Scouting For Elk — First Time Out Checking My Browning Trail Cameras

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera BTC-2

A bull elk with four points on each side already on May 26 taken with a Browning Recon Force trail camera. You can see all six of the Rapid Fire photos in this series below.

 

Black Bear with Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

A Black Bear that walked by in the dark of night. All six of the Rapid Fire photos of this bear can be found below.

 

Spike Elk with Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

A spike elk that walked by the DIYHNTR03 camera.

 

Trek Cobia 29er with 36h Wheelset

My ride up the mountain — a Trek Cobia with custom 36 spoke 29er wheels.

 

Hidden Camouflage Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Can you see the camera? Neither could I. I walked a 100 or so yards past it while looking for it. Luckily I marked it on my Back Country Navigator App and I turned around and went right to it. This camera I left in the same spot but I set it to take 30 sec HD video clips to see what I get on it next time out.

 

View of Browning Range Ops digital screen.

If you see the digital screen looking like this don't panic like I did. When I set it up in the new location it took a while to figure out what was going on with the digital screen on this Range Ops trail camera. You have to be looking directly into the screen or it will appear as black rectangles. I had placed the camera up about 8 feet in a tree looking down over the tall vegetation and trail that dropped off the back side of a ridge. By having the camera up so high I could not get the right angle to view the screen.

 

View of mountain

View of the mountain near where my trail cameras are set out.

 

I scouted for elk and placed three Browning trail cameras out a couple weeks ago. Because I was so excited to see what I would get on the cameras, it was difficult, but I was able to wait for two weeks before going back up the mountain to check the Browning Trail Cameras.

The excitement of wondering what might be on the cameras had me going crazy wanting to go check them, however I figured it would be best to leave them a while before checking on them. I was itching to see what I could get pictures of. Being new to trail cameras I also was looking to learn more from these first two weeks and place the cameras in better places or adjust the settings to better suit what I was needing.

I took my 29er mountain bike back in to double on getting exercise while I was checking my trail cameras. It's a good two hour ride up the mountain and another hour hike up to where my highest trail came is located. Plenty of good exercise, especially to help my bad knees. Biking has been the best thing for my knees.

I decided to move the Browning Range Ops Trail Camera to a different location. Were I placed it originally wasn't a bad area it just was a little more out of the way to check it along with the others.

I learned something when I moved the Range Ops trail camera to the new location. When you see the digital screen all covered with black boxes make sure you look at the screen from directly in front of it. You can think it is broke or the batteries are bad and change out the batteries and SDHC card all you want but the screen is still going to look this way... trust me I tried. Dummy me. :)

Once back off the mountain the very first image was of a bear. Way cool! I have never even seen a bear track on this mountain. I have heard rumors that they are up there but until now I have never seen any sign of them.

This bear came through after dark and I got 6 rapid fire photos of him walking past the camera. (see photos below) Unfortunately I had the Image Data Strip turned off on this camera. Hmm... Thought I had it turned on, on all the cameras. I like all the info printed on the bottom of the images. I'll have to double check it next trip out to make sure I get the data strip.

Here's the rough details of what I got on the cameras.

  • On the DIYHNTR01 Recon Force camera I got a cow elk, a moose in the timber, some mule deer and the bear. I like how you can name the cameras and if you have the image data strip turned on the name is printed in the data strip.
  • DIYHNTR02 is a Range Ops camera. This camera was the lowest on the mountain. It captured a bunch of moose photos where the moose appeared to be trying to remove the camera from the tree. There are dozens of strange pictures of the moose's neck and beard etc. The camera also captured several mule deer, mostly does and a small buck. There were two cow elk captured on this camera also. I have moved this camera up the mountain to watch a well used game trail.
  • DIYHNTR03 is a Recon Force and it captured lots of mule deer and elk walking and running past on a game trail. There were three different small bull elk and a couple of different small mule deer bucks on this camera. This camera like the other Recon Force was set on 6 frame rapid fire. I got a lot of images that lend me to believe I was missing a lot of the action so I have now set this camera to record 30 seconds of HD video when triggered. This should capture a lot more of the action. We'll see what it gets next time.

One thing that surprised me was the battery life. I came prepared to swap out batteries on all of the cameras and the camera that had new batteries when I put it out two weeks ago still showed 100% power. The batteries I am using are the less expensive Rayovac AA batteries. The other two cameras did well also but they already had well used batteries when I put them out so I went ahead and swapped out the batteries.

Rapid fire is a nice feature for the the game trails I placed the trail cameras on. Even with the rapid fire images it still can be difficult to capture everything that goes by. That is why I am trying the 30 sec HD video option on one of the cameras to see how much more it will capture.

