Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Tips for Setting Up Your Game Camera
By Stephanie Mallory
Trail cameras not only play a valuable role in scouting for deer, but they’re a lot of fun as well. There’s nothing quite as exciting as reviewing your images and discovering one of a nice buck. But, a lot of work and forethought goes into capturing great images. You can’t just purchase a game camera, strap it to a tree and expect it to snap an abundance of useful and impressive deer photos.
To get the images you want, you must make sure your camera is properly set up. Check out these tips for getting the most out of your game camera.
1. Location. Location. Location. To get photos of deer, you must set up your game camera in areas where deer frequent. In the summer, consider setting up near a water hole. During the rut, you may want to set it up at a large scrape. During the winter, a food source will provide you with the best photo opportunities.
2. Look for high-traffic areas. You’ve figured out a great general location to hang your camera, now you need to narrow it down to a specific spot. Look for deer trails and tracks. For example, look around the banks of a watering hole for tracks showing where the deer most often drink. Look for deer trails along fence lines and for frequently-used mineral sites. Set your camera up where deer are most likely to pass in front of it.
3. Avoid the sun. It’ll do you no good if you can’t see what’s in your photos due to the sun’s glare. To avoid this problem, make sure your camera is not facing directly into the sunrise or sunset. If possible, set your camera facing north or south instead of due east or west.
4. Consider the background. You’ve found the perfect spot for your camera…at least you thought you did. But, you can’t tell how many points the big buck in that photo has because the trees and limbs in the background make picking out his tines difficult. If possible, set the camera up so that it is facing an open field, body of water, the skyline or distant trees.
5. Think high or low. Some people prefer to attach a camera high on the tree pointing downward. If you do this, make sure that it is 6 feet or more off the ground. If you prefer to keep it low, set it up at approximately knee height.
6. Hide your camera. The point of a game camera is to observe the deer as they go about their natural routine. You don’t want them to stop what they’re doing to check out the camera. So, cover the camera body with brush or set it up at an angle to the trail so it doesn’t fall into their line of site as they’re walking down the trail.
7. Use your ATV or Side-by-Side to check your cameras. Riding to and from your hunting locations in the off-season will acclimate game to your vehicle. If you use your vehicle year-round, deer won’t get spooked by the noise come hunting season.