Looking to have some farming fun while simultaneously adding a useful new tool to your collection? Look no further than a wildlife camera.
These simple devices go by many different names—trail camera, remote camera, game camera, etc. But they all describe the same item: a weatherproof camera designed to automatically record pictures (and even video) without human supervision.
Overall, their design is straightforward. A typical wildlife camera is powered by batteries and installed in an area of interest, perhaps overlooking a pond or secluded section of forest. The camera uses motion and/or heat sensors to detect wildlife and record their actions.
Advanced models feature solar panels to recharge their batteries and a cellular connection to upload photos directly to cloud services. This can save you the trouble of frequent camera maintenance.
Time-lapse photography is also possible. These cameras takes pictures at predetermined intervals regardless of whether motion has been detected.
There are many wildlife camera models on the market, and buyers can easily spend a lot of time weighing the merits of details such as:
- lens quality
- nighttime flash options (visible light or infrared?)
- sensor range
- trigger speed
- power choices
- storage options
But rather than get caught up in the nitty-gritty details, let’s ask a simpler question—why might you want a wildlife camera on your farm?
Plenty of Reasons
The reasons are numerous.
Perhaps you wish to identify the variety of wildlife traveling your land, not necessarily for hunting purposes (as the “game camera” name implies), but for curiosity’s sake. It can be an enjoyable project to keep a record of every animal your camera encounters.
On my farm, I’ve captured remote photos of deer, squirrels, birds, coyotes and even black bears. Moving your camera to a new location every few weeks will give you a nice cross-section of which animals frequent which locations.
Recording wildlife photos can serve a practical purpose too. Maybe a critter of some sort is raiding your garden every night, but you haven’t been able to identify the culprit. A wildlife camera can capture the invader in action, helping you plan an appropriate response.
You can also gauge the frequency of wildlife traffic. Perhaps you’re planning to put up a deer fence to protect an orchard, and you know the fence will block a well-worn deer path. Placing the camera along the path for a few weeks will give you an idea of how many deer travel the trail … and if it’s half a dozen every night, you’ll known your fence should be formidable!
Occasionally, you might want a remote camera for security purposes. Are you concerned about trespassers crossing a hard-to-access border of your property? The far corners of your farm, particularly those running through woodlands, can be difficult to keep a close eye on.
Remote cameras will save you the trouble, especially if they can notify you by cell service when motion is detected. Just be sure your cameras are hidden from obvious view (camouflage models help).
Once you get started with wildlife cameras, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. Have fun!