Trail cameras are the primary scouting tool for the modern hunter, capturing footage of the wild game in your area that you can use to give you the edge.
There are dozens of trail camera brands and models to choose from. Each one has varying capabilities and setting that you can configure. While some are easier to setup and use than others, you want to make sure the model you’re using is setup to take the best images/video possible. There’s nothing worse than spending all that money and timing setting up a trail camera, only to find out later that it wasn’t properly configured. So to ensure you don’t miss capturing that elusive trophy, spend 20 minutes and test your setting.
This is a quick test that will guarantee your flash range; focal point, image clarity and trigger speed are dialed in and ready to capture the perfect shot.
- Program your camera as you would before taking it into the field (use default settings, gives you a solid starting point)
- Now mount it 4-6 feet high on a tree, telephone pole or tripod. Try to do this in an relatively open area.
- Stand next to the camera and measure 10 feet directly in front of the lens.
- Place a stake or easily visible object at this spot.
- Measure out another off another 10 feet and repeat until you have a straight line of stakes/objects every 10 feet, for 50 feet.
- Turn on your trail camera and let it arm itself.
- Go behind the camera and loop around, outside the camera field of view but in line with the 10 foot marker.
- Now walk past the camera at the first 10 foot marker (make sure your camera has time to capture your image)
- Then allow it to rearm and repeat this step for each of the stakes/objects.
This test will provide you if visual evidence of your cameras following capabilities:
- Maximum Detection Range in Distance (the farthest stake at which the camera can detect you),
- Maximum Detection Width (how far into the field of view you had to walk)
- Image Clarity (will tell you the ideal focal distance)
If you’re also interested in testing your Trigger Speed you can reuse this setup and try running by your camera at the various distances. If running isn’t your thing you can drive by on an ATV, or have a family pet do the running. This test allows you to determine whether you are happy with your current systems trigger speed or whether you believe it’s time for an upgrade.