Dé startersgids voor het gebruik van een Wildcamera!
Wildcamera tips

The starter's guide to using a wildlife camera!

What is a wildlife camera:

A wildlife camera can make your life easier and increase your chances of a successful hunt – they can also allow the user to monitor and monitor animal activity without being present . In short, a wildlife camera is a portable and automatically operating camera that only turns on when it detects movement. Not only movement but also heat is measured, making both day and night images possible. Some wildlife cameras can also be controlled mobile. The cameras are specially made to record animal behavior from a distance, fully automatically.

Animals travel, socialize and feed during the day and we can't always be there to keep an eye on them. To understand our prey (or animals to be researched/photographed) as best as possible, it is extremely important to use wildlife cameras to keep an eye on animal activities. But like all other gadgets we use in our lives, wildlife cameras can be prone to both user and technological errors. The big advantage is that animal behavior is not disturbed by human presence, the cameras can take both day and night images and are also equipped with many practical options.

In addition, a wildlife camera, also called a trail camera, is the ideal tool for, among other things:

  • Support and observation of hunting
  • Keep an eye on nests and breeding grounds
  • Carry out animal observations (from a distance without disturbing nature)
  • Conduct biological studies
  • Monitor the growth of plants/animals/constructions (due to the timelapse function)
  • Give extra meaning to your passion for nature in a special way

How does a wildlife camera work:

The essential parts that make a wildlife camera work are the motion sensor , the lens, the infrared emitters, the batteries and the SD card. The motion sensor of a wildlife camera is what activates the camera to capture movement. A camera that takes photos or video clips every time the wind blows the leaves around would be useless, so motion sensors are also equipped with heat detection . This heat detection ensures that the camera and its sensors only start recording as soon as a living creature enters its field of view. The better the sensor, the faster it will detect motion and heat, and the faster it will collect images within its field of view. Higher quality cameras also have a high turnaround time between taking one photo and being ready for the next.

standard parts of a wildlife camera

Most important parts of a wildlife camera:

When you are looking for a wildlife camera, many different terms and names are often used. Below is a simple, brief explanation of what each function actually entails.

No glow or Low glow:

Cameras with a "no-glow" flash are equipped with black LEDs that are completely invisible , not only to wildlife, but also to humans. It should be noted that all images captured at night with this option will be black and white. Are you using the camera as a security camera and do you want it not to be seen? Then No-Glow cameras are for you! In general, wild animals are not bothered by flashes.

Low-Glow wildlife cameras, on the other hand, have a light glow from the infrared sensors. This red glow is slightly visible with the naked eye. The low-glow models are often slightly cheaper to purchase.

On the left you will see a light glow in the sensors (low-glow)
On the right you see no glow (no-glow)

no glow and low glow wildlife camera example

Megapixels and Video Resolution:

Most wildlife cameras vary between 8 and a maximum of 20 megapixels. Megapixels together with the quality of the camera lens represent the sharpness and resolution of the photos that the camera takes. Within the wild cameraXL range, the lowest number of megapixels are 12 megapixels and go up to no less than 32MP . In terms of video resolution, it is important to aim for at least 'Full-HD' video sharpness. It is of course very important to shoot sharp videos. There are also various 4K video models , which shoot particularly good videos.

The trigger speed

Trigger time is essentially the time it takes for a camera to take a photo once motion, such as a deer walking by, is spotted. Trigger speed is a very important feature and can undoubtedly be the difference between seeing or not seeing certain movement. Trigger speed is one of the most important features of a wildlife camera. The trigger times vary between 0.2 seconds and 1.5 seconds.

trigger time of a wildlife camera

Detection zone

The "detection zone" of a wildlife camera is an invisible area that starts at the front of the camera and extends outward in a V-shape; it increases as the distance increases. This "zone" is where the camera detects motion. Once motion is detected, the camera activates and records an image or starts recording video. As for detection zones, you should be aware of how wide and how long your specific model is, because depending on where you want to use the camera, you may not need such a large zone. Obviously, with high numbers in both zones, the camera will find more movement and take more photos, and vice versa. The average detection zone is between 15 and 20 meters away (straight ahead).

