Trail Camera Missing

Big Sky Guy

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Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
262
I’ve been using trail cameras on public land sparingly here in Montana for several years. I accept the risk and was honestly surprised it took over 3 years to have my first camera stolen. I’ve had people mess with them in the past and I always took that as a sign to take it down and move on.

This post isn’t to share my disappointment (I only use $30 camofire cameras) as little money was lost, it’s an accepted risk and I’m not really even upset with whoever told it. It’s always a thrill for me to check it in the spring to see what was in there over the winter so I didn’t get to experience that, o well.

I just wanted to share this to see how you think they got the trail camera off the tree. I don’t use cable locks, but instead have used wire and then twisted it tight. While not as much protection as a cable, it requires pliers or wire cutters to get it off. My thought process has always been if someone really wants to take it down they can hike back in with cable/bolt cutters and the same thing with wire (although there is probably a higher chance of people carrying a multi tool with them than cable cutters).

Regardless, what has me perplexed is that the wire was in tact and seemingly not even bent much. These photos show the back side where the wire was twisted and the front where the camera was.

I am left to think they busted/sawed through the plastic loop holes that the wire went through. Any other possibilities I’m missing? I’ll probably forego using wire, since it didn’t seem to help ha.
 

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Carnage2011

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
1,365
Location
Whitehall, MT
I’ve been using trail cameras on public land sparingly here in Montana for several years. I accept the risk and was honestly surprised it took over 3 years to have my first camera stolen. I’ve had people mess with them in the past and I always took that as a sign to take it down and move on.

This post isn’t to share my disappointment (I only use $30 camofire cameras) as little money was lost, it’s an accepted risk and I’m not really even upset with whoever told it. It’s always a thrill for me to check it in the spring to see what was in there over the winter so I didn’t get to experience that, o well.

I just wanted to share this to see how you think they got the trail camera off the tree. I don’t use cable locks, but instead have used wire and then twisted it tight. While not as much protection as a cable, it requires pliers or wire cutters to get it off. My thought process has always been if someone really wants to take it down they can hike back in with cable/bolt cutters and the same thing with wire (although there is probably a higher chance of people carrying a multi tool with them than cable cutters).

Regardless, what has me perplexed is that the wire was in tact and seemingly not even bent much. These photos show the back side where the wire was twisted and the front where the camera was.

I am left think they busted the plastic loop holes that the wire went through. Any other possibilities I’m missing? I’ll probably forego using wire, since it didn’t seem to help ha.
They busted the plastic holes where the cable runs through. Straps and cables are easy to spot on trees.
 

dirtclod Az.

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
2,746
A multi-tool would have no problem snapping those plastic loops off the back of the camera case.
I would probably go the extra step and use cables.
Good luck to you.💥
 

Big Sky Guy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
262
A multi-tool would have no problem snapping those plastic loops off the back of the camera case.
I would probably go the extra step and use cables.
Good luck to you.💥
I guess I don’t follow how cable will help, the cable would go through the plastic loops too. I might forego using straps since that is what makes them more visible?
 

Nameless Range

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Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
4,433
Location
Western Montana
Sorry that happened. A guy with a Leatherman could probably break that wire no problem.

I had two cameras stolen over the winter. Pretty amazing because I put them in places that you either need to ski or snowshoe to the four months they were up. My best guess is it was folks who were trapping. I’m also pretty sure I caught one of the individuals on camera who stole one of them because I had a camera 100 yards away and caught a guy walking up but couldn’t be sure.

You are right that it isn’t a terrible financial loss most of the time, but there is something about the blood boiling nature of thieves that makes me understand the removal of limbs or appendages in some cultures. I spent a fair amount of time fuming and daydreaming about setting up cameras with a second hidden camera surveilling them just so I can catch the thieves, and probably not kill them, but maybe remove one of their appendages.
 

Steve Petersen

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2020
Messages
210
I’ve had hunters mess with my cameras over my bear baits. Even caught a bear poacher lasted year on one. I do use metal security boxes on them. I also use 5-4” heavy thread masonry screws to hold the boxes onto the tree. Just 2 screws can hold my 200# weight up when standing on top of it.

I used to use heavy gauge wire wrapped around the tree 3-4 times. My worry was someone breaking he loops off. Nevertheless a gunshot or rock smashed into the front is still something I’m waiting to find.
It sucks that people have no respect for others property.
 

Wallydeuce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
1,015
Location
NV
I know exactly how you feel Nameless Range. I had 5 cameras up, 2 were borrowed and all but 1 were well hidden in relatively remote trails. Yup, the 2 borrowed and 1obvious were stolen. It cost $330 to replace the borrowed ones. My first reaction was more sadness than anger believing that a fellow sportsman would stoop so low. Shame on me for being so damn naive. Two years later I would just settle for those scumbag's thumbs.
 

Hilljackoutlaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
3,890
I've had over a dozen stolen and to many SD cards to count. Everyone has been stolen during shed hunting season. Financially it is what it is, but it sucks. I mark all my cameras with permanent marker and actually recovered one of my stolen cams about a half mile from where it was stolen where the guy hung it up. Now I hang it with an NRS strap around the front of it cause the plastic was busted where the strap goes.
 

Irishman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
166
Location
Kalispell, Montana
I've had several stolen too. Not much you can do to stop it. If someone really wants it, they can get it, cables and security boxes aren't going to stop them. Best thing is to make them hard to see, no straps etc. The further you are away from a road the less likely anyone will ever find them, and the less likely they are to steal them if they do find them.
 

Grepgaston

New member
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
23
Pisses me off! There’s obviously jack holes out there that DONT DESERVE TO HAVE ACCESS TO PUBLIC LAND!! They demonstrate that they have Zero respect for others. The worst of it is it is usually these type aholes who give ALL hunters a bad rep. They’re the minority thank goodness but still bums me out. If I find someone’s camera, I back out, preferably without even triggering the camera. Don’t really want a “Selfie” on some strangers trail cam! These buffoons probably just used a simple multi tool to cut the wire. I doubt they would put in the effort to hike out to their rig, then @all that way” back to steal your camera? This stuff just chaps my behind! Sorry for your loss and negative experience that these jerks brought upon you
 

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