Photographers have been trying to capture wildlife in its natural habitat since the 1800s. The cameras photographers used then were cumbersome and activated by trip wires. Significant improvements in the late 1970s into the 1980s, led to the game camera’s we use today. Technological advancements since then have led us from using film to digital and now we even have Wi-Fi compatible cameras that send pictures to our cell phones.
Hunters use game cameras to determine the quality of game using an area, size and to pattern of game animals, on particular pieces of land. Game cameras lead to a more successful hunting season. If you use trail cams, you know what I’m talking about.
Trail monitors have such a wide variety of features, with pro and cons to each different feature. Depending on the intended purpose, some features, such as a time-lapse mode, which takes pictures periodically without having to trigger the camera’s sensor, might not be necessary.
All scouting cameras have a sensor that activates when movement or game is present within the camera’s view. The camera then takes a still picture, series of still pictures or video to record and capture the triggered event.
The main features you should look for when shopping for game cameras are the megapixels—the higher the megapixels, the better the picture—quick trigger time, speed the camera takes pictures and PIR or passive infrared. A faster trigger time means you get a better record of what set the camera off. The PIR sensor is the range in which the sensor is activated. For example, a camera with an incredibly small PIR angle means the deer or other target must be in the direct center of the camera’s lens. The wider the PIR angle, the more chance you get of catching whatever triggered the camera.
You will also need to decide if you want an infrared or incandescent camera. Infrared will not emit a visible flash that can spook game at night. Incandescent cameras will flash like a conventional camera, giving away the camera’s location and possibly scaring wildlife away, however you get a clearer picture and color nighttime photos. Infrared cameras are unable to take color pictures at night. It sounds like a tough trade off, but depending on what you want to use your camera for, color nighttime photos take priority over no flash.
Trail cams can serve multiple purposes and can be a cheaper alternative to surveillance on not just your hunting land, but your home, as well. The four best alternative uses for game cameras are security, nanny cam, hobby photography and observation/education.