With trail cameras dropping in price and size, wildlife control operators (WCOs) and pest management professionals should consider adding them to their equipment arsenal. Here are a few tips on trail cameras that should guide your purchases and use of these important tools.
Choose the right trail camera for your purposes. Select cameras that trigger quickly (in ½ a second or less) when the motion sensor is activated. Ideally, the camera should take color images (daylight) and black & white (night-time) between 1.3 and 12 megapixels. Frankly. I don’t think most uses need 12 megapixels but if you are interested in obtaining some glamor shots of wildlife for use on the web or in publications, then selecting for higher resolutions is warranted.
It is best to select cameras that have blackout infrared as some animals can see the infrared flash. Also camera thieves can see the flash too. The camera should be able to take multiple shots (burst mode) and/or have programmable delays between shots.
Most cameras will have video capability. Again resolution depends on your ultimate goals. If you want internal use for those within your company, then you don’t need high resolution. But if you want to use video in training and advertising, then high definition is where you want to be.
Keep in mind that the higher your specs the higher your price. Some cameras can send photos via cell towers. These can be quite handy when you are dealing with problems such as trap molestation or when trapping in a highly sensitive account.
1. Place the camera so it is facing North to avoid being blinded by the rising or setting sun.
2. Locate a clear line of sight for the camera. Remove branches and grass that could sway in the wind and trigger the camera. The only thing more frustrating than missing the shot, is to have hundreds of photos of moving grass.
3. Think security. Cameras like to walk. Be sure it is hard for yours to be found or removed.
O’Connell, Alan F. 2015. A Hidden view of Wildlife Conservation: How Camera Traps Aid Science, Research and Management. The Wildlife Professional 9:3(Fall): 56-59.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.