By Dustin Jones
Setting out trail cameras is a way to keep hunting even when the season comes to a close. To me it is just as exciting setting one out and coming back a couple weeks later to see what it has captured. I’m like a kid on Christmas as I sit and wait in anticipation. I wanted to share with you some tips to help make sure you are getting decent pictures.
The first thing is finding a spot to put the camera. Find a well-used trail, a food plot, water hole, or just a spot that looks like it has lots of activity. There are sometimes that I have set up a trail camera on what I thought to be an awesome spot and came to find out that it was used very seldom. Look for fresh sign with lots of recent activity.
Don’t point the camera at 90° angle to the trail unless you are using a mineral lick, scrape, or bait. Majority of hunters setting out their trail camera place it on the nearest tree to the trail and set it perpendicular to the trail. This causes frustration when you go and pick up your camera because more than likely you are going to get blank pictures or partial pictures of animals. When you point the camera at a 45° angle down the trail you increase your odds of getting a shot of the entire animal versus a partial shot.
Remove any obstructions. I know that you want to hide your camera but if there are any obstructions in the way there are several things that can happen. First you will get pictures of nothing because that obstruction may be moving in the wind causing the camera to be set off. Second, whatever is obstructing the camera will be lit up by the flash whether it is an LED or white flash. The best thing to do if you don’t want people to mess with your trail camera is to invest in a security case for the camera. The last thing you want to do is spend money on the camera just to have it stolen a couple weeks later.
Lastly, pay attention to the sun. When at all possible make sure that when you set up the trail camera not to have it be pointing in the sun. Whether it is in the morning or the evening, try to make sure that the sun rises and sets behind your trail camera. This will help reduce blank images as well as wash out images. When the trail camera is facing the sun and it takes a picture, you will have an extremely white washed out image. The best thing to remember is to have your camera point to the north. The sun’s path will be slightly to the south of the trail camera if you do so and this will greatly reduce washed out images.
One thing that is always promising yet frustrating at the same time is setting up trail cameras. The promising thing is that you are able to see if there is anything moving through that area while you hunt. The frustrating part about it as well is you get to see some of the animals that come by and with my luck I’m either there a day late or a day early. But all in all it is a great way to monitor where you are hunting and it helps you try and pattern the animals. So get out there and have some fun setting up your trail camera.
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!