History of Trail Cameras
Self-made trail cameras, referred to as “homebrews”, have been developed and used for decades now. Beginning in the infant stages with a simple string placed across a trail to trigger the device, the homebrew trail camera has since evolved to a highly sophisticated unit, often rivaling and in some instances even surpassing those available on the commercial market
Inner view showing the Trail Camera components, including the Yeti control board that controls the functions required to trigger the unit. The additional batteries are wired to the cameras rechargeable AA batteries and provide a trickle charge to them for additional field life, several months in some instances. The horizontal tube provides for the use of a security cable, preventing the case from being opened and also for the mounting and securing of the unit to the tree.
So How Do You Get Started ?
While there are literally dozens of cameras that have been developed as suitable for use in a homebrew build, I will stick to three of the more commonly used.
The Sony DSC-S600 and the Sony DSC-P41 come to mind, as well as the Sony DSC-S40 digital camera. These models are discontinued but available on ebay, garage sales, pawn shops etc. If you are extremely lucky someone you know may have one stuck away in a drawer somewhere !
Of course the camera chosen has to be modified for use which may require a bit of knowledge and fine soldering ability, but there are experienced people who are often willing to do that job for you at sometimes no or at least low cost as a rule and they can be contacted one of several of the homebrew forums on the internet.
Tools of the trade
This is a link to a very interesting website. Some of the info may be outdated but good info here. Also the items generally used by the“homebrewer”and his hobby.
Control boards, enclosures, etc.
The control board is the heart of the Trail Camera. It provides for the communication to the camera once motion is detected thru the fresnel, thus triggering the unit to take the picture. Some have numerous delay settings, from pictures being able to be taken every few seconds such as in a trail watching situation to catch following animals, to several seconds or even minutes when used over mineral sites, bait stations where and when legal to do so. Cases used can also be seen and available on these sites, but there are other options also.
So how do you put it all together ?
Charles Garrett, aka buckshot164, is a personal friend of mine and has provided several Youtube videos available for viewing to the general public. Watching some of these may prove to be very helpful…
Placement tips….Generally mid-thigh to waist high is a good starting point, but ground level sometimes gives an unusual perspective seldom seen. When placed over active scrapes I generally raise my cams to around 8 ft or so. Avoid pointing the camera directly into a rising or setting sun, North or South or some slight variation might be best. One thing I have learned over the years is to experiment..experiment..experiment when it comes to placement. Some of my most interesting and unique shots have been made possible when I have bent the “rules” suggested and recommended by others.
When to hang them
Trail cameras can be used year around in addition to being a valuable deer hunting pre-season and in-season scouting tool. I often have captured very interesting and unusual pictures of small game, including coyotes and fox, singly and with their young, the occasional unexpected bobcat, and of course numerous turkeys and ducks on ponds.
There is no incorrect time to use a trail camera, there is always something interesting to get a picture of, no matter the season.
I hope some of the information given proves useful, either in building your own “homebrew trail camera or having one built for you by myself or others who can be contacted on the forums previously mentioned above. There is lots of help to be had, all you have to do is ask about.
I may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and here is a link showing some of the builds I have done, but more importantly, some of my proudest moments using them. https://picasaweb.google.com/michiganbowbender
Some Helpful Links are listed Below!
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