Reader's question: How can I track down a wildlife camera?

Wildlife cameras in the forest, data protection, private photo trap set up

Here in the blog, the subject of wildlife cameras and their use as surveillance cameras have already been addressed a few times. Every now and then, questions about wildlife cameras come in, like those that I would like to address in this article: "How can I track down or find a wildlife camera?“- So if you also want to know how to make one game camera then you have come to the right place. Foresters and hunters in particular often unexpectedly come across privately installed cameras with motion detectors and night vision, which you can get cheaply from Amazon. However, the operator must also observe data protection and the like.

Finding a hidden wildlife camera, how does it work? In this guide I will show you measures, possibilities and technical aids so that you can track down photo traps.

Finding a hidden wildlife camera, how does it work? In this guide I will show you measures, possibilities and technical aids so that you can track down photo traps.

Find hidden wildlife camera

A game camera can only be hidden to a certain extent. Both the camera lens and the infrared sensor as well as the LEDs for the night vision lighting must remain free. Otherwise, the housing and an (optional) antenna for GSM or GPRS wildlife cameras can be covered by branches, bushes or camouflage nets. So how do you find a game camera in the forest? There are some options to consider and some actions to be excluded.

Tracking down wildlife cameras: this is how it works

First, I would like to rule out a few possibilities: For example, there is no safe / legal way to track down cellular wildlife cameras through their cellular signal. The tracking of ultrasound, mentioned in some forums, is also nonsensical, since commercially available battery-powered wildlife cameras do not work with ultrasound. Rather, they use a passive infrared sensor. I also find the approach with thermal imaging cameras rather counterproductive. Because a wildlife camera does not have any noticeable heat development when it is not rattling in continuous operation.

Information and tips on wildlife cameras in this post

So we come to the possibilities of actually finding a game camera: First of all, there is the systematic search of trees, stakes and hunter's stands for the small boxes. A wildlife camera is usually designed in camouflage colors and camouflage patterns, but the lens, LED areas, etc. are noticeable. If necessary, you can illuminate trees with a flashlight and see where something is reflecting. If you want to proceed in a more technically sophisticated manner and act in the dark, then you cannot avoid residual light amplifiers (night vision devices). These enable you to find the "invisible flash" of a wildlife camera - but only if you trigger it, i.e. about 5 to a maximum of 20 meters away from the camera.

Why search Data protection and Co.

If you want to find a hidden wildlife camera, you have a reason. Of course, this post is not intended to be a call or a guide for criminals to private surveillance cameras track down. However, there are some hunters and foresters who want to know whether and where there is a game camera in their area / forest. Finding a hidden game camera is probably the quickest way to systematically search trees and rows of trees. Private individuals can also complain about set up / hung wildlife cameras - because data protection also plays a role in photos and videos in the forest. Regardless of whether you are ingested while walking, collecting mushrooms or peeing.

In the test: SecaCam HomeVista as a wildlife and surveillance camera

In 2014 there were some reports in the media about data protection in the forest and possible procedures as well as penalties and fines that could be imposed on hunters. Amongst other things Der Spiegel was the headline at the time "Data protectionists take action against wildlife cameras". And Computer IMAGE took up the topic under the heading "More and more wildlife cameras are capturing forest walkers" - in the first heading, wildlife cameras were referred to as "illegal photo traps". And basically it is right and important that hunters or foresters could put up signs in the forest or at least at its entrances to indicate the wildlife cameras on trees and in the bushes.

Conclusion on the topic: Finding a hidden wildlife camera

Finding a hidden wildlife camera is not easy to do with technical aids. Anyone with a keen eye, and possibly a flashlight or even a residual light amplifier / night vision device, has the best chances. If you as a forest ranger or professional game observer would like to find privately installed cameras, you should perhaps also remember to point out your own devices in order to comply with data protection. Otherwise, a tip for private game watchers: Just talk to the forester and / or hunter of your preferred forest. Maybe you can install photo traps together and exchange the created images - that's more legal and less stressful;)


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