4 Things to Know Before Leaving Your Camera Trap Outside
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Camera trap placement can be quite a tricky thing to get right; between choosing the right settings, heights, angles, security and disturbance potential there are quite a lot of things to consider! From our years of experience there are 4 other placement issues that can tend to get overlooked but are nonetheless equally important, so here are 4 things you should be mindful of before leaving your camera trap outside…


1. Camera traps are weatherproof but NOT waterproof

A good quality camera trap can withstand and work well in temperature extremes such as rain, sleet, snow, hail, storms, ice etc; and so while they are weatherproof they are not waterproof. If you’re needing to place your camera near a river or stream or other body of water, you need to keep a close eye on rising water so they don’t get submerged. Always check the weather so a sudden deluge doesn’t dunk your camera!


2. Roads

This is linked to how camera traps work. At a basic level camera traps are triggered by a combination of movement and a change in heat. So if something moves passed your camera that is warmer than the ambient heat, your camera will trigger. That goes for people, animals and vehicles. Placing your camera near/facing roads will result in those moving cars with hot engines constantly causing triggers, filling up your SD card and draining your battery very quickly!


3. Livestock

This can be a particular problem in the UK – putting your camera in the vicinity of cows could be an expensive mistake. Cows (and sheep) like to chew straps and rub up against cameras, dislodging placement and potentially damaging your camera.


4. Be Aware of Some Key Legislation

This is probably the most important factor to consider. Camera traps and the law may not have been something most people think about but is potentially the most influential factor in camera trap placement, especially on sites with public access. Many won’t be aware of some of the laws in place regarding wildlife and data protection and how that may impact where you put your camera.

A good example of this is camera trapping badgers. Lots of people mean well and are eager to capture animals like badgers on their trail cameras and they find or stumble across badger setts and think that’s the perfect place for their camera trapWhat many won’t realise is that just being on a badger sett can be classed as disturbance and is therefore illegal under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. This is for good reason; badgers can be very sensitive and if they can hear or smell something they’re not sure of in, on or around their setts, they can be too scared to come out of them. This can be a particular issue for hungry badgers who forgo precious foraging and eating time if they’re too nervous to leave their sett.

It’s definitely worth you researching about your local wildlife and data protection laws, but here’s a brief rundown on 3 key areas of legislation to be aware of in the UK:

  1. Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981: Be wary of causing any disturbance particularly to nesting birds, otter holts and any other protected species.
  2. Protection of Badgers Act 1992: Disturbance of badger setts is illegal and disturbance could be classed as just being present on a badger sett, so be mindful of this when placing camera traps.
  3. CCTV & GDPR: Broadly, camera traps can be classed at CCTV so you need to be aware of this before placing cameras on any sites with public access. Generally speaking, you can put cameras on fully private land without warning signs but we would always recommend checking the guidelines on the Information Commissioner’s Office if unsure.


You can find lots more help and guidance on perfecting your camera trap placement here.


Happy Camera Trapping!


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