The anticipation of hanging trail cameras and finding big bucks is what keeps us coming back each season.
By: Nathan Unger
It's that time of year when most hunters are hanging trail cameras again. The year-round hunter is relocating trail cameras from capturing turkeys to capturing velvet bucks. Maybe you are just a hunter that needs to move cameras from winter food plots to summer plots. Maybe you just need to shift your cameras from your closet to the woods. Whatever the case might be here are three mistakes hunters make when hanging trail cameras.
1. Using the wrong batteries.
A lot of hunters skimp out on purchasing the correct battery for their camera. Why? because they are trying to save some cash, or they simply don't know that it matters. However, this might hurt you in the long run if your camera requires lithium rather than alkaline. Trust me, I know first hand. Lithium batteries are not cheap, however, when you use the wrong battery it could cause corrosion in your battery tray thus causing your camera to work improperly, or worse yet, not at all.
In fact, if your camera is not under warranty or older this mistake could cost you more money in the long run.
2. Not formatting the SD card.
While this can be camera-specific, trail camera junkies should make sure their cards are programmed or formatted correctly. It's easy to get excited, shove the card into the camera, hang it on a tree only to come back a month later, and discover the camera didn’t take any photos.
Additionally, some cameras will not take a certain size card. There are several cameras that don’t take 64GB SD card. This could be old news to many trail camera connoisseurs but I found out the hard way. Be sure to check with the camera manufacturer before purchasing high dollar cards.
3. Facing cameras the wrong direction
This is one of the most common mistakes hunters make when hanging a trail camera. Sometimes a hunter can be so anxious to get pictures of a big buck that when they finally hang a camera and let it soak for a period of time they come back to check only to find that a majority of pictures are blasted with sunlight because of the direction it is facing. If possible, face the camera north. If you can’t, consider placing the camera on another tree or pole.
4. Angling cameras too high or too low
Sometimes if cameras are not placed at the right height they will just capture the head of a deer or species you are out to target. Worse yet, 10 deer might waltz by your camera and the camera may never go off because it was facing over their heads.
Here is an example of placing your camera to low. A way to correct this is obviously finding a different tree, but you can also move your mineral station away from the camera as well. A good rule of thumb is at least 10-feet away from the camera.
However, the opposite is true too. If you place a camera too low you might get just the legs of deer or your SD card might fill up with pictures of squirrels and opossums. A good rule of thumb for placing cameras is three-to-four feet off the ground. There is, in fact, one exception to this. If you are daring enough to place a camera on public land putting it high up and angling it down might be the best option. Grab a climbing stick, step to the second or third step and hang your camera facing the trail head or plot you desire. Now deer won’t see your camera and spook nor will other hunters or hikers see your camera and be tempted to snatch it.
After placing your cameras in the desired location don’t be tempted to check them too often if you can help it. This is especially true if you are wanting to harvest a mature buck. Deer sense the pressure and can smell humans when we are stomping around checking cameras. Oftentimes, the data the camera retrieves is more advantageous for next season anyways. Take scent control precautions and let the camera do the work.