Foxes, hedgehogs, wild boars or grey herons: wild animals are shy and you rarely get to see them. If you don't want to settle for a few tracks in the sand, then a wildlife camera is the best choice to get a picture of who is out in the garden, forest or park in the evening. Of course, you can also use them during the day, and in the evening check who came by during the day and nibbled at the garden watering system.
How does a wildlife camera work?
If you want to use a wildlife camera, you should first learn how the camera works and how to shoot. It is crucial to set the distance and the camera angle just right to find a good position for wildlife photography and to hang the camera at the right place and in the right way.
When buying a game camera, you should have these questions in mind to find the right model. Since the game surveillance camera is used primarily outdoors, it should be robust, safely protected by its casing and adhere to the IP65 protection class. You can also buy a protective steel cover, because especially in open areas, such as the edge of a forest, larger animals may become interested in the wildlife camera and affect its operation.
Night camera for animals
Wildlife cameras are designed to capture footage at dusk and dawn. It does not have to be a game camera with blacklight flash; modern LED technology or infrared wildlife cameras also achieve very good results, which can be viewed in FULL HD mode. Night cameras for animals require unobtrusive lighting and a sensitive CMOS image sensor to capture crisp images or movies of wildlife. Timestamps are also useful if you want to know when the animals are stirring in your garden.
As a rule, wildlife cameras work with a motion detector that controls the recording independently of the user. When an animal passes by, the shutter is automatically released, for video sequences or image sequences. The recordings are captured on a storage medium such as an SD card and can be viewed either directly on the display of the device or later on the computer.
If the wildlife camera has a transmitter, you can even stalk game from the comfort of your sofa. You may already have an idea when that fox is roaming through your garden to see it live on your smartphone. If not, an independent motion detector is the most convenient option, and then study the behaviour of nocturnal animals.
Animal observation camera
As with normal photography, the shooting position of a wildlife camera is critical for optimal results. The motion detector needs to be uncovered, and, if possible, aim at a free area. The maximum range of the motion detector must also be taken into account. You should optimally align the viewing angle of the surveillance camera for wildlife. Wildlife cameras usually have a wide angle that can cover large areas. When aligning, make sure that only a few areas are covered by objects or bushes and that your main subject – a passageway, for example – is centred in the viewing angle. Test shots are a great help with this, as viewfinders are often missing from game cameras with night vision.
The animal camera should be attached to a stable immovable object. Positions about waist-high have proven effective and can capture both large and small animals as soon as the trigger is activated by the motion detector. The game camera should be slightly tilted towards the ground. During the day, pay attention to the position of the sun. Backlighting can accidentally trigger the camera or make the shots appear shadowy. It is best to have the sun behind the camera.
Wildlife camera with motion detector
When aligning the wildlife camera, be sure to test the sensor. If the game camera does not react to movement as expected, this can be due to many factors. Maybe the angle or distance of the wildlife camera is not optimal. Foreign objects such as blades of grass, twigs or leaves can also cause irregularities, and should be removed or avoided if necessary.
The sensor sensitivity should also be adapted to the external environment. In cool weather or during winter, most sensors are more sensitive and are triggered without problems. When it is warmer, the sensitivity should be increased accordingly so that the images are always triggered reliably.
Game camera with a large storage space
Wildlife cameras are powered by batteries or rechargeable batteries so that they are fully mobile. You should pay attention to the maximum operation of the power supply because nothing is more annoying than a dead battery is empty at the crucial moment. In principle, you should calculate with shorter operating times than specified, as these can vary greatly depending on the outside temperature and the number and type of exposures. Some cameras have a solar panel as a power source, which is a useful camera accessory so you'll never miss a shot because of a dead battery again.
In addition, you should always take care to have enough memory available. Many game cameras can be equipped with SD cards with up to 32 GB. It is worth replacing the memory card even earlier because new cards are comparatively cheap, but a missed shot, on the other hand, is irreplaceable.
Precise recordings in HD
Wildlife cameras are used in the private sector to monitor the garden or to track down animal visitors at night. In forestry, for hunters or animal researchers, wildlife cameras are the most popular tools next to binoculars to learn more about animals in nature. Long idle times, when the battery needs to be recharged or replaced less frequently, and harsher environments are part and parcel of the work. It is advisable to have a camera casing that protects the camera from the weather and also from curious wild animals or theft.
In order to react flexibly to changes, it makes sense to have an Internet connection with the game camera, with which you can not only view the recordings but also save them. The prerequisite is a stable network that provides 3G to 5G or LTE connections. Since network connections are often weaker in forests, a GSM amplifier that supports the mobile connection can be useful.
Wildlife cameras, like night vision devices, help make the lives of animals visible in the dark. For foresters, clear recordings facilitate forest maintenance for new plantings. Hunters can more easily determine the routes of game with wildlife cameras, but sensational discoveries, such as the detection of wild cats in forest areas are also possible with wildlife surveillance cameras for wildlife researchers. The technical parameters decide which game camera is the best for each purpose and best suit the field of application.