Choosing The Best Trail Camera For Your Needs
If you’ve ever spent a whole day (or days) sitting in a deer stand and not seen a single deer mature enough to shoot, you know what real frustration is. You also know how valuable a trail camera can be. Trail cameras help you scout areas for hunting before you put up a deer stand and without wasting precious hunting time. More and more hunters see trail cameras as absolutely essential to scouting and hunting. So, how do you choose the best trail camera for your needs? This article will give you an overview of the features to look for in your trail camera.
First of all, you’ll need to decide whether you want infrared or incandescent flash for night image captures. If your purpose is hunting and studying game movement and patterns, you’ll most likely want an infrared flash. The only light from an IR flash is the tiny red light that blinks on and off when the camera takes a picture of video. Animals may see or hear this, but it’s very unobtrusive and won’t spook them.
A trail camera with an incandescent flash is great if you’re getting the camera for home surveillance or to scare animals away from an area, say a garden. The flash is similar to a normal digital camera’s flash. Unlike with an IR flash, you’ll get full color photos that are crisp and pleasing to the eye. However, a person walking through can also see the flash and may stop to steal your camera. IR flash cameras may not make very pretty pictures, but the pictures are good enough to tell you what you need to know about a doe or buck. Furthermore, they’re much more discreet and won’t risk changing your game’s patterns by scaring it away.
Next up in your hunt for the right trail camera, you need to look at detection zone, resolution, and lens. The detection zone specification on a trail camera tells you how wide and deep the area is for your camera’s motion detection sensor. This is one of the most important things to look at in choosing a trail camera. If your detection zone is too narrow and shallow, you could have a serious trophy buck walk by, just out of range, and you’d never know it.
Resolution and lens quality are important for pretty obvious reasons. If your camera’s sensor goes off, but you can’t tell what you’re looking at because the picture is grainy, blurry, or overly pixelated, you’ve got a pretty worthless picture. You need to be able to see what you’re looking at and whether it’s a trophy buck or something that’s not worth your time.
Battery life and memory capacity are also incredibly important in a trail camera. You don’t want to put a camera out with fully charged batteries only to come back and find out it died after only a day or two. It’s equally frustrating to come back to your camera to find that it has plenty of battery life, but it ran out of memory after just a few days. Look for a trail camera with the capability to use a thirty-two gigabyte memory card. You can buy a memory card with less room if you want, but this way you’ll have the option.
Finally, look for a trail camera with a built-in viewer. It’s not absolutely necessary, but think about it. You’ve been waiting impatiently to see if you’ve picked a good spot to hang your deer stand. You drive out to the property, hike into the woods, and retrieve your camera. Are you really going to want to wait until you get all the way home to look at those photos after you download them on your computer? Don’t torture yourself; get a camera that’ll give you a little preview of what you’re going to see when you get home.