How Often Should You Check Your Trail Camera?

When you have a trail camera, or get one for the first time, the most exciting part is to see what images and/or video you have captured. So once you have it set up and in the field the question we all ask ourselves is, "How often should I checking my trail camera(s)."

Unfortunately the answer for most situations would be to check your trail camera as little, or as infrequently, as possible.

Most of the time we like to hunt in out-of-the-way places that are not close to human activity. Therefore, the very act of checking your trail camera causes a disturbance in these out-of-the-way hunting locations. Checking your trail camera allows deer and other game the opportunity to see, hear, and smell the person checking the camera. This disruption in the environment can spook any deer in the area and cause them to deviate from their normal patterns and behaviors for a period of time.

So what can we do to extend the amount of time between visits to check our trail cameras?


First of all we want to be sure that our camera doesn't run out of storage space for our pictures and video. To do this you will want to buy a memory card with the largest capacity your trail camera can handle. If you are unsure of what type of card would be best for you and your trail camera you can read our article discussing how to choose the best SD card for your trail camera here.

Second you will want to be sure that your trail camera doesn't run out of power between your visits. To do this you will want to be sure that you are buying high quality batteries. Lithium batteries are usually best. You can also find external battery packs or solar panels to extend the amount of time your trail camera will have power between visits.

If you are looking to buy a new trail cam you can also consider buying a cellular trail camera. While more expensive cellular trail cameras offer the ability to send you images over cellular networks. These cellular trail cameras require monthly fees to send images over cellular Networks. So before buying a cellular trail camera be sure that you are okay with the fees and verify that you can get a cellular signal where you intend to place the trail camera. Cellular trail cameras will use more power in order to send the pictures to you. So if you get a cellular trail camera you will want to think about the solar panels and external batteries mentioned above otherwise you will still need to make frequent trips to the camera to replace batteries. This is especially true if your camera is in a place where it will be capturing a lot of images. If you want to learn more about cellular trail cameras your can read our article Cellular Game and Trail Camera Reviews and Buying Guide here.

So if we are too check our trail cameras as little as possible how and when should we do it?

Here is a list of things to remember when checking your trail camera:

  1. Consolidate your trips. Try and check your trail camera when you are going to be going buy it for another purpose. That will help eliminate extra trips to your hunting area creating less of a disturbance for the game in your area.
  2. Choose your time wisely. As you learn the typical schedule of the animals in your area plan your trip to check your trail camera so it falls during a more quiet time of the day.
  3. Extra SD cards. Buy extra SD cards and bring them with you. SD cards are fairly affordable and they are usually very quick and easy to take in and out of your trail camera. This will get you out of the woods faster and allow you to look at the pictures and videos at your leisure when you are home.
  4. Remember to bring extra batteries with you. You eventually are going to need to change the batteries anyway so buy some high quality batteries in advance and bring them with you each time you check your trail camera. That way if your batteries need to be replaced you won't need to make that extra trip Into the woods.
  5. Minimize your scent. Deer have a sense of smell that is many more times sensitive than humans. So when you go in the woods to check your trail camera try to remember to wear rubber boots and bring some scent eliminating spray with you to do your best to eliminate any human scent you might leave in the woods.

Hopefully by extending the amount of time between visits to your trail camera and keeping in mind a few helpful hints for how and when to check your trail camera your hunting area will remain undisturbed and you will have the information you need for a successful hunting season.

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【Upgraded】APEMAN Trail Camera 12MP 1080P 2.4" LCD Game&Hunting Camera with 940nm Upgrading IR LEDs Night Vision up to 65ft/20m IP66 Spray Water Protected Design
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Bushnell 16MP Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 Trail Camera, Brown
MOSPRO Trail Camera Viewer for iPhone iPad Mac & Android, SD & Micro SD Memory Card Reader to View Photos and Videos from any Wildlife Scouting Game Cam on Smartphone for Deer Hunter Black
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About the Author DanGettel