- Written by The DIY Hunter
- Category: Outdoor
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I am finding that having a couple of Browning Trail cameras out on the mountain is a lot like Christmas. I get so excited to see what the cameras were able to capture. Back in May I placed scouted for elk and placed three Browning trail cameras out on the mountain. I got some cool photos of a black bear, elk, mule deer and moose when I checked them after two weeks.
A bull elk with budding out a g4 on each antler. This is the best bull we have found to date. Dallen's pretty excited about this bull. He's hoping to get at least this bull if he can. You can see all four of the Rapid Fire photos the Range Ops trail cam took of this bull in the series below.
Two cow moose walking past the Range Ops BTC-1 trail camera.
Using a Samsung USB adapter to read the SDHC cards from the Browning Recon Force and Range Ops trail cameras.
A Browning Spec Ops BTC-3 trail camera setup over a spring that we think the bull elk will use as a wallow in the fall.
The camo on these cameras is amazing at blending right into the tree bark.
Browsing photos while checking one of the Recon Force trail cameras. Looks like a cow moose came by after dark.
Dallen and me taking a break while checking the trail cameras.
On this trip out on the mountain Dallen came with me. He has the youth elk tag this year and we are hopeful that by using the trail cameras we will be able to find him a nice bull. He has already taken a spike and a 4x5 bull and I think he will be holding out for a six point. I hope we can pull it off for him. I'm still to this day trying to get my first ever six point bull. After seeing the 5 point on the trail camera photos this time out he's getting pretty excited. Not to mention there's a couple of pretty nice looking mule deer bucks that we captured on video this time.
Being a newbie to trail cameras I am learning more and more of how and where to place them. I am finding that the motion sensor works at it's best when a critter walks parallel to the camera. When I have a camera setup looking directly down a trail I often capture the critter passing going away from the camera but often miss the critters walking straight up the trail coming directly at the camera.
It took a while for me to figure out what was going on with the empty photos. The key that helped me figure this out was that all the photos with critters in them on this camera showed them going away. There would be lots of empty 6 frames rapid fire burst of nothing or in some cases just the first photo would have the very tail end of a deer barely showing in the edge of the photo and then 5 empty photos. Now that I have patterned the general path of the animals I have moved all of the cameras a little to get more passing views of the trails that they are on.
This time out I had a new toy to help me. I ordered a Samsung micro USB to USB adapter for my Galaxy S3 phone. This little cable is awesome. I can plug in USB keyboards, hard drives and in my case I can plug in a USB SD card reader. With this I am able to check the photos and video I get right there while I am checking the camera. If it wasn't for this adapter it would have been another couple of weeks before I was able to reposition the cameras slightly to get more of a passing view of the trails. With the adapter I was able to run through the photos on my phone and determine I needed to make the move right there on the mountain.
The AVI video format that the Browning Trail cameras take will not play with the media player that comes with the phone. I found that "MX Player" a free app on Google Play works great for playing the video files. (Dec. 2013: This app stopped working I now have a better app to view the trail camera videos.) Unfortunately, I didn't figure this out until I returned from the mountain. While on the mountain this time I was unable to play the files and unfortunately I turned off the video and set the camera to 6 frame rapid-fire. After seeing the way cool video that the camera had been capturing I'm wishing it was still taking video. The HD video the Recon Force trail camera takes is just amazing. So very cool! I compiled a few of the 62 videos in the YouTube clip viewable on the page.
I had the camera setup to take 30 second HD video clips whenever it gets motion triggered. Then wait five seconds before watching for motion again. I found that when the camera is using IR lighting that it only takes 10 seconds of video. In daylight it took 30 seconds of great look video.
Battery life has been wonderful with the cameras. Two of the cameras have been taking either video or rapid-fire images for four weeks now with Rayovac AA batteries and one camera shows 95% power and the other 93%. This is awesome. I was afraid that I would be spending a small fortune on batteries to keep them fed.
One of the cameras I have out is a Browning Range Ops. It retails about twenty less that the Recon Force BTC-2 trail camera. The Range Ops functions really well but the image quality is not near the quality of Recon Force. Not that the Range Ops quality is horrible but the Recon Force's images are just amazing. For the extra twenty I would no question get the Recon Force over the Range Ops. The specs on the Recon Force show that it has ZerO Blur Technology. Whatever the technology I like the sharp high resolution images it takes.
