Build a DIY Trail-Camera Mount

Build a DIY Trail-Camera MountYou can build a homemade trail-camera mount from about $3 worth of hardware. QDMA intern and N.C. State Branch President Moriah Boggess shows you how in this video. For the full parts list, visit: https://www.qdma.com/build-diy-trail-camera-mount/

Posted by The Quality Deer Management Association on Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Ever wished there was a way to quickly adjust your trail-camera set-up without wedging sticks behind your camera to angle the camera up or down? Using a trail-camera mount allows you to quickly adjust your camera position and greatly improves your options when looking for a suitable tree. Camera mounts allow you to set your camera much higher or lower than you can with a strap or stick, allowing you to get it out of sight of deer and potential thieves. However, trail-camera mounts can be expensive, with some costing as much as $40.

I’ve started using a DIY mount that costs less than $2 to assemble! I have experimented with bolt sizes and have found that the following parts will make the most effective trail-camera mount. However, feel free to tweak the sizes you use for this mount to customize it to your needs.

To build this camera mount you will need the parts and tools listed below and your favorite natural-colored spray paint.

What you will need

  • 1 Screw Eye: 2 inch
  • 1 Eyebolt: 1/4 x 2 inches (20 threads per inch)
  • 1 Hex bolt: 3/8 x 1 inches
  • 1 Hex nut: 3/8 inch
  • 1 Wing nut: 1/4 inch
  • 3 Washers: 5/16 inch
  • 1 Lock Washer: 3/8 inch
  • Two 9/16-inch wrenches
  • Spray paint

DIY trail cam mount parts

Assembly

To assemble your new camera mount take your 1-inch bolt and slide one washer onto it. Place the eyebolt on the 1-inch bolt then put another washer on. Next put the screw eye on the 1-inch bolt and then add another washer. Then put the lock washer on and put the nut on the 1-inch bolt and tighten to desired tension using two wrenches. Finally put the wing nut on the eyebolt and spray paint the mount with whatever color you wish to help reduce the shine.

Mounting

DIY trail cam mount lead

After screwing the mount into a tree, thread the camera on the eye bolt using the 1/4-inch threaded mount on the bottom or back of your trail-camera. Use the wing nut on the top of the eyebolt to tighten your camera to the mount and adjust the left and right motion of your camera. The central pivot in the mount will control the up and down motion of your camera. You will need to experiment with the amount pressure on this central bolt. If it is too light, the camera will fall forward and will not stay in place. If the pressure is too heavy, you will be unable to pivot the camera on the mount. I have found that if you tighten the nut until both ends of the lock washer are nearly flush, the camera will pivot easily on the mount but not move after being set up.

When using this mount you will find that some trees such as hickory and oak can be difficult to thread with the mount. In this case it is helpful to start the hole in the tree with a cordless drill or bow hanger that has some leverage. Also, research your hunting lease agreement or public land regulations to ensure that you do not violate a law or contract by threading this mount into a tree.

Moriah Boggess of North Carolina is a QDMA Intern and the president of QDMA’s N.C. State University Branch.

  • John Regula
  • John Regula

    The mounting system seemed a little small and I didn’t like how small the eye screw was so I decided to beef it up…a larger system gave me better leverage to screw it into hardwood trees. (5/16X4″ eye screw, 1/4X2″ eyebolt, 1/2X 1 1/2″ hex bolt, 1/2″ hex nut, 1/4″ wing nut, 7/16″ washer (x3), 1/2″ lock washer.

    • Moriah Boggess

      Looks like a solid setup John! That’s the beauty of this little design, you can customize it to meet your needs!

  • David Fell, Tulsa, OK

    I learned some things that I want to pass on: examine your cameras’ screw mounts before planning to mount them on these DIY devices. One of my cameras has a 3/16′ threaded hole (not 1/4′-20), so wouldn’t work. Others have the hole in the center or front bottom of the camera body. Due to the short threads on all screw eyes that I found, they can’t be mounted from the bottom due to the camera body crowding the tree surface. Only one of my cameras has the mount on the bottom located toward the rear of the body (as seen in the above picture, and could be mounted with the eye bolt screwed into the bottom mounting hole. Otherwise, all my cameras had to be mounted by a hole on the back side of the camera. Hence, a couple of my older cameras could not be mounted, because they had no mounting hole on the back surface.
    (I couldn’t find screw eyes with longer threaded shafts to use on the bottom mount holes.)

    • Moriah Boggess

      Great feedback David. I have had cameras that have the threaded mounting hole on the back or toward the front of the bottom of the casing. If this is an issue and the camera is sitting too close to the tree you can substitute the 2″ screw eye above for one with a longer shank. Usually a 3″ or 4″ screw eye is available at hardware stores and this should fix the issue!

  • David Fell, Tulsa, OK

    If you are really concