Trail cameras have revolutionized how hunters and landowners manage and hunt their land. The information provided is not only useful but also intriguing. Whether you are trying to capture a few cool photos on your lease or intensively manage your property, trail cameras are great tools utilize. However, there are times when using these devices can backfire and cause more harm than good. The whole point of a camera is to tip the odds in your favor, not hinder you.
Camera manufacturers have done a great job of correcting problems that used to be generally accepted. Incredibly bright flashes, noisy camera shutters, and short battery life just to name a few. One of the main problems is hunters check their camera too frequently. Human disturbance, whether it be in the form of residual scent or noise when getting in and out of your hunting area is easily noticeable. If it take a few days for wildlife to return to your camera site after each trip to check the photos, you are checking them too often or creating too much commotion.
One of the best ways to limit the intrusion on your hunting area is to only check the camera when it is necessary. There are times when you could check them often, such as during the rut or late winter when the season is nearing an end, but for right now there is no need to check it every other day. If you hunt or have a camera over bait, check your camera when you refresh your bait or when you pass by on the way to hunt a stand. Limit any extra traffic near your areas that aren’t necessary. Also, spraying down with a scent elimination spray will help. I cannot verify it works as advertised, but for a few dollars per bottle you don’t have anything to lose. Lastly, if you schedule permits try to check your cameras right before a rain shower. The precipitation that follows your foot traffic will dilute your scent.
There is much to be learned by properly using a trail camera and I have experienced many great hunts because of them. On the other hand, they can easily backfire on you so be diligent when using them and plan out the best ways to set them up and monitor them.