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Old 05-22-2018, 10:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trail Cam Mounting and Suggestions on Placement

I just purchased a half dozen Browning Strike Force Pro HD for some scouting this season. I have had a few cameras over the years but never had much success with proper triggers and battery life, probably because they were more entry level units.

I was hoping to get some pointers from fellow Utahans on the following:

  • How high do you mount your cameras?
  • How often do you check your cameras?
  • Do you put your cameras on the watering holes only, or have you had success with placing them on busy trails?
  • Have you had theft issues?
  • Do you leave them in video mode, or picture mode? Why?
  • Any other advice?


I know my questions are pretty open ended, just looking for pointers from those who have had great success. Thanks y'all!
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cottonwood View Post
I just purchased a half dozen Browning Strike Force Pro HD for some scouting this season. I have had a few cameras over the years but never had much success with proper triggers and battery life, probably because they were more entry level units.

I was hoping to get some pointers from fellow Utahans on the following:

  • How high do you mount your cameras?
My camera is uphill from the target, so its only about 4ft off the ground.

Quote:
  • How often do you check your cameras?
Every couple weeks during the leadup through the elk rut. Last year I last checked one on Oct 17th and rechecked it mid April the following year.

Quote:
  • Do you put your cameras on the watering holes only, or have you had success with placing them on busy trails?
Both.

Quote:
  • Have you had theft issues?
No.

Quote:
  • Do you leave them in video mode, or picture mode? Why?
Video... cuz this is way more awesome than a still image:



-DallanC
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cottonwood View Post

  • How high do you mount your cameras?

3-4 feet off of the ground. Keep in mind the vegetation growth throughout the year. If you place a camera early in spring, it may be covered by grass of shrubs a month or two later.
  • How often do you check your cameras?

Every 6 weeks on average. Assuming you are placing these well off the trails... you want to keep these areas untouched for the most part, make it seem natural. Checking them too regularly puts too much unnatural presence in the area IMO.
  • Do you put your cameras on the watering holes only, or have you had success with placing them on busy trails?

Water holes, transition points, pinch points, river crossings. Animals are just as lazy as people most times. They will look for the easiest/safest moving spots.
  • Have you had theft issues?

Plan on loosing at least 30% of the cameras you place to theft, in crowded areas move that to 50-60%. No matter how remote you think your location may be, if it is on public land someone will find it.
  • Do you leave them in video mode, or picture mode? Why?

Picture mode only. If you plan on visiting in short durations video will work. Videos are fun, but they are time consuming to “review and scout”. Trying to pattern animals on hours and hours of videos gets exhausting.
  • Any other advice?

Trail cameras can be really fun. It’s like Christmas morning every time you pull the cards. Get yourself a portable card reader that can upload directly to your phone. This way you can review the pics right at the site and move the camera if needed. You then can wipe the card clean and start again.





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Old 05-22-2018, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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  • How high do you mount your cameras? I mount my cameras high, as high as I can reach and then I angle the camera lens downward. I have found that with my cameras (cheaper models) this gives the camera a little bit extra time to "wake up" and actually catch the critter in the middle of the frame. This also keeps them up out of the grass and brush as it grows throughout the summer.
  • How often do you check your cameras? Depends entirely on my schedule. I've gone anywhere from two weeks to six weeks. I tend to prefer a little longer duration, let them get a good "marinade" on them. The only drawback to a longer marinade is that when the camera malfunctions you have much larger chunks of time where you didn't get anything useful/interesting/fun to look at.
  • Do you put your cameras on the watering holes only, or have you had success with placing them on busy trails? Both, but still centered around the water hole. Some of the water holes I have put a camera over have good trees to hang a camera so I'll use them, other water holes I have put a camera on are out in the open so I put the camera on the busiest looking trail going to/from the water hole several yards into the cover.
  • Have you had theft issues? I may not have the best insight here because my cameras are primarily on private property, however, in spite of being on private property I have still had issues with vandalism. I've never had one stolen but I have had memory cards cleared and stuff bent/broken. It's a risk that should be well understood, you strap a camera on a tree and walk away. If it's still on the same tree and hasn't been screwed with when you come back to check it... you should say a quick prayer of thanks to whoever you pray to.
  • Do you leave them in video mode, or picture mode? Picture Why? My cameras are old and cheap, the video mode is terrible on them.
  • Any other advice? Pay attention to the direction that you point the camera, once I figured this out everything changed for me. If the camera is facing to the east, you could end up with washed out images in the mornings because of the sun shining directly into the lens. If the camera is facing west you could end up with washed out images in the evening. Avoid placing the camera in direct sunlight, this can cause the camera sensor to not be able to detect critters properly, I've had the most issues with this when I've had south facing cameras. I had one camera that only ever took pictures at night and I couldn't figure it out. As soon as I changed the direction of the camera from south facing and got the sensor out of direct sunlight it picked up the daytime activity. I prefer north facing camera placement with considerable amount of cover from trees to shade the sensor.
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback so far guys, some good ideas. I wouldn't have thought about the sun washing out the daytime images, that is great advice that you normally would only learn through experience, much appreciated!

