Cam at Its Best: Troubleshooting Tips for Trail Cams

To get the most out of your trail cam, avoid these four mistakes.

1 Bad Angle
It's tempting to blame butt shots and deerless images on a unit's trigger time. In fact, a poor setup could be the real cause. Never point the camera perpendicular to a deer trail. Instead, aim it at a quartering angle to give it more time to capture a moving whitetail. Whenever possible, mount the camera 10 or 12 feet high on a tree and point it downward. This helps keep a flash from spooking deer, and you won't get fuzzy exposures against treeless horizons.

2 Reloading Shift
When you check your camera in the field, you should be quick, quiet, and unobtrusive. But don't be too speedy: Always take the time to re-aim your camera after you've exchanged batteries or memory cards. Opening your unit requires force, and sometimes it's enough to shift the lens to the wrong direction.

3 Unwanted Obstructions
If you don't clear vegetation at least 20 feet in front of the camera, you'll wind up with a lot of useless shots. It's typical for an infrared unit to fire when the morning sun warms leaves near the lens. Foliage stirred by the wind can also cause unwanted triggering. And prior to leaf drop, when wind can rock even midsize oaks, you must mount the device on larger trees. Afterward, smaller trunks will do.

4 Invading Insects
The electronic panels and internal wiring of high-tech cameras are highly susceptible to ant and spider interference. Seal yours tightly by spraying foam in housing openings. Also apply some permethrin repellent to the outside periodically to keep it insect-free, functional, and ready to reveal your next buck.