When looking for a trail camera there are a number of different factors that you may consider to be very important. One of them should be the camera’s trigger speed.
The trigger speed is the interval between when movement is detected by the camera’s IR sensor and when the shot is actually taken. Obviously, the faster the trigger time the better but the big question is how fast is an acceptable time?
How Fast Is Fast Enough?
In many cases your camera will be pointing down a frequently used trail, perhaps between the bedding and food source locations. So the deer are going to be on the move, not necessarily rushing from one location to another, but certainly moving fairly freely. A trail camera with a trigger time of more than 2 seconds combined with a field of vision of around 50 degrees is very likely to get a great shot of the hind quarters of the deer and nothing else.
That’s if there is any shot of an animal at all.
The ultimate combination to look for is a camera with a trigger speed under 1 second and a Field of Vision (FOV) that is 90 degrees or more. This will not only give you a shot of a well-centred deer but will also give you the opportunity to set the camera up to take multiple shots and find the animal towards the center of each one. A generous detection range will also increase the chances of getting good results.
The next part of the trigger speed puzzle is the recovery time of the camera. Recovery times can vary widely from camera to camera ranging from less than a second to over 60 seconds. This is a factor that you have to be aware of when buying a trail camera because it can mean the difference between getting good meaningful pictures and missing out on some very important information.
The recovery time is the time that it takes for the camera to reset itself after it has taken a picture so that it is ready to take the next picture. A slow recovery time means you could end up with a disk full of pictures of does and no bucks. Where are the bucks? They were probably following just behind the does if the pictures were taken during the rut but because of the slow recovery time, the camera wasn’t ready to take the next picture by the time they passed through.
The reason for a slow recovery time might come down to the way in which the camera goes about the process of storing the images that have been captured on the removable disk.
Generally speaking if you have set your trail camera up at a feed plot the recovery time is going to be far less important than if you set it up on a trail because there is going to be far less instance of the deer moving through the shot when they are feeding.
PIR Sensor Adjustment
It is possible that it becomes necessary to adjust your trail camera depending on the surrounding temperature. This is possible in a few makes and models and can become necessary if the temperature becomes overly warm. The heat can play havoc with the camera’s Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors because they operate by detecting heat-emitting objects.
When it gets too warm objects such as sun-warmed leaves and tree limbs can mask a warm-blooded animal moving into the detection field.
When the temperature drops the sensitivity needs to be toned down so that sun-warmed objects don’t trigger the camera.
One of the factors that can overcome a slow trigger time to a certain extent is the Burst Mode. This is a feature that many cameras offer that allow you to program the speed with which a series of images are captured with a single trigger. It is not uncommon for a camera to offer bursts of up to 10 images with the interval between each shot as short as a second.
The use of burst mode that is set to capturing 10 images taken 10 seconds apart on a trail camera set up on a busy deer trail will be very useful for trail monitoring. It can show a number of animals traveling together where the does move through first followed a few seconds later by the bucks.
A long recovery time will be overcome until all 10 shots have been captured in this case.
While a fast trigger time is of great benefit it is only one of a number of different factors that you should be looking at when buying your new trail camera.