Posts Tagged ‘trail cameras’

5 Summertime Trail Camera Tips

May 21st, 2017 by BTC Editor

 

1- Summertime is when most hunters get their trail cameras out of storage and hang them to start taking inventory of their whitetail herd. It’s also a great time to take inventory of your trail cameras. Make note of how many you have, how many more you may need for the upcoming season, and also keep a list of each camera model and serial number in the rare case of theft. It can, and does, happen so keeping a record of this could help get your cameras back eventually if they do get stolen. Browning Trail Cameras also has a Security Box that makes it more difficult for thieves to take your cameras, if even at all.

 

2- Look at an aerial map of your hunting property beforehand so you have a good idea of where you’d like to hang your cameras. This way, you’re not driving or walking all over your property, disturbing the game and working up a sweat. If you have a weather app on your phone you can easily locate your property via the radar portion of the app. If you don’t have that, Google Earth is what I recommend. It’s probably a good idea to take a screenshot of your property and from there mark where you are placing cameras using the paint/draw tool on your phone in case you forget where you hung the cameras later on.

 

3- Summertime is obviously hot, even first thing in the morning, so in order to be out in the heat as little as possible it’s best to have everything ready to go before you head out. Have your trail cameras already set up with the correct date/time/camera settings, full with batteries and the SD card in so all you have to do is hang them, turn them on, and go!

A Browning Trail Camera feature that really helps get your camera positioned quicker is the viewing screen on some of the camera models. (See photo below.)

 

 

4- Everyone has their own system for transferring and storing trail camera pictures to their computer. I like to stay organized from the start by putting my SD cards in 2 separate cases – one for blank SD cards, and one for  full SD cards – and then loading the pictures to my computer once I’m home. A baggie works just as good, just make sure you label each one to avoid confusion. Some prefer to bring a laptop and transfer the pictures there in the field, but I like to get in and out as quickly as possible and this works best for me.

 

5- Last but not least, don’t forget the tick spray! So far this year has been one of the worst I’ve seen for ticks. Using a tick spray with Permethrin has worked well for me. Spray down your clothes and boots and make sure they’re dry before putting them on. You do not want this on your skin! For those worried about scent control, this kind is supposedly odorless once it dries. My nose is of course nowhere near as good as a whitetail’s, but I don’t smell it at all once it’s dry and would prefer to be tick free over scent free anyways, so to me it’s worth it. It also doesn’t hurt to spray it on some of your trail cameras to avoid ant infestations, which are very common in the summer months.

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters

“Land and Wildlife Field Day”

April 23rd, 2017 by BTC Editor

Making and setting up Wood Duck boxes is not only a great way to get the next generation involved in conservation and wildlife management, it’s an excellent way to gain insight into the nesting and reproduction habits of Wood Ducks, with an ultimate goal of increasing their population. Scott Cronin, a Pro-Staffer from Kentucky, holds an annual event with a local High School called the “Land & Wildlife Field Day”. Junior and Senior High School students in the Wildlife Forestry Programs participate in this field event in which Wood Duck boxes and trail cameras are installed and studied.

 

The goal of this project is to pinpoint which locations are best for the Wood Duck boxes, what box styles and designs are the most effective, and the rate of nesting in the boxes. Scott has found that using his Browning Trail Cameras to watch the boxes gives them actual data to use, rather than just going back in a few months to see if there’s any eggs. The project also allows them to spend time with the students, teaching them about using trail cameras as a game management tool to get data and to see how successful the projects are.

Scott has been using trail cameras on this conservation project for the past 15 years, but has been using Browning Trail Cameras exclusively for the past 4 years, for several reasons: the durability, versatility and the camera features. Naturally, the locations of the Wood Duck boxes and trail cameras are very wet (swamp areas, flood timber, etc.) but Scott shares that his Browning Trail Cameras have been very maintenance free and has had very little issues with fog and moisture, which is a common problem with any trail camera in these types of locations.

