Setting Up Trail Cameras for Black Bears

This spring I was lucky enough to harvest two black bears with my bow in Idaho. Baiting bears was a blast. Each morning it was exciting to check my cameras and see what had come by the night before. By the end of the season I had learned a fair amount about bear hunting. This blog provides a few tips for success when  setting up trail cameras for bears.

Buy Protection

Pick up a security box to protect your camera. Make sure you buy the right model; not every box fits every camera. I’ve had luck with the Cabelas security enclosure on several different models. If you’re in an area with other hunters that seem less than trustworthy you can buy a cable, otherwise it’s not necessary. Placing your camera high off the ground and far from the barrel will keep it safe most of the time. For the times when a bear gets curious, you’ll be glad you bought a security box.

Camera Features

There are many good trail cameras on the market. Personally, I’ve found the Apeman trail camera performs as well as higher dollar cameras while costing half as much. Search for a camera that has features suited to bear hunting. Auto shut off during the day comes in handy to avoid thousands of pictures of crows and squirrels (Bears almost always visit after 4 pm or in the early morning hours). Bears will occasionally whack the cage, so it’s a good idea to buy a camera that secures the batteries well. Lastly, I recommend setting up your camera and SD card to shoot video. Bears become predictable later in the seasons and allow for some awesome video opportunities. Avoid cameras that make clicking noises when taking photos. The noise will either spook the bear or attract it, which either leads to a broken camera or a wary bear. Check out our 2020 bear hunting episode next month to see what I’m talking about.

No Touchy

To avoid creating a donut flavored trail camera, check photos before handling bait. This can prove challenging because you’ll need to pack your bait at the car. Either fill the bucket the night before, or use one hand for bait and the other on the camera.


You’re probably screwed either way. Bears have incredible noses and are curious, which creates a dangerous comination. Read our blog on baiting to learn how to keep bears at a site longer. This will ensure a good number of quality photos. I hope a bear doesn’t eat your camera. Good luck next season, Stu

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