13 ways to take better pictures from deer cameras


It’s not that hard these days to get convenient photos from white dollar trail cameras. The cameras have improved a lot and we know a lot more about how to get deer to pose in front of them now than when technology was new. As a result, we can collect “hit list” and “shoot / do not shoot” guides based on our camera photos. And when we succeed, the stories we tell these days usually come with a summary of the full dollar story, complete with the support of camera photos.

So yes, we have become very good at it. But you can always improve, right? If taking more high-quality photos with less effort and hassle sounds good to you, follow the instructions below to get your trail-cam game out of enough to “Oh, god!” in the months before the fall hunting season.

1. Ik nga dielli

picture of white tail
The face of this dollar is well lit from the front because the camera is pointing away from the sun. Courtesy of Browning Trail cameras

My friend and owner of Red Dog Outfitters Tim Clark is convinced of the camera direction positioning. “Never face a camera directly to the east or west if you are not willing to completely sacrifice morning (east) or evening (west) photos, at least in daylight,” he says. And now we have the solstice, so the sun will set further south every day. Whenever I can cheat a camera on the north side of an installation, I get it. “Nothing drives me crazy more than taking a picture of a deer with a big body, and I can not look at the shelf because the sun has blown the picture.” Avoiding the sun will also reduce those empty poses where the camera was simply turned on by the heat.

2. Push your battery contacts

If your cameras are more than a year old, they have spent some time in the weather, enduring heat, cold, humidity, etc. All of this exposure can oxidize the battery contacts and result in a poor connection that will jeopardize the camera performance. Before setting up my veteran cameras for another season, use a handful of Scotch-Brite blocks and lightly wipe the battery contacts inside each camera.

3. Keep flaws out

relaxing

If it has never occurred to you that ants colonize your camera, you are missing out on one of nature’s great wonders. The way these little creatures can penetrate almost waterproof seals, crawl into every crevice, and lay eggs in places that contradict the description is truly impressive. Sadly, this invasion can also redden your circuit board and make a great piece of technology essentially worthless. On a happy note, you can prevent this by simply adding a drying sheet to the inside of your camera. If the space is narrow, you do not need the whole sheet, just cut a small piece with scissors and place it in a corner. The more fragrant the leaf, the better (I prefer “Bounce Outdoor Fresh” for its stubborn bouquet) and, if you are worried about the deer scaring you from the scent, do not. I have lots of pictures of nannies sticking their noses up to a lens, apparently inhaling scents from my dryer sheet.

4. Wipe your camera eyes

If you wear glasses, you are likely to clean your lenses at least once, if not several times, every day. Nothing is more irritating than trying to see lines, stains and water droplets, right? Well, it only makes sense to treat the rear camera lenses similarly. After all, it is there crashing from the rain and exploding from the dust on a 24/7 basis. Not only do I completely erase the camera lens – sensors and flash unit – at the beginning of the season, but I also carry lens napkins with me while I visit to check my cameras. Clean cameras are not only more sensitive, they just take better pictures.

5. Spit on a stick (heavy, yes, but it works)

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A white tail flap sniffs one of Marum’s sticks. Ted Marum

In a world where mineral slaps and bait piles are increasingly taboo, trail-cam users need to get creative and I can always count on my friend and white-tailed expert Ted Marum to do just that. One of Teddy’s favorite tricks is to simply block a stick on a cut road, or at the intersection of several deer trails, and train a camera on it. Before leaving, Ted spits in his palm and rubs it up and down the stick. “Every dollar that walks on that road or path will stop and smell that stick,” he says. “I have a lot of pictures of them not only smelling that stick, but licking it themselves and coming back to do it whenever they are on that trail.”

6. Hang ‘Em High

Many deer, including some old, massive money, are quite gentle around the track cameras, but let’s face it; we have all had that endless money that raged when a flash (even an IR) ignited. This usually happens in a place where the deer is stretched (a mineral lick, bait pile or mocking scratch), as burning is not a one-time event and constant exposure finally makes the deer desolate. You can largely eliminate this by hanging your cameras 5 to 6 feet high and pointing them down to the point of focus (which you can achieve simply by leaving a little stuck in the camera belt and blocking a stick behind it). While money can still see the flash, it is definitely not that disturbing. My theory of work here is that deer quite often see light sources over their head (lightning, planes, stars, etc.) but a flashing light a few feet away from the nose? Not that much.