This year Scott started using the new Browning Strike Force HD Pro, which features an incredible .3 second trigger speed, a 1.5” color viewing screen and an adjustable mount, all of which have been a tremendous asset on this project. Scott shares: “I selected the Strike Force HD Pro based on the fact that we’ve had tremendous success over the past 4 years with the Browning Strike Force, and now that it has the viewfinder and the bracket it makes it so much easier to set up the cameras and pinpoint the exact area that you’re wanting to center your frame on from the start.”

Side view of the 2017 Strike Force HD Pro

Trail Cameras are our eyes in the woods, or in this case the wetlands, when we can’t physically be there. They have been especially helpful on this project since they often go a few months before going back to check on these locations. The “Land & Wildlife Field Day” project is an excellent way to teach the next generation about using trail cameras and Wood Duck boxes as tools to help grow the Wood Duck population. While trail cameras are used most often to aid in hunting, don’t overlook how valuable they can be in collecting data for conservation efforts as well.

Kentucky Afield Magazine was there to cover the event this year. Here are a few more photos from their field day!

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Using Trail Cameras to Scout for Turkeys

March 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Knowing where to hang your trail cameras and what kind of settings to use when scouting for turkeys is important, as it can vary a little from using cameras for deer hunting. When hanging my trail cameras, whether I’m using them for deer or turkey hunting, I pretty much keep 3 things in mind when determining where to put them: bedding, food and travel routes. So, for deer I often like to hang my cameras where I know they will be coming from their bedding area to their feeding area, and vice versa. For turkeys, I like to do essentially the same thing: find where they are roosting and figure out where they are going when coming off the roost. These locations for deer are often different than they are for turkeys, so scouting is a must.

A few things to look for when you are scouting for good turkey trail camera locations are roosting sites, travel routes, strut zones, and feeding areas.

Roosting Sites

You will know a roosting site when you see one. I have found several on our property, and they have always been in tall, dead trees and have lots of turkey droppings underneath them. You may find some primary wing feathers as well. When hunting last year, I actually spotted a couple of toms still up on the roost, which further confirmed their roost site. I found another spot this spring while shed hunting – it was a dead tree in on the edge of our food plot – and found quite a bit of droppings and a wing feather underneath it.

Camera Setup:

If I know where a roosting site is, I personally like to set my trail camera where I expect they will be landing when they fly down from the roost. From observing turkeys while out hunting I have a good idea of where they usually land when they fly down. On my property, this is usually in one of our fields planted in wheat and clover.

Time-Lapse mode is a great option for fields this size so you don’t miss anything further out where turkeys may not trigger the camera. I have this Browning Strike Force trail camera set up quite a bit higher to have a better view of the field. As you can see in this photo, the turkeys are flying in off the roost.

 

Travel Routes

I’ve noticed a couple of similarities in how both deer and turkey travel from my experiences hunting, and it seems they often prefer to take the easiest route possible. Some examples of routes I have seen both deer and turkeys using often is logging roads in the woods, creek crossings, openings in the timber, and holes in fences.

Camera Setup:

These are usually in small, tight spots so I prefer to hang my camera pretty low here and will often put my camera on burst mode so I don’t miss any action. I have this Browning Strike Force set to take 4 multi-shot images every 5 seconds.

 

Strut Zones

The best way to find these is to actually see a turkey using it in person. I know where a couple are on our property from observing the turkeys while out hunting. If you haven’t seen your turkeys using one, try looking for wing drag marks in the dirt while you’re scouting. On my property, our turkeys love to strut on the edge of one of our food plots where the sun hits them, so keep that in mind when looking for strut zone locations.

Camera Setup:

If you are looking to get some neat footage from your trail cameras, a Strut Zone is the perfect opportunity to switch your trail camera to Video Mode! Make sure you have a larger SD card in this instance as they can fill up pretty quickly on video mode.

This Browning Strike Force camera is actually in the same location as the “Roosting Site” listed above and Time-Lapse mode is what I prefer in this location due to the field size.

 

 

Feeding Areas

Food plots planted in chicory, wheat and/or clover are excellent options for hanging your trail cameras to scout for turkeys. We have one field planted in clover and chicory, and another planted in wheat and clover, both of which really seem to hold the turkeys on our property.

