Using Trail Cameras For Security
Most outdoorsmen are very familiar with trail cameras these days since they give hunters a huge advantage in scouting and it is just fun watching what is happening when you are away. The capabilities of these systems have increased impressively in recent years to the point where we can get near real-time notifications of when that big buck decides to reveal himself, day or night, and even rough-score his rack while he’s still on the hoof. Those same capabilities are also very useful when using outdoor trail cameras for security purposes, there are many types of trail cameras but when considering models that can keep an eye on your hunt camp, your farm or ranch buildings, livestock and equipment, or your home, there are some important points to consider.
Modern stealth security cameras are capable of capturing photos and videos in complete darkness with no visible flash. This makes it possible to record images of trespassers or thieves without them ever knowing the camera is there—and in some cases these images can be used in prosecution. You can also keep watch on livestock without driving around your property extensively, and be alerted to predators. The systems can also keep tabs on water tanks, gates and other assets remotely.
The cameras send pictures to your phone or computer in near real-time, perhaps allowing you to catch a perpetrator in the act. They will also transmit a dated, time-stamped image via text or email to let you see who is doing what, when.
You can trigger the cameras from your phone at any time, or they can be set to take photos at pre-programmed times, which you can also download at any time. Barn Owl is one such company that connects you to the necessary cell-phone service, no matter what your carrier. You can receive the photos and videos at any phone number or email address you choose (cell-phone service of some type must be available at the site, however). The cameras typically receive two to three bars better service than personal cell phones due to antennas. If your area is particularly troublesome you can add the high-gain external antenna.
Barn Owl is one of the best-known names in ranch, farm and remote location security as well as for hunters who need a dependable cellular trail cam system. Located in Colorado Springs, the veteran-owned company serves customers nationwide with cellular systems that are very simple to set up and operate.
Here’s what company CEO Josh Phifer, a former test pilot and tech expert for the U.S. Air Force, told us:
Why Choose Barn Owl?
“We have complete outdoor wireless security camera systems with remote viewing capabilities that take photos or short videos on motion-detection, at scheduled times, or on-demand. Our cameras are designed for any weather, and stand up well to rain, snow, ice, cold or heat. Barn Owl successfully runs camera systems in nearly every state in the country including Alaska. The Barn Owl App makes use very easy and intuitive on your phone or computer. Check in on wildlife, livestock, equipment and remote property all in one place.
We provide a contract-free cell service plan – pay as you go with our pre-activated SIM card. Our customer support includes dedicated technicians who will help you work through any problems. We offer a 45-day return policy. If you’re not satisfied, return your product within 45days for a full refund.Our cameras include a 2-year warranty. We’ll repair or replace products or parts defective under normal use,” he said.
Easy Set Up
Barn Owl Technologies offers a very easy setup, according to Phifer. Choose your camera, go through the basic startup provided by an online video plus the included instructions and that’s it. No need to call your cell provider. It’s done for you with a pay-for-what-you-use, monthly fee.
If you have questions or run into any snags, the support team can help.
The company has several people on staff whose entire job description is customer support, from set-up to trouble-shooting to warranty coverage. When you call or email with a problem, you get immediate help from a technology expert who has probably seen every issue likely to come up previously and can provide a quick solution. Since the company specializes in farm, ranch and rural surveillance, they understand the problems these locations are likely to face.
What Does it Cost?
The Barn Owl average customer spends about $11 per camera per month for monitoring, with easy on-line billing taking the paperwork out of payment. You only get one bill per month, covering all your monitored cameras, and that’s set up on auto-pay—you never have to think about it unless you want to increase, decrease or cancel the service.
Choosing the Right Trail Cameras for Security on Your Property
The Barn Owl RangeCam 4G uses 12 AA batteries and includes GPS coordinates at the bottom of each photo. Choose the RangeCam 4G if GPS coordinates are especially important for your situation.
The RangeCam Mini uses 8 AA batteries, costs $100 less than the RangeCam 4G, does not have GPS capabilities, and is currently only offered with the standard lens.
Choose the RangeCam Mini if GPS coordinates are not especially important for your situation, or if you’d like to outfit a location with more cameras for less money.
Barn Owl experts points out that there are five things to consider when choosing the best trail cameras for security:
- What type of property do you have?
Your remote video surveillance system needs will vary depending on the type of property. A cattle rancher in Wyoming, a hunter in Alabama, a horse breeder in Kentucky or a farmer in Nebraska will have different monitoring needs.
- Which parts of your property need monitoring?
Do you need an outdoor surveillance camera that can hold up to all types of weather conditions? Are you worried about animals damaging your camera systems? If you’re worried about theft, do you need a camouflaged option?
Consider the most critical assets on your property to determine where monitoring is most essential.
- How often do you want to check in on your property?
If you want or need 24/7 video footage of your property, a closed-circuit video surveillance system might be for you. However, if you’re monitoring remote areas of your property, cellular trail cameras for security that allow you to trigger on-demand photo or video and deliver motion activated alerts via text or email may be better for you.
- Do you want wired or wireless?
If the area you want to monitor is remote and outdoors, a wireless option is likely your best bet. Wireless cameras also have the benefit of being easily moved, so your video surveillance system can be relocated when necessary.
- Do you need a solar-powered surveillance option?
If the area you want to monitor gets direct sunlight, a solar-powered remote video surveillance system may be the best option for you. This renewable energy source reduces the need to monitor battery life. Your solar-powered surveillance system will likely have back-up batteries in case the solar panel doesn’t receive enough daily sunlight for a full charge. Otherwise, solar-powered surveillance is a great sustainable option for monitoring your assets.
How to Protect Your Cameras
One of the things that trespassers are likely to steal is your security camera! And once the camera is gone, all your other stuff is at the mercy of the trespasser, as well.
Never mount a game camera for security within easy line of sight if you know you have trespassers on your property—the bad guys will simply steal the camera, along with your other gear. Consider mounting the camera high enough up a tree that a ladder is required to reach it, or camouflage it so that it’s not easily seen.
You might need to think outside the box–mount the camera high on a roof or utility pole, or maybe on an elevated bird feeder or flower pot—anything to keep it from being spotted.
Of course, when you put a trail camera for security 15 feet up a utility pole, it’s an issue to change the batteries when necessary. But Barn Owl offers a number of models that operate on solar chargers, eliminating the chore. And they also have ac adapters that allow you to hook up to the power grid to keep your camera running, and another adapter that allows hooking up to a 12-volt battery for long-term operation between recharges.
Last but not least, for cameras that can’t be mounted where they’re tough to reach, you can secure them in locking compartments like the Barn Owl Lock Box.
The bottom line is Barn Owl farm and ranch cameras provide easy, one-stop shopping for keeping your gear safe in remote locations year around.