This is a guest post by Jessica Landers
Trail cameras aren’t commonly thought of as an option for home security. Most people relate trail cameras to hunting and general wildlife photography, but they also hold great possibilities for aiding home owners. Those who take advantage of this find they are a cheaper option for security.
When you think of trail cameras, I am sure your mind goes straight to hunting. Hunters use trail cameras to scout out a location before hunting or trapping there. A common practice is to use a baiting area to attract local game. Some put out corn or salt blocks for deer.
On a tree in the area, they would set up a trail camera. They take pictures and videos of the game. One of the benefits for hunting is the cameras give date and time stamps. Game tend to frequent similar areas at the same time each day. This gives great insight into what time would be the best to hunt.
Trail Camera Features for Home Security
Trail cameras work in a very similar way to home security systems – by using motion sensors. You can save a ton of money monthly by setting up strategically placed trail cameras. There are some important features you should consider when deciding which trail camera is best for you. Here is what to look for when purchasing one for home security purposes:
No Glow Cameras: This first feature is an absolute necessity. A flash is going to give away the location of your hidden trail camera and scare away the trespasser. You want to see what they are up to and have evidence against them for the police. A no glow camera can take pictures in the day and the nighttime. No glow cameras use infrared (IR flash) to take the pictures.
Videos: Not all trail cameras take videos, but most do. They typically range from 10 to 90 seconds. Some include sound and some do not. This is just a matter of your own personal preference. If you want a camera with video, find one with HD video. Otherwise, nighttime videos can be too grainy for recognition of trespassers.
Motion Sensor: All trail cameras have motion sensors. The feature you need to look at is the range. Ideally, you would place one or more trail cameras with sight of entry points. Some cameras have a larger range, such as 50 feet at 45 angle. Find out the range distance that will cover your area of concern and choose one with that range capability.
Wireless or cellular: Not all game cameras can transmit pictures to your phone in real time. However, wireless cellular trail cameras are able to do so. They can notify you in near real time of trespassers. There is generally a 90 second delay between capturing the image and receiving on your phone. They will require a SIM card from your cellular provider and uses data as your other electronic devices. It is strongly recommended to use a trail camera with these capabilities when trying to catch trespassers. The beauty of this feature is that, even if the criminals do manage to find the camera and steal it, you would have already received the images to be able to use against them in an investigation.
Tips for Setting Up the Trail Camera
My family has used trail cameras quite a few times for security purposes. We have a flock of backyard chickens, and we have had issues with critters. You don’t need chickens to have issues with critters. Recently, we lost five hens. It is a sad reality of owning livestock. So, my husband set up a trail camera and determined the point of entry for the animal. He was able to catch the pesky raccoon the next night before we lost another hen.
Setting up a trail camera for animals is a bit different than setting one up for humans. Humans can spot the cameras, and this would foil your entire plan. Here are some tips to make it a bit easier.
Camouflaged: You don’t want the camera to be in a place that is easy to spot. Concealment is important; many people opt to use trees, but sometimes different places will offer better vantage points. A fence can be another option. If you don’t have a fence or trees, stores sell stands for trail cameras. You could place your camera in a bush. This is what my husband did when we were trying to determine who was trespassing in our backyard last summer.
Line of sight: Trail cameras can angle, so they don’t need to be directly at eye level. Actually, criminals may be looking within their line of sight for security cameras. Lower or higher than line of sight, angled up or down are great ideas. You may have to think outside the box a bit. Think of places like the telephone pole, on the roof of the house or a shed, or on a bird feeder.
Try the Shade: Facing your trail camera into the sun will cause glares and will blowout your pictures. It will result in unusable pictures. Find areas that are mostly shady to get the best photos.
Wireless: If your trail camera works using WiFi, you need to place it in range of your wireless network. This may limit your options. Most have a 500 foot range.
Time Stamp: While you place your trail camera, make sure the time stamp option is turned “ON.” This lets you know exactly when the trespasser or critter made their way onto your property.
Lock it Up: Most trail cameras offer a way to lock the trail camera. It is a good idea because the camera could be stolen by the trespassers if it is noticed. You will want to keep it locked at all times.
Time Lapse: This is a newer feature in trail cameras. It offers a better depth and understanding of the movement of the trespasser. If you set your trail camera about 20 yards away from the target area, you should be able to get a great idea of what is going on. Set it for every 5 minutes. A word of warning is time lapse drains the battery much faster.
The setup of your trail camera won’t take very long. You could also place your trail camera inside of your home. The most common placement would be in a window, although it is easy to notice. Try a window on the upper levels of your home that is angled downwards.
Using a trail camera for security has a few benefits, but the most important benefit is the cost savings. A home security system can cost you around $100 per month. For a little more than that, you can purchase a trail camera. Buying a few trail cameras would only cost a few hundred dollars. You will be saving thousands of dollars.
If you are looking for a cost effective home security system, consider a trail camera setup. They are wonderful for catching critters that may be destroying parts of your property! If you are having constant problems with trespassers, they will do their job just as effectively as a home security system in many cases.
You can use trail cameras for more than hunting and wildlife photography. You can protect your family and property without having to break the bank.
Jessica Landers helps manage a team of outdoor enthusiastic writers at Good Game Hunting. She has been a huntress since she was a little girl and enjoys sharing her experience with hunting to educate others about the great outdoors and hunting equipment. Being a wife and mother she is serious about protecting her family and considers home security of great importance.