Trail camera

#3
Having run a few trail cameras for a while I can give some general advice:

Don't get caught up with marketing relating to the number of pixels etc. as the image is to show you what is there, not to produce a picture to hang on the wall and higher megapixel sensors tend to be less light sensitive. Reconyx, who are generally viewed as making the best trail cameras if you have an unlimited budget, are still at 3MP cameras.

Have realistic expectations - generally speaking a trail camera works best from 20 - 40 feet so you need the deer to be at that sort of range. This requires you to do some thinking about positioning and where the deer will be.

Aiming is important - you can't just throw a camera out and hope the sensor is pointing in the right direction as some have quite narrow detection angles, especially if you've tilted it slightly up or down, and so you will miss a lot of stuff.

The sensing is the key - all cameras miss some potential triggers but some are a lot more prone to it than others plus the speed at which they trigger is also important and the faster the better. Again be careful of cameras quoting fast triggers until you establish that the figure applies at night etc. as some were quoting very respectable trigger times but it turned out they were only capable of this in daytime and their night time trigger time was very many seconds meaning any deer were long gone before the camera took an image.

If you want lots more info that you can ever cope with then take a look around the chasing game forum as these people live for trail cameras:

Index page - Chasingame.com discussion forum
 
#4
interesting comments. I have been tjinking of buying one recently as I have a dog using my fully enclosed back garden as its toilet for the last six months!!! Interested to see where it is getting in.
 

ndjfb00

Well-Known Member
#6
Another consideration when placing your camera is to be aware of where the sun moves across the scene, if your camera is pointing into a setting sun you'll never get those dusk time deer feeding images, no matter how good the camera claims to be. I've used frozen chopped apples to bring in deer and get some stunning imagery. My trail cam has a sim card on board which sends me batt condition alerts and images if I wish.
 
#10
Which are invisible at night? What I mean is no give away LED or some such thing.
They all use a form of LED flash to light up the scene for night photos. Some have LEDs closer to the visible spectrum, some have LEDs less close to what your eyes can see. However,in really dark conditions they all seem to produce some sort of dim red glow and certainly the deer can see it. I often use my cameras in video mode and have seen deer look at the camera and then run. I also notice that when a camera goes out I might get lots of triggers on the first day, maybe hundreds in a high use area, but that over time this reduces to only one or two triggers per day after maybe 5 days or so, it is very wary sika I'm looking at.

I have one of the low glow type cameras and one of the "no glow" type and they both modify deer behaviour based on the deer being aware they are there.
 
#11
They all use a form of LED flash to light up the scene for night photos. Some have LEDs closer to the visible spectrum, some have LEDs less close to what your eyes can see. However,in really dark conditions they all seem to produce some sort of dim red glow and certainly the deer can see it. I often use my cameras in video mode and have seen deer look at the camera and then run. I also notice that when a camera goes out I might get lots of triggers on the first day, maybe hundreds in a high use area, but that over time this reduces to only one or two triggers per day after maybe 5 days or so, it is very wary sika I'm looking at.

I have one of the low glow type cameras and one of the "no glow" type and they both modify deer behaviour based on the deer being aware they are there.
My Mrs got me one, the only way i can see it is through my night vision If I go past it! Don't understand why you would get anything else bar invisible, easy to see and easier to pinch!
 
#12
My Mrs got me one, the only way i can see it is through my night vision If I go past it! Don't understand why you would get anything else bar invisible, easy to see and easier to pinch!
I think not all measures of invisible are equal - I have two Bushnell and they are both infrared and so, in theory, are outside of normal human vision but one is marketed as "low glow" and one as "no glow" in the sense that one is further into the infra red than the other. If I put them somewhere very dark and let my eyes adapt etc. then it is easy to see the glow from one of them and just about possible to detect a glow from the other. You are right however in practical terms in the sense that I need to be 2 feet from them to see the glow. Deer certainly see them, even at distance, especially if used in video mode where the LEDs are on for maybe 60 seconds. I'm pretty certain that most cameras are, at any sensible distance, practically invisible to humans but deer do see them and they do avoid them. I can't remember my figures now but I put a camera out in a high use area as an experiment and I think I posted the numbers here but on day 1 there were hundreds of triggers and by day 4 or 5 it was down to single digit numbers of triggers and I see this pattern repeated anywhere I put a camera. Interestingly pine martens, foxes and badgers seem much less wary of the camera but sika hate it.

Can your mobile phone see the glow from them? I think Apple have infra red filters in their iPhones but most other mobiles can usually see well into the infra red.

Interestingly in the US for still images some people prefer visible light flash and they maintain that it doesn't startle the deer at all plus, as you would expect, it gives great image quality. There used to be companies making "white light flash" cameras but I don't know if that is still the case but some US trail camera fans were making homebrew ones.
 

