When you have a trail camera, one of the major issues that you’re going to face is trail camera theft. Imagine this; you’ve invested time and money to buy the right trail camera, made sure that you leave no scent when you mount the camera and leave it for a week only to find out your camera had been stolen.
Many hunters have lost their trail cameras to thieves who wander into the forest to look for trail cameras they could steal. Therefore, it is important that you fight against trail camera theft by keeping your device from being stolen.
In this article, we are going to talk about ways in which you can hide your trail camera from thieves and keep it safe. The numbers of trail camera theft cases are alarmingly increasing, and you don’t want to be the next victim.
The Importance of Preventing Trail Camera Theft
Why should you bother keeping your trail camera safe from the thieves?
Even if it costs $50 or $500, every trail camera must be secured in the forest. It doesn’t matter how much it costs; you need to ensure that even if your trail camera will be left unattended in the forest for a long time, it is safe and secure from the prying eyes of thieves.
- You will miss golden hunting opportunities. If someone steals your camera, you will not be able to know immediately unless you check. Your camera being stolen means you might miss a golden opportunity of finding out the travel patterns of the bucks and striking at them.
- You will lose your investment. Rarely hunters buy trail cameras in cheap quality. They want to have good quality images and video clips that they can analyze later on. With the amount of effort and time you exert in choosing the right trail camera, the last thing that you want to happen is having your camera stolen.
- You’ll lose interest in hunting. Having your trail camera stolen numerous times will also discourage you from hunting. You may think that you are not a competent hunter and the ball of frustration will keep on getting bigger. Keeping your trail camera from being stolen will improve your hunting experience.
10 Tips in Keeping Your Trail Camera from Getting Stolen
Now, here are the following tips that you should keep in mind when you hide your trail camera and keeping it from the prying thieves in the forest:
1Secure your camera with a cable
If you are on a budget, you could start by securing your trail camera with a cable. Even if the thief finds out about the location of your camera, they will not be able to get it unless they use a bolt cutter.
And if the thief is determined to steal your camera, it will require a return trip. They are most likely to abandon the plan especially if you’ve placed your camera in an isolated part of the forest.
2Camouflage the trail camera
Another best thing that you can do to keep your camera hidden and secured from the trail camera thieves is to camouflage it. If your trail camera has a camo exterior, you can put some real leaves, vines, and twigs around the body of the camera.
In that way, it will blend with the surroundings and ensures that no one else will see it except you who set it up. In that way, your trail camera will not attract any attention to itself even from a distance.
3Keep it safe in a security box
So what if you are in a rocky environment where twigs, vines, and leaves would look out of place? Nothing to worry about. You can invest in a security box. But make sure that you bring your trail camera when you buy one. Chances are, the lens and the flash will not fit properly if you buy the wrong size.
Moving on, the security box can protect your trail camera. Most of the time, it is made of metal or any durable material that can’t be easily destroyed. Unless the thief brought a hammer in the forest, rest assured that even if he spots your trail camera, he will not be able to access it.
4Buy a trail camera with a security code
Some high-end trail cameras come with an integrated security code. You need first to enter the password before you can access the settings and view the photos. This feature is handy to avoid tampering your trail camera. Some people like to mess up with the hunter’s hard work by tampering and destroying every trail camera they see in the forest.
Similar to the function of a security box, they will not be able to make use of your trail camera even if they found it unless they know the code.
5Keep it high
Thieves often explore trail cameras that are mounted in eye-level or the ground. Therefore, you should keep your trail camera high above one of the tree’s branches. In that way, you can decrease the chances of your device getting stolen.
Just make sure that it looks as natural as possible. If it’s too high on the branches, it will not be able to detect bucks immediately. This is also a great idea if you are afraid that some cow or elk may tilt or destroy your trail camera if they see it.
6Make sure it’s not in anyone’s field of view
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who steps in the forest and scan the surroundings. Take note of your field of view and the spots that are not within the range. These are the perfect spots to hide your trail camera.
By making sure that your trail camera is not in anyone’s field of view, you will be able to decrease the chances of your device from getting stolen. As mentioned above, spots like this are usually on high-level areas. Or if you decide to hide it on the ground, make sure that bushes or grass cover it and that it looks natural.
