Trail cameras as traps

Dancerpro

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Apr 18, 2021
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I have been watching hunting shows and where trail cameras are mentioned, theft follows. I have noticed that those that have the discussion of camera placement, those who place them high have better success with getting more natural photos of their target species. I believe this is due to them being higher with a wider field of view. My question is, if you place a trail camera in a lower place on the tree and camouflage it and then 1 or 2 up higher camouflaged as well, would you be more successful with the target species and have more success in trapping thieves?

I know trail cameras are expensive and are used broadly as an eye on a promising LOOKING area, but I also know thieves are a smaller percentage of any group and, for me, that is why catching and prosecuting thieves is important.

What am I looking for when setting out trail cameras? I understand that trail intersections are important, just as food, water and bedding are. But what makes 1 place any better than another?

I know this post wanders a bit, but the subjects work together, 1 in finding rich hunting areas and 2 keeping your property safe.
 

RobertD

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1) Camera placement is going to be dependent somewhat on targeted species, as different animals may use a given space differently. That said, any heavily traveled trail or well-used water source is a good start. What makes one place better than the other? You get more pictures at that place than the other :)

2) Label it appropriately with your contact info, place it in a discreet location (i.e. not out in the open) and if you have the extra camera, absolutely place it to target anyone tampering with your first trail camera. Couldn't hurt.
 

windymtnman

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As for the field of view, in my experience, the higher up in a tree I go, and then aim it down, the narrower field of view I get. I don't like that. However, where I'm using a camera, if I leave it at waist level the Bear and Elk bat it around on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure they sense the energy field it generates, as they'll do it regularly during the daytime. Bears of course climb, but the camera always take less beating when they are hanging on to the tree than standing on the ground.
The biggest problem I have, is wind blowing vegetation and setting the camera off.
 

Dancerpro

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I'm pretty sure they sense the energy field it generates, as they'll do it regularly during the daytime.
That makes sense. I had a farm, my dogs would go up to the electric and sniff, then go through the fence between pulses. I also think the animals can see the sensor beam for the camera shutter, because in most trail camera photos I've seen, the animals were looking directly at the camera.
 

Dancerpro

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I’m sure the local sheriff will dedicate a lot of resources to catching and prosecuting someone who stole something worth $100 +/- that you left attached to a tree in the woods.
They may do absolutely nothing, which is chicken shit as hell, but you have a photo of the person and can take it in, then they have less options to turn you down. Considering you can put that photo in the paper and find out who it is and press charges yourself. Your only out of options, bout the same time you quit trying. Think about it like this, even if nothing comes of it legally, your helping hunters in the area id a thief, which is likely stealing from other sectors of the community as well and that may force law enforcement to act. Never quit, never give in and never give up, if it's right keep trying.
 

BenInMT

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They may do absolutely nothing, which is chicken shit as hell, but you have a photo of the person and can take it in, then they have less options to turn you down. Considering you can put that photo in the paper and find out who it is and press charges yourself. Your only out of options, bout the same time you quit trying. Think about it like this, even if nothing comes of it legally, your helping hunters in the area id a thief, which is likely stealing from other sectors of the community as well and that may force law enforcement to act. Never quit, never give in and never give up, if it's right keep trying.
It would be fun to shame the person on social media but I think that’s about all you’d get out of it. I’m not sure that they’d even consider it theft. How did the guy know that the thing you left in the woods wasn’t abandoned, lost, discarded? Does locking something to a tree on public land or writing your name on it provide you with any legal rights to ownership of the thing? Good luck getting the newspaper to run the photo of the trail cam bandit and better luck getting the cops to lift a finger.
 

Dancerpro

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It would be fun to shame the person on social media but I think that’s about all you’d get out of it. I’m not sure that they’d even consider it theft. How did the guy know that the thing you left in the woods wasn’t abandoned, lost, discarded? Does locking something to a tree on public land or writing your name on it provide you with any legal rights to ownership of the thing? Good luck getting the newspaper to run the photo of the trail cam bandit and better luck getting the cops to lift a finger.
You don't get the paper to post the picture, you take out an ad. You can also post it on community bulliten boards around the area. The social media is another idea, good on ya. Getting the police or sherriff to do anything will depend on whether they are outdoors people and your attitude. As long as you act civil and have a positive attitude you can usually move mountains, but acting like a victim will usually get you nowhere quick.
 