Two additional things I learned: One, is that I don't want to place the camera where it is pointed directly at the sun early in the morning or late in the evening for that matter. Second, is when I place the camera along a trail, try to get a few feet further away than I did. So probably about 15-20 feet if possible.

With so many photos of elk and mule deer it was hard to narrow down what I should put on my blog post today. Below are a few of my favorites.

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 1

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 2

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 3

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 4

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 5

Bull Elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 6

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 1

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 2

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 3

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 4

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 5

Black Bear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera Image 6

Cow Elk Rear Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Small Mule Deer Buck Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Cow elk walking past DIYHNTR01 camera.

 

Young mule deer buck on the trail camera.

 

Mule Deer Buck with Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Two cow elk Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

The best mule deer buck on the trail cameras.

 

Two cow elk walking past the Browning Recon Force Trail Camera.

 

Mule Deer with Browning Recon Force Trail Camera

Moose with Browning Range Ops Trail Camera

Mule deer walking past DIYHNTR03. This moose got up close and personal with the trail cam.


View other related Browning Trail Camera blog entries.

Scouting For Elk — Putting Out Browning Trail Cams

 

Camouflage Browning Recon Force Trail Camera BTC-2

The Browning Recon Force Trail Camera's camouflage blends right into the bark of Bigtooth Maple.

Browning Range Ops Trail Camera BTC-1

Browning Range Ops Trail Camera (model BTC-1) setup watching a trail for elk.

Elk rubs on quaking aspens

Elk rubs from last fall are all over the Quaking Aspens near where I set out three Browning Trail Cameras.

Browning Recon Force Trail Camera BTC-2 on game trail

Browning Recon Force Trail Camera (model BTC-2) setup on a well used game trail.

White Crowned Sparrow nest under log

A White Crowned Sparrow nest hidden neatly under a fallen tree stump in the area I was scouting for places to put up the trail cameras.

Utah fuzzy black, white, and orange caterpillar.

I found a couple of these cool fuzzy caterpillars. I wondering what kind it is? Searching Google has not given me the answer.

After a couple weeks of testing my Browning Recon Force model BTC-2 trail camera around the yard I was itching to get out on the mountain and see what I could get pictures of with the trail camera.

In my testing around the yard I was able to take some fun time-lapse video of clouds rolling across the mountains near my house. Although not your typical trail camera usage — using them to get time-lapse video is pretty cool for a creative guy like myself.

Here are a few things I learned while playing around with the trail camera around the yard:

  • The Time-Lapse Plus feature only takes time-lapse photos during the period of time specified and motion activated photos during other times.
  • When using time-lapse: The All day setting means that it will take time-lapse photos from about an hour before light until about an hour after dark.
  • When using time-lapse: The Two Hour setting means that it will take time-lapse photos from about an hour before light and take photos for two hours. Then it will take two hours of photos in the evening ending about a hour after dark.
  • The trail camera is really smart in self calibrating the length of daylight that changes throughout the year.
  • The Rapid Fire option in the Multi-Shot feature will take three images a second once triggered. This is the option to use on a game trail where the animals are moving past the trail camera.
  • Multi-Shot Standard takes images every three seconds once triggered. This is useful for a well used water hole, possibly a feeder or the like.

Luck found Dallen, my oldest son this year as he drew out for a youth elk hunt in Utah. We are both pretty excited about this opportunity for him to hunt elk with a rifle during the peak of the rut. I have a couple areas in mind to take him on this hunt. One of the areas is within reasonable distance from our home, an area we could put a trail camera to use to try and find him a nice bull, something better than the 4x5 elk he shot in 2012.

After figuring out the features I was ready to head up on the mountain to put the camera to work. A good friend of mine lent me two additional Browning Trail Cameras to take to the woods with. After six hours of hiking and riding my 29er mountain bike around the mountain I was glad that all my eggs were not in one basket. Having additional trail cameras should make it a lot easier to track down some elk.

I love the camo pattern on the Recon Force trail cameras. It blends right into the bark of Bigtooth Maple. If the strap and buckle on the camera had the same pattern the trail camera would completely disappear on the tree.

I'm excited to see what the cameras might capture. I'll give them a week or two and go back up the mountain to checkout what I can capture on the Browning trail cams. (A Black Bear, Elk, Mule Deer, and Moose. Cool!)

 

Galaxy S3 Panorama of Mountains

Here's a panorama of the mountain shot with my Galaxy S3 phone.

View other related Browning Trail Camera blog entries.

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