Trail Cameras Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)
We scoured the Internet to find out the most frequently-asked questions about trail cameras. As part of this comprehensive article about the best trail cameras in 2017 we’ve answered your questions below. If you have a game camera question that isn’t answered here, we encourage you to contact us directly so that we can help you and then add your question to this list.
What is the Difference Between a Trail Camera and a Game Camera?
These two terms are completely interchangeable. Both phrases refer to a device that is meant to detect and capture movement. You can use these devices for tracking, hunting, observation, surveying and to keep an eye on things at home or at your business.
What Affects the Battery Life of My Trail Camera?
The battery life of your trail camera depends on numerous factors. The more activity there is in an area will result in a shorter battery lifespan because the camera is frequently taking pictures and recording videos. Nighttime detection uses more battery juice because of the LED activation. Videos pull more battery power than photos, as do using settings like time lapse mode and rapid fire mode.
Many trail camera manufacturers install battery-saver technology to preserve the life of your batteries when there is no movement detected for an extended amount of time. As a general rule, batteries should last between two and six months.
How Important is SD Card Size in Relation to Trail Cameras?
Trail cameras have different memory card allowances. Some can work with SD cards with 32-gigabyte capacity while others will only take 8-16GB chips.
The memory capacity of your SD card determines how many photos and videos your camera can save. The quality of the photos and videos also affects that number. For example, a 5-megapixel camera with a 32-gigabyte SD card can save over 15,000 photos while a higher-quality 12-megapixel camera (also using a 32GB memory card) can store approximately 8,000 photos.
There’s no real downside to larger SD card size, especially if you won’t be able to access your camera regularly. If you know you’ll be downloading photos from the camera often, then you might be able to save a few bucks on a game camera with a lower memory capacity. It’s also worth noting that some cameras have an “overwrite” feature that will save the newest photo and delete the oldest one when the memory card is full.
Do Trail Cameras Work the Same During the Day as They Do at Night?
Trail cameras work toward the same purpose 24/7 but the methods and results vary according to the lighting. The best trail cameras usually take color photo and video during the day, but the infrared or covert LEDs only allow for black/white at nighttime. The detection range might be 10-20 feet shorter at night, and video recordings could also be shorter.
The camera will probably use more power at night due to the LEDs, especially if targets in the area are nocturnal. Some models have a timer so you can arrange for the camera to go into sleep mode during certain times of the day or night.
What’s the Best Way to Mount my Trail Camera?
A lot of manufacturers include a mounting strap with the trail camera. You can use this strap to mount the camera on a tree. Mounting brackets suited for every purpose are available online and in hunting outfitters, or you can make your own.
It’s best to mount the camera as securely as possible so it won’t move and cause you to lose your view. You might want to mount the camera in a lock box designed for trail cameras to prevent theft or damage. Feel free to conceal your camera however you like, but make sure the lens and LEDs remain unobstructed.
What is the Difference between Standard, Wireless, and Cellular Game Cameras?
A standard trail camera does not have Internet or cellular capabilities, although some can detect GPS coordinates automatically. Pictures and videos must be retrieved manually.
A wireless game camera is able to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. It can send live updates, but the range is relatively short.
A cellular trail camera uses networks like Verizon and AT&T to relay photos and videos to your phone or email wherever there is cellular service. There is a monthly fee of $5-$20 payable to the cell provider for this service.
How Can I View Pictures/Videos in the Field?
If you have a digital camera that has a SD card reader, this might be a viable option. For convenience, however, many hunters buy trail camera viewers that plug right into the camera itself. You can then save the images onto the device and pop the newly-cleaned SD card back into the camera. To make things even easier on yourself, buy a trail camera with a built-in viewer.
What Should I Do If My Trail Camera isn’t Working or Providing Me with Pictures/Videos?
First, use a pocket battery tester to make sure the batteries are fully-charged. If fully-charged batteries don’t do the trick then plug the camera into an external power source, if possible. The next step would be to contact the manufacturer so they can help you troubleshoot the problem. Keep receipts and warranty cards in a safe place in case you need to return or exchange a damaged game camera, and always find out how the manufacturer and/or vendor handles returns, repairs, etc.