Detection zone wildlife camera sensors

PIR angle

“PIR” stands for passive infrared and the PIR angle refers to the camera's ability to detect motion. Cameras that have a wide PIR angle can detect motion faster and have a better chance of capturing the animal/object in the center of the frame, unlike the way some lower quality cameras can do it . High quality cameras have usually a PIR angle of 48 degrees . This example shows the width of the PIR sensors.

Infrared range wildlife camera sensor

Multi-shot / Burst mode:

Instead of taking one image when the camera triggers, "Burst Mode" will allow the camera to take a predetermined number of images before stopping. For example: a deer walks by and the camera, when the multi-shot is turned on (for example set to 3 photos per detection), the camera immediately takes 3 extremely fast photos in succession! Less good for your SD storage, but ideal for getting the shot.

burst mode multishot example photo

The 3 most important advantages of a wildlife camera:

1. You will get better information but also more information about the desired areas

Wildlife cameras can take you to another place with just the click of a button. With properly installed internet-enabled wildlife cameras , you can observe live feeds of your desired location and scout for a suitable hunting location, photography location or research location for an extended period of time. They'll give you much-needed insight so you can diligently prepare for your natural pursuits, or even your next hunt. You can imagine that having different 'eyes' at different locations using wildlife cameras with live notifications is an extremely valuable tool!

For example, you can study the behavior, feeding habits and breeding zones of your specific target. This allows you to relax and enjoy your desired activities with more confidence in your setup or location determination. Today's wildlife cameras have very advanced digital functions. For example, hunters can remotely adjust the position of some cameras for better shots. This is made possible by advanced Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity that can be controlled from up to 150 meters away. Wild cameras with WIFI are ideal for watching live within a limited distance!

2. Time saving

You can save yourself a lot of time by using a wildlife camera. Instead of spending countless hours exploring your spots in person, you can place a wildlife camera in the spot that interests you, sit back and let the camera do the work for you . If the camera catches a lot of activity, then you know you're in a good spot. Not to mention, you can keep an eye on them all season long and constantly get new information about movements. They can be much more than a pre-season scouting tool if you use them properly.

3. Security

Wildlife cameras are ideal for monitoring your land, storage or home . The last thing you need is an unwanted person who shouldn't be on your property walking around your personal areas. Trail cameras give you a sense of security for those events you hope never happen. For example, you can hang a wildlife camera in your personal storage, shed or in the garden that records every movement.

Wild camera tips

Location and placement

Location is the most crucial aspect when scouting with a wildlife camera. Prioritize food and water sources, frequently used trails, and sleeping areas when looking for a place to place your camera. Keep in mind that wildlife behavior changes throughout the year depending on the season, so familiarize yourself with these changes.

The positioning of the wildlife camera is also a factor that plays a role in getting the most out of the camera. Depending on the desired animals you want to observe, it is useful to adhere to certain 'standard rules': for example, it is more convenient to hang the camera at a height of approximately 1 meter if you want to observe deer, roe deer or other larger animals. Would you like to observe foxes, wild boars or other smaller animals? Then it is useful to position the camera at a height of approximately 40-60 centimeters.

setting and hanging wildlife camera tips

Power the camera

When it comes to buying batteries for your wildlife cameras, you may think you're saving money by choosing cheaper options. While this may be true, low quality batteries have voltage irregularities and respond poorly to different weather conditions. This can lead to malfunctions.
Make sure your trail cameras are powered by high-quality, long-lasting rechargeable lithium batteries or replaceable alkaline batteries , depending on the manufacturer's instructions. Although they may be a little more expensive to purchase, they last much longer so you get value for your money. The use of solar panels or adapters is also not an unnecessary luxury, if the situation arises. There are also solar panels and adapters for wildlife cameras.

