Contrary to the common misconception, trail cameras are not limited to bucks. Some hunters are more interested in capturing small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and young raccoons in the forest. And by that, you need to invest in a trail camera for small animals.
When you search for trail cameras in the market, you will get overwhelmed by the number of products that will appear in your search box. To help you narrow down your choices and making an informed decision on what trail camera to buy, here is a guide to help you.
The Importance of Buying the Right Trail Camera
Trail cameras are a tremendous help for hunters to analyze the travel pattern of bucks and other wild animals. Choosing the right model that will suit your needs will save you hundreds of money in the long run.
- It helps to save money. As what we’ve mentioned earlier, buying the right trail camera for small animals can keep you from burning a hole in your pocket. Instead of buying a cheap trail camera that will only last for a few weeks or barely a month, why not invest in a high-end and durable trail camera that can last for years?
- It can last for a long time. How great is it to own a device that you can use in the long run without having to worry about the trail camera getting broken in your absence? If you buy the right trail camera, rest assured that it is durable, can withstand the harsh elements of nature, and can take good photos of your target small animals.
- It suits your needs. As discussed earlier, some trail cameras are meant for capturing bucks. Some are ideal for a home security system. Now, buying the right trail camera will depend on how you are planning to use it. Making sure that the trail camera you’re going to buy is designed for capturing small animals can assure you of good photos.
- It improves your wildlife photography. Unlike other types of photography, wildlife photography requires a lot of patience and having the right gear will drastically improve your photos.
- It is convenient and hassle-free. Buying the right trail camera will save you from a lot of stress and inconvenience, especially if you’re in the field. For a smooth wildlife photography experience, equip yourself with the right gear, and you’re good to go.
Tips for Choosing the Right Trail Camera for Small Animals
Always ask for a sample photo
You might want to prioritize the quality and resolution of the photo that your trail camera generates. High resolution is important for taking better pictures. However, you should not be fooled by the indicated megapixels count.
Always count for a sample photo of the trail camera before you buy. In that way, you can determine if the indicated megapixel count by the manufacturer justifies the quality of the photo.
Opt for trail cameras with burst modes
Trail cameras for small animals usually have burst modes. This feature will capture the moving object continuously. Small animals tend to move quickly. Even if you place a bait, they are most likely to snatch it and run away.
This type of trail camera will ensure that you will not miss the opportunity of catching a small animal that passes by your area. They are most sensitive to noises and disturbances, too. Capturing their pictures will be made easy with the burst mode.
Make sure it has a fast trigger speed
The trigger speed of the trail camera determines how fast your device can detect a movement and captures the moving object. To capture small animals effectively, your trail camera must have a fast trigger speed. Even if your trail camera has burst mode, if it sends a signal to the system to capture a picture late, all you’ll get is blurry images of the raccoon or rabbit running away.
The ideal trigger speed of your trail camera should be less than a second. But be sure that the wake-up time of your trail camera is powerful as well. If you have a fast trigger speed and slow wake-up time, there’s a tendency that you may not be able to capture the entire image of your target small animal.
Choose the right type of flash
Generally, there are three types of flashes for trail cameras. And the kind of flash will depend on how you are planning to use it.
- No Glow- this type of flash does not produce light when capturing moving objects. Hunters prefer this kind of flash as it helps to minimize startling the animals in the process. It is also ideal for people who opt to utilize their trail camera as a home security system. But note that this kind of trail camera cannot produce colored pictures. It can only provide black and white photos.
- Low Glow- this is also called as the infrared trail camera. When it captures a picture, it only generates a quick dim as not to startle the animal. It is a handy feature especially if you don’t want to startle the animal and alert them with your human presence. Similar to no glow trail cameras, it can only produce black and white images.
- White Flash- this is the type of flash that you’d like to have if you want full and vibrant color of your nighttime pictures. It sends white light when capturing a photo. The only downside is that it is most likely to startle the wildlife animal that it has captured. However, since we’re talking about small animals here, especially rabbits and raccoons, they are most likely to return to their normal behavior after getting accustomed to the flash, unlike the bucks.
