The end of the hunting season yields some great rewards. There’s pictures of the year’s most prized animals, large bucks and colorful turkeys, the delicious food made from their meat, and the trophies for the wall. But just because the season ends, doesn’t mean it’s time to ignore your trail cameras.
The cameras have worked hard for you all season so now it’s time to work hard for them. It’s important to take care of your cameras post-season so that they’re still around next year to help track down those amazing prizes.
Even if you are not planning to bring your cameras in, you should ensure the safety and security of your cameras and perform routine maintenance on them. The first thing you should do after the season, is to head out and check your trail cams. And if you aren’t already, this might be a good time to install lock boxes and/or security cables. Also if the model supports it, using the security code function is a good idea. You might also want to consider bringing a folding saw or pruner with you so you can cut back any growth that has gotten in the way of the camera since you were last there.
Changing fresh batteries and replacing the SD cards with empty ones should be part of your “field maintenance” routine at this point. Makes sure your clen the lenses of your cameras by using a soft cloth. Also clean the outside of the camera to remove all the dirt left behind from the season in the wild. If you’re leaving the cameras out to continue tracking the game, consider supplemental feeding in the area of the cameras, where legal. This can continue throughout the off season, priming the animals to return to the area so you can not only conduct an animal census, but possibly keep the animals coming back out of habit during hunting season.
If you’re going to store your trail cameras for the off season, it’s vital that you do so properly. Spend some time and perform a diagnostic to make sure all modes are functioning so you don’t have any nasty surprises next season. Make sure the firmware of your cameras are up to date. Refer to your camera manual if you don’t know how to check the firmware version. Latest firmwares can be found from the manufacturer’s websites.
Remove each memory card and consider marking it and the camera so you know which cards fit with which cameras. Also remove the batteries to cut down on the risk of corrosion that could ruin the cameras. Clean each camera thoroughly. Once this is all done, store each camera in an air-tight bag with a desiccant pack to keep the moisture from corroding the electronics. Cameras should be stored in a location that isn’t likely to experience a lot of temperature or humidity changes. Storage units can often get very cold or hot and these extremes can ruin the delicate electronics of your cameras. Storage in the home is by far the best method of ensuring the safety of the cameras for the next year.
Post-season care of your cameras is extremely valuable. It’s work that you put in that reaps great benefits the next season. Ensuring the cameras are safe and well-maintained while in the field is so vital to extending their lifespan. And proper storage ensures you’ll get the most out of them for years to come.