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How to Program a Trail Camera. A Short Guide

Last Updated: 15.07.24


Even though you might have probably read a lot of reviews of Moultrie trail cameras in order to decide which one to buy, chances are that none of them actually taught you how to program it. People usually use trail cameras for different purposes, not only for animal watching. 

In many cases, because the trail camera is much easier to hide from human sight, people use such a camera or multiple ones as security cameras for their property or home. If you decide to buy one for any of these purposes, it is important to note that you should program it according to your needs and expectations.

In this article, we are going to talk about what you need to do in order to be able to use your camera at its full potential, and how to program it is an essential part of this aspect. Before revealing how you should deal with the actual programming, there are some essential things that you need to know.


You should spend your money on a durable and study trail camera because you will be using it in different weather conditions, which might influence its lifespan.

Trail cameras need to have a periodical check-up in order to make sure that they work correctly and that you don’t miss anything that you want to observe.

The trigger speed is essential if you want to take clear pictures and you want wild animals to be captured in your pictures (if, for example, you are using them for hunting). 

Every trail camera has a certain recovery time in order to be ready to take another shot. This differs from camera to camera, and it is a feature that you should pay attention to before buying one. 

Sensitivity is another issue that you need to take into account, which would make a lot of difference in the quality of the shots because if the camera is not sensitive enough, you might miss what you want to observe.


The steps that you need to take to program your camera 

  1. Unboxing your camera

What you should begin with is taking your camera out of its box. Even though it might seem that this is not an important step, checking that everything is in the box is essential because if something is missing, you will not be able to use it properly. 

To make sure that you’ve got everything, especially if you have never used one before, you should try the instruction manual where you have all the things that should be present in the box.


  1. Where you place your camera is really important

As we have said in the introduction of this article, it is essential to have a clear purpose for the camera. This makes a lot of difference in terms of where you are going to place it. 

What you should take into consideration is that the camera is less visible for animals and humans because they might damage it. You can do this by hiding it inside the box or covering it with leaves or branches. You can either choose to place it inside a tree or to attach it to a tree, but you should always think of the height needed to have a wide angle.


  1. Installing the memory card

There are two possibilities: your camera comes with an included memory card, or you have to purchase a separate memory card. If the memory card is included in the box, it will not come already installed, so you will have to find the special place used for the memory card and insert it in order to be able to store your photos or videos. 


  1. Power check-up

First and foremost, you should know that you have to charge the batteries before installing them into your camera. Don’t ever rely on the fact that they come already charged because you might have the surprise that they will lose their power when you least expect it and all the information you need together from the location will not be stored or even captured.

There are trail cameras that have special batteries that are built-in, but usually, you will be dealing with external batteries that are removable but always rechargeable. If this is not the case, we recommend that you purchase rechargeable batteries separately in order to be able to avoid unpleasant situations, such as forgetting to buy new ones.


  1. Installing and testing your camera

Each camera comes with an instruction manual. Before installing it, you should read all the instructions from beginning to end to make sure that you will not miss a step. What you shouldn’t overlook is how tight you attach the camera to the tree or wall, depending on what you are using it for. 

Before really using it for your purposes, you should test it for a short time in order to see if all the settings are made according to your needs. If you decide to use it for hunting, you should leave it for one day and one night and see how it behaves in the presence of animals.

After one day, you should readjust the sensitivity and set it to a more sensitive mode. After that, compare the two sets of photos taken by the camera in order to adjust the final sensitivity levels to fit your needs. This is an essential aspect that will allow you to spot animals more accurately. 


  1. Managing the camera

In order to get accurate information, it is very important to make sure to always update the software. This is essential, especially because starter updates usually include bug fixes and can take your camera’s proficiency to a higher level. It is also important not to forget to write down any information relevant for your activity, such as the GPS coordinates.


  1. Pro tips for hunters

Even though trail cameras are used for different purposes, most users are hunters and use this type of camera to observe the habits of the animals that they want to hunt. In order for the camera to provide useful information, there are some tips that will help you have successful hunting sessions.

Try to install the camera higher than you usually do during October, November, and December in order for the animals not to be able to detect it. It is also important to keep it away from human sight because it might get stolen or even deteriorated. 

Set the camera to take pictures using multiple photo bursts. If you don’t like this option, you can set the camera to take 2-minute footage. It can be longer if you want to, but it is recommended to have at least 2 minutes in order for you to be able to catch the animal. 

January is a month when the temperatures can get really low; this is why the conditions will make you change the settings in order for the camera to work properly. Low temperatures make the batteries run out faster and you will need to change them more often.

During the snowy season, you should make sure that the camera is placed above the level that the snow can get to in order to keep it safe and expand its lifespan.

During the warm season, any setting of the camera is welcomed because deers are very active. The only thing that you need to take into consideration is to always check on your camera and make sure that the battery does not run out quickly.


Final thoughts

Trail cameras are great devices that can help their users a lot by monitoring what happens in the areas that they are placed to observe. Such a camera can have a lot of options, and you should consider the features that you need in order for it to be able to help you at the highest level possible. 

Programming your camera is not rocket science. However, you should consider the things that we have talked about in this article in order to make the most of it. We hope that we have helped you, and we are sure that your experience with using such a camera will be taken to a higher level if you consider the tips provided in this article.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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