The sport of hunting has been around since the beginning of time and is still practiced today for many reasons. Whether it’s to put food on the table or regulate the population of a species for future hunters, hunting will always be around generation through generation. Hunting is mostly a waiting game and requires a great amount of patience, so being in a good spot is the key. The traditional way of finding a good spot is by scouting an area for tracks, scat or asking a buddy, but that can take some time especially when there is none. You pretty much need to be everywhere at once and we know that’s not possible except with a device called a game camera. With a game camera you can easily be in multiple places at once, keep track of what is coming and going, and make sure you have the best spot for the hunt.
Game (trail) cameras are made to take pictures or video of the surrounding area without you being there or the device being noticed. It’s basically a DVR, Camera, and motions sensor put together in one. There are many kinds of systems these are the basic components of a game camera. The way it works is when an object walks by the unit the motion sensor picks up the movement and takes a snapshot of what it sees. Then it stores that image with all the others for you to review later. It does all that while being quiet and blending in with the surrounding environment. Some unit’s give you the option to stamp the time, date, and moon phase onto the image so you can not only figure out when it happened but also how the moon affects the activity of the game. Most units have a 4th element which allows you to see at night; an IR sensor. This sensor sends out a light that is invisible to humans but to cameras it’s like a flood light allowing the camera to take a great shot without spooking the hunt. There are two types of IR sensors, one emits a red light while facing the LED’s and the other one shows no signs of light. They both work exceptionally well but the unit that emits no signs of light is ideal for hunting as long as it fits your budget.
Game cameras are made to be placed at a specific height to allow for the best picture. When placing a game camera it is best to mount it about 4-8 ft. off the ground to achieve the optimal view of your area. The camera usually comes with mounting brackets to place on a tree or pole of some sort for easy installation. The reason for the specific placement is because during the day you have a better chance of tripping the PIR sensors with the hunt rather than taking a tremendous of pictures of moving branches. At night if something walks by and trips the PIR sensor, the IR illuminating lights can reach the object. The closer you are to the ground or anything to allow the light to bounce off of will give you a better picture. Placement of a game camera can be crucial to how it performs at night and day. There are also different angles at which you should point the unit. When thinking about the suns position it can have a big effect on your picture if you face it to the north so that you have minimal sun glare and proper exposure. Also when you place your camera facing a trail you want to make sure that you face it at a 45 degree angle along the trail so you can increase your action time. Sometimes the PIR sensors take a little time to wake up the camera so if you have the camera facing directly at the path you can lose the shot. Where you place your game camera can have dramatic effect on its performance and quality.
Some units can also send you pictures to your mobile device of what is happening real-time at that location. These units require a 3G cellular service and a good amount of signal for it to work. The way it works is when the unit flashes a picture of an object it packages it up in an email and sends it for you to view. Most units offer a service for the camera so that instead of receiving a vast amount of emails it stores them on a server for your viewing. This becomes useful for when you want to review all of your future and previous photos without having to look through all your emails. If you’re on a budget but still want to be able to view your cameras, they have a system when it uses Wi-Fi so you can watch what’s happening in your stop with a remote monitor up to 200′ away. This is especially useful when you are hunting close to the camera for quick action towards the hunt. You can also have multiple game cameras set up in multiple locations for best coverage of your hunting area.
With hunting being around since the dawn of time, there are bound to be some advancement on how to track and capture what you’re looking for. The advancement like the game camera can help hunter track game to find better spots and get better results. Learning how a game camera works from the inside out can give better understanding on what features you need like IR or 3G cellular service. Having good placement on a tree or pole can give you a better shot during day and night. Lastly facing the camera in the right direction can help you get the entire shot you’re looking for. Applying all of these steps can help you make your hunting days’ worth hunting for.