Trail cameras are great for wildlife spotting or even home security. But an obvious trail camera is sadly prone to theft or vandalism. Here’s how to hide trail cameras from humans.
Hiding a trail camera from humans is essential to allow the cameras to serve their purpose of watching wildlife or securing your home or land.
Two factors to remember: you must make the camera hard to spot and even harder to steal. While this may seem obvious, it is easier said than done.
Why Should You Hide Trail Cameras from Humans?
Whether you want to capture the wild at its best candid shot or keep an eye for intruders, trail cameras, AKA game cameras, can be the best gear you can have for surveillance/hunting purposes or to increase home security. But maintaining a trail camera isn’t as easy as it looks.
Keeping your trail camera hidden from wild animals or other people is essential to minimize the chance of being vandalized or, worse — stolen.
The wild animals can be spooked easily by your trail camera, or other people may steal your game security cameras if you don’t hide them properly. And that can be really nerve-wracking. Especially when your trail camera is expensive and equipped with night vision, thermal imaging, or infrared flash.
In this guide, we are going to talk about how to hide trail cameras from humans and wild animals. So without any further due, let’s jump right in.
How To Hide Trail Cameras From Humans And Wild Animals
Setting up an obvious trail camera will not only impede the purpose, but it will also make the camera prone to theft or vandalism.
We have put together a couple of handy tips that ensure the safety of your trail camera so that you don’t have to learn the lesson the hard way. The main idea behind these tips is to make your trail cams hard to spot and even harder to steal.
So let’s get right into it.
#01 Elevate The Cams Out Of Reach
Though using a ladder every time you need to check on your trail camera is a bit of a hassle itself, placing your trail cams out of reach comes with its own perks. Most people don’t look above their original eye level, especially while walking in the wild.
If your trail camera locations are easy to reach for you, it is the same for poachers as well. You will also get a wider view angle that will make your surveillance much easier. To minimize maintenance, using rechargeable lithium batteries for trail cameras over traditional alkaline batteries for trail cameras is a valid option. However, you need to make sure that you are choosing the best batteries for your trail camera.
You can use tree steps to avoid carrying a ladder every time you need to check on your cams. Tree steps are little “z” or “s” shaped metal rods that are comparatively easy to install. You can screw your tree steps into a tree trunk and gain easy access to your cams. You can also use solar-powered trail cams to minimize the maintenance effort.
#02 Lock Your Camera Using Mounting Brackets
Though it may seem like an obvious part, there is a surprisingly large number of people who don’t use actual braces and brackets when installing their trail cams. Always remember, thieves, aren’t the only threat to your trail cams. Inclement weather like high winds or heavy rains can also dislodge your camera. You can use a lock box to protect your camera from poachers.
Python cable locks can be a good choice to secure your trail cams as they’ll cinch your camera tighter to the tree for a more secure hold. This will also make it more difficult to fit cutters or other tools around the cable, improving the security of your trail cams. Try to use stainless steel mounting brackets or swivels as they will provide you with extra security.
#03 Set A Decoy
The decoy approach will add an additional layer of security to your main trail camera. The decoy camera doesn’t even need to be functioning. So you can use an old trail cam as a decoy. The main idea of setting up a decoy camera is to catch the thieves red-handed.
Make sure that the decoy cam is within the sight of your main camera. The key here is to place the dummy camera in an easy but not obvious spot near the main one. This will help you to identify the thieves with ease.
Though It’s a bit more leg work and uses more equipment, it will definitely offer your trail cams more security. Even if your dummy camera gets stolen, you’ll have the chance to look at the video/audio record and find out what exactly happened.
#04 Camouflage Your Trails Cams
The harder you make your trail camera spot, the more secure it will be. And the best way to hide your cams in plain eyesight is to use the best camera camouflage technique. A natural camouflage will make your job much easier, even if it is in plain sight. Many people use a tree trunk to cover their camera hiding spot.
You can use natural or artificial foliage to create the perfect ghillie suit for your trail cams, or you can use store-bought plastic plants. Many brands of cameras nowadays come with a camouflage pattern printed. You can also build/buy a natural box for your trail cams for additional camouflage. This is one of the most effective ways to hide your trail cameras from people or
Camouflaging only the looks of your trail cam isn’t enough. You’ll have to work on erasing your scent as well in order to reduce the chance of wild animals being spooked.
#05 Leave A Mark
If you don’t want to lose your trail cams forever, it would be wise to engrave your name and contact information on your gear. We are suggesting engraving or scratching as it will be even harder for the thieves to get rid of. This engraving/scratching will help you to find your trail camera even if it gets stolen.
You can also try using trail cameras that can send trail camera images directly to your phone through a data plan. This real-time surveillance will help you to keep track of your trophy or other poachers.
#05 Go Dark
Most stealth/game security camera uses infrared clear LEDs. The bright flash from your trail cameras can easily spook the wild animal or expose the location to other passersby who are in the flash range. To minimize the risk of that happening, we suggest using a “black flash” or “no glow” camera. And try to use smaller trail cameras as the smaller the camera, the harder it is to spot them.
There are so many options for low and no glow flashes available in the market that it would be foolish not to use one. The lights from “low glow” or “red glow” cameras will easily give away their position and compromise security. You surely don’t want that.
#06 Avoid High Traffic Areas
Other human poses a bigger threat to your trail cams than any other animals. So it should be obvious not to put your trail cameras in a spot where it’s crowded and easy to spot.
It would be wise to set the camera up around 25 feet from where you are looking to film instead of the recommended 10-15 feet.
Find an area that is far from the trail/ feeding area and has dense vegetation to set your trail cam as it would be reluctant for a human to pass through.
Final Notes On Hiding Trail Cameras From Humans
If you want the best output from your remote cameras, nothing works better than blending your cam into the environment. The goal is to see without being seen. If you follow the tips mentioned above, the chance of getting your trail cams getting stolen or spooking away your trophy buck will decrease a lot.
We hope that all the tips we shared may come in handy in securing your trail camera from humans and other wild animals and thus enable you to capture the raw beauty of the wild for a longer time. Please do share your experience with trail cams and which tip worked the best for you in the comment section below.