Thankful Outdoors: Trail Camera Tips

trail camera tips

Scott Shares Outdoor Trail Camera Tips

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – In my mid-twenties, the popular movie American Pie was released. That movie forever has changed the phrase “One-time,” which automatically in my mind is followed by the words “in band camp.” It has been 22 years since that has been released, and I still find that scene comical; yes, I’m childish at heart.

That word time will always trigger thoughts about memories or make me wonder how much time I have left on this rock. As I was driving around town the other day, daydreaming about the outdoors, I glanced over to the cemetery as I saw a family surrounding a loved one that they were saying goodbyes.

As I continued my drive back to the office, I wondered if any of those loved ones had regrets of not saying how much they had cared or loved the person who was no longer with them. It leads me to think about if today was my last day, would I regret not telling somebody how I felt?

trail camera bobcatYou may wonder what the heck does any of this have to do with the outdoors? One of the most significant technological advancements in the outdoor world was developing what is referred to as trail cameras. This device has been used for decades to capture a moment in time!

The idea of trail cameras started in simple concepts; early ancestors would put branches or twigs across trails to see if they would get broken; it was an indicator that the path was used. This overtime had developed into a watch device that would stop keeping time when triggered.

Technology continued to develop into what we have today with devices that will capture time, moon phase, temperature and send the image directly to cell phones. This device that was created to capture a moment in time has allowed hunters to pattern wildlife activity.

When I think of the name trail camera, I can’t help but think, isn’t it more than just a camera used on trails? How about a rename of these units to call them time catchers or memory freeze units? Yeah, I guess trail camera sounds way better!

Let me share some tips with you for the placement and use of trail cameras so that you can have the best chance of capturing that perfect moment in time.

Eight Tips For Trail Camera Use:

  1. Test your equipment at home. Check batteries, memory card, settings, and test shots.
  2. Format your SD cards; often, the biggest failure happens due to a lack of maintenance on the SD cards.
  3. Avoid obstructions. A branch in front of your camera will set it off in the wind, block the flash at night, and otherwise block great photos of wildlife.
  4. Don’t aim at the sun. Aim your camera north or south. If you point it east or west, you’re going to get glare from the sun.
  5. Pick an optimal distance. The camera should be about 10 yards from where you expect the animals to be.
  6. Check your camera angle. Take some test shots with yourself in the frame. Stand where you expect the animals to be.
  7. Double-check your camera. Before you walk away, make 100% sure that your SD card is loaded, your camera is on.
  8. Not a requirement, but it has helped improve long-term results. I buy two SD cards per camera. They are marked and only used in that camera.

Some think the use of these cameras is unfair chase; I have many examples to prove otherwise. Honestly, those darn devices have been vain of frustration. They were building up hopes and dreams only to have the critters outsmart me.

I still enjoy using these cameras to capture moments in time; it excites me knowing that I had picked the right location to capture that animal in its element during that half a second.

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website www.thankfuloutdoors.com or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.