trail camera placement

Sytes

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Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
10,622
Location
Montana
So I purhased 3 trail cameras with the locking straps and so forth. A8 Moultries - for me at the starters compromise on pricing vs picture capabilities.

I'm trying to scout out a new area that has been difficult to find them however they say when found they are pretty good size just not many elk to be found in the area. I'm trying to select 3 ravines along one ridge to try and maximize identifying their location. if not in that area after a week of running the cameras I plan to move them to another 3 ravines along another Ridge.

I do not know if this is a good strategy or not. I am searching google earth topographical and satellite views. searching for water sources and reasonably quick access so I can get in and out and move cameras.

I hope once I locate a little bit of activity I can travel up the ravine areas in hopes to find some wallows or areas that fit better opportunity to locate and work those cameras up that area. this is primarily for archery. physically, my body is a little bit limited on extensive trips to move cameras around so I am trying to make the most of what I am able to do and what the cameras will provide been searching for these elusive elk.

when you have not hiked/hunted around areas covering roughly a hundred square miles what is your strategy to locate elk preparing for the seasons ahead using game cameras or for that matter no game cameras. I suppose both would hold potential information that could assist. I certainly understand boots on the ground. and I am all for such though I do have physical limitations.
 

Muskeez

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Aug 21, 2012
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1,732
Location
NW Iowa
I can't help you in the elk dept., but from setting up cameras for whitetails I have learned a few things.
1) Try to set them up facing North if you can. Animals move more at sunrise and sunset so if your cams are faced East or West you get bad sun glare on the lens. South facing cameras will get the same glare, especially in the late fall/winter.
2) If you are setting them on trails set it up alongside the trail aiming down it one direction or the other, not off to the side of the trail aiming perpendicular to the trail. This gives the camera more time to trigger and take pics as the animal is walking toward or away from the camera. If it's set up for a side view and the animal moves through too quickly you may only get the back 1/2 of the animal in the frame.
3) Use the best batteries, Duracell in my opinion, and the cameras that use 8 AA batteries seem to last the longest. Cameras that use C batteries will drain the batteries much quicker in my opinion.
4) Get a spare SD card for each camera and just swap out cards when you go in so you don't have to stand there and view them on a reader. Test EACH of the cards at home to be sure they all work before going afield.
5) TRIPLE check that you have turned the camera to ON before closing the cover , I have forgot several times and come back to find a camera that is turned off.
6) I set my cameras to take 3 pics each time it is triggered, and only 1 second between pics if I can. If you set it at 1 minute interval between sets it is basically down and you can miss the 2nd or 3rd animal that comes through right behind the first one. SD cards will hold a ton of pictures so set them to take a lot of photos as fast as possible so that you get several angles of the animal. Often they will catch the red light and turn their head trying to figure it out. This can give you different angles of their antlers.
Have fun and good luck on finding some bulls for this fall!!
 

RUT JUNKEY

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Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
1,350
Location
Indiana
I can't help you in the elk dept., but from setting up cameras for whitetails I have learned a few things.
1) Try to set them up facing North if you can. Animals move more at sunrise and sunset so if your cams are faced East or West you get bad sun glare on the lens. South facing cameras will get the same glare, especially in the late fall/winter.
2) If you are setting them on trails set it up alongside the trail aiming down it one direction or the other, not off to the side of the trail aiming perpendicular to the trail. This gives the camera more time to trigger and take pics as the animal is walking toward or away from the camera. If it's set up for a side view and the animal moves through too quickly you may only get the back 1/2 of the animal in the frame.
3) Use the best batteries, Duracell in my opinion, and the cameras that use 8 AA batteries seem to last the longest. Cameras that use C batteries will drain the batteries much quicker in my opinion.
4) Get a spare SD card for each camera and just swap out cards when you go in so you don't have to stand there and view them on a reader. Test EACH of the cards at home to be sure they all work before going afield.
5) TRIPLE check that you have turned the camera to ON before closing the cover , I have forgot several times and come back to find a camera that is turned off.
6) I set my cameras to take 3 pics each time it is triggered, and only 1 second between pics if I can. If you set it at 1 minute interval between sets it is basically down and you can miss the 2nd or 3rd animal that comes through right behind the first one. SD cards will hold a ton of pictures so set them to take a lot of photos as fast as possible so that you get several angles of the animal. Often they will catch the red light and turn their head trying to figure it out. This can give you different angles of their antlers.
Have fun and good luck on finding some bulls for this fall!!

This is great info(all of it) from Muskeez. I will add, that for deer I usually set them about waist high on the tree or if theft is a possible issue, use a ladder and aim them down at the trail in the same way( these turn out good too and keeps them above eye level of thieves). good luck and post up some pics!
 

AZBridger

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Joined
Oct 6, 2014
Messages
206
Location
Gilbert, Arizona
Muskeez has some great advice for you. i have run up to 10 cameras almost year round in Arizona for probably 10 years now. i can add to what he has said

1. make sure you spend a LOT of time perfecting your camera set. clear all the brush, grass etc. out of the way. the smallest thing can cause a ton of mis-triggers and fill up your card with garbage, i like to haul a hatchet and/or small saw with me. even a small rake or shovel can help a lot too.

2. point the camera north facing up or down the trail.

3. i like to bring some climbing pegs with me and put my camera 8-10' off the ground and point it at a downward angle. climb up there, set the camera, then remove the pegs and pack them out with you. i have never locked a camera and never lost one. people don't seem to ever look up when they walk around in the woods.

4. if not placing salt or bait, place something on the ground that will make the animal stop, if even for a split second. i have noticed that old bones work pretty good for this.the animal will stop and look at them for a second, this will give your camera time to trigger.

5. make sure everything is correct before you leave the set. i always walk in fornt of the camera a couple times to make sure it takes photos before i leave it.

6. i like to haul my laptop with me when i retrieve the camera. just swapping the cards and batteries will not help you identify if there was a problem with how it was set. in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, you can check the pics on the spot to see what the camera did wrong, or right. this has probably been the best thing i have done when dealing with cameras

there is nothing more aggravating than spending all the time and effort placing a camera only to notice upon retrieval that it malfunctioned, or was not set up properly, and you either got a card full of swaying grass/branches, or shadows moving across the ground. Running cameras costs a lot of money and time when you factor in everything that goes into them. 10 extra minutes can and will save you a LOT of headaches!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
382
Location
North Dakota
1. make sure you spend a LOT of time perfecting your camera set. clear all the brush, grass etc. out of the way. the smallest thing can cause a ton of mis-triggers and fill up your card with garbage, i like to haul a hatchet and/or small saw with me. even a small rake or shovel can help a lot too.

What AZBridger says in item one is probably the most important thing you can do! I carry an old scythe to cut down grass and it makes all the difference in the world. Check your cameras a couple days after setting them (if possible) to see what greenery you missed and need to eliminate...

I have Moultrie cameras that take 8 AA batteries and I leave them set up all year long. I use Lithium batteries and they last nearly the entire year. When the daytime high is -10 below zero or colder for several days in a row, the number of photos taken is very low (due to poor battery performance in cold temps), but the batteries recover and they start working again when the temp warms up.

I don't use video mode on my trail cameras, wind noise is interpreted as talking and triggers the camera to record. Videos chew through memory cards, multi-shot photos is the way to go.

Find a trail and set your camera up along it as described above; wildlife are not much different than humans and generally take the path of least resistance, so they will usually use an established trail. If it's dry and water is scarce, then set up on a water hole. If it's wet, then trails are better IMO.
 

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