Dancerpro

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Does locking something to a tree on public land or writing your name on it provide you with any legal rights to ownership of the thing?
Good question, something we should research and get back to these good people. I'll talk to LEO's here in Texas and you talk to them in MT, then we can start getting ideas of the legalities on the subject.
 

BirdManMike

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Everyone should take a slew of pictures of their private parts before placing their trail cameras so that thieves receive an eyeful of junk when their curiosity brings them to seeing what on the memory card.

This may not help if your camera is the one stolen, but every time a thief looks at your junk the motivation to continue thieving junk-filled memory cards is certain to decrease* and you have done a public service for your fellow trail cam hangers.


*Note: In some cases this may lead to the opposite - arousal - and you could potentially receive calls from unwanted solicitors because you have written your contact info on the camera youve left hanging on tree out in the woods.
 

Dancerpro

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Good question, something we should research and get back to these good people. I'll talk to LEO's here in Texas and you talk to them in MT, then we can start getting ideas of the legalities on the subject.
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you things have been very busy. So far what I have found is evidence, or rather the lack of it for prosecution. It is next to impossible to prosecute someone with no evidence. Interfering with a hunt is a crime in Texas, stealing is also a crime in Texas, where the problem lies is identifying and subsequent capture of the suspect. The idea of a camera trap is an interesting idea and I have been referred to someone higher with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Another problem lies with identifying stolen property, so having as much personal information on the stolen item is key. In discussion full name, phone number, city and state, hiden on or in the item is more than enough to prove ownership. It is suggested inside the camera case and upon reporting your stolen items, inform leo's where your information is located on the items. Having your info in plain site makes it easier to destroy that information, removing your claim of ownership. I did bring up taking pictures of your junk (yes, I know that was a joke), but unless your willing to drop trousers and have distinguished junk to prove the card belongs to you, your card from the camera is probably. One conversation did reveal that most recovered audio/visual equipment still has the film/card inside.

I worked putting in trails for a couple years and in a few places, there were problems with vandalism. We put a trail cameras inside birdhouses and caught the vandals. Learning the art of camouflage is another method of safeguarding your equipment. It was stressed to me, there isn't anyone checking on your gear, but you, so check it often. Another method was setting up dummy cameras, with your active camera setup so as to catch a criminal and your game species. Most people don't look up, so setting cameras higher, may be your best option.

I was told that catching criminals who target hunters and other outdoors people is a priority, but gathering evidence is difficult, due to the seclusion and any evidence you may provide increases their ability to prosecute criminals. I am scheduled to talk to the sheriff and will let you know what I find out in that discussion.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
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Idk if you’ll ever stop theives. I’m old school my cameras never get stolen cause I never use one.
This is an idea not to stop theft but perhaps to pay the guy back just a little at least.
Rub poison ivy all over it, handle it personally with gloves so you don’t get it but what are the chances he steals it gets back to truck without peeing, wiping sweat off his brow, etc than to stop it he’d need to wash up quick. If he doesn’t know you did that he’s not washing most likely quickly enough.
Better yet rely on old school scouting. You’ll never lose another camera
 
Joined
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Hey guys I don’t wanna sound ignorant but I am here, don’t the wireless one send pics to your phone? If if they got stolen would it capture the man who took it as proof? I mean I’m guessing the pics stay in your phone?
Imagine that was set up 6-7 feet up, the thief would need to look up to remove it showing his face most likely?
 

Dancerpro

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Apr 18, 2021
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Hey guys I don’t wanna sound ignorant but I am here, don’t the wireless one send pics to your phone? If if they got stolen would it capture the man who took it as proof? I mean I’m guessing the pics stay in your phone?
Imagine that was set up 6-7 feet up, the thief would need to look up to remove it showing his face most likely?
Newer cameras most likely yes, older cameras most likely no. Depends on the technology at the time the camera was manufactured.
 

Irishman

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As far as elk and bears messing with cameras goes, my experience has been that they tend to do it within the first few days you put up the camera when your scent on the camera is still pretty strong to them. If I was worried about elk, bears, or humans messing with cameras, I'd put them up higher in a tree.
 

Dancerpro

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Apr 18, 2021
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I hear ya I’m just thinking that could help?
I believe that having cameras higher makes them less likely to be messed with and more likely to as you suggest and catch the face of the thief. However, the older cameras don't send out pictures, but there are low cost tracking devices, which can be placed inside the camera and may lead you to the thief.
 
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