Worst Trail Camera Mistakes To Make

By Brodie SwisherJune 27, 20232 Comments

Trail cameras are one of the greatest scouting tools known to the modern day deer hunter. These cameras allow hunters to gather intel on their hunting properties like no other piece of gear or gadget can.

But it’s important to think before you hang a camera in the woods and walk away. Mistakes are often made that cause hunters to miss the photo they are after. 

Here’s a look at the common trail camera mistakes hunters make. 

Trail Camera Mistakes

Not Trimming Weeds, Limbs & Grass

The grass, weeds, or limbs you neglect to remove from in front of your trail camera will come back to bite you. When the breeze begins to blow and the grass or weeds in front of your camera start to dance, you’ll likely end up with a thousand photos of nothing…but grass and weeds.

It’s super frustrating, and it’s very avoidable. Just don’t forget to clean all vegetation and limbs from the area in front of your camera. Summer growth can be impressive, account for that by trimming a little extra. 

Using Crappy Batteries

Batteries aren’t cheap, and it stinks having to replace them on a regular basis. That’s why the temptation to buy dollar store batteries is hard to shake. But batteries are one product where you typically get what you pay for.

Spend more, and you’ll get more. It’s just that simple. Buy crappy batteries and you’ll be replacing them often, and ultimately spending more than if you’d bought the best batteries on the shelf in the first place.

Trail Camera Mistakes

Not Turning The Camera On

Sooner or later, this one will bite you. You never want to admit it when it does, but when you forget to turn the camera on, you’ll know you’ve made the ultimate trail cam mistake. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just head back to the farm and turn the camera on…and don’t tell anyone about the mistake.

Trail Camera Mistakes

Using Bad SD Cards

When it comes to SD cards, buy the best you can afford. Sooner or later, they will fail. So it’s best to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible by purchasing the best you can. And if you’ve had the same card for a long time, you may consider replacing it. The won’t last forever. 

Accidentally Locking the SD Card

Another common SD card mistake is the accidental locking of the SD card. It’s a small and subtle item that often goes unnoticed, until it’s too late. Be sure to check it before you walk away. 

Trail Camera Mistakes

Forgetting to Put the SD Card Back In

There will be days when you have a brand new SD card, and you’ve made certain that’s it not set to the locked position, but you simply forget to put the SD card back in the camera before you walk away.

You made it all the way back to the house with the SD card tucked down deep in your pant pocket. These are the SD cards that are often found in the washing machine by your spouse a few days later. 

Trail Camera Mistakes

Pointing Camera Into the Sun

Be sure to consider the sun’s rising and setting when placing your camera. Do you have enough shade to prevent the sun from blowing out your images? When in the wide open, try to avoid placing your camera facing directly east or west to avoid blown out shots. 

Not Hiding The Camera

Why would you want to hide your camera? Avoiding the eyes of deer (or other wild game), as well as the eyes of a potential thief, is a great way to ensure no harm, damage, or theft comes your way.

Consider hanging your camera above eye level, and tucking it into a bit of cover instead of on a stand-alone tree trunk. 

Not Placing Cameras in Optimal Locations

A lot of hunters fail to gather the trail cam photos they’re hoping for simply because they place their cameras in lousy locations. If you want to collect deer photos, you gotta place your camera where deer hang out.

Think about the optimal locations on the property you hunt – creek crossings, travel trails, food plots, scrapes, etc.  

Trail Camera Mistakes

Forgetting Where You Put Your Camera

Run an abundance of trail cameras, and you’ll eventually begin to lose track of where you’ve placed them. That’s why it’s so important to make notes of camera locations in your phone, or hunting app.

Just be sure to update your notes when you move your camera to a new location. Otherwise you’ll end up blaming the other hunting club members or neighbors for stealing them. 

Placing Camera at Bad Angles

Be sure to take the time to ensure that your camera is set up at the proper angle to maximize your shot opportunities. Miss this step and you’ll likely end up with lots of images of deer legs and dirt.

Squat down at camera level and survey the landscape and area your camera is pointing towards to make sure you have the proper shot angle. 

Best Time To Begin Trail Camera Inventory For Deer

Commit to being more strategic this season with your trail camera game and you’ll gather greater intel to tip the odds in your favor this fall. Avoid the mistakes mentioned above to help maximize the shots your camera grabs this season.

Consider making a Trail Cam Checklist in the notes in your phone to refer to before you walk away from a camera placed in the woods. It can save you a lot of time and frustration.  

We want to hear from you! Comment below, and let us know your favorite place to hang a trail camera. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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