One of the points of difference that a good number of hunters have when dealing with trail cameras is the question of whether the type of flash makes any difference. There are two main types of trail camera flashes available, incandescent and infrared.
The argument over whether the behaviour of deer is altered by the presence of a camera’s flash has been going on for some time. Some hunters swear that their white flash has had no effect on the deer that inhabit the trails. Others believe that the flash spooks the animals and they abandon trusted trails for new ones.
One of the other group may be right. Perhaps some animals in one part of the country respond differently to others.
The result has been the introduction of a range of cameras that are equipped with infrared flashes. This allows photos to be taken at night using a flash that cannot be detected by the deer. Although the quality of the resultant photos are not as good as those taken with a flash, there is little doubt that the deer whose pictures are being taken are unaware of the fact.
Photo quality is not always the most important factor when scouting with a trail camera and the fact that the movements of a mature buck is being captured is often the most goal. This means that if a hunter is more comfortable about the fact that the camera is not going to alert an animal of its presence then that camera is going to be the preferred one.
Some independent tests have been conducted where trail cameras have been set up in different areas, one of them an incandescent flash and one an infrared flash. The overwhelming results have shown that the number of photos being taken in the infrared flash area has grown over time as deer have gradually moved out of the area where the white flashes were taking place and into the other area.
There is a secondary advantage that has been featured for using a camera with an infrared flash. The battery power required for an infrared flash is far less than that required for the incandescent flash. Not only will this drain the batteries quicker but it will also slow down the trigger speed of the camera.
Ultimately your decision is going to come down to the quality of the photo that you require. If the top of your priority list is to take a high quality photo, you are going to have to choose a camera with an incandescent flash and be prepared for fewer photos. If you are merely scouting the movements of the animals with as little disruption to their patterns as possible, the cameras with an infrared flash are going to be the better option.