You’ve shelled out a reasonable amount of money to get yourself a quality trail camera. Now you’ve got to protect it from outsiders – human or otherwise.
One of the big problems with using a trail camera is that, in order for it to do its job it has to be left out on the trails by itself. This leaves it open to attack from all manner of predators, man and beast.
So how do you go about securing your trail camera to ensure that it will still be there the next time you visit it?
The reality is that no matter how securely you lock up your camera there is no guarantee that a determined thief will be deterred. All you can do is make it as difficult as possible for them to remove your camera.
Trail Camera Security Options
- Lock it in a security box
- Tie it with a Python cable
- Hide it out of direct eye sight
- Use it on private land
- Buy a camera that has password protection
An excellent first step in ensuring the security of your game camera is to buy a steel lock box that has been specifically made for the camera. Companies such as Camlockbox have produced security boxes for many different makes and models and provide you with the first stage of deterrent.
Back up the steel box with a cable such as the Masterlock Python cable that can be threaded through part of the camera to be secured around the tree trunk. If the cable also passes through the locked and bolted security box you are giving your trail camera a great deal of protection.
We are going to go through a few of the most trusted products that have been created specifically for securing a trail camera from thieves.
Why Not Hide Your Trail Camera?
In some cases it might not be strictly necessary to wrap the camera up tightly. If you can find a location that is well hidden from casual view, this may be the best defense against thieves. Place your camera in an out of the way spot and then do a walk through. If you have trouble seeing your trail camera even though you know exactly where you left it, it is unlikely that a passerby will see it.
A number of people have pointed out that a camera that is placed above eye level height is less likely to be spotted and won’t be a temptation for the light-fingered passerby. As long as you can position it so that it will still be effective in taking good shots, consider getting it up and out of the way.
Better Still, Only Use It On Private Land
Like when you are setting up and using a temporary blind, it might not be the smartest move to leave your trail camera sitting out in the open on public land. Your alternative is to only make use of it on private land, either your own or someone you know. By doing this you will only have to worry about the occasional trespasser rather than a possible procession of people walking past.
Protect Your Trail Camera From Curious Animals
Your scent could be putting your camera at risk. If you have set and left your trail camera in bear country without wiping it down with scent eliminating wipes or spraying the area, a bear might be drawn straight to the camera by the scent.
Bears don’t go easy on trail cameras. When they investigate something they do a good job of it and the teeth marks can completely destroy any camera. What you are likely to find is that a black bear will mess around with the box, use it as a back scratcher and the like. A brown bear is more likely to give it a good chewing and a hefty swat.
Buying a camera that uses an infrared flash might be another way of protecting your camera from bears. It seems that the white flash of a traditional camera can alert and offend a bear and they will take out their frustrations on the source.
Buying protective bear boxes is a realistic solution that could pay big dividends. Scoutguard makes a Security Lock Bear Box that will fit any ScoutGuard, KeepGuard, DLC Covert or Trail Camera Central camera for around $35.00. Bushnell has also produced the Bear Safe Security Case for the majority of its cameras. This case fits all Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Cameras but won’t fit the HD Trophy Cam model (which can be covered by another security case) and it only costs around $26.00.
While this article is not intended to be an extended advertisement for the Camlockbox products, the security boxes that are available are generally recommended by most hunters. They have been specifically designed to fit trail cameras from all of the major (and minor) trail camera manufacturers.
Wildgame, Moultrie, Stealth Cam, ScoutGuard, Primos, Covert, Bushnell, Reconyx…they are all covered and they will all give you peace of mind for well under a hundred dollars.
Secondary Security Measures- Python Cables
Locking your trail camera inside a steel security box is the first line of defense when trying to ensure it doesn’t get ripped off. The second line of defense is a Python locking cable such as the ones that are available from companies such as Master Lock.
These cables are adjustable steel cables that have been vinyl coated to ensure they don’t damage the components of the camera or the bark of the tree. They can be found with pin tumbler mechanisms so that they can’t be unlocked by a stranger. An example of a Python locking cable in action can be seen in the first image at the top of the page.
The way you would use them is to take the cable and thread it through and into the security box. The cable will also then pass through holes in the camera itself.To finish off the securing method, the cable then passes around the trunk of the tree. Try to find a nice thick tree to attach it to because some people aren’t above cutting down the tree to get the camera.
Even if the locked box is somehow prised open, the camera will still be secured to the tree.
So How Else Can Trail Camera Thieves Be Deterred?
Although security boxes and Python cables make it difficult for thieves to steal your camera the most determined are still going to find a way. You can have the satisfaction of knowing that they are never going to actually be able to use the camera if you buy a model that can be protected by a security password or PIN.
Some of the newer models are now being released with this added security feature. The Moultrie M-990i Mini Cam is one such model. Now, you won’t necessarily get your stolen camera back, but at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that the scumbag who stole it is not going to be able to use it.
There are a number of cameras that use some kind of internal security feature and this could be something that will at least make you feel a little better if it is swiped.
So whether you decide to buy another product to help protect your trail camera or choose to effectively take evasive action, you’ve got to understand that there is a very good chance that something is going to happen to your trail camera while it’s out there capturing images. The best you can do is prepare for outside influences and hope you’ve done enough.