We also experimented one year by plowing up some of the ground on the edge of one of our food plots and the turkeys loved the easy access to insects there! You can see the plowed part in the photo below from the Browning Spec Ops:

 

Camera Setup:

Once again, a good option in a field this size is Time Lapse mode so you can still catch turkey movement outside of the camera’s detection zone, and setting the camera a little higher up.

If you already have a pretty good idea of where the turkeys are feeding at, regular Trail Camera mode works just fine here as well, and I would probably up the picture delay to 20 or 30 seconds here so you aren’t filling up the SD card as quickly with tons of feeding pictures.

When making your game plan for opening day of Spring Turkey Season, keep in mind what you have learned from studying your trail camera pictures prior to season opener. Using trail cameras to scout for turkeys will give you a good idea on your flock size, how many different groups of turkeys you may have, and where you need to be setting up on opening day. You will be one step ahead of the turkeys and by using the right settings, will likely get some amazing trail camera pictures and/or videos along the way!

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

D.E.E.R. Project

October 9th, 2016 by BTC Editor

screenshot_2016-10-09-15-00-44-1

D.E.E.R. Project

By Matthew Hayes

Mule deer have a complex history throughout the western United States. In the days of the early settlers and pioneers, mule deer were relatively scarce; many trappers and explorers reported only occasional sightings of mule deer whereas other big game species were regularly observed. At the beginning of the 20th century, mule deer populations had been drastically reduced in number due largely to overharvest, market hunting, and overgrazing. Protections were put in place in the early to mid-1900s, eventually leading to ideas such as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which was followed by a dramatic increase in mule deer populations. Mule deer populations peaked between the 1940s to the early 1960s throughout the western US.

Fast forward a few decades to the present day. With a lens to examine population fluctuations over the past 40+ years, a clear pattern has emerged. Populations, at least in Wyoming, appear to go through cyclical periods of increase followed by sharp declines. In reviewing literature and historical documents, concerns about mule deer populations tend to follow huge decreases in populations and when they subsequently rise, research and management become less important. Another point that seems clear in Wyoming is that although we have this see-saw in population numbers, there is a general declining trend since at least the 1970s. On average, Wyoming has seen a roughly 20% reduction in mule deer populations.

The population swings, and general decline, of mule deer since the 1970s has been difficult to understand. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain these declines, including: overharvest, harsh winters, habitat, drought, predation, disease and burgeoning elk populations. Managers have long noted that many areas that mule deer inhabit face different pressures and that populations are likely being driven by a variety of factors. All factors are not influencing populations in each portion of their range. This complication has meant that gaining a more complete understanding of reasons for fluctuations or stagnant growth in population numbers has been elusive. Without a solid understanding of the why and how associated with population fluctuations, it is incredibly difficult for targeted management to be beneficial.

0819:070916:61F:CURR100U :2

 

0820:070916:61F:CURR100U :2

 

1138:071616:63F:CURR100U :3

 

Researchers and managers have made great strides to better understand mule deer ecology and factors relating to their survival and reproduction. In the early 2000’s Global Positioning Systems (GPS) became small enough to fit onto a collar sized for ungulates. Since then, studies have been conducted examining migration and use of the landscape in summer and winter. The effects of drought and shifting precipitation regimes have been investigated as well as determining when, where and how animals are dying. Wyoming has been at the forefront of this research and has helped to better understand the ecology and management of mule deer. A key ecological process that has remained poorly understood are the interactions between mule deer and elk (though some work has been done at the Starkey Experimental Forest).

1756:080116:95F:CURR 200 D:7

 

2110:072916:61F:CURR 200 D:7

Mule Deer with GPS tracking collar.

Both mule deer and elk are highly cherished big game species. Wyoming and her residents rely on these animals for hunting, tourism and as a part of our cultural heritage. Nevertheless, at the same time those mule deer populations have generally declined, elk populations have increased dramatically across the same geographical range. Managers and researchers have long wondered if mule deer and elk could be competing for space and resources but, until recently, the ability to study these interactions was almost impossible. Potential for interactions between these 2, highly valued species to affect one another’s abundance has been a bit of a conundrum for decades, probably given the challenges associated with addressing such a complex question. The Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project (DEER) was ultimately incepted out the need to unravel the head-scratching complexities of poor performing mule deer populations, while a similar big game animal continues to grow in the same country.

