Sometimes taking care of a mouse or rat problem is fairly straightforward. You set up a rat trap, and that's the beginning and the end of the story. But rodents can be surprisingly clever. What's more, their behavior is often influenced by additional variables you might never suspect. This is why many people incorporate cameras into their trap setup. Cameras can show you what rodents are up to when they're alone with the traps. It gives you the chance to see anything which might scare rats and mice away from an area before they even notice the trap. This can include anything from unsuspected predators in the area to alternate food supplies.
Setting up a trap camera is generally fairly similar to how you might use a trail camera. In fact, you'll actually want to use cameras that are intended for trail observation. In the end, a camera intended to keep an eye on animals works as well for rodents as it would for bears or deer, buy what are the best trail cameras to pair up with a trap? There are six options that serve as the best of the best. This can be further divided into three cost-effective options and three top-of-the-line models. We'll begin by looking at the three most feature complete — but also most expensive — options for wildlife cameras.
Three Top-of-the-Line Cameras
1. Bushnell Core DS-4K No Glow
The Bushnell Core DS-4K No Glow Trail Camera provides almost every feature you could possibly want in a camera. To begin, the camera is equipped with built-in dual sensors to detect movement day and night. The camera will automatically trigger when a subject approaches so you are able to record video or photos without being in the area.
Bushnell is well-known for quality binoculars, but the brand offers a line of “trail cam’ options that are rapidly becoming one of the top choices for buyers in the market for a wildlife camera. The 4K video capture rate is up to 30fps, and image stills are 32 megapixel. The camera also offers four settings to adjust motion sensitivity.
This camera can be used in temperatures of -5 to 140 °F (-20 to 60°C) and the durable weather-resistant housing will keep the camera safe from the elements for extended outdoor use.
2. Bushnell Trophy Cam E3 Essential HD Trail Camera
The Bushnell Trophy Cam Trail Camera rivals higher-priced camera performance. The Trophy Cam offers adjustable settings so you can capture up to three images per trigger. It also records up to 60 seconds of video at a time. The day/night auto sensor allows recording during all lighting conditions. The motion-activated PIR sensor is triggered out to 100 feet. The new auto-exposure feature allows better light detection preventing whiteouts.
Video recording offers 720p HD Video with Audio (1280x720 pixels). Images are full color, 16 MP high resolution. The camera can includes a 1/4-20 Socket for use with Tree Brackets. The hyper image recovery time of 1.0 second means you can record more images. A data stamp option also allows you to mark important data such as temperature, date, and GPS coordinates on your images.
The camera is equipped with a BandW text LCD display and a low-glow LED night vision flash. This camera uses 8 AA batteries, but last up to 12 months before batteries need to be replaced. The camera will accept an SD card up to 32GB (not included).
3. Spypoint Force-Pro
The Spypoint Forece-Pro is also a 4K camera (30 MP stills) with an easy-to-use LCD menu to allow quick setup any time day or night. This Force-Pro model is more expensive than the other models offered from this brand, but it is also the most powerful and worth the extra cost.
Like other trail cameras, the Fore-Pro is water-resistant to reliably record in all kinds of weather conditions. The casing also includes two LED light banks for illuminating the area in low-light conditions. This model also offers several settings for motion sensitivity and shooting modes. The camera includes a strap for wildlife photographers who may want to carry it around their neck. It also comes with a handy tripod to help record the best view of the subjects.
Three Cost-Effective Options
1. Primos AutoPilot 16MP Trail Camera
The Primos AutoPilot 16MP Trail Camera's biggest claim to fame is the overall cost. The camera is priced at about 1/9th of the most expensive options. You might assume that this would make it a lower quality option. However, it packs a surprising amount of power.
The camera's resolution comes in at an impressive 1080p with 16 MP images. What's more, it's able to take photos at night or in low-light conditions. This low-light support is further aided by the low glow feature. Keep in mind that the camera's low-light performance is still poor when compared to the state-of-the-art options. But at the same time, improving rat trap success usually doesn't require perfectly clear images. If you can make out the rodents and any potential issues in the area, then the camera's done its job.
Unsurprisingly, this camera also lacks wireless or cellular support. Lack of networking options is the norm with lower cost wildlife cameras, but if you don't mind manually checking the camera on occasion, then going without internet connectivity is a great cost-cutting option.
2. Browning Strike Force HD Pro X Trail Game Camera
The Browning Strike Force HD Pro X Trail Game Camera is the most expensive option in the collection of non-premium cameras. It also covers an important niche for people trying to troubleshoot a rat trap. The camera is one of the best options for anyone trying to get images of fast moving animals. This includes both rodents and predators which might be scaring them away from traps.
The camera provides an impressive 0.22 second shutter speed. It works with 720p resolution and 20 megapixels. Low-light and nighttime shots are made easier thanks to three separate options. These include a power-save mode, long range and fast motion. All of these options make it a great solution if you're having trouble with faster moving elements at night.
3. Bushnell Trophy Trail Camera
The Bushnell Trophy Trail Camera offers some great specs for a fairly low price. It provides 720p resolution and 20MP images. The 32 LED night vision flash provides an acceptable level of quality for night shots, and the camera's trigger speed is a respectable 0.7 seconds.
Of course, the lower cost does mean that it's going to miss some options when compared to the top-of-the-line models. The night shots are acceptable, but will typically lack many of the fine details seen with something like the Link-Dark-V. As you'd expect, it also lacks any support for wireless transfers or smartphone apps. With that said, there's a good chance you won't need crystal clear night shots to troubleshoot traps. If that's the case then you can easily save a lot of money with this fairly robust option.
Getting the Most Out of a Camera
In the end, you'll want to use your camera as a troubleshooting device. If you're using a higher quality trap, you expect it would be effective. If you're not seeing the results you expect, then you need to keep an eye on the area around your trap. You should be able to find out what's keeping rodents from investigating your setup.
The most common reasons come from environmental distractions. For example, if a predator is in the area, it might scare away rodents. If your camera proves that hypothesis, then you could simply move the trap to a nearby location. It's important to keep in mind that rodent populations can get out of hand fairly quickly. As such, you need to make sure you're always getting the maximum performance out of your traps. By combining a high-quality trap with a great camera you can ensure that a rodent problem doesn't get out of control.