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Columnists : Mark Rohlfing
Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 - 1:11:39 PM
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Mark Rohlfing is Sponsored by Victory Archery.

Trail Cam Time
By Mark Rohlfing
Aug 7, 2010 - 7:03:32 AM

We can't be everywhere so this is where Trail Cameras come in. If you want to know what's going on while you aren't there, put em out.

I love fall weather!  Right now the hot temperature and humidity, mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats, can make it miserable to be outside.  However there is one thing that keeps me going and that is setting and checking trail cameras.

Here are a few tips that I've picked up:  
Facing into the sun may cause problems so face north or south for better results.

1)    Try to face them north.  Facing them east or west will have them looking into a setting or rising sun and this does not make for good pictures.  I've also noticed that the heat waves can sometimes trigger the picture sensor.  This seems to happen less when they are facing north and more so when facing south or west.

2)    Face them looking down the trail.  Find an obvious travel route and face your camera so the animal will be slightly walking to or away from your camera.  If I have the camera perpendicular to the trail, I occasionally miss pictures on fast moving animals because the trigger speed just doesn't quite catch the critter.  Perpendicular to a trail may work better if you've got a scrape, salt lick, or scent to pause them for a photo.

Cameras with burst mode will enable you to see a sequence for a better idea of what is happening.

3)    Buy a 2GB memory card and set the camera to take a burst of 3 photos - if possible.  This way you get multiple shot angles and can evaluate the animal better and you also catch multiple animals if they are traveling in groups.  I generally don't set the time between photos for more than 30 seconds.  With a 2GB memory card you've got 1800+ photos and I've rarely ran out.  Exceptions that can fill a memory card quickly would be snowflakes constantly triggering the motion sensor or the heat waves on a southwest-facing camera.

4)    Don't check it too often!  I really don't like to check my trail cams more frequently than every 3-weeks.  The more you visit that area the more you leave scent and tip off mature bucks.  The big bucks remember where they've encountered human scent, that's how they got big!  On new trail camera models the battery life is exceptional and leaving a camera out for a month or more is not a problem, especially in summer when temperatures are warm.  Cold temps lower battery life.  Some models claim to last a year on good lithium batteries.

5)    Move them around.  Set a camera for 3-4 weeks, them move to a totally different spot.  Keep looking until you find the big boy, then hone in on him.  Just remember he's also watching and smelling your every move!

6)    Good spots to set cameras include: field edges, scrape sites, funnel points, mineral licks, food plots, and basically anywhere you suspect deer would travel.  If you are setting them along a river consider flooding conditions, I know areas I was planning to set a camera and upon arrival they were 4-ft under water!

7)    For deer, set the camera about 3-4 feet above and 15-20 feet from the spot you expect to get the best photo.  A set for turkeys or smaller game would be 1-3 ft off the ground.

Thanks for reading; I've got to go move some cameras myself!


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