Checking the Trail Cameras for the First Time

Kris Brown Wednesday, 04 March 2020

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It had been one week since I installed trail cameras on public land in the Catskills and I figured it was time to check that they were working properly. In truth, I simply could not wait any longer to see what the cameras had captured.

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I made it to my first camera and found some promising deer sign nearby.

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I found several deer beds on a bench in the terrain. The fact that there are multiple beds suggests doe bedding.

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I also found several buck rubs near the doe beds. 

I used my climbing treestand to reach the camera placed ~10 feet up the tree trunk. The camera had taken 13 photos, most of which were of me setting it up. However, I did manage to get one photo of a doe taking a drink from a seep:

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I want to share my experience with downloading photos for the first time because I learned something. That is, micro-SD cards and my unsure hands do not mix! Here’s the backstory. My plan was to pop the trail camera’s micro-SD card into my smartphone, move the photos to my phone’s internal storage (thus clearing the photos from the micro-SD), and pop the micro-SD back into the trail camera to start anew. I completed most of these steps successfully, but in trying to take a photo of the process, I dropped the micro-SD adaptor into the snow and lost it.

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After popping the trail camera’s micro-SD card into my phone, I was able to transfer the photos to the phone’s internal storage.

Not having another adaptor, which is required to return the card to the trail camera, I would have to return another day to get the trail camera back up and running. “There has to be a better way,” I thought.

Also, I later realized that my phone’s remaining internal storage of about 1 GB is a deal-breaker considering I plan to let these cameras run for months at a time. This storage space issue could prevent me from downloading photos from one highly active camera, let alone all four in one day.

One solution would be to transfer photos from the trail camera to a laptop in the field (i.e. the micro-SD card and adaptor plug directly into the laptop SD card slot). If bringing a laptop to the field is too risky, another option would be to get a second (back-up) micro-SD card and adaptor for each trail camera. Then I could simply remove the memory card, replace it with the back-up card, and Bob’s your uncle.

To wrap up, here are some photos from the other cameras:

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Me doing my best deer impersonation during trail camera setup.

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Three days after the initial setup, a group of deer passed by the camera. How many can you spot in this photo? Provide your answer in the comments section at the end of the blog.

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This doe passed by the camera 2.5 hours after I installed it.

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This doe was on the move around lunchtime the next day.

As expected, downloading trail camera photos for the first time was a learning experience. Overall, I was pleased to get a handful of deer pictures in the first week and hopeful that I might improve the process for next time.

Where do you like to place your trail cameras and why? How often do you check them? What is your photo download strategy? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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