Scouting For Elk — Using Browning Recon Force Trail Cameras

I am finding that having a couple of Browning Trail cameras out on the mountain is a lot like Christmas. I get so excited to see what the cameras were able to capture. Back in May I placed scouted for elk and placed three Browning trail cameras out on the mountain. I got some cool photos of a black bear, elk, mule deer and moose when I checked them after two weeks. 

Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera BTC-1

A bull elk with budding out a g4 on each antler. This is the best bull we have found to date. Dallen's pretty excited about this bull. He's hoping to get at least this bull if he can. You can see all four of the Rapid Fire photos the Range Ops trail cam took of this bull in the series below.

 

Moose with Browning Range Ops Trail Camera

Two cow moose walking past the Range Ops BTC-1 trail camera.

 

Galaxy S3 with USB adapter and SDHC card reader

Using a Samsung USB adapter to read the SDHC cards from the Browning Recon Force and Range Ops trail cameras.

 

Browning Spec Ops trail camera over wallow

A Browning Spec Ops BTC-3 trail camera setup over a spring that we think the bull elk will use as a wallow in the fall.

The camo on these cameras is amazing at blending right into the tree bark.

 

Looking at a moose photo on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone.

Browsing photos while checking one of the Recon Force trail cameras. Looks like a cow moose came by after dark.

 

Dallen and I taking a break.

Dallen and me taking a break while checking the trail cameras.

 

On this trip out on the mountain Dallen came with me. He has the youth elk tag this year and we are hopeful that by using the trail cameras we will be able to find him a nice bull. He has already taken a spike and a 4x5 bull and I think he will be holding out for a six point. I hope we can pull it off for him. I'm still to this day trying to get my first ever six point bull. After seeing the 5 point on the trail camera photos this time out he's getting pretty excited. Not to mention there's a couple of pretty nice looking mule deer bucks that we captured on video this time.

Being a newbie to trail cameras I am learning more and more of how and where to place them. I am finding that the motion sensor works at it's best when a critter walks parallel to the camera. When I have a camera setup looking directly down a trail I often capture the critter passing going away from the camera but often miss the critters walking straight up the trail coming directly at the camera.

It took a while for me to figure out what was going on with the empty photos. The key that helped me figure this out was that all the photos with critters in them on this camera showed them going away. There would be lots of empty 6 frames rapid fire burst of nothing or in some cases just the first photo would have the very tail end of a deer barely showing in the edge of the photo and then 5 empty photos. Now that I have patterned the general path of the animals I have moved all of the cameras a little to get more passing views of the trails that they are on.

This time out I had a new toy to help me. I ordered a Samsung micro USB to USB adapter for my Galaxy S3 phone. This little cable is awesome. I can plug in USB keyboards, hard drives and in my case I can plug in a USB SD card reader. With this I am able to check the photos and video I get right there while I am checking the camera. If it wasn't for this adapter it would have been another couple of weeks before I was able to reposition the cameras slightly to get more of a passing view of the trails. With the adapter I was able to run through the photos on my phone and determine I needed to make the move right there on the mountain.

The AVI video format that the Browning Trail cameras take will not play with the media player that comes with the phone. I found that "MX Player" a free app on Google Play works great for playing the video files. (Dec. 2013: This app stopped working I now have a better app to view the trail camera videos.) Unfortunately, I didn't figure this out until I returned from the mountain. While on the mountain this time I was unable to play the files and unfortunately I turned off the video and set the camera to 6 frame rapid-fire. After seeing the way cool video that the camera had been capturing I'm wishing it was still taking video. The HD video the Recon Force trail camera takes is just amazing. So very cool! I compiled a few of the 62 videos in the YouTube clip viewable on the page.

I had the camera setup to take 30 second HD video clips whenever it gets motion triggered. Then wait five seconds before watching for motion again. I found that when the camera is using IR lighting that it only takes 10 seconds of video. In daylight it took 30 seconds of great look video.

Battery life has been wonderful with the cameras. Two of the cameras have been taking either video or rapid-fire images for four weeks now with Rayovac AA batteries and one camera shows 95% power and the other 93%. This is awesome. I was afraid that I would be spending a small fortune on batteries to keep them fed.

One of the cameras I have out is a Browning Range Ops. It retails about twenty less that the Recon Force BTC-2 trail camera. The Range Ops functions really well but the image quality is not near the quality of Recon Force. Not that the Range Ops quality is horrible but the Recon Force's images are just amazing. For the extra twenty I would no question get the Recon Force over the Range Ops. The specs on the Recon Force show that it has ZerO Blur Technology. Whatever the technology I like the sharp high resolution images it takes.

This time out we also placed a Spec Ops BTC-3 trail camera. This is the highest end Browning trail camera. It looks to me that it's biggest feature upgrade over the Recon Force is a two inch management screen. From this screen it is a little easier to setup the different modes of the camera. It is also great to view exactly what the camera is pointing at in real time making it nice to have the camera pointing exactly where you want it to. Once I get some photos on this camera I will be able to browse through them directly on the camera when I go out to check it. Where on the other cameras I can use the USB adapter cable to browse the images.

On this trip out scouting the area Dallen and I found an awesome spring area that we think will be a wallow for the bulls come the rut this fall. We setup the Spec Ops trail camera watching over this spring. I'm really excited to see what photos and video we get watching over this spot for the next several months. I am also curious to see if the quality of the images varies much from the Recon Force. The IR lighting is different between the two. I guess we'll see in a couple weeks.

Now I have to wait a couple weeks before I go out to check them again. Boy trail cameras are a lot of fun.

 

Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 1

Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 2

Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 3

Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 4

4x4 Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 1

4x4 Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 2

4x4 Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 3

4x4 Bull Elk Browning Range Ops Trail Camera Image 4

Creek close-up water rock

Small frog

Playing around with my Galaxy S3 phone taking a photo close-up of the creek flowing near where our trail cameras are out.

 

A little bitty frog that we found.

 

Dallen hiking while check trail cameras

Dallen checking Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Dallen hiking while checking our trail cameras.

 

Dallen checking the Recon Force Browning trail camera that took the HD video shown above.

 

View other related Browning Trail Camera blog entries.

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