Check the trail camera settings

To get the most out of your wildlife camera, it is important to set it up properly, based on your needs.
Adjust the sensor sensitivity of your trail cameras to meet your scouting needs. While you want to capture all of the animal's movements, you don't want to capture false triggers like falling leaves and moving branches. Make sure you set the correct passive infrared (PIR) angle on the trail camera so that it can detect the movement of your game according to the speed at which they usually move. This way, the slow movements of things like leaves and branches aren't captured. You should also set a higher image resolution to capture quality images. Remember to use a high quality SD card with plenty of memory.

Tips for settings

Camera mode:
Camera mode is essentially the choice of how the user wants the camera to take photos. Common options include taking photos in a burst, video, one photo or time-lapse.

Which mode a user chooses depends on their goals. Some people choose to bait, which means placing food near the camera to attract animals. In that case, a single photo may work best. Burst photos take multiple photos in a row, making this mode better for decoy photography.

Video functions are useful when you want to monitor behavior closely, but this takes up a lot of space on your SD card but is a very interesting function for observing animal behavior.

Interval mode:
Interval is the time between each individual photo or burst. Choosing a good interval is important because it can help save battery life longer and prevent the camera from ending up with hundreds of shots of the exact same animal. Even if the user wants many shots of one particular animal, a small interval time can be set. Suppose you want to take a photo/video of the animal you are monitoring (for example an owl nest) every 15 minutes, then you can set the camera interval to 15 minutes. When this function is set up with a 4G wildlife camera, it is recommended to choose a large internet subscription. A WiFi camera is also ideal for this! (please note that most wildlife cameras have an internal hotspot, so you cannot be further than +/- 20 meters away from the camera to watch or download the files via your mobile.
Sensitivity is the camera's response to motion, and heat detection if the camera is infrared. Higher sensitivity settings will respond to even small movements, causing the camera to take a photo. The easiest thing to do is to take a test shot with your wildlife camera to determine which sensitivity works best in the chosen environment.

If you hang your camera in a forest where many branches and leaves move in front of the camera due to the wind, and your goal is to capture larger animals, it is wise not to set the sensitivity to the highest setting.

Common 'mistakes':

1. Choosing the wrong wildlife camera

It is very important to immediately purchase the right wildlife camera, this will prevent a lot of hassle and can also save on unnecessary costs. If you want to hang a wildlife camera in your garden, then perhaps a WIFI camera or standard camera is the best option. Do you want to hang the camera far away from home and is it necessary to be able to watch LIVE? Then it is very useful to purchase a wildlife camera with internet. Are you not sure which type of camera suits you? Then take a wildlife camera quiz or ask an advisor for advice.

2. Buying a memory card that is too small

Memory cards must be large enough to handle multiple photos/photo bursts over many hours. A memory card that is too small will result in the camera filling the memory too quickly due to the many photos or videos. It is recommended that you purchase the largest memory card that your wildlife camera can handle. This is a slightly larger investment but certainly has more advantages than disadvantages in the long term.

3. Not taking into account your own smell

Wildlife camera users should keep in mind that animals have a keen sense of smell and that the camera will retain the person's scent if it is not cleaned after setting up. The camera should be set up with odor-resistant gloves or wiped clean after set up so as not to alarm or disturb the animals.

4. Camouflaging or hiding the camera too well

While it's important to hide your camera (to prevent theft and get the best shots), it's possible to hide it too well. This affects your shots: Using too much foliage or cover can actually look ensure that you do not get a good recording. Difficulty finding the camera: And if you don't take a GPS point, you may also hide it from yourself and find it difficult to find.

5. Forgot to turn on the camera

You may not believe it, but it sometimes happens that people perfectly set up, position and hide their camera... but end up forgetting to turn it on before leaving the premises!