Five Tips for More & Better Trail Camera Photos

After five weeks of waiting, it was finally time to check the camera.  The door was flipped open and the little tell-tale button was pushed.  The display answered with a disappointing “63”.  Five weeks in the woods and only 63 pictures?  This was my first trail camera experience.  It’s a common problem among the camera crowd.  We either end up with a small amount of photos or a bunch of photos of nothing.  Over the past few years, my trail camera success has increased significantly.  Here are five great tips for getting more high quality photos on your trail camera.

Do Some Housekeeping

Small branches and brush can trigger your camera when the wind picks up.  I’ve seen thousands of photos of nothing triggered by branches and brush.  There is no way to eliminate this problem if you’re using a camera in the woods.  But by trimming back obvious branches around a camera, the likelihood of false triggers diminishes greatly. 

Point Cameras North

Glare from the sun has ruined many trail camera photos.  When cameras are pointed to the north they are never facing directly into the sun.  This will help you avoid overexposed photos.

Stay Away

Some people just can’t help themselves.  They have to check their cameras every week.  It’s like a kid sneaking a peek under the Christmas tree.  The problem is every time you walk into the woods you’re causing a disturbance.  Human scent is released and there is a good chance deer are getting bumped.  You’re essentially training deer to avoid the area.  Sure, everyone has a story of a big buck walking by the camera 20 minutes after they walk away.  But deer sightings increase significantly the longer the camera sits in the woods.  Four or five weeks is great.  If you have the patience to wait longer, even better. 

Mineral

If using mineral is legal in your area, it may be the best way to attract deer to your camera during the summer and early fall.  Bucks crave mineral during this time as they are growing antlers.  Does are tending to fawns and need supplemental nutrition as well.  A mineral site also stops deer in front of your camera.  This provides more opportunities for high quality photos.  Other hunters use feed like corn to achieve the same results.  Always check regulations before using mineral or feed.  States are constantly changing regulations on when and if it is OK to use mineral and feed.

Water

If mineral and feed is illegal in your state, water can be just as productive.  This is especially true in dry climates.  Put your camera on a water hole or create one yourself to attract deer.  Digging a kiddie pool into the ground is a superb way to make a waterhole.  Be sure to leave a branch in your pool.  This provides an escape route for field mice and other small animals that may fall into your waterhole.  

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