7Do not use black nylon straps
When you bought your trail camera, it must have come with a strap—usually, a black nylon strap. However, if you use the strap in mounting your trail camera in the tree’s trunk, you increase the risk of your device from getting stolen.
Why? Because the black nylon strap can be seen from a distance. And whichever angle you decide to look, the strap will still be visible. It is a glaring indication that a trail camera is mounted on that tree and invites the thief to come over.
Aside from that, nylon straps are easy to destroy. Someone can easily rip it off the tree or use a hunting knife to do so. Lots of trail camera theft cases are due to using the straps bluntly.
8Use screws instead
Instead of using the black traditional nylon strap, you should mount your game camera using screws instead. It can help you to reduce the visibility of your trail camera. Screws are tiny and can’t be detected easily.
This is a great option if you are planning to set up your trail camera 15 feet above and angle it down. The screws can offer infinite adjustability. While mounting the trail camera may take some time with the screws, the results can be rewarding afterward.
9Purchase a smaller version of trail cameras
Smaller trail cameras are less likely to be seen and can be easily hidden in the forest. Don’t opt for big and bulky cameras as it can attract the attention of anyone. One of the features that add to the size and bulkiness of the camera is the LCD screen. If you’re not sure the LCD screen would make great use with your hunting style, you should consider dropping it.
Smaller trail cameras are lightweight and easy to carry. Blending it with the environment is easier, given its size. Aside from that, thieves are less interested with small cameras and would have difficulty finding one if they happen to wander in the forest.
Not to mention, small trail cameras are cheaper too.
10Opt for a trail camera with the cellular ability
If you don’t want to be anxious all the time, thinking of the possibility of your trail camera getting stolen, you should opt for a model with cellular ability. It will send photos and videos directly to your phone, so you can monitor the bucks without going to the forest.
Aside from that, it can also eliminate the hassle of going to the forest again and checking your camera for any images or videos. It will decrease the likeliness of your scent leaking in the area and scaring off the wandering bucks.
You will know if something is wrong with your camera or if it has been stolen with the pictures sent to your phone. If the batteries are fresh and it suddenly stops sending photos, it can be your signal to check the trail camera personally in the forest to see if it’s still there.
However, keep in mind that trail cameras with cellular ability can be more expensive than standard cameras.
Accessories You Should Consider Buying
Here is a list of the accessories that you should consider buying for your trail camera. It will make your set up easier and faster, and it also keeps your device secured at all times.
- Security box– these lock boxes are usually made of metal and designed for various models of a trail camera. It can’t be opened without code or a key. And these boxes are built to resist rust and corrosion, protecting and preserving the service life of your trail camera.
- Trail camera power pack- this accessory is new to the market and works by increasing the battery life of your trail camera. It can hold up to eight AA batteries at the same time. Most hunters who set up their trail cameras miles away from home opt to use this power pack as it can save them from the trip of constantly checking their game camera.
- Tree mounts- as what we’ve mentioned above, tree mounts are designed to reduce the visibility of your mounted trail camera. Now you can mount your trail camera in any tree you want without difficulty.
- Lock cable- this is handy if you’re planning to mount your camera in a tree within eye level. No one can easily knock off the camera from the cable. Security cables lock, and keys are usually sold by the set.
- Ladder- this is optional. If you want to install your game camera high above the eye level, you should carry a ladder with you. Tree ladders for hunting are designed to ease the work of hunters when mounting the camera on one of the tree’s sub-branches.
- Camo skin- if your trail camera doesn’t come with a camouflage exterior, you should consider buying a camo skin instead. You can wrap it around the body of your trail camera, put some real vines, leaves, and twigs and you’re good to go. Make sure that the skin matches the model of your trail camera otherwise it wouldn’t fit.
It is a glaring fact that even in the forest, there are still thieves who would take advantage of your absence to steal your trail camera.
Use the tips as mentioned above to deal with trail camera theft. It can help you decrease the risks of your camera from getting stolen. As a hunter, you shouldn’t only know how to choose and use the right trail camera. You should also know how to keep it away from the prying hands of thieves and keep it safe until you come back.
While you can’t control the number of thieves alarmingly increasing, the best you can do is hide your trail camera effectively.