How To Use a Trail Camera

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Sometimes, it's easy to forget that it wasn't so long ago that I had no idea what a trail camera was.

Whenever I need a little reminder of what it was like when all things were new, I need to do nothing more than hang out with my son in the woods for a bit.

My son, Noah, is 12. He started hunting with me when he was five and got his first deer license when he was seven. He's certainly learned a lot since that time but there is still a lot he simply has not yet experienced. Whether it's understanding the purpose of a peep sight, making sense of the difference between a rub and a scrape or simply learning more about where and how to choose the locations for a treestand, the skills needed to be an effective hunter aren't something we're born with. They are lessons learned through time and experience.

With that in mind, take a look at the above video regarding trail cameras. For guys who have been in the trailcam game for several years, much of the information might seem a bit elementary. But for those hunters who are just starting to discover the magic of those battery-powered scouting tools, it's a must-watch.

And here's the funny thing. I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in trail cameras. I own a bunch of them, and I've used just about every variety available. Yet after watching the video, I learned a couple of things including an excellent tip about reserving cameras with slower trigger speeds for setups where the deer will likely be stationary (think mineral sites and scrapes -- or perhaps one of Brantley's deer feeders). It's a tip that makes perfect sense and in some ways was something I was already doing. But there is a very good point made in the video: Cameras with slower trigger speeds usually cost less. They likely will still take perfectly good photos but they don't have the level of technological sophistication as other -- more expensive -- cameras.

Which got me thinking: Why spend top dollar on a camera that I intend to use only over a mineral site? Why not think strategically about where the cameras will be used and then buy the model best suited for the task?

Many companies offer a line of cameras that range in price and feature set. Bushnell, for example, has cameras that range from about $100 in their X-8 line all the way to their excellent full-featured Trophy Cam HD units.

Moultrie's mini-cam series are, in my opinion, one of the best values in trail cameras. But if you want more features, such as 150-degree coverage, they've got a model for that as well.

I'm going to think more about where I plan to place cameras and choose one specific for that location. I'm betting I'll not only save a little cash, but also get better results overall.

 

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