Population sizes for Mule Deer

Population sizes for Deer

 

population-sizes-for-elk

Population sizes for Elk

 

The DEER Project, located in the Greater Little Mountain Area of southwestern Wyoming, aims to increase our understanding of both mule deer and elk. This project is examining parturition timing and location of mule deer, mortality and recruitment of fawns, nutritional condition of adult female mule deer, summer diet overlap between elk and mule deer, space use, recruitment of male mule deer, survival, migration, and dispersal. We also are implicitly examining winter severity, habitat use, precipitation patterns, predation and disease. One of the greatest strengths of this work is the rigorous monitoring of both mule deer and elk in the same system. Many studies prior have examined one species or the other with inference to supposed interactions, but the DEER project will be able to analyze these interactions at a much finer scale. Another added benefit of this project is that it occurs in a high-desert system—an ecosystem ubiquitous throughout Wyoming but less studied compared to high-elevation systems. Far from being a one-off or unique system, the results from this work will be applicable to mule deer and elk throughout their shared range.

1500:070416:59F:2272:CAMERA1 :0

 

1439:062616:70F:2292:CAMERA1 :6

 

0047:070116:50F:2285:CAMERA1 :7

 

Future articles will focus on updates from the DEER project. You can follow along with the project, donate and subscribe for updates at www.deerproject.org.

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has explored the issue of mule deer decline in depth and has published a very approachable book on the topic; you can check out the website at www.wafwa.org and navigate to the Mule Deer Working Group for more information.

 

calloborator-3-480x115 screenshot_2016-10-09-17-15-15-1 btc-logo-on-black

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: mont

 

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

 

Kevin Monteith 307-766-2322 kevin.monteith@uwyo.edu

Matthew Hayes 307-766-5417 mhayes1@uwyo.edu

 

 

 

 

gameandfish

 

WYOMING GAME & FISH DEPARTMENT

Patrick Burke 307-875-3223 patrick.burke@wyo.gov

Mark Zornes 307-875-3223 mark.zornes@wyo.gov

Kevin Spence 307-875-3223 kevin.spence@wyo.gov

Five Things I Learned Going Rural

September 25th, 2016 by BTC Editor

Five things I learned going rural

By Kristen A. Schmitt

A few years ago, we moved away from the city, trekking 14 hours east of Detroit to the rural mountains of Vermont. My husband’s job brought us out that way and, while I was looking forward to the change, my previous life experiences didn’t really prepare me for the switch. I didn’t grow up camping, hiking, or hunting. In fact, my entire outdoors experience revolved around sidewalks, bicycles and complaining. Fast forward to 2016 and I not only spend at least 50% of my day outside (no matter the weather), but I’ve channeled my newfound enjoyment for the outdoors into writing for a variety of publications about bowhunting, archery, local food and backyard poultry, among other things.

The irony is that before our move, I wouldn’t have recommended going “rural” to anyone. And now? Not only did this move help me break free of my chain-link fence mentality, but it also gave me new knowledge and confidence that I bring to other areas of my life. So, in the tradition of Dave Letterman’s top ten lists, here’s the top five things I’ve learned since going rural:

5 ) Nature can be incredibly surprising.
Our property in Vermont was surrounded by forest, field and water. While we owned roughly 8 acres, the back of the property butted up to an 11-acre pond and the other sides were bordered by hardwood forest. It was more than just a switch from pavement to dirt roads. My nearest neighbors were bobcats (that tried to kill my chickens – twice), porcupines, peregrine falcons, eagles, and hawks; vultures, wild turkeys, juncos and herons. One particular incident involved a few nighttime visits from an ornery black bear interested in our trash.

 

We now have a 36-acre farm in upstate NY with a similar landscape.

