Instellingen en plaatsing van de wildcamera De sleutel tot succes
Wild camera tips

Settings and placement of the wildlife camera The key to success

The popularity of wildlife cameras is increasing, also in the Low Countries. The quality is also getting better and better. The wildlife camera may automatically record images, but a wildlife camera cannot do everything. There is still a very important task for the user of the wildlife camera. Both the placement of the wildlife camera and the settings of the wildlife camera are of great importance. In this blog you will learn the most important factors that can help you use your wildlife camera optimally.

Choice of your wildlife camera

When you know what you want to use the camera for and which settings are important to you, you are one step closer to choosing your ideal wildlife camera. If you already have a wildlife camera, read on. If you don't have a wildlife camera yet, consult the Wildcamera XL product type Quiz .

Photo or video?

When choosing whether to put your wildlife camera on photo or video, there are a few factors that you should take into account. First and foremost, your own choice is the most important, what do you want to do with the images? It goes without saying that if you are interested in animal behavior, video is the better option. Most wildlife cameras nowadays also have the option to record sound, which provides strong added value. Night images can often be slightly blurrier than day images, which is more noticeable when you take photos.

When we delve deeper into night images, it is important to look at your IR (infrared sensor). This is a choice you have to make when purchasing your wildlife camera. The difference between 'no glow' and 'low glow' IR is the visibility, mainly for humans. 'No glow' is not visible to humans, but also produces grainier night images. 'Low glow' is visible to humans, but gives better quality to night images.

The trigger speed is of course also important. This is the time between detecting motion and the final photo. Typically, the trigger speed for photos is faster than for videos. This in turn argues in favor of photos. On the other hand, a photo is just a photo, and it can sometimes be difficult to identify the animal with 1 photo. Today, most wildlife cameras have the ability to take multiple photos at a trigger, which increases the chance of a usable photo.

The next factor you should take into account is your storage capacity. Both photos (the number of photos per trigger) and video (the length of your videos per trigger) determine the speed at which your SD card fills up. Another additional parameter that you can include in your thinking exercise is the recovery time. This is the time after a trigger during which the wildlife camera does not record images, even if it is triggered.

I usually use the video setting. I usually use my images for YouTube, but my choice is more thoughtful than just that. As mentioned earlier, videos also provide the option to have sound with the recording. I think this is an added value. I usually go for a video length of 20 seconds. I experience this as a good balance between storage capacity and still being able to capture sufficient behavior. I myself use 32GB SD cards.

Adjust sensitivity?

With some wildlife cameras you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor and the strength of the IR flash. I don't use this that often. I usually set the sensitivity of the motion sensor to 'normal'. When I notice that I have a lot of moving plants in front of the camera (see placement), I sometimes dare to set this setting to 'low'.

In very specific circumstances, for example when you want to film smaller animals closer to the camera, I also adjust these settings. Then you can set the sensitivity of the motion sensor to 'high'. Since you are mainly interested in close-up images, it is best to also adjust the strength of the IR flash to 'low'. By default I have this setting set to 'high'. You will only adjust the intensity of the IR flash if you have many overexposed night images.

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Placement of the wildlife camera

In addition to the settings of your wildlife camera, the placement of your wildlife camera is also a very important parameter for successful images. This is often overlooked. Yet I have often seen camera setups that were more or less pointed towards the sky. This does not have the hoped-for images. With the following tips and a little extra time when setting up, you will be amazed by the results.

Below I discuss some ways to increase your chances of success. Of course, there are also different scientific approaches to scientifically monitor areas. These methods often use random locations. So my focus is rather on capturing animals.

Where do I place my wildlife camera?

There is no clear answer to this question either. Naturally, this highly depends on what you want to achieve or which species you want to capture. It is important to mention here that you cannot just hang your wildlife camera anywhere. Be sure to ask permission from the domain owner.

The easiest place is your own garden. Possibly a nature reserve or other place where you would like to know which animals are found. Once an area has been selected, it is time to find a specific location for your wildlife camera. Unfortunately, the first tip is to make sure it is not in direct view of footpaths or roads (to reduce the chance of theft).

When looking for a suitable place, it is best to empathize with the animal itself. Where would this animal move? Forest edges are often a good option. Paths and switches also give a greater chance of success. This is where your knowledge of recognizing animal tracks comes into its own. A place where 2 switches cross each other increases your chance even more. Areas where scratch marks are present, or round areas where leaves have been removed (possible roosts) are also good locations.

When looking for the right location, it is also important to keep in mind where you are going to mount your wildlife camera.

How do I place my wildlife camera?

Voila, your place in front of the wildlife camera has been found. Now it is time to attach the wildlife camera. The height and direction are important here.

The height at which you hang the wildlife camera depends somewhat on the animals you want to photograph. For example, knee height is sufficient for a deer, but for smaller animals this can be lower. Personally, I usually hang my camera about 30cm above the ground.

The direction in which you hang the wildlife camera will partly determine which images you get. When you hang the camera perpendicular to the switch (path), you get a nice side view. The disadvantage of this is that you may miss fast animals. When you hang the game camera parallel to your game path, you mainly get the fronts and backs of animals. I get my best results when I point my camera at about 45Β° on the game trail. This also provides images where you can see the animals walking in the distance.

When you have hung the camera (between knee height and 30cm) it is important to check whether the camera is not pointed upwards. I try to place the camera at least parallel to the ground, possibly even a little downwards. In practice, I often stick a branch behind the wildlife camera (at the top).

Test camera

Finally, it's time to test the camera. Most cameras now have a color LCD screen. Create a test image by walking where the animals would walk. See when the camera is triggered and whether you are in the right position. Once all that is done, don't forget to put the camera back on. Then the camera is ready to do its work automatically!

Ways to further increase opportunities

With the above tips it should be possible to optimally set up your wildlife camera. If you still can't get enough of optimizing the location of your wildlife camera, I have the following tips for you.

Naturally, you will increase your chances if you know the area in which your wildlife camera will be installed better. By knowing the switches and where the animals are located, you can greatly increase your chances. When it has snowed or rained heavily, you can look for tracks in the snow or mud. This allows you to find out which animals are found there and what the main routes are.

A final tip is one that you should apply with great caution. This is the use of attractants to get more animals for your wildlife camera. Attractants can attract more game to your camera, but they can also ensure that the animals stay in front of your game camera longer, increasing the chance of good images. The caution in using attractants lies in the fact that you should not let the animals become dependent on your attractants or feeding area. The main attractants that are sometimes used with game cameras are sardines, fish oil, peanut butter, plums, etc. My experience also shows that this increases your chances of success, but that you also have to include the many images of (forest) mice.

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Conclusion

There are no right or wrong settings for the wildlife camera, or wrong places to hang a wildlife camera. There are factors that can increase your success. This is not hard science. By taking these factors into account you will hopefully be able to increase your success experiences with your wildlife camera. Of course there will also be disappointing results. The message is to keep trying!

With the above tips it should be possible to optimally set up your wildlife camera. Of course, it is also important to take a look at your images and adjust your setup where necessary.

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With the help of: Sam Puls

I am a biologist and passionate about mammals. You can read more about my experiences on my website Wildlife Impulse. I regularly post videos of my camera traps on my YouTube channel.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sampuls.wildlife

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/wildlifeimpulse

Website: https://www.wildlifeimpulse.com/nl