What trail camera settings should I use when doing a camera survey?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Management
If I am conducting a trail cam survey for 14 days and there is 1 camera per 50 acres what would my correction factor be?

Is 1cam/50acres to much?

Also what settings do you have on the camera? Delay interval? Number of pictures/trigger?

Phil Scott


The accuracy of a trail camera survey can potentially be increased by increasing the number of cameras and the number of pictures each camera takes per deer visit.  

More pictures should allow for better identification of individual bucks. More camera stations should pick up a few more deer as some deer won’t use stations where other, more dominant deer frequent.  

The trade-off is steps that accumulate more pictures will add more time to analysis process.  

The number of acres per camera is influenced by the habitat.  If the survey is conducted in an area with lots of pasture and/or ag fields then deer will be bottle-necked into smaller areas and fewer cameras will be needed. If the area is primarily cover than more cameras will be required to conduct an effective survey.

Deer tend to hang around bait a long time.  There’s no problem taking more pictures but I usually set my Reconyx cameras to take two pictures with a 10 second interval between pictures.  I use a five minute delay to keep from getting bunches of pictures of the same deer.  

I never use a correction factor.  Correction factors are best guesses.  I use the actual numbers and compare them year to year.  The trend of the deer herd’s demographics is more valuable and probably more accurate than the estimates!  

There are detailed instructions of how I conduct a trail camera survey at:  https://www.growingdeer.tv/view/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Conducting-a-Herd-Survey.pdf

Enjoy creation,