Trail cameras are great tools for wildlife observers, photographers, and hunters. It allows you to view animals in their natural habitat and from a safe distance. Unfortunately, trail cameras are often an easy target for thieves. How to keep your trail camera from being stolen?
To prevent theft of your trail camera: Place it in a high and obscure location, around foilage, and out of direct sunlight. You should also consider a trail camera cable lock so a thief won’t be able to steal it. Also, avoid visible flashes and use a decoy camera to prevent theft.
There is a possibility that someone will steal your trail camera.
Here are 9 ways to keep your trail camera from being stolen. Learn how to prevent trail camera theft.
Table of Contents
How to Keep Your Trail Camera from Being Stolen
Here are a set of tips and tricks to prevent theft of your wildlife camera.
While each tip is good, consider using many of them together for the best results.
Let’s get started!
1. Hiding Your Trail Camera
Disguising your trail camera can go a long way. It isn’t a waste of time or money. And you’ll retain your footage.
There are multiple ways you can do this action, including camouflaging it within the foliage of its surroundings. The use of branches and leaves makes your camera harder to see. You might also buy fake foliage since real leaves will die over time.
You could hide your trail camera in a tree stump or a nesting box to make it seem natural. Get creative so you can discover multiple ways of hiding your trail camera. You can also hide your device with the following methods.
Keep Camera Out of Direct Sunlight: This goes a long way in keeping your camera hidden. Compare the following photo with the feature photo of this article.
The first one glows and can’t be missed. And the following photo keeps the camera in the shade and much less visible.
2. Place in Low-Traffic Areas
Placing your trail camera in low-traffic areas is another useful tip when hiding the device.
Putting it in a remote area, choosing sections of woods where people do not typically go.
Easily accessible trails are the last place you want to place your camera, so find a spot difficult to access. The trail less traveled will be suitable in this instance.
3. Mount Your Camera Out of Reach
Mounting your trail camera in a place that is hard to reach is a great way to prevent theft.
Most thefts are crimes of convenience. Mounting it out of reach (especially with a ladder) means it will be hard for a thief to grab and go with your camera.
And a high vantage point means thieves could potentially harm themselves when climbing up a sketchy tree. It is also less likely to be seen by walkers.
Spotting a camera in a high place would take some effort, making this step one of the most ideal methods. It might be a hassle to mount your wildlife cam out of reach, but might be worth the effort.
4. Do Not Use Cameras That Flash
We recommend that you use cameras that do not flash during the nighttime. Cameras flash at night to get a better picture, but the light is a dead giveaway for a thief.
Even if you hid your camera nicely, the flash will reveal its placement and entice a thief to do what thieves do.
Your camera might be safe throughout the day, but once the night comes it’ll be like a lighthouse – visible from all around. The passerby could either steal your camera or break it, which is why a camera that does not flash is great.
Look for trail cameras with night vision and passive infrared (PIR).
5. Set Up a Decoy Camera
Another method of preventing your trail camera from being stolen or broken is by setting up a decoy camera. Place a camera that does not work in a spot that someone can easily notice.
The fake device can draw would-be thieves from noticing the real camera hidden away.
You can even place the decoy in the view of the real camera to catch the thief. This clever action will kill two birds with one stone, revealing the thief’s identity and spotting animals in their natural habitat.
6. Use Cellular Cameras as Surveillance
A cellular camera is perfect for surveillance. Linking it to your mobile will constantly send trail camera images to your phone. So, you wildlife observers can enjoy the beauty of nature in all its gloriousness in real time.
You could also catch the thief in the act if you decide to use a cellular camera.
Keep in mind that these cameras cost more to purchase. And because your phone is steadily receiving images, you will have data costs.
7. Label Your Trail Camera
Adding identification is an obvious thing to do, but labeling your camera can be helpful when on the look for it. Simply marking your name and contact information on your trail camera will prove helpful if it gets lost or stolen.
After stealing a camera, the thief’s first stop might be a pawnshop. But with your name etched into the trail camera, the buyer could realize the seller stole it. They will then contact you and return it, saving you from purchasing another trail camera.
8. Use Social Media for Help
If your trail camera has been stolen, you can use social media. Social media can be helpful when tracking things down. Labeling your trail camera, as previously stated, would make it easier to track down.
The hunter community can help you with this process. You might post images of the thief (taken with steps 5 and 6) and see if it might be tracked down. You could also make a deal for the thief to return your trail camera. And you can share these photos and video clips with police to report the theft.
9. Cable Locks
Trail camera cable locks are a great way to keep your camera secured. You should still use the other steps in this guide – especially hiding your trail camera. But trail camera cable locks can help ensure that it doesn’t get stolen if spotted.
Cable locks have a locking mechanism that will secure positions that are up to six feet.
Your camera will remain secure, even if someone spots it along their walk. The only way to unlock the cable lock is with a key, so the security should leave you relieved when you set it up.
Check out the lock systems below to see where to start.
Here’s how to use a trail camera for security.
More reading: Do trail cameras scare deer?
3 Trail Camera Cable Lock
The following systems will ensure your trail camera remains secure from thieves.
1. Master Lock Python
The Master Lock Python is available in up to twenty-four packs, and each is keyed the same. A thief will not be able to easily cut the camouflaged cable since it is cut-resistant.
The cable lock will survive harsh weather with its strong aluminum alloy lock, cylinder shutter, and vinyl-coated cable.
These features, along with the remaining cable locks, are excellent solutions to keep your valuables safe.
2. Browning Trail Camera Security Box
The Trail Camera Security Box is the next best thing to having a secure trail camera. The 16 gauge steel will protect your camera from damage and theft.
With its powder coating, you will not have to worry about it rotting.
The Browning has two locking channels for python cables and will accommodate a padlock up to 3/8″ in diameter.
3. Cam Guardian Tree Mount Holder
This trail camera attachment is another option for solving your problem. The Cam Guardian will not only mount your trail camera in a high spot but will also keep it locked, in case it becomes discovered.
You will no longer have to worry about damaged or frozen keys. Cam Guardian is also the most useful lock mechanism out of the bunch.
Looking for the best options? Here are the 13 Best Trail Cameras for Wildlife Photography.
Game cameras are popular among game photographers and hunters. They allow you to see what the animals are doing without having to be there in person.
The motion detection shoots only when there is wildlife. PIR delay on game cameras is an important feature.
More reading: How to Hide a Trail Camera from Humans
What tips are you going to use to keep your trail camera from being stolen? Let me know below!
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and blogger on GudGear – and is working to make it the best resource for outdoor gear and guides.
He loves the outdoors and has hiked the Andes, kayaked the Galapagos, and biked and camped around Nova Scotia, Canada.
He is a travel blogger at Storyteller Travel and blogs about photography at Storyteller Tech. He is also co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.