This time out we also placed a Spec Ops BTC-3 trail camera. This is the highest end Browning trail camera. It looks to me that it's biggest feature upgrade over the Recon Force is a two inch management screen. From this screen it is a little easier to setup the different modes of the camera. It is also great to view exactly what the camera is pointing at in real time making it nice to have the camera pointing exactly where you want it to. Once I get some photos on this camera I will be able to browse through them directly on the camera when I go out to check it. Where on the other cameras I can use the USB adapter cable to browse the images.
On this trip out scouting the area Dallen and I found an awesome spring area that we think will be a wallow for the bulls come the rut this fall. We setup the Spec Ops trail camera watching over this spring. I'm really excited to see what photos and video we get watching over this spot for the next several months. I am also curious to see if the quality of the images varies much from the Recon Force. The IR lighting is different between the two. I guess we'll see in a couple weeks.
Now I have to wait a couple weeks before I go out to check them again. Boy trail cameras are a lot of fun.
- Written by The DIY Hunter
- Category: Outdoor
- Hits: 138
A bull elk with four points on each side already on May 26 taken with a Browning Recon Force trail camera. You can see all six of the Rapid Fire photos in this series below.
A Black Bear that walked by in the dark of night. All six of the Rapid Fire photos of this bear can be found below.
A spike elk that walked by the DIYHNTR03 camera.
My ride up the mountain — a Trek Cobia with custom 36 spoke 29er wheels.
Can you see the camera? Neither could I. I walked a 100 or so yards past it while looking for it. Luckily I marked it on my BackCountry Navigator App and I turned around and went right to it. This camera I left in the same spot but I set it to take 30 sec HD video clips to see what I get on it next time out.
If you see the digital screen looking like this don't panic like I did. When I set it up in the new location it took a while to figure out what was going on with the digital screen on this Range Ops trail camera. You have to be looking directly into the screen or it will appear as black rectangles. I had placed the camera up about 8 feet in a tree looking down over the tall vegetation and trail that dropped off the backside of a ridge. By having the camera up so high I could not get the right angle to view the screen.
View of the mountain near where my trail cameras are set out.
I scouted for elk and placed three Browning trail cameras out a couple of weeks ago. Because I was so excited to see what I would get on the cameras, it was difficult, but I was able to wait for two weeks before going back up the mountain to check the Browning Trail Cameras.
The excitement of wondering what might be on the cameras had me going crazy wanting to go check them, however, I figured it would be best to leave them a while before checking on them. I was itching to see what I could get pictures of. Being new to trail cameras I also was looking to learn more from these first two weeks and place the cameras in better places or adjust the settings to better suit what I was needing.
I took my 29er mountain bike back in to double on getting exercise while I was checking my trail cameras. It's a good two-hour ride up the mountain and another hour hike up to where my highest trail came is located. Plenty of good exercise, especially to help my bad knees. Biking has been the best thing for my knees.
I decided to move the Browning Range Ops Trail Camera to a different location. Where I placed it originally wasn't a bad area it just was a little more out of the way to check it along with the others.
I learned something when I moved the Range Ops trail camera to the new location. When you see the digital screen all covered with black boxes make sure you look at the screen from directly in front of it. You can think it is broke or the batteries are bad and change out the batteries and SDHC card all you want but the screen is still going to look this way... trust me I tried. Dummy me. :)
Once back off the mountain the very first image was of a bear. Way cool! I have never even seen a bear track on this mountain. I have heard rumors that they are up there but until now I have never seen any sign of them.
This bear came through after dark and I got 6 rapid-fire photos of him walking past the camera. (see photos below) Unfortunately, I had the Image Data Strip turned off on this camera. Hmm... Thought I had it turned on, on all the cameras. I like all the info printed on the bottom of the images. I'll have to double-check it next trip out to make sure I get the data strip.
Here are the rough details of what I got on the cameras.
- On the DIYHNTR01 Recon Force camera, I got a cow elk, a moose in the timber, some mule deer and the bear. I like how you can name the cameras and if you have the image data strip turned on the name is printed in the data strip.
- DIYHNTR02 is a Range Ops camera. This camera was the lowest on the mountain. It captured a bunch of moose photos where the moose appeared to be trying to remove the camera from the tree. There are dozens of strange pictures of the moose's neck and beard etc. The camera also captured several mule deer, mostly does and a small buck. There were two cow elk captured on this camera also. I have moved this camera up the mountain to watch a well-used game trail.
