*After reading how to hide trail cams, check out my latest article covering my "Top 10 Trail Cam Strategies".
It has been an amazing progression; trail cameras have decreased in price over the past 15 years, while at the same time the level of both quality and technical advancements have shot through the roof! But that still doesn't remove the need to hide trail cams from the many thieves that seem to be ever present. In fact as competition for proven hunting grounds continues to climb, the level that some will stoop to for a of taste whitetail success, unfortunately often appears to be at an all-time high. Whether the number of camera stealing thugs is on the rise or not, it doesn't hurt to make sure that you continually find ways to hide trail cams from criminal activities. And who knows, you may find that when you hide trail cameras effectively, you may create an opportunity to even be able to catch a thief!
*This tip to hide your trail cams, as well as most any other whitetail related strategy, is covered in my recently completely trilogy of Advanced Whitetail Strategy books, including the recently published "Mature Buck Success by Design", which details how to scout, prepare, forecast for and consistently kill mature bucks.
How To Hide Trail Cams
Just like many of you, myself and my hunting crew have fallen vicitim to trail camera thieves. Within the last few years we experienced not only the theftof multiple game cams, but the erasing of SD picture collections, vandelism and camera pics of unrecognizable shadowy individuals fading into the distance. Feeling the need to hide trail cams after years of not needing to do so was a stinging proposition, but it had to be done and here were the ways that we found worked the best:
1. Talk To The Locals:
Our mission to hide trail cams didn't even start in the woods! We made it well known to our local friends and neighbors that we had some camera thieves, and we couldn't wait to prosecute the thugs if and when we caught them. While a couple of our non-hunting neighbors were shocked that someone would even do such a thing, our hunting neighbors of course new the drill. Although we did want to warn others, we knew that by making our intentions of prosecution widely known, that word would eventually leak to the thieves.
2. Hang Em High:
I edited this picture, hoping that you could more easily see the black box shaped cameras in the lower left and upper right of the photo. This is the exact location that theft and vandelism took place so we devised a solution that included a non-working dummy cam completely out in the open, and a hidden trail cam used to survey the entire landscape. It worked very well for pictures because as deer would travel to the waterhole in front of the dummy cam, the upper cam would trigger and take a picture that included several hundred yards of both food plots and CRP fields. We changed the SD card in the hidden cam by using 3 screw in steps that we brought with us each time, to allow us to climb to a branch to stand on so that we could access our Moultriegame cam. We felt that the game camera was not only completely hidden and difficut to access, but that it began to provide some of the best pictures that we captured in 12 years of hunting the land.
*Game cameras are my #1 scouting tool, and after using them on public and private land in multiple states beginning in the late 80s, I am convinced that no serious mature buck hunter or manager should be without multiple game cameras. Here is a list of my latest trail cam strategy articles that you can read to help you this season:
"Spook Proof Deer Cam Guide"
"Gave Cam vs Hunting Observation"
"Trail Cam Mature Buck Forecast"
"Deer Cam Location Strategies"
"5 Game Camera Clues For Whitetail Success"
3. Trees, Vines and Branches:
Some of today's deer camera designs are pretty tought to spot, as they blend into a variety of treebark patterns. However, the side profile often gives them away! By placing placing a large stick agains the side of the box, a well placed vine or even taking advantage of a well-located adjacent tree you can greatly reduce the effects of the side profile. I often like to lay a 3-4' branch roughly 3-4" in diameter right against the camera so that side profile is completely covered up.
4. The Way To Hide Trail Cams In Old Stumps
Old stumps are awesome for hiding trail cameras! But what I like to focus on the most is the outer shell. If the stump is rotten enough it can be fairly easy to pull the stump apart enough to create an out shell. By notching out the center of the shell with a saw or simply breaking the stump further apart, you can create a blind for your favorite deer cam. The stump will often be large enough to be able to wrap around the side of the both the tree and trail cam, so that the profile is completely hidden as well.
5. Camera Tree Arms:
Placing a trail camera above head level, is often all that it takes to remove it from the scanning, squinting eyes of those actively seeking to steal it. It also can be an outstanding way to capture head-on shots of deer cruising towards the camera, while making sure to keep the glowing bulbs of an infrared flash, out of the eyes of whitetails.
6. When All Else Fails
While using one of the above methods to hide trail cameras, try placing a dummy cam in plain site, and watch it with a High Quality Cam System.Can you imagine catching a trail cam thief? Personally, I would trade a season of mature buck success to be able to photograph and prosecute one of the local thieves.
The old stump shell has been by far my favorite way to hide trail cameras, but even using some of the tree attachments that allow a deer cam to be positioned above head level and angled down, have worked as well. The bottom line is that all of our efforts have paid off so far. By talking to the locals we believe that we developed a very short list of suspects, while at the same time our hiding tactics were fun to practice. In fact we have often discussed with our local friends and neighbors that we would trade a year of potential mature buck harvest to be able to harvest a good picture of a trail cam stealing thug. We are prepared with several methods to hide trail cams this season, while at the same time offering the opportunity to catch a thief; are you?