How to setup a trail camera!

Don’t just buy a trail camera and start hunting without knowing what you’re doing! You could end up missing out on some amazing opportunities. 

This article will provide you with the knowledge of how to set up a trail camera, including the best places to set them up for maximum photos.

It includes tips about how to keep your batteries charged when you need them most.

What Is Trail Camera

A trail camera is a small, high-tech device with an SD card. It records photos of whatever walks by it during the night and stores them on its own memory for you to review at your convenience.

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How To Setup A Trail Camera

  • Find a good location to set up your camera. That could be in front of an animal feeder, by the side of a well-used game trail or close to some natural attractant like freshwater or salt licks. 
  • You can also set one up at the top of a ridge where you suspect animals will move along a trail.
  • Secure your camera to a tree or stick that is tall enough for the lens of the camera to be able to see over any brush, grasses and leaves at ground level. 
  • Point the lens in roughly the direction you want it aimed (northwest, south southeast) so that when an animal walks by during daylight hours, its head will not cover the lens.
  • Make sure to conceal your trail camera however you can, especially if it is a colour other than green or brown. Camo duct tape often helps with this process. 
  • Remember that most animals have excellent senses of smell and will likely detect any human scent on or around your camera – so make an effort to keep it as scent-free as possible.
  • Replace the batteries when needed, and if you want to be really safe, put a fresh set in every time that you check your camera so they won’t go dead while you’re out of town or otherwise unable to change them for a few weeks (or longer).
  • When replacing the batteries, make sure you have the camera turned off before removing or inserting batteries.
  • Finally, check your SD card once a week to see if you have any new photos on it and go through them all at least every few days just in case something happened that got missed while going through the day’s worth of pictures.
  • Don’t forget about checking where you’re at with your camera’s firmware. Pop into the settings menu and see if any updates are available, then update it when they are!

Benefits Of Using A Trail Camera

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Trail cameras are great for so many reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • They will help you to determine when, where and what time of night to be out in the woods hunting or fishing. You can use that information to your advantage by being at the right place at the right time with all of your equipment ready to go.
  • You can use the pictures that you take to help determine which stand or blind is going to give you a chance at spotting your target animal and staying hidden from its sharp senses of sight and smell.
  • If there are times when scouting ahead isn’t enough, having valuable information about where animals have been passing through in the hours after dark can help to make sure you are in a good position for success when hunting or fishing.
  • You will be able to see what type of wildlife is around your home without trespassing on private property – which could save you from getting into trouble with landowners!
  • They are also great security devices that allow people to keep an eye on their homes and property while they are away. You can see who is coming and going whenever you choose to check your trail camera’s footage – that means no more surprise visitors!
  • And finally, if you have a favourite outdoor spot where multiple generations of family members go for a vacation or to get back in touch with nature every year, you can leave your trail camera in place and let it run so that future generations will be able to see what animals were around back then too.

Use An External Power Source For Your Device

  • One of the biggest reasons why you’ll see so many people using external power sources for their trail cameras is because it makes them completely wireless.
  • The last thing anyone wants to have happened while they are out in the woods getting ready to call a big game or coyotes close to a stand or blind is being surprised by an animal right behind them (or worse, right in front of them) because they forgot to check their battery life and didn’t realize that it was dead.
  • When you’re out hunting with a trail camera, the absolute last thing that you want is for your “ready” light or screen to turn off suddenly – that means no more photos until someone gets back to the truck and can change or recharge batteries.
  • This is a great reason why you should use an external power source for your trail camera – it will always be ready when you need it!
  • And just in case that isn’t enough of a good reason, there’s also the fact that many wildlife species have been known to start to become wary of an area if they see a lot of humans in there frequently – so, don’t be surprised when you find out that the animals have moved on.
  • However, if your camera was running off its own internal power source, then it may not matter how far away any wildlife is from where your trail cam is actually located – they won’t go anywhere near it.


This is why an external power source for your trail cam might be the best decision you’ve ever made!

Trail Camera Batteries To Buy And How Long They Last

If you have a trail camera that is using its own internal power source, then it will run when your batteries are already dead.

However, if there’s a way for you to utilize an external power source with your device (and most people do), then this won’t be an issue any longer!

People who use batteries to power their trail cameras typically use batteries like AA alkaline or rechargeable NiMH, but whichever type you choose will depend on your specific needs and how long you want them to last.

That’s where things can get a little bit complicated: if the weather is colder, then it may be necessary for you to adjust what types of batteries you use – and if your device doesn’t have an external power source (like a solar panel) then things get even more complicated.

If that’s the case, then we recommend using rechargeable NiMH batteries because they will last longer than alkaline types of AA batteries in cold weather conditions.

However, many people are starting to switch over to lithium batteries because they are even more effective in colder weather.

They also last longer than alkaline types of AA batteries, but if your device doesn’t have an external power source, then you’ll be stuck buying them every time that the old ones run out – which will get expensive really fast!

Suggestions: Setting Up Camera In Different Environments

If you’re using a trail cam in an area that is near your home or another place where people are, then there’s nothing wrong with putting it right out in the open – make sure to keep an eye on it.

However, if you’re going to be leaving the camera somewhere away from civilization, such as deep within the woods then, you’ll want to be more careful about where and how you set it up.

This is why we typically recommend that people bring their cameras back home with them after they’ve returned from the hunt so they can check out what types of photos or videos have been recorded, rather than just leaving them in an area for a long time.

The reason for this is that most people aren’t able to go back and check on the trail cameras they’ve set up in remote areas every single day – it’s just not practical.

So, if something happens to your camera while you’re away, then there’s a good chance that you’ll come home only to find out that it’s gone.

That’s why, if you’re going to be leaving your camera in an area where people aren’t likely to go, then make sure to set up some protection around the device – even a simple case of chicken wire can help deter thieves!


How high should you set a trail camera?

Between 10 and 20 feet

At least head-high trail cameras are recommended. By mounting the trail camera higher on the tree or post, you can angle it down and increase the field of view. Between 10 and 20 feet is where most cameras take their best pictures day or night.

When should you put out trail cameras?

Trail cams are most commonly used by bowhunters in the fall to gather information about deer, but more are using them in summer to collect information well before hunting season. A summer surveillance program allows hunters to gauge how many bucks are around and if any are large. In addition, you’ll see the fawn being born.

Do trail cameras flash?

A trail camera uses three main types of flashes. You can choose between flashes that produce white flashes, infrared flashes (“low glow”), or cameras that emit no light. A low glow is produced from infrared emitters when shooting night photos with infrared flash cameras.