- DIYHNTR03 is a Recon Force and it captured lots of mule deer and elk walking and running past on a game trail. There were three different small bull elk and a couple of different small mule deer bucks on this camera. This camera like the other Recon Force was set on 6 frame rapid fire. I got a lot of images that lend me to believe I was missing a lot of the action so I have now set this camera to record 30 seconds of HD video when triggered. This should capture a lot more of the action. We'll see what it gets next time.
One thing that surprised me was the battery life. I came prepared to swap out batteries on all of the cameras and the camera that had new batteries when I put it out two weeks ago still showed 100% power. The batteries I am using are the less expensive Rayovac AA batteries. The other two cameras did well also but they already had well-used batteries when I put them out so I went ahead and swapped out the batteries.
Rapid-fire is a nice feature for the game trails I placed the trail cameras on. Even with the rapid-fire images it still can be difficult to capture everything that goes by. That is why I am trying the 30 sec HD video option on one of the cameras to see how much more it will capture.
Two additional things I learned: One, is that I don't want to place the camera where it is pointed directly at the sun early in the morning or late in the evening for that matter. Second, is when I place the camera along a trail, I try to get a few feet further away than I did. So probably about 15-20 feet if possible.
With so many photos of elk and mule deer, it was hard to narrow down what I should put on my blog post today. Below are a few of my favorites.
- Written by The DIY Hunter
- Category: Outdoor
- Hits: 293
The Browning Recon Force Trail Camera's camouflage blends right into the bark of Bigtooth Maple.
Browning Range Ops Trail Camera (model BTC-1) setup watching a trail for elk.
Elk rubs from last fall are all over the Quaking Aspens near where I set out three Browning Trail Cameras.
Browning Recon Force Trail Camera (model BTC-2) setup on a well-used game trail.
A White Crowned Sparrow nest hidden neatly under a fallen tree stump in the area I was scouting for places to put up the trail cameras.
I found a couple of these cool fuzzy caterpillars. I wondering what kind it is? Searching Google has not given me the answer.
After a couple of weeks of testing my Browning Recon Force model BTC-2 trail camera around the yard I was itching to get out on the mountain and see what I could get pictures of with the trail camera.
In my testing around the yard, I was able to take some fun time-lapse video of clouds rolling across the mountains near my house. Although not your typical trail camera usage — using them to get time-lapse video is pretty cool for a creative guy like myself.
Here are a few things I learned while playing around with the trail camera around the yard:
- The Time-Lapse Plus feature only takes time-lapse photos during the period of time specified and motion-activated photos during other times.
- When using time-lapse: The All day setting means that it will take time-lapse photos from about an hour before light until about an hour after dark.
- When using time-lapse: The Two Hour setting means that it will take time-lapse photos from about an hour before light and take photos for two hours. Then it will take two hours of photos in the evening ending about an hour after dark.
- The trail camera is really smart in self-calibrating the length of daylight that changes throughout the year.
- The Rapid Fire option in the Multi-Shot feature will take three images a second once triggered. This is the option to use on a game trail where the animals are moving past the trail camera.
- Multi-Shot Standard takes images every three seconds once triggered. This is useful for a well-used water hole, possibly a feeder or the like.
Luck found Dallen, my oldest son this year as he drew out for a youth elk hunt in Utah. We are both pretty excited about this opportunity for him to hunt elk with a rifle during the peak of the rut. I have a couple of areas in mind to take him on this hunt. One of the areas is within a reasonable distance from our home, an area we could put a trail camera to use to try and find him a nice bull, something better than the 4x5 elk he shot in 2012.
After figuring out the features I was ready to head up on the mountain to put the camera to work. A good friend of mine lent me two additional Browning Trail Cameras to take to the woods with. After six hours of hiking and riding my 29er mountain bike around the mountain, I was glad that all my eggs were not in one basket. Having additional trail cameras should make it a lot easier to track down some elk.
I love the camo pattern on the Recon Force trail cameras. It blends right into the bark of Bigtooth Maple. If the strap and buckle on the camera had the same pattern the trail camera would completely disappear on the tree.
I'm excited to see what the cameras might capture. I'll give them a week or two and go back up the mountain to check out what I can capture on the Browning trail cams. (A Black Bear, Elk, Mule Deer, and Moose. Cool!)
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