Hunters aren’t necessarily known for being great photographers. But using scouting and trail cameras in a hunting area can greatly increase the success of any hunt. The pictures harvested from these cameras give hunters an idea of the habits and movement patterns of certain animals or of all the animals in a given area. Planning a hunt around these patterns makes hunting less haphazard. But these cameras aren’t cheap and it takes time and dedication to properly place and maintain them. Success that translates to better hunts depends on the proper organization of the photos.
There are two common ways to take trailcam photos: time-lapse and motion-activated. It is best to try to use a mix of both to determine that you’ve got a good location for your camera and to start to track where the animal activity is concentrated. Once you’re satisfied with the placement of your cameras, relying more heavily on motion-activated cameras is should bring the best results.
There are lots of different methods to organize your trailcam photos. But the first step before the organization begins is to cull the duds. These pictures will have no animals in them or animals you aren’t interested in. With motion-activated or timed shot cameras both, you’ll sometimes end up getting a lot of these. If you can delete them from the card before you even get started organizing, this will save you time and effort. Look at the pictures in thumbnail mode first before taking the time to open each one.
Once you have a group of good photos of animals on the property you can begin to organize them. Start with a folder for each camera and then within it you can break it down several ways. Date or time of day can be useful in helping track animal patterns. But you can also separate by individual animals. This lets you look through the pictures and figure out where and when the animal will be in the area near the camera.
But a long string of photos in a folder on your desktop doesn’t help increase your chances of a good hunt. It’s a time-consuming process to go through each one and find the animals you’re looking for, especially with several different cameras. With today’s photo technology, a few cameras can net hundreds or even thousands of photographs over a short period of time. That’s a lot to look through!
Many new options for trailcam software are out on the market and they streamline the process significantly. Some software packages, like DeerLab, will analyze the pictures and the data pulled from them to give details about individual animal movements over an entire piece of property. While you still have to tag individual photos of the animals, you can do it in batches where you search for one animal among the photos and tag all those photos at once.
Another handy feature of the software is the ability to aggregate activity by camera. DeerLab allows you to figure out when and where the animals are moving in relation to an individual camera. Making the software even more user friendly, it is accessible from all tablets and smartphones.
Embracing new technology is a great way to keep making your hunts productive and enjoyable. Regardless of how you do it, you need to pick a method of organization to capitalize on the time, money, and energy of installing and using trailcams. Adopting photo processing software into your toolkit is the fastest and easiest way to look through the hundreds or thousands of pictures from your trailcams and make the most accurate predictions of locations for blinds on your property.