Opt for a trail camera that offers wireless download
Small animals are sensitive to smell and will immediately flee if they sense something. Therefore, you need to opt for a trail camera that offers a wireless download. High-end trail cameras usually have this feature. You can access the pictures without having to check the device personally.
It works by connecting your other trail cameras to a special trail camera network, allowing you to gather the photos from all angle. You can easily access the photos by simply opening your computer at the comfort of your own home.
Aside from the fact that you won’t leave trails and scents when you check your camera, this feature will also let you know if your trail camera has been damaged or tampered as it will stop sending photos.
Opt for SD cards with large storage space
You may have a trail camera that allows you to download the photos wirelessly. However, you keep on coming back to the forest because the storage space isn’t enough to accommodate all of your photos. The feature will lose its essence.
Therefore, you need to ensure that you opt for an SD card with ample storage space. For instance, a 32GB SD card can only accommodate 11,000 8MP pictures. And since you are in a burst mode, it will eat up the storage quickly. Good for you if you have a trail camera that automatically deletes the oldest photos when it reaches the maximum capacity to give some room for new photos. But if not, you might want to think about it.
Some trail cameras can accommodate up to 128GB SD card. It will assure you that you will never run out of space. Aside from choosing an SD card with a large capacity, you might want to choose Class 10 cards for optimal performance. Class 10 cards are known for its durability and ability to write and store images in the long run with little to no technical issues.
Most importantly, make sure that your SD card is compatible with your trail camera. It’s frustrating to invest in an expensive SD card only to find out it does not fit your trail camera.
Consider long-lasting power
If it isn’t for the SD card, some hunters frequently check their trail cameras because the batteries drain quickly. You know too well that the ideal period to leave your trail camera alone in the forest is at least three weeks. But if the battery dies, the trail camera wouldn’t be able to capture more photos, forcing you to check and change the batteries.
Now, when buying batteries, opt for lithium batteries. Experienced hunters use this type of batteries because it can last for a long time and gives 100% of its power until it drains. Aside from that, the lithium batteries have been proven to preserve the service life of your device. It is compatible with almost all trail camera models.
But if you don’t want to change batteries, you may opt for the solar panel. Check your trail camera if it has an external port. If it does, then you may set up a solar panel for your device. In that way, you will never run out of power as long as it gets sunlight.
The only downside is that setting up a solar panel may attract the attention of anyone passing by the area. It puts your camera at risk of being stolen, damaged, or tampered. And you can’t hide the solar panel because again, it draws power from the sun.
Choose a trail camera with a wide detection range
A wide detection range can also help you to have better photos. This kind of trail cameras can cover a large area. Since small animals are most likely to be zooming past the area, you might want to increase the chances of capturing a good shot of your target animal.
High-end trail cameras in the market nowadays can cover up to 100 feet in daylight and at least 80 feet at nighttime. This feature is handy as it can trigger your device of an approaching rabbit, raccoon, or young deer from a distance.
Opt for a trail camera with an onboard image review
Depending on your style of hunting, you may or may not want an LCD screen on your trail camera. Some hunters do not like an LCD screen because it will tempt them to view the pictures on the field and their scent will leak all over. Other hunters like to have an LCD screen to adjust the settings easier when on the field. They also want to preview their images right on the spot to change angles. The bigger the LCD screen, the easier it is to navigate and change the settings. Trail cameras with an LCD screen are more expensive than those models that do not have one.
Consider the video mode
It’s not a secret that trail cameras with video modes are more expensive but also more versatile and handy. Even a 10-second video clip of a raccoon running away can give you so much information about your target animal. Advanced hunters also use video clips from their trail cameras to determine the body language of the bucks they are targeting and study its behavior.
However, as what we’ve mentioned above, video clips can easily eat up the storage of your SD card. Hunting for small animals by recording their clips can help you a lot.
Choosing and using the right trail camera for small animals will give you better wildlife photography results. Follow the abovementioned tips and be confident in buying your trail camera, regardless if you’re investing for the first time or you just need a refresher. Using the trail camera properly must also be considered. After all, it is the skills of the hunters that will determine good wildlife pictures and hunting results.
By then, you should be able to realize that equipping yourself with the best trail camera for this hunting season and make the most of the opportunities to capture target animals. The right trail cameras will help you to get the ball rolling and dominate hunting!