Best Spot for Trail Camera

Selecting the best spot for your trail camera depends on a number of different factors related to the environment, as well as the type of game animal species you expect to photograph. Most hunters agree that the best spots to place a trail camera is near food sources, at the intersection of game trails, near territorial markings and other similar locations. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best strategies when it comes to choosing the best spot for your trail camera. 

Choosing a Location

You should choose a location for your trail camera based on a certain high-traffic areas on your hunting site. Food sources are usually a solid choice as you can expect most game animals within the nearby area to at least come and investigate the food, even if they don’t eat anything. 

Water sources are also a prime location for a trail camera in areas where water is scarce, or at places where there are obvious signs of heavy game animal traffic leading to a specific water source. Territorial markings are a great way to capture photos and footage of dominant members of an animal species as trophy-sized game animals are often very territorial and protective of food sources and habitat. 

Ideal Terrain

Terrain plays a much greater role than most beginner hunters realize in terms of the routes that are more often traveled by game animals. Most animal species will take the path of least resistance in any situation, which helps hunters use a topographical map to pinpoint specific areas that will be best to place their trail cameras. 

Funnels are often the most popular choice of locations for trail cameras. A funnel can natural or man-made and may consist of sloping hillsides, benches, saddles, or areas near cliffs and rivers. Man-made funnels are often made from fences, woodlines, and even trails. Chokes, or pinch points, are great spots for trail cameras. These are often found in the form of narrow strips of timber or hedgerows that connect patches of woods to one another in areas where large crop fields or pastures exist. 

Transition zones are another good choice. These are commonly traveled corridors where animals move from bedding areas to food sources or watering zones. Benchlands are another favorite in trail camera placement. These benches are flat areas that are found along the contour of hillsides where animals will travel to avoid having to go up or down steep terrain. 

Camera Positioning

Proper positioning of your trail camera is crucial to capturing photos of the wildlife you’re targeting. It’s important to place the camera at a height where the animals’ movement will be detected by the sensors. It's usually best to place a trail camera lower on a tree, roughly two or three feet from the ground. 

Make sure you point the camera at an angle which will be able to cover important areas where you expect animals to move through. Clear away any brush, debris, or small vegetation that might trigger the camera’s sensors and waste your memory card’s capacity with useless photos in windy conditions. 

It’s always best to place a trail camera in a spot where it won’t be obvious to animals, or other hunters. If your camera is easily visible from a trail or certain angles where animals will be coming from, you can use brush or debris around the sides to conceal it. 

Additional Tips

It’s always helpful to use a variety of approaches in order to get the best trail camera photos and footage. Game lures are a great way to garner the attention of nearby animals and lure them in for a closer look. Be sure to also choose a trail camera that creates minimal noise when capturing photos. Some cheaper models made a loud, audible ‘click’ sound when engaging the camera, which can spook game animals and make them avoid the area. 

Hunters should always check their local and state regulations regarding trail camera use and placement. Some states and territories have certain restrictions on using trail cameras on public land, or in certain situations. In addition, be sure to take extra steps to prevent trail camera theft. This can be done by placing the camera on a tree just under a large branch, or at an angle in which humans walking along a trail will not easily notice the camera. 

Features to Look For

The higher quality trail cameras will always capture better photos. Like any other type of outdoor gear, you get what you pay for in terms of quality, so it’s recommended to avoid selecting the cheapest camera you can find. 

The quality of a trail camera’s detection circuits will determine the overall quality of the photos and video you’ll capture. The Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) will detect heat signatures or the reflection of movement from outside objects, yielding better photos. 

Choose a trail camera that offers adjustable recovery time, burst count and trigger delay as this will let you select the settings that are ideal for exactly what you want to capture on your camera. Cameras that feature higher megapixel (MP) rating will be capable of capturing photos and video in better clarity. 

Additionally, battery life is an often overlooked feature that can greatly affect the quantity and quality of your photos. Having to go into the site and change out batteries very often will cause too much disturbance and potentially spook the animals you’re hoping to capture on camera. 

Shop Trail Cameras at Optics Force

Visit the Optics Force website to view our selection of some of the top brands and models in the industry. We have a wide variety of the best trail cameras available at incredible prices.


How do I aim trail camera?

It’s best to install your trail camera in a position that will offer the best potential for capturing wildlife photos and footage. Be sure to place the camera at least a few feet off the ground, depending on the area, and point the sensor in the direction where you expect game animals to be passing by. 

What SD card for trail camera?

A secure digital (SD) card is a key component to a trail camera. SD cards come in various kinds that offer more or less data availability. An SD card with more capacity will allow you to leave the camera in place longer and increase the chances of capturing footage. 

How long do trail camera batteries last?

A trail camera’s battery life depends on a few factors. With ideal camera settings, most alkaline batteries can last three or four months while lithium batteries are capable of lasting more than a year in some instance. 

What distance for trail camera?

It’s best to set your trail camera up where it can maximize its capability to detect movement and capture photos/footage. Set the camera up at least a few feet away from the specific area where you expect game animals to be standing or walking, but no further than 20 feet for the best chance of capturing quality images. Some premium brands offer trail cameras that can capture photos from up to 100 feet or more.


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