7. Charge with lithium

batteries

Sure, gasoline prices are ridiculous and food bills make us groan, but this is not the time to start saving on camera batteries. It is true that you can save a few dollars by buying cheap alkaline batteries, but trust me, it is not worth it. Cough a little more for lithium batteries like Energizer Ultimate Lithium, which will just last longer and power your cameras better and more efficiently. Save cheap stuff for your baby’s most annoying toys!

8. Make camera visits more predictable.

While it is generally a good idea to keep cameras away from sensitive points such as bed areas, it is not always possible, especially when money is spent near food sources (common in summer). The trick here is to drive as close as possible to your truck or ATV at the same time at noon, on a regular schedule. These predictable visits condition money in your presence and quickly become routine for them, especially on farm locations where vehicles are a normal part of deer daily life. Tim Clark takes things a step further, as he can use bait and other attractions in his summer destinations. “I study the photos and every time I see a money that hits the page after my visit, I know he is linking them to something positive,” he says. “So I make a point of coming at exactly the same time and frequency and keeping him happy in that area.”

9. Make a camera

Most of all those who know me well can testify to my disorganized nature and I spent a long time cursing myself when I forgot the tools needed to do a good job pointing the cameras at the trails. I overcame all this by mounting a camera kit that goes in my truck early in the summer and never leaves. Pack a plastic bag with extra batteries, SD card, zipper, deer scissors, scissors, a zip bag with drying sheets and as many freshly prepared and ready-made cameras as I can. Now when I visit my cameras, I’m ready to replace or opt for existing cameras as well as hit a new unit in a place where I’ve seen some good money.

10. For more photos

picture of white tail
A licking branch is all you need to get money to pose in front of the camera. Scott Bestul

Mocking scratches are some of my favorite camera sites, and I do a lot of them. But sometimes I just do not have time to create a complete scratch, or I may want to check the edges of a soybean or alfalfa field, but I do not want to damage the plants by creating a scratch. The quick and easy solution here is to simply chain a piece of grape vine (in the absence of a vine, an eroded gasket will occur) to a branch that hangs from the edge of the field. While there may be some existing branches, the money will spend more time on my vine than all the others. I do not know what magic elixir grows inside a vine, but money absolutely adore it. Hang your camera showing the vine and you will get the best money in the neighborhood. And hey, if they start a scratch there and destroy hay or beans, it’s the dollar’s fault, not yours.

11. Use desiccant to fight dew

Humidity can also compromise camera performance, and while the seal on most cameras will keep driving away from dew and rain, some locations (or cameras) simply seem more prone to moisture problems. Fight this by slipping into a dryer pack (those annoying packs you find in scratches and many other things these days) on your camera. (You can tape it to the door if you do not want it to vibrate inside). These packs can absorb up to 40 percent of their weight in moisture and help keep your camera noisy during wet conditions.

12. Leave the Trees

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You will need something other than a tree to take pictures in open areas like this. Courtesy of Browning Trail cameras

Connecting cameras to the tree is Trail Cam 101. The problem is that there is not always a tree where you want to hang a camera. Most models have a fillet mount at the bottom, however, and there are many commercial rods created specifically for cameras that can be inserted into the ground at any location. Being cheap, I had a welding friend connect bolts of suitable size to the metal rods I already had, for a fraction of the cost. I also used tripods and fence posts to mount the camera, but my masterpiece was to make a “tree” by gathering together three corn stalks on the legs and wrapping the camera belt around them. No corn plants were damaged in the process, and I took some beautiful pictures of a dollar I would never have taken from the row of trees.

13. Book SD cards

The electronics people at my local store know me well. Every time I walk through I ask them to unlock the SD card shelf so I can buy some more. I do not have an accurate count, but I easily have three times as many letters as the cameras. Not only does having an SD arsenal allow me to change them frequently during my visits, but I have learned the hard way that some cameras just do not like certain cards. I am not enough to explain this; All I know is that if I get an error message when I turn on a camera, usually the quick and easy solution is to give it another card. This is a much better solution than taking the camera home, calling customer support and getting them to fix problems – until they tell me “try inserting another SD card”. Oh and, the weird alarm: The same card rejected by one camera often works well on another.





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