0636:082316:45F:CAMERA1 :6

 

4 ) Chickens are more than just tiny egg machines.
Being able to grab fresh eggs from your own chickens for breakfast is an unbelievable treat. Chickens are easier than any other type of livestock and mine did amazingly well in negative temperatures last winter. We’ve only lost one (to a bobcat); the others are hearty and healthy. As a writer, I work out of my house and have the ability to listen to the chicken “conversation” daily. I read somewhere that chickens have their own language and I can attest to that fact. Sitting on my porch with a mug of tea (or glass of wine, depending on the time of day) to watch them peck and chatter is one of my favorite activities.

chickens_1

 

 

3 ) Eating vegetables that you grow yourself is an amazing experience.
My parents raised me well with a small backyard garden and fresh vegetables daily. But the significance of planting our own fruits and vegetables and maintaining our garden – especially one as large as we have – is priceless. Our young daughter seems way more connected to where her food comes from than I ever was until I became an adult. Picking that first piece of spinach or watching corn plump up on the stalks is exciting each and every time.

garden_11

 

2 ) It takes a lot of wood to heat a house, especially with temperatures in the negatives for weeks. Prior to our move, we relied on city gas to heat our house in the suburbs like the majority of the country. Once we realized we could harvest our own heat from the forest on our property, we had a wood stove installed in the living room. Little did we realize that it takes a lot of wood to keep even a smaller house warm when the temperatures don’t go higher than -16 for weeks. Yet, if I had to do it again, I would. I like being able to see the physical amount of wood I used for heat rather than paying a faceless gas bill. Besides, splitting and stacking wood may not be a ton of fun, but it’s not bad. In fact, it warms you twice: once when you stack the wood; later, when you sit in front the fire.

firewood

 

1 ) I’m not helpless.
The main thing that I have learned from going “rural” is that I am not a helpless person. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and my passion and dedication to keeping up with this new lifestyle choice has me learning how to do new things every single day. If we hadn’t moved I wonder if I would feel this empowered in the physical aspects of life as well as the mental. This move has changed me for the better – and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere where I can’t see the stars.

 

Kristen A. Schmitt writes about wildlife, sustainable agriculture, environmental issues and the outdoors. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Fast Company, Audubon, Eating Well,USA Today, Hunt & Fish and others. Follow her @Kristen_Schmitt.

DIY Trail Camera Stand

September 1st, 2016 by BTC Editor

No tree around to hang your Browning Trail Camera? No problem! Pro-Staffer Kinsey Edmunds gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a homemade game camera stand that can be placed anywhere!

 

Kinsey Edmunds is a pro-staffer from Missouri. Being raised on a farm and surrounded by wildlife, her love for the outdoors began at a young age. Kinsey enjoys bowhunting whitetails, turkeys, hogs and gators, just to name a few. She is also a team member of Huntress View, a team dedicated to strengthening the ever-growing community of women hunters.

The evolution of the trail camera has been simply remarkable over the last several years, from taking 35mm film to the photo shop to the almost instant gratification of looking at them on your phone, things are simply in a place that was once only a dream.

With that said, there are still some factors in play when it comes to nighttime images that make them seem behind the times.  With all of the advances in technology, why have nighttime images not been perfected yet?  Well, in this format, we’ll do our best to explain the basic science of nighttime images on trail cameras.

Seeing the Waves

Nope.  We’re not at the beach.  But to develop a basic understanding of what’s going on with nighttime images you will want to make sense of the following to help differentiate between the various types of flashes:

  1. Our eyes can only see light that exists within a small range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  2. That electromagnetic spectrum is measured in wavelengths.
  3. Those wavelengths are measured in nanometers.

Ultimately, these nanometers are your take away from this section because this is the measurement that you can use to understand how each type of flash impacts the quality of your game camera pictures.

If you need a visual aide to help you more effectively wrap your head around the concept of nanometers, NASA has created a handy below:

SOURCE: http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html

Measuring the Flash?

Well, we’ve given you the basics on nanometers, but now you’re asking: why do I care?  Well, we’ll do our best to explain that here as simply as possible across all three types of flashes found on trail cameras:

White Flash Cameras   

If you look at the chart from NASA, you will see that they define “visible light” as being in the range of 400nm to 700nm.  That’s pretty much what you get with a “white flash” camera and that’s how you get to see the full color images.

