5 Best Methods How to Track A Stolen Trail Camera

5 Best Methods How to Track A Stolen Trail Camera

How to Track A Stolen Trail Camera
Written by Cristina Williams

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A trail camera is a crucial arsenal for those of us who go hunting or just love to watch the beauty of nature. Some people even use the system to monitor places at home you can’t use the regular CCTV cameras. But then, is there any effective way how to track a stolen trail camera?

While the question may sound ridiculous, it’s not one or two people we’ve seen asking it. Yes, of course, even regular security cameras are usually at risk of getting stolen. But when someone steals your trail camera, it’s more than the device itself you lose.

Is Trying To Track a Stolen Trail Camera Worth it?

First, there are various reasons to install a trail camera. Hunters can use the device to track their hunt, while nature enthusiasts/researchers use it to watch game life. Then some homeowners can install it to monitor their property.

Whichever category you fall in here, the trail camera will certainly be worth having. But when someone steals the device, it defeats the purpose you intended to use it for. And only after you have it back will you be able to enjoy its usefulness again.

Therefore, we can conclude one of the reasons to track your stolen trail camera is to continue enjoying its uses. Other reasons include to:

  • Recover data that the camera may have already gathered. Remember, most trail cameras only store footage in local storage (SD card) built into it.
  • Track the suspects that may have broken into your property. After all, whoever with your trail camera will be the one who stole it or could lead you to the ones who did.
  • Avoid unnecessary costs, i.e. the cost to purchase another trail camera and related accessories. There are many super-cheap trail cameras under $100 that won’t be a big deal to purchase again. But other premium brands, with more perks and features, are often pricey- costing up to $1000+.

Why Was My Trail Camera Stolen?

Well, there’s no definitive answer as to why someone stole your trail camera. Perhaps the thief didn’t like the camera recording him, wants to use it too, hoping to resell it for some quick bucks, or just wants to make the owner miserable.

As the owner, on the other hand, someone can steal your trail camera if you haven’t taken the necessary measures to protect it. One of these measures to protect your trail camera from theft is to mount it at a high, hard-to-reach location.

Secondly, you can secure your trail camera at the mounting location with a lock. The usual cable lock or python lock can secure your device to prevent passersby/ opportunistic burglars from walking away with it. However, a security box will protect your device the best, especially if made of a super-lugged material that can’t be easily broken.

How to Track A Stolen Trail Camera
How to Track A Stolen Trail Camera

No matter how sturdy the security box or lock is, though, someone dedicated to stealing your trail camera will find a way to take it. Hence, the reason we recommend you hide the trail camera or combine all the protective measures altogether.

How to Track a Stolen Trail Camera

If unlucky and someone still manage to steal your trail camera, you can forget about it or try to track it. For the cheap brands, you can forget about the stolen camera and get another one, albeit you’ll lose captured data.

However, losing a $1000+ trail camera can be depressing and hard to let go. But the good thing is that you may be able to track down the system, and maybe capture the culprit who stole it.

Ergo, there are a few methods how to track stolen trail cameras. The best method to use in your case depends on the type of trail camera you have and the design. Then some methods are FREE to use, whereas others will cost you.

Method 1: Track A Stolen Trail Camera Using The Evidence Trails

In this method, the idea is to track the stolen trail camera by following the clues. The best clue to help you find your item fast is the last footage of the person/ vehicle that triggered an alert. But this can only work for the trail cameras that send pictures to your phone through the local cellular towers.

If your cellular trail camera does not send thumbnails or save recordings to the cloud, it may be hard to get a snapshot of the culprit. And this is the very same situation with the regular (non-cellular) trail camera, which only saves footage locally and has no remote access.

Method 2: Track a Stolen trail camera with its Built-in GPS

The second way how to track a stolen trail camera is to follow the built-in GPS. It will also work on cellular game cameras only, as the feature (GPS) relies on mobile data to work extensively.

That said, not all cellular cameras have a built-in GPS sensor. Then for those with the feature, you’ll have to configure and enable it from the dedicated mobile app.

If you don’t enable the GPS feature, your phone won’t be able to ping the device. And that means the phone can’t pull up the location map you need to track down the lost trail camera.

Method 3: Track a Stolen trail camera with an Add-on GPS

Not everyone has a cellular trail camera. And not every cellular trail camera has a built-in GPS sensor.

If this feels like your situation, you can get an add-on GPS tracker for your camera. The market is full of this type of GPS trackers nowadays. All you need is to purchase one, then place it inside your device.

The GPS tracker we recommend in this case is the kind with its own power and cellular connectivity. A battery that lasts (at least a month or several) should do for the power part. Then the cellular technology should be compatible with all carriers, or at least the network that works best in your area.

Note: There are trackers you can use to track an object via Bluetooth instead of GPS. But we won’t recommend them (Bluetooth trackers) to track your trail camera as they usually have a short coverage range. The best range I’ve seen advertised on a Bluetooth tracker is 1000 feet (approximately 300 meters).

On its end, a GPS tracker can show the real-time location of your trail camera anywhere in the country. The minor drawback is that you’ll need a monthly subscription to access the service.

Method 4: Track a Stolen Trail Camera on the Public Marketplace

Thieves looking to make some quick money usually sell their loot almost immediately after stealing. So, you can also try to track your stolen trail camera on those places that sell second-hand/ pre-owned items.

Local pawnshops used to be the place you’d come to find your stolen items sold. But the new age of the internet and smart devices has led to the rise of many online platforms for people to sell used stuff. The “online platforms” for selling include consumer-consumer e-commerce stores (like eBay), auction sites, and social media groups (like Facebook Marketplace).

Sadly, these online platforms harbor all kinds of people- salesmen, thieves, religious men, murderous, psychos, et cetera. So, when you notice someone is trying to sell your stolen trail camera, don’t confront them. Contact the authorities and have them deal with the perpetrator.

Method 5: Track a Stolen trail camera with Local Enforcement

Last but not least, you can have law enforcement track your stolen trail camera. It’s the least effective solution on our list, as the chances of recovery are pretty slim.

Unlike a vehicle, the police will hardly put effort to go around looking for your surveillance gadget. Most of them will just create a report of the thievery, then close the case immediately after you leave the area.

For the few righteous cops that have pledged to serve all, they may be able to track your trail camera from the registered service subscription. Then again, this will only work for the cellular trail cameras, assuming the thief/ new owner gets a service subscription.

Make Sure You Know Your Stolen Trail Camera

While there may be others, the five methods are the best to track a stolen trail camera. They all can work or fail, as tracking the camera depends on your situation (the type of device owned).

Before you embark on the search, you should remember companies sell many trail cameras like yours. Thus, you should be ready to prove the supposedly stolen trail camera is yours. And not just for the fact you had hidden a GPS tracker in it. You should also have your purchase papers that show the make, model, and serial number.

Furthermore, you can give your trail camera more distinctive features, such as tagging it with your name at a hidden location. But when doing something like this, don’t forget altering any parts of products tends to void the warranty support.

About the author

Cristina Williams

I am Cristina Williams an expert for home security system. I research the different market place and read customer reviews to make a perfect product guide. I believe that a good product review can help you take a good decision because every man tries to buy a perfect product for him. Getlockers.com one of the best for you.