At what height should I mount my wildlife camera trap?
Wildlife cameras and trail cameras have openend a whole new window for us to better understand the natural world. These devices allow us to witness the hidden lives of animals in their natural habitats, providing valuable insights into their behaviour. To maximize the effectiveness of these cameras, proper placement is crucial. In this article, I’ll explore the importance of wildlife camera placement, emphasizing different heights for various-sized animals.
Wildlife Camera Placement, trail camera tips – everything you need to know!
Effective wildlife camera positioning is a skill that anyone can learn over time and with a trial and error mentality. It requires an understanding of the target species and their habits. One of the critical factors to consider is the height at which you position the camera. Different animals occupy different height zones in their environment. Tailoring camera placement to these zones can increase your chances of capturing good quality video footage and images.
Consider the night vision power when you set up a trail camera
Wildlife trail cameras all have different infrared strength. The infrared is what allows you to capture video and images in dark or low light conditions. Some cameras will have adjustable infrared power, such as the Ltl Acorn wildlife camera range. This affords you the ability to adjust the cameras’ infrared strength whilst maintaining the same height and position. If your trail cam does not give you the option of changing the infrared output then you may need to adjust the position and mount a trail camera slightly further away from the subject area to avoid white out issues.
Small Animals, trail cam positioning…
a) Hedgehogs: Hedgehogs are tiny creatures that often roam close to the ground. To capture these spiky wonders, it’s essential to position your wildlife camera at a lower height. Ideally, place the camera around 6-12 inches above the ground. Maybe angle it slightly downward to cover their path effectively. This placement will help you document their nocturnal activities, including foraging and nest-building.
b) Badgers: Badgers, while larger than hedgehogs, are still relatively low to the ground. For these elusive nocturnal creatures, positioning your camera at knee height or slightly lower is advisable. Try to avoid vegetation when you mount the camera as this could potentially trigger a false recording. Aim the camera towards known badger trails, sett entrances, or feeding areas to capture their social behavior and nightly routines.
c) Foxes: Foxes are more agile and can navigate varied terrain, but they still spend a significant amount of time close to the ground. For these cunning creatures, place your camera about knee-high or lower near their dens, pathways, or feeding spots. This will give you a glimpse into their nightly escapades, including hunting and family life.
The animals mentioned above in the small animals section are what most UK wildlife camera enthusiasts are likely to be interested in, as well as birds and other less common creatures such as pine martens, stoats, voles and mice etc. Below you’ll find advice for when capturing images of larger animals that are more common outside of the UK in places such as North America and Canada.
Higher positioning for camera trapping of larger animals…
a) Deer: Deer are among the most iconic and graceful creatures in the wild. To capture these majestic herbivores set your camera at a higher level, typically around chest height or even higher on a tree trunk. This height provides an ideal angle to monitor deer trails, salt licks, or bedding areas. You’ll likely capture breathtaking footage of their movements and interactions, such as mating rituals or territorial disputes.
b) Bears: Bears, both black and grizzly, are impressive animals that demand cautious observation. For these massive mammals, secure your camera at a height of at least 5-7 feet, preferably on a sturdy tree or post. Be sure to angle the camera downward, as bears often investigate objects on the ground. That’s not to say a curious bear won’t want to take a closer look at your camera, I’ve seen plenty of video footage of bears using trail cameras as a toy!
c) Elk and Moose: Elk and moose are the giants of the North American wilderness. When aiming to capture these imposing creatures, it’s essential to place your camera at a significant height, approximately 6-8 feet above the ground. Focus on areas like wallows, water sources, or travel corridors, ensuring you have a clear line of sight to capture their impressive size and movements.
How to mount a wildlife trail camera…
Wildlife cameras are usually supplied with a mounting strap. These straps can be used to tie the camera to a tree or post at any height you like. Sometimes customers also use a small piece of wood or twig to act as a wedge to create the best angle to the subject area. Ground spikes are also a brilliant and easy way of mounting a trail camera. Some ground spikes are fixed heights and others are adjustable so you can find the perfect length spike for your own application. Standard camera tripods could also be used to locate a trail camera in position or even just site your camera on a garden bench or table!
Careful wildlife camera placement will bring better results in the end!
Wildlife cameras have opened a window into the secret lives of animals, providing invaluable insights into their behavior and interactions. Proper trail camera placement is the key to unlocking this treasure trove of information. Remember that different-sized animals inhabit various height zones, and adapting your trail camera placement accordingly will greatly enhance your chances of capturing stunning wildlife footage. So, whether you’re tracking hedgehogs at ground level or capturing the grace of a deer from above, strategic wildlife camera placement can help you create a compelling wildlife documentary right in your own backyard.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and maybe taken a few tips. I have written other posts about wildlife cameras, such as the various infrared night vision options there are and a guide to choosing a wildlife camera. These articles can all be found here on my blog. I hope they can be of some use and if you’d like more information about another wildlife camera related topic then please let me know.