Trail cameras (aka game cameras or wildlife cameras) are crucial tools for wildlife tracking and hunting. These devices, activated by motion, capture images and videos of wildlife, providing invaluable data like population density, sex ratio, and more.
How to Use Deer Cameras
Deer camera surveys are typically done either before or after deer season. Preseason surveys are advantageous in fawn identification but come with the challenge of competing with native food and changing buck behavior. Postseason surveys attract deer more easily and show surviving deer, but distinguishing fawns and bucks can be challenging.
For equipment, one game camera per 100 acres is recommended for medium-sized properties (up to 1,000 acres), and 4-5 cameras per 160 acres for larger ones. Rotate these every 10-14 days across the property. Use a map or aerial photo to mark a grid of 100-160 acre blocks for camera placement. Label each block and program your cameras to tag photos accordingly. Record GPS waypoints when moving cameras.
For trail camera placement, concentrate on areas heavily frequented by deer, such as natural funnels and water sources. Pre-bait for 7-10 days using 50-150 pounds of corn placed 12-20 feet from the camera. Adjust the hunting camera's aiming spot above the bait to avoid capturing small animals and face it north or south to prevent glare. Clear any obstructions and set a 5-10 minute time delay between captures. Once traffic is steady, run the survey for 10-14 days, replenishing bait as needed. Ensure baiting is legal in your state.
After the survey, count all identifiable bucks, does, and fawns in your photos. For bucks, count total and unique individuals using body and antler traits. For does and fawns, count total numbers. Calculate population factors by dividing unique bucks by total bucks, then multiplying by total does and fawns for unique estimates. Apply a correction factor (1.11 for a 14-day survey or 1.18 for a 10-day survey) to adjust for uncaptured deer. You can also count the population density, sex ratio, fawn recruitment rate, and buck age structure. Repeat annually for trend monitoring.
As you can see, to conduct a survey, you’ll need quite a lot of trail cams. So be sure to check trail cameras on sale on GRITR Sports.
About Cellular Trail Cameras
Cellular trail cameras (wifi trail cameras or wireless trail cameras) are a type that sends photos, videos, or alerts straight to your phone or email in real-time. This technology, which allows you to scout remotely, significantly enhances hunting strategies and increases the chances of a successful hunt. Moreover, it reduces human interference in wildlife habitats as there's no need to physically check the game camera.
However, ethical concerns arise about potentially giving hunters an unfair advantage and violating fair chase principles. Real-time updates from trail cams could reduce the skill and effort traditionally needed for hunting, shifting the focus to technology over personal ability. There are also worries about disturbance to wildlife. Some U.S. states have legislated against trail camera use for hunting, with restrictions varying from total bans during certain periods, to restrictions on public lands or specific types of cameras.
Can trail cameras be used at night?
Yes, most trail cameras have infrared flash technology to capture images at night without disturbing the animals.
Are trail cameras legal?
Laws vary by location. Some places restrict the use of trail cameras during certain times of the year or for certain purposes. Always check local regulations before setting up a trail camera.
Can trail cameras be used for home security?
Yes. Trail cams come with features such as motion-sensing, night vision, long-life batteries, and the ability to record photos and videos, which make them suitable for monitoring property. Cellular cams can provide data in real-time. However, it's always important to comply with local laws and regulations when using these devices.