Setting up cuddelink camera

Trail cameras are everywhere these days no matter what you hunt trail cameras give you the irreplaceable intel to set you up for a successful hunt. Depending on your target species there are certain settings that work best and when it comes to bears it’s no different. After years of setting up bear bait sites and hanging trail cameras here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years!

1. Get Low, Get Low

Typically with whitetails most hunters hang their trail cameras at about waist height. With bears you want to go lower, typically mid thigh. Overall bears tend to carry their heads inline with their spine or lower which is important when setting a camera up on a runway. If you’re setting your camera up at a bait site you’ll still want it set at mid thigh height which should be level at center mass of their body giving you the most accurate way to determine the size of bears coming in.

black bear destroying cameras

2. Use a Bear Box

Unless you’re cool with your camera being destroyed within the first 24 hours of being set up, always place your camera in a bear box. Additionally, be sure to wear gloves when handling your trail camera and be sure to never touch your camera with scent or bait on your hands. While you may have your camera protected in a bear proof box if your camera is smelling like a chocolate chip cookie they’ll be sure to monkey with it and will leave it in the most undesired position ruining all photos there after.

3. Utilize Cell Cameras by Hanging Them High

Take your camera game to the next level. We’ve all seen the insane technology being brought to the game camera industry including everyone’s favorite, cell cameras, bringing you instant gratification of seeing a bear on the site to the minute. While cell cameras are great they aren’t exactly bear friendly. With the antennas poking out and no way to protect them they make a fantastic chew toy for many bears and will leave you hanging blind. I’ve found the best way to combat this is to double up with a less “fancy” camera. 

For me it’s just as important to know how big the bears are coming in as it is to know when they’re on the bait causing me to spook them walking in. In order to prevent this for the first 2-3 months that I bait, I run a standard simple camera, my favorite being Bushnell’s Trophy Aggressor, in a bear box of course, at mid thigh height. This way I can properly estimate the weight on any bear that shows up. Then about 2-3 weeks before the season opener I hang a cell camera 12+ ft high in a tree over the bait, pointed directly at the site. While having a camera up this high doesn’t provide a good angle to judge the size of the bear it does let me know instantly when a bear is on the site so I can then plan my hunt accordingly. In addition, with the height and the fact that once you hang it you can leave it, should discourage the temptation bears have to chomp on antennas. 

Black bear at night

4. Light It Up

When choosing a camera make sure it provides a great amount of light at night. Bears typically hit at night or dusk, specifically the bigger ones. With their black coats they typically blend right into the darkness especially if your camera lacks in lighting. You can get away with a camera lacking trigger speed but it can not fall short on lighting when capturing bears on a bait site.  

5. Maximize Your Setup

Setting up a camera on a bait site is quite simple, point it at the bait, hang at mid thigh, and call it a day. However, if your camera is capable and you have the ideal set up don’t be afraid to push your camera back further from the bait. This will give you a wider angle which will give you the ability to see which way they come into the bait and which way they leave which is crucial for when you set up your stand. If you’re lucky you may also be able to see them circling the bait in the brush giving you irreplaceable intel.

Good luck and happy baiting friends! Any tips or tricks you’ve learned, drop them in the comments below!

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