Excited to see what we can find this season.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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get a steel lock box and cable if you worry about Camera theft. I guess that still isnt a guarantee but, I have never had a problem with camera vandalism.

At the very least you can put a lock and cable around the camera unit its self, I believe most cameras have holes built in them to be able to run a cable or put a lock through them.

I have lock boxes for some and if I'm setting them up on aspen trees, I have some painted to look like aspen bark same with pine trees, I have some painted up to resemble pine bark (the aspen ones are legit!)

I have also taken snare wire with a loop on each end and run it around the tree through its self, then I lock the 2 loops to the camera with the lock, that way they cannot see the memory card and if they want the camera, they will have to destroy it or cut the tree down. (jokes on them)

If I set up on a trail, I set it just off the trail facing down the trail so I have more picture taking time.

If i'm on a water hole, I'll set it back 10 yards or so, pointing over the center of the seep i place it on..

I set it on average about the hight of my eye balls and I will tilt it up or down until I get the right shot.

If I set it up on a water hole, I'll do 1 picture every 15 seconds (mostly) or a 3 round burst every 30 seconds
if I set up on a trail, I will do a 3 round burst every 30 seconds and sometimes a 3 round burst every 15 seconds depending on the trail..
it all depends on the area I'm in for me personally. I dont need to see 600 pictures of cow elk

as far as video, I dont do it only because I'm too lazy to figure it out when I get home. maybe I'll do a video this year on one of my cameras.

If I have the time, I check them every 2 weeks or so, never sooner and I try not to go over 3 weeks,

Almost all my cameras are dedicated to Elk..
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're targeting elk or if there are elk in the area you'll find that they can be as curious and as destructive to cameras as people are... same with bears.
I walked up to a camera and found it spun completely around to the other side of the tree and I was pissed that somebody had screwed with it... later while looking at the pictures I found the culprit to be not a person but a cow elk that snorted all over the lens and then nosed and head butted the camera around the tree several times.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by derekp1999 View Post
[*]Any other advice? Pay attention to the direction that you point the camera, once I figured this out everything changed for me. If the camera is facing to the east, you could end up with washed out images in the mornings because of the sun shining directly into the lens. If the camera is facing west you could end up with washed out images in the evening. Avoid placing the camera in direct sunlight, this can cause the camera sensor to not be able to detect critters properly, I've had the most issues with this when I've had south facing cameras. I had one camera that only ever took pictures at night and I couldn't figure it out. As soon as I changed the direction of the camera from south facing and got the sensor out of direct sunlight it picked up the daytime activity. I prefer north facing camera placement with considerable amount of cover from trees to shade the sensor.[/LIST]
good advice. i often look for less lite vegetation or branches that can move in the wind and false trigger on my sites. like derek, i prefer dark timber for less wind, less false triggers and more elk during the day time. i will set off the main trail a bit and use salts to bring the elk to the cam. i feel this cuts down on theft. anything you can do to camo the strap, cam or anything else you leave will help keep the two legged critters off. it also helps to put them 10' plus up in the air for the same reason. just make sure you have a good backdrop for night pics to reflect off of.

cams are fun tools and the cheap ones are less to worry about losing. i do have my number written inside and sometimes a note. i don't mind if someone views the card but i appreciate them not deleting or taking it.

good luck with your scouting season
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I position the camera on the tree, and before locking it up, I turn it on and have my kids walk around the area the camera is pointed toward to take several pictures. Sometimes they'll hold up sticks or branches to their heads to pretend they are a giant bull or buck.

Then I pull the SD card and use a SD card reader for my phone (similar to this one) to make sure the picture is what I'm after. It's really surprizing to see the first position I thought would be great often isn't ideal. Then rinse and repeat until you get the shot you are after.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by derekp1999 View Post
If you're targeting elk or if there are elk in the area you'll find that they can be as curious and as destructive to cameras as people are... same with bears.
QTF!

I have had thousands of pictures of elk noses. I always carry a few Q-Tips to clean the lenses too, stupid elk rubbing muck all over them.

Quote:
I walked up to a camera and found it spun completely around to the other side of the tree and I was pissed that somebody had screwed with it... later while looking at the pictures I found the culprit to be not a person but a cow elk that snorted all over the lens and then nosed and head butted the camera around the tree several times.
I built a ground blind near my camera one year. Built it up with brush and camo-burlap, it was nice. Came back the next week to find it completely wrecked. Burlap torn off, carried down and stomped in the mud. Camera was torn off the tree, carried down and stomped in the mud. Even had an external battery that was torn off, carried down... yup, and stomped in the mud.

I was PISSED someone would do that... later I looked through the pictures that were taken, and saw it was a cow elk that did it... she happily tore stuff off and carried it down to the wallow and stomped it in the mud.

Stupid elk.


-DallanC
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