SOURCE: http://www.trailcampro.com/collections/shop-trail-cameras/products/reconyx-hyperfire-hc550

Low-Glow/Standard Infrared (IR) Flash

Now it starts to get a little more complex, because we’re going to step outside the range of “visible light” and move into the infrared range.  For cameras that fall into the “low-glow” or “standard” infrared (IR) category, it’s reasonable to suggest that most of these cameras measure around 850 nanometers.

Now, even though these camera flashes technically fall in the “Infrared” category, they are still close enough to the red in the “visible light” range that (A) if someone is looking in the general direction of the LED bulbs when it takes a nighttime image they will see a “low red glow” and (B) the flash still generates enough illumination to take a reasonably good nighttime images.

Obviously, you sacrifice the color of the images here since you are using a flash outside of the spectrum found in the “visible light” range, but you are still getting a reasonably crisp image without the “flash of lightning” effect you get with a white flash camera.

Bucks IR

 

Invisble/No Glow/Black Flash

As we discuss this type of flash, it is worth noting that it still falls within the infrared light range.  It is simply further away from the “visible light” range than the low-glow infrared flash cameras.  With flashes in this category, it is reasonable to assume that most of them can be measured around 950 nanometers.

The net result of this is that the LED bulbs are not visible when taking a nighttime image, BUT in exchange for that “invisibility” you are sacrificing image quality when compared to the other types of flashes.  This is because invisible flash cameras simply do not illuminate the subject matter as much as the other two.

In this image below, if you look back up to the one we used for the “low-glow” images you’ll notice that the image captured by the “invisible flash” camera is a little grainier and has a little more “white noise.”  They are both still good images, but you can see that one is a little clearer than the other.

Bucks Black Flash

 

Speed Matters

Now, we could get into a long dissertation about the impact that SHUTTER SPEED has on trail camera images, but for today we’ll just provide you with a few quick notes and save the essay on “shutter speeds” for another day.

In this context we only want to relate shutter speed to the amount of light that is available for capturing images.  So here goes: the more light you have available, the faster the shutter speed can be.  The less light/illumination you have available, the slower the shutter speed must be.

Basically that means this: during the day you have enough light for the shutter speeds to be super-fast and capture cool images of deer jumping and birds flying.  This is why most of the cool action shots we see in trail cam pics are daytime pics.

Crows BTC

 

It also means that as you move further away for the visible light range with your flash (i.e From 700 nanometers to 850 nanometers to 950 nanometers…), the shutter speed must slow down to allow enough light inside the camera to capture nighttime photos.  In layman’s terms, as you move from a white flash to a low glow IR flash to an invisible flash, you are increasing the likelihood of blurred images because the shutter speeds needs to slow down.  While this example isn’t horribly blurred, it still demonstrates that the illumination from an invisible flash camera accompanied by the slower shutter speed, doesn’t always give you the cleanest image in the world.

buck

 

What Do I Really Need to Remember?

Well, here is the gist of it, starting with the very basic premise that there are two types of trail camera pictures: daytime pictures and nighttime pictures.

Beyond that, based simply on game cameras, there are 3 types of nighttime images: those taken with a white flash, those taken with a standard/low-glow IR flash, and those taken with an invisible/black flash.

So if we take those four types of images and rank them based on potential quality of the images based on the lighting, they would be ranked as follows:

  1. Daytime Images
  2. White Flash Images
  3. Low Glow/Standard IR Images
  4. Invisible/Black Flash Images

Obviously, there can be a lot more depth to the discussion on flashes and nanometers and shutter speeds and everything else that leads to the trail camera pictures you find on your SD cards, but hopefully this gives you a little bit more of a foundation for understanding why some of the pictures you find on your SD cards look the way they do and helps you with you game planning when it comes to where you put your different types of trail cameras!