Orion

Well-Known Member
#13
It’s a trade off. Some will have an IR signature visible to the human eye as a red glow from the LED emitter - generally around the 850nm wavelength. Most animals don’t seem too bothered by it unless it’s a fox that’s become IR shy from bitter experience! The ‘no glow’ models will be above the 900nm spectrum, usually around 940nm, but if you look at the specs the illumination range tends to be reduced, sometimes considerably - a 30-40% drop is common.
 

Scotty99

Well-Known Member
#14
I bought a CamPark on for £50. It's pretty good can take high definition pics and 1080p video both day and IR at night. It says it's effective range is 20M but I think this refers to daytime, it seems to be about 10-15M at night. its a pretty good spec and reasonable quality for the money.
 

Silvius

Well-Known Member
#16
Of those that I have one Crenova one broke after a week, 2 lasted well. My Spypoint is a good camera when it comes to not missing stuff but it has poor resolution and no play back screen -which is annoying. I have a Spypoint cellular camera that works pretty well but is expensive and needs expensive lithium batteries to hold charge long. My Victure one was probably the best value for money.

Battery life is quite important if you don't want to be hassled by changing them all the time. Trigger time and sensitivity is important. Seeing the back leg of a deer only or a blank picture is frustrating. You want it to trigger effectively but not get excited by a fern in the background on a windy day.

The way deer look straight at the camera at night means the flash is not invisible to them but I think the territorial deer species probably get used to as it is in their area constantly it and it doesn't make too much odds.
 
#17
Don't buy the cheaper ones on ebay, HT100 I believe, can see the ir like a red beacon, eats batteries and no screen to preview also will not set a correct time either by computer or remote, I know as given one for Christmas but have managed this. 20 yards from the house

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#18
The way deer look straight at the camera at night means the flash is not invisible to them but I think the territorial deer species probably get used to as it is in their area constantly it and it doesn't make too much odds.
I find that it has a huge impact on sika, triggers go from hundreds per day to basically none in a matter of a few days and with stags it is very, very rare that I see a stag more than once in pictures or video.

This is a daylight example which shows just how wary they can be - in this case it isn't clear from the video but in the foreground I had put out some eggs, peanuts etc. for the pine martens and this appears to be what attracted the wee stag in as he is clearly getting wind of them, you can see how wary he is of the small patch of strange stuff on the ground. If you watch carefully however he eventually spots the camera on the tree and after this he decides to leave the area. The effect when they see the glow from the camera in the pitch dark is similar or even much more marked and my experience is that within a few days all the deer will avoid the area and they don't seem to just "get used to it" as the number of triggers never recovers beyond the occasional passing deer. Just as with this deer my experience is that they often don't run away in panic, they often study the situation and slowly move off never to return.

 
#19
I find that it has a huge impact on sika, triggers go from hundreds per day to basically none in a matter of a few days and with stags it is very, very rare that I see a stag more than once in pictures or video.

This is a daylight example which shows just how wary they can be - in this case it isn't clear from the video but in the foreground I had put out some eggs, peanuts etc. for the pine martens and this appears to be what attracted the wee stag in as he is clearly getting wind of them, you can see how wary he is of the small patch of strange stuff on the ground. If you watch carefully however he eventually spots the camera on the tree and after this he decides to leave the area. The effect when they see the glow from the camera in the pitch dark is similar or even much more marked and my experience is that within a few days all the deer will avoid the area and they don't seem to just "get used to it" as the number of triggers never recovers beyond the occasional passing deer. Just as with this deer my experience is that they often don't run away in panic, they often study the situation and slowly move off never to return.

Just out of interest, does it make a noise when it's triggered? Mine's completely silent and like I said the IR to the naked eye is invisible. If there's a noise when it's triggered that might put them off? I think mine was 60 odd quid off Amazon but she did some research first before buying. No noise, no light and you can change everything like trigger settings, camera or video timers and sensitivity. You can set the video length aswell which is handy. I've put 8 double a batteries in it and up to now are still reading full and it's been out 3 weeks or so?
 
#20
Just out of interest, does it make a noise when it's triggered?
It doesn't make a noise that I can hear, I often wondered about that as well but after studying things for a while the only conclusion I can come to is that the deer can see the IR or, in this daylight example, they see the camera and simply don't like it. I can't think if they react less to my "no glow" camera compared to the "low glow" one and I was also given to believe that deer are missing vision in the red part of the spectrum and so should be least sensitive to red, however my experience is this doesn't apply to infrared.

All cameras (that I know of) have a filter that moves in front of the lens to switch between day and night mode and this movement can make a slight noise but the Bushnell cameras only move the filter twice per day so nothing moves in the camera when it takes an image.

Bushnell quote a 1 year battery life and my experience is that this is correct, even when I've used the camera in a sort of "timelapse" mode as part of a little experiment I was carrying out - at that point it was taking an image every minute though it didn't run in timelapse mode for a whole year or anything close to it but it was doing it for maybe a few weeks at a time. I've just looked and the two cameras have produced over 120,000 images or videos in the time I've had them, again not all of those will be active triggers as I was using them in a sort of timelapse mode for a little while.
 

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