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How to Choose Trail Camera


A trail camera is a must have for any avid hunter. These cameras are effective tools that help you keep track of the game in the hunting area. The hunters no longer have to sit for hours to watch the activities of the game; it will make the job easier by capturing the images of the activities of the game, both during the day and night. When you go on a hunting spree, the game camera is your best friend. It helps you identify the best hunting spots in the target area. The choice of it available in the market can be overwhelming, more so for the one who is buying his first trail camera. You can select the best camera for yourself by keeping in mind a few basics. There are a few criteria that you should consider while buying a game camera. The important criteria to watch are:

Detection Circuits

The trail camera has a mechanism by which it detects the heat or movement of the animal. This mechanism is referred to as the detection circuit. It is vital that the camera you choose has a high quality detection circuit; only then it will be able to detect and capture movements better. A camera with low quality detection circuits will not be able to capture all the animal movements especially if the movements occur fast. In a game camera, the detection circuit comprises of the following elements:

Detection Zone:
The span of area that a trail camera monitors using its sensors is known as its detection zone. The camera captures an image of the animal whenever it passes through the detection zone. The detection zone is determined by the following two factors:
  • Detection Width: How wide an area can the game camera monitor with its sensors is known as the detection width. It is measured as a degree. It can be as small as 5 degrees and as large as 90 degrees.
  • Detection Range: While buying a trail camera, it is important to consider the distance which it can monitor. The maximum distance that it can cover is known as the detection range. A normal game camera will have a detection range of 30 degrees and a high quality one can go up to 100 degrees. Your choice of it should depend on the area that you wish to cover. If you are planning to survey an area that is large, then a camera with a high detection range and width should be preferred. On the other hand, for surveying close range hunting spots, a trail camera with a lower detection range, and width would also do.

Trigger Time:
Depending on the kind of animals and situations you wish to survey; you can choose a camera with a high or low trigger time. A high quality trail camera has a faster trigger time. A trigger time is the time that it takes to capture the image of a movement once the animal passes through its detection zone. Not everyone requires a camera with a fast trigger time. It is important only for hunters, who want to capture fast movements of animals. To capture images of animals that remain at the same spot for a longer period of time; a camera with a normal trigger time is also good.

Recovery Time:
In a trail camera, it is essential to consider the total time that it takes to capture the image, store it in the memory, and then get ready to capture the next image. The cameras, which are high quality, have very low recovery seconds; it may be as low as a fraction of a second. In some basic cameras, the recovery time can be as high as 60 seconds.

Image Quality

It is crucial to check if the camera you are planning to buy has an infrared or an incandescent light. An incandescent light provides coloured images in the dark, and the infrared light produces black and white images at night. This does not mean that the trail camera with an incandescent light is better; in fact, it produces such a sharp flash that it scares away the animals. On the other hand, the camera with an infrared light does not scare the animals.

Moreover, it is very important to check the image quality of the game camera. The best way to check it is by asking for some sample images. Even though, a company may claim that it has a high mega pixel value, the image quality might not be as good if its lens is of poor quality. So, while buying you should not judge the image quality by the pixel value alone; make a sound decision after checking-out the samples or reviews.

Another important thing to consider is the flash range. It will determine the distance to which the light can travel to produce a decent image. The flash range varies from 10' to 80'. The trail cameras with lower flash ranges are useful for smaller areas, and the ones with higher flash range are suitable for wide open spaces.

Other Factors

Battery Life - While selecting a trail camera, it is best to choose the one that uses rechargeable batteries or has a long battery life; otherwise you will end up spending large sums of money on replacing the batteries. A longer battery life will bring down the operating cost.

Security Options - Try to choose a trail camera that comes with a security box. This way, you will be able to keep your camera safe and sound when it is not in use. Normally it is sold separately.

Price - Generally price is not an ultimate criterion when you want to invest in a game camera, but it is important to see that the camera delivers the quality that justifies the price. It is not always best to buy the most expensive camera; you should match the features and specifications with your requirements, and then make a decision. By keeping these few factors in mind, you can easily choose a trail camera that suits your requirements the best.

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