 

Tom Rainey

Tom Rainey has been with Browning Trail Cameras ever since they were introduced at retail and enjoys hunting everything from squirrels to whitetail deer…but his obsession is turkey hunting.  His grandfather purchased him a Belgium Browning 20-Gauge A-5 prior to his birth and he has been a fan of the Browning brand ever since…

5 Tips For Capturing Unique Trail Camera Photos

July 24th, 2016 by BTC Editor

Wood Duck drake and hen taken by #BrowningCameras Recon Force

 

Using trail cameras to scout for wildlife can be rewarding in more ways than one. The most obvious reason to use a trail camera is to pattern and age deer so you have a better idea of where to hunt and which deer you would like to harvest. Aside from hunting purposes, my favorite use of a trail camera is just to get good, unique pictures of a variety of different wildlife. Targeting a specific species and getting quality pictures at the same time can often be challenging, but I have a few tips I’d like to pass along that have helped me get some interesting shots

  1. Explore

Explore your property to find spots you think are unique, pretty or have a good view. Find a spot you like, hang a trail camera and see what shows up! Our property has an old rock wall that has turned out to be a neat spot for pictures. It’s not a spot that has a ton of wildlife activity, but when they do show up I love the shots that I get. Here is a shot from this spot:

 

2. Water

Animals are drawn to water. Ponds and creek crossing are a couple of my favorite spots to hang a camera because of the wide variety of animals that show up there. Creek crossings are where I tend to get the most pictures of predators like bobcats, foxes, and coyotes. Turkeys and deer often show up there as well, making for some great photos.

A pond is my favorite location in late winter and early spring to get pictures of waterfowl. A pond setup can be tricky, but placing a camera in front of logs or big rocks that stick up out of the water is what worked best for me, as the ducks seemed to hang out on those quite often.

 

3. Details

Pay attention to what will be in both the background and foreground of your photos. When trying to get beautiful pictures this is just as important as the wildlife species you’re targeting. For example, tall weeds or plants in front of the camera will block the view of the wildlife and can cause the camera to trigger when the wind blows, getting multiple pictures of just the weeds.

The weeds in the photo below get out of control really quickly in the summer and spring months and have to be mowed down often when putting trail cameras in this spot.

One of my favorite cameras, the Browning Spec Ops Full HD, has a 2” color view screen that can not only be used to view photos & videos in the field, it can also be used as a “live view” while positioning your camera. This helps ensure the images turn out how I envision them and keeps me from having to reposition the camera over and over again to get the shots I want.

 

4. Accessorize

A camera tree mount is worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting good quality photos. Having a perfect tree to hang a camera on is not always an option.  The Browning Trail Cameras Tree Mounts really help with positioning the camera and getting that perfect camera angle, especially when your only spot to hang a camera is in a crooked tree.

 

5. Experiment

Getting great trail camera photos will often require a lot of experimentation. Utilize the different options available on your cameras and play around with it until you figure out what works best for your setup and for the species you’re targeting.

For turkeys, I’ve found that I love the Rapid-Fire mode on my Browning Recon Force, which takes a burst of 8 images in 2 seconds. It helped capture some neat shots of them spreading their wings and flying.

 

Timelapse mode is great for watching larger areas, like fields and food plots. In such a big open area the wildlife may not always walk right by your camera and set off the trigger, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Timelapse mode will take a picture at set intervals (every 10 seconds, for example), allowing you to watch the animals that may be too far away to trigger your camera. This can help you decide where you would like to place a camera next to get more up close shots of the wildlife. Images from timelapse mode can be viewed quickly and easily, as all Browning Trail Cameras include the Buck Watch Timelapse Viewer Plus software that allows you to view a full day of activity in minutes.

Trail cameras are a great scouting tool, but don’t overlook how fun they can be even when there is no hunting season open! Getting photos of bobcats, foxes, waterfowl and turkeys in the spring and summer can be just as rewarding as getting photos of a nice buck in the fall. Plus, it extends your time outdoors and gives you something to do while waiting for deer season to come around again. It can be difficult at times, but it’s worth it when you get that one in a million shot.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting unique trail camera photos? Share them with us by leaving a comment!

Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys turkey hunting, deer hunting and bowhunting. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.