Hunting and Outdoors

Game Cameras — Money on a Tree

During your preseason scouting this year try something new. Grab five or even 10 $20 bills and hang them on a local tree with a nail or bungee cord. Then, come back in a few days, and see which type of bucks you find—brown or green. It sounds crazy right? Yet that is exactly what thousands of hunters do each year when they strap a trail camera to tree with a simple tie down or bungee cord and walk away. We are all guilty and have felt that sick feeling when we went to check our camera and hoped it would still be there.

Manufacturers realized this problem some time ago and provided a handy hole for a padlock. This will deter many hunters and hikers as very few hike with bolt cutters. However, once discovered, there is little to keep them from coming back. This problem has been compounded with cheaper models and the shrinking size of the units. There is simply less room for a lock hole and less material to surround it.

The solution to protect your investment is to purchase a security lock box or add on security bracket. Several manufacturers make proprietary models to fit their cameras, but third party options will do just as well or better in some cases. I would have to agree with most reading this and shaking their heads right now. It is unlikely that someone would be on your hunting property, and even if so, would they see the camera and decide to steal it? While I agree with that, I’ll go back to my beginning challenge. Would you tack $200 to tree and walk away from it for a week or two without worrying?

If your answer was no, read on. Before heading out this spring, collect your cameras and see which ones have a security hole and note the size. Next, check to see if the manufacturer offers a security bracket that fits your specific model of game camera.

The remedy does not have to cost much. Masterlock’s Python cable does a fine job, but other commercial solutions costing less than $10 will also do the trick. The box-type holders can also protect your investment from four-legged vandals. I have seen cameras that have been torn apart and left on the ground. Once the card was retrieved, raccoon pictures identified the culprit others showed something a lot bigger.

Pictures of a buck or bull elk are the reason most of us place a camera on a tree in the first place. However, if your camera happens to be unluckily placed on the tree a big bull decides to rough up… well you get the idea—and a cable will hardly protect your camera under a scenario such as that.

Theft will always be a problem, and there simply isn’t a usable camera option that couldn’t be stolen or damaged. However, a few extra dollars spent on a security box or locking bracket is your best option to ensure your camera and pictures will be safely attached to the tree when you return to retrieve your camera. Don’t be a victim… plan ahead and protect your investment.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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