If you are a hunting or wildlife photography enthusiast, a trail camera can be a great assist for you. Trail cameras are designed to capture both still images and videos when necessary. Although at the beginning, the cameras were designed to be used as a hunting aid, with the development of the technology and integration of HD capturing......

The Beginners Guide to Select the Right Trail Camera

If you are a hunting or wildlife photography enthusiast, a trail camera can be a great assist for you. Trail cameras are designed to capture both still images and videos when necessary. Although at the beginning, the cameras were designed to be used as a hunting aid, with the development of the technology and integration of HD capturing, trail cameras nowadays widely used for wildlife photography too.

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Over the past years, the demand for trail cameras has increased dramatically and as a result of that you will be able to find various brands and models in the market. These cameras come in various sizes, shapes and claim to have plethora of features trying to distinguish from each other. Regardless the brand and the fancy features they claim to have, there are several important things you should notify before buying a trail camera.

Image quality of the camera
The quality of a digital image is measured with resolution. At the earlier stages of the evolution of the trail cameras, the image quality was pretty low. However, most of the modern day trail cameras feature higher resolution images (above 3.0 Megapixels at the least). These images are big in size and have very fine details in them. The larger the resolution value, the better the image quality. Although it is a luxury to have higher resolution images, it can cost you additional amount of money to buy better cameras. Therefore, if your concern is to use the camera for the purpose of getting general information pertaining to the animals (the type and number of the animals, pathways and the times they walk across etc.) going for a high resolution camera is optional.

Simply, if you are after basic information about the animals as mentioned before, you can compromise the resolution of the trail camera. But, if you are after high quality images with finest details, you should be prepared to spend some additional amount. Also, since the high resolution files are heavier than the low resolution ones, you will be able to store less number of images in the memory chip until you clear them.

Battery life
On long term basis, battery life plays a very important role to determine the maintenance cost of a camera. It is easy for an inexperienced person to fall into the trap of “cheap trail camera”. At a glance, cheap trail camera is a very attractive line. However, almost all the cheap cameras feature a very poor battery performance, making you to replace batteries quite often. Although it looks cheaper at the initial stage, when you replace batteries frequently, you will have spent lot more than you anticipated. So, it is always a wise decision to buy a camera that has a longer battery life, no matter if you spend a little extra on that.

Apart from that, you can hardly rely on a trail that has an unpredictable battery life. The chances of losing precious footages are more with an unreliable product. So, you should make sure that you buy a product that carries a reputed brand and has a longer battery life.

Trigger Speed
This is another vital feature you should be aware of when buying a trial camera regardless the purpose. Trigger speed determines how fast the camera reacts to shoot a particular motion. In fact, this is directly related to the motion sensor of the camera. When the motion sensor detects a motion, it triggers and activates the camera to capture the detected motion. The faster the reaction takes place, the better the shot the camera gets. Modern trail cameras have faster trigger speed, so that they can capture speedy movements of the animals. The cameras that have slower trigger speeds may provide you weird pictures of animals (only a portion of the animal’s body in most of the cases). However, if you use the trail cameras to observe a mineral lick (a natural deposit of salts where animals like deer go to lick essential minerals), you don’t have to worry much about the trigger speed of the camera. So, you should be able to decide the required trigger speed upon the task ahead.

Type of the flash
It is important to have a very effective flash for a camera to provide a clearer image. Basically, modern trail cameras are dependent on infrared flash system other than the conventional incandescent flash method which is widely found among the standard consumer camera types. There are two main advantages of using an infrared flash; they don’t necessarily scare away the deer and consumes less power.  Moreover, infrared flash is barely detectable by the outsiders (especially intruders) so these cameras are can be perfectly used as surveillance (as farm gate cameras etc) systems too. Although it is not impossible to take pictures with incandescent flashes, most of the animals can be frightened away with the super bright light. Weighing all the pros and cons, it is better if you can go for an infrared flash trail camera and make the best use of a trail camera.

What else to consider?
Although the above mentioned facts can create a major impact on the decision of purchasing a trail camera, there are several other factors to consider before making the final call. The size of the camera is such decisive factor you should aware of before purchasing it. With the developments of the technology, companies have manufactured various models of cameras with different sizes. Sometimes, depending on the location and the purpose you are going to place the camera, the size plays a very important role. The outer appearance of the unit and the weatherproof characteristic are other features you need to concern before buying it. A camouflaged outer appearance would help you to keep it nearly invisible from intruders.

Modern trail cameras are heavily integrated with information technology too. Newer versions come with required features to send emails whenever an image is captured. The captured images of these modern cameras can be monitored over smartphones or other portable devices regardless of the user’s location. With all these modern facilities, you will have to physically reach the camera whenever the camera needs a battery replacement.

Now that you know all the important facts pertaining to trail camera, you should take some time and carefully select the ideal camera you need to serve your purpose perfectly. Such session would be a great assistance for you to distinguish the ideal product from hundreds of available models in the market.

How to make the best use of the trail camera?
Now that you have selected the bet matching product, the time has come to put ideas into actions. Regardless of the type, model or the brand you have selected, it is how you place is that matters for optimal results. Don’t just place it carelessly as it can be a waste of money; here are some ways to optimize the usage of the trail cameras.

            - Animals don’t just reach your camera; you have to draw them into the range
If you expect animals to reach your camera by will, you are mistaken. You need to drag them towards the vicinity of the camera using a trick or two. You can use a natural lure to attract the deer into the preferred range. One of the most effective ways of drawing animals like deer is by placing shelled corn. Corn doesn’t cost you a fortune; it is a matter of buying a bag of corn (about 50 kilograms) and spread them in about 3Mt diameter. Deer simply love the taste of corn and they will be attracted to the desired range effectively. However, don’t expect results over night; within a couple of days you will be able to capture an enough amount of valuable pictures. Before you start the process, however, you need to ensure if the law of your area permits you to do so. If there are any restrictions pertaining to feeding deer, you should consider creating a mineral lick (you can either buy a pack of mineral mixes or create a mix by your own. When the deer find the lick, you will start to get regular pictures of large whitetails. Don’t expect results within a single night. The key for success is patience.

            - Change the location regularly
You can rely on two options to optimize the results of the trail camera; either you can increase the number of cameras or make the available cameras mobile. For many individuals, the second options seem to be perfectly applicable. Try different locations without getting restricted to a single location. If your camera is stagnated to the same location all the season, the chances of getting good results are pretty low.

Keep records of what you capture
After you start to receive pictures of the animals, ensure that you keep the records for reference. It is a great way to identify the behaviors and travel patterns which are exceptionally important to use during the next season. 

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