuable information from it and set it up correctly. Here are a few tips and techniques you can use to get the most from your trail and game cameras. Be sure to also visit DeerHunters.net to find the top picks for the upcoming season.
Don’t Be Too Eager
One of the most common mistakes hunters and land managers make is to check their cameras too early. The excitement and anticipation can lead to too much time in the woods, and to taking out the memory card too early. A good rule of thumb is to let the camera sit for at least two weeks, or even longer if it’s in a new location. If wildlife is keeping track of your movement, rather than vice versa, you aren’t going to get your desired results.
Clear Your Memory Card
It often happens that hunters and managers finally get to their cameras and extract their cards after waiting long enough—only to find that the card became full several days ago or already has numerous photos on it. Be sure when you hit the field that you have a clear, fresh memory card for your unit. If the card is full, you don’t want to have to make a trip to change it out, and you don’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities just because there’s no storage left. You also don’t want to be left with a memory card that has photos from various times or different locations, as this won’t help you determine the patterns of wildlife.
Get Fresh Batteries
Your batteries should always be fresh and ready for the elements; cold weather can work on batteries harder than warmer weather, so make sure you always have this in mind. It’s often recommended that as you switch out the memory card, you also switch out the batteries, especially when setting up in new spots, or for extended periods of time. Using old memory cards or discount batteries will not benefit you in the end. In some instances, an external battery pack can be used to extend the life of your camera in the field. When you set up your trail camera, always be sure to use the correct battery pack, and put in completely new batteries.
Ensure the Information on the Data Strip is Correct
Lastly, you should always ensure that the date, time, moon phase, and any other information that may be on the data strip is completely correct. If it doesn’t match up or is incorrect, it won’t help you decipher various photos, and won’t provide valuable insight so you can easily look back and track wildlife patterns over time. Accuracy is always the key. The main benefit of trail camera data strips is to be able to decipher what wildlife was doing at an exact time, so for this reason, the data strip should always be correct.
The goal of any trail camera is to extract information, and by following these tips, you will ensure that the information you gain is always correct.