Getting the most out of your trail camera

by Justin Hoffman | November 2, 2022
a trail camera covered in bark

Bark umbrella

Snow and rain can be a trail cam user’s worst enemy. A soaked or fully obscured lens will result in missed captures or partial pics. Slot an old piece of bark behind the cam and bend it forward to form an umbrella.

Match card & cam

Couple up cards and cams. Memory cards can be temperamental and what works with one cam doesn’t always jive with another. Use a permanent marker to label each card and know that if you forget to format after a swap you won’t run into issues.


If compatible, get a solar panel for your cam. Harnessing the power of the sun will ensure your unit is running 24/7, saving you coin from never-ending battery buying.

Foil a thief

Camouflaging your cams lessens the chance of would-be thieves spotting them. Glue bark and leaves to the front and sides of your unit to help them blend into the surroundings.

Waypoint them

Landscapes can change throughout the seasons. Waypoint your camera’s locations in your phone or handheld GPS to take the guesswork out of tracking them down.

Foil a thief II

Make your own quick and easy cable lock for under $10 (not including padlock) to give your cams a level of security. See the Fall 2020 issue of OOD for instructions, or click here.

Better juice

Batteries can be costly. Consider running rechargeables in your cams, especially if you plan on swapping them out regularly. Choose the highest mAh rating for the longest life and most power.

Test run

Most trail cams come with a stock viewing screen. Before walking away, take a test pic or video with yourself as the subject to review. This ensures that the cam is set at the correct height and angle for the subject you are targeting as well as to make sure the batteries and card are fitted properly and the unit is firing.

Shallow Cranks for Largies

Originally published in Ontario OUT of DOORS’ 2022-2023 Hunting Annual.

Justin Hoffman is an outdoor writer, photographer, and YouTuber based in the Ottawa area.
You can find his trove of trail camera compilations and nature videos here.

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  1. tim wrote: You did not mention how squirrels can and will chew on the cam causing water intrusion destroying the cam making it useless.