How To Hide A Trail Cam For Home Security (Do This!)

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

Home security is a huge issue and the market for security cameras reflects that interest. Many homeowners have turned to trail cams as security cameras. In many instances, these game cameras work as well as much more expensive security cameras. One challenge is how to hide a trail cam for home security.

Trail camera design lends them to easy hiding. The easiest way to hide a trail camera for home security is to use it in its intended way. Make use of natural cover to hide the camera. Bushes in your landscapes, trees that offer a view of your home, or other natural cover are the best choices.

While making your trail cam as unobtrusive as possible is a good idea. More important to using a trail cam as a security camera is choosing your camera or the cameras’ location. Making strategic decisions about where to place cameras can make the chances of them catching a thief better.

Do You Need Alarm or Security System Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

To Be Seen or Unseen, that is the Question

There are two schools of thought about security cameras. One argument is that the cameras themselves are a deterrent. If the cameras are in plain view, thieves will avoid them. Thieves know that if they get close enough to disable the camera, the camera has their image saved remotely.

On the other hand, many people think that putting a security camera in full view is counterproductive. An exposed camera only allows a thief to find a way to evade the view of the camera. There is some merit to hiding your security camera to catch potential thieves unaware.

Being Unseen – Using Nature to Your Advantage

Trail cameras have the advantage over regular security cameras. Regular security cameras look like cameras. Many sport a small red LED lamp that illuminates or blinks when the camera is recording. If you want your camera to be unseen, a tell-tale red light is a dead giveaway that is hard to conceal.

Trail cams, on the other hand, are by design stealthy. Hunters have no intention of spooking deer or other game animals with blinking lights, shiny bits, or whirring motors. The stealth by design nature makes hiding trail cams around your home much easier. The best method of hiding trail cams around your home is to use them in an intended way.

Use the Landscape for Natural Camouflage

Most trail cams come ready for hiding. Most companies that produce trail cams finish them in camouflage styles to match nature. These finishes are available in a variety of patterns and colors to match different natural vegetation.

A Camera in a Bush

Look around your landscape. More than likely, some bushes and hedges afford unobstructed views of your home. Very few thieves will take the time to search for a trail cam nestled into a bush.

Up a Tree

Many trail cams are easily mountable to trees. A camouflaged trail cam fixed to a tree trunk or tree limp well above eye level can afford excellent views of your home. Elevated high enough and the camera is protected and hard to see. Very few thieves are looking up as they approach your home.

Screened by a Fence

Use a fence as a natural hiding place. A trail cam behind a fence is out of sight and protected. A small opening in the fence big enough to allow the camera lens a view is all that is necessary. Most thieves will pay no attention to such a small opening as they approach your home.

Think Like a Thief to Catch a Thief

As important as finding a way to hide your trail cam is the matter of location. A trail cam in the wrong spot is like having no security camera at all. Fortunately, there are some common factors for locating security cameras that can be applied.

Your Garage is a Prime Target

Most thieves will target a garage first. Garage doors offer thieves easy access to homes. Choosing a location for your trail cam that views the garage entrances is a good place to start. Just remember the limitations of your camera and the angles of the pictures you will get.

Patio Doors – An Inviting target

Patio doors, especially the large glass sliding variety, are thief magnets for several reasons.

  • The latches and locks on patio doors are much less robust than deadbolts. These less robust locks make the patio door easier to breach without making noise.
  • Patio doors are usually on the back of the house, away from the street. The risk of being seen is less and thieves like reduced risk of discovery.
  • Many people forget about protecting backyards with security cameras and alarms.

Place a trail cam so that you get an unobstructed view of your patio door and its approaches. Ideally, you want to get face-front pictures of the thief as he approaches the patio. Frontal pictures are much better than photos of his back as he breaks into your home.

Out-buildings and Detached Garages

Don’t forget any storage sheds, garden sheds, or detached garages. These types of structures are usually away from the main house and isolated on the property. Thieves know that these buildings often contain valuable tools and equipment easily convertible to cash.

The Front Door – Not to be Ignored

Don’t ignore your front door and steps just because they are easily visible from the street. Many thieves have no desire to get into your home. They are content to steal from your front porch. Package pirates are a growing problem in many neighborhoods.

The key to catching a thief with your hidden trail cam is to think like a thief. Imagine how you would approach your home if you are a thief and place your cameras accordingly.

Choose the Approach

Think carefully about how thieves may approach your home. Very rarely do thieves come up the front walk and ring the doorbell. Try to place your trail cam to view low traffic approaches to your property that are most likely to be used by the bad guys.

Trail Cams as Security Cameras – Some Factors to Consider

If you want to use a trail cam as a security camera, you consider some factors when buying your camera. All trail cams are not created equal and you want a camera with the best combination of features for security use.

Size can be an Issue

Trail cameras come in a variety of sizes and styles. The smaller the camera size, the easier it is to hide. Unfortunately, size is also a factor in price. Like anything else in the technology field, the small the package, the higher the price. For convenience, get the smallest camera that fits your budget.

Wireless is the Ticket

Newer trail cams feature wireless technology. The trail cam will broadcast a picture to your smartphone or computer each time it snaps a photo. Besides, most trail cams use an SD memory card to record photos.

For security purposes, having the ability to retrieve or receive photos remotely is a much better proposition. Even if the thief finds the camera and steals it or destroys it, you still have a record of the photos.

Own the Night – Infrared Vision

Some less expensive trail cams may use a flash at night to take pictures. A bright LED flash at a thief’s approach is probably not the best way to hide a trail cam. A better alternative is to purchase a trail cam that uses infra-red technology for nighttime photos.

Infra-red cameras don’t emit a flash visible to humans. This lack of a flash makes them much easier to hide and keeps the chance of discovery to a minimum. The price difference between standard and infra-red cameras is not that significant.

Distance is Key – How Far Can your Camera See?

Trail cams are not all equal in the distance they can see, especially at night. Measure the area that you want to cover with the trail cam carefully. The quality of the pictures you may get is related to the distance from the camera.

Camera Quality – Resolution Makes a Difference

Trail cams come with different cameras offering different resolutions. Remember that the ability to distinguish features on a face is the purpose of your trail cam. A low-resolution camera may prevent easy identification. Always opt for the highest resolution camera you can afford.

Battery Technology – Less Maintenance is Better

Battery technology has made amazing strides over the last few years. Newer trail cams make use of these advances to offer longer battery life which translates into less maintenance. The longer you can go between battery changes or charges is a benefit.

Some trail cams come with built-in solar panels to aid in keeping batteries charged. However, these cams require direct sunlight on the solar panel to work. Direct sunlight can make getting good pictures during the day a problem. The trade-off of battery life versus picture quality during the day is one that you must decide for yourself.

Do You Need Alarm or Security System Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

The Trail Cam Alternative

Trail cams can offer an affordable and economical option to expensive security-style cameras. Often, trail cams are easier to install. The stealthy design of most trail cams is a perfect fit for security camera installations. If you are careful in your placement and the way you hide the trail cam, you should have no problem using a trail cam for security.

We hope that we have answered a few of your questions about hiding a trail cam for security. If you have ideas, suggestions, or experiences, please share them below in the comments section. Sharing your knowledge with the rest of our community is essential for everyone. Be safe and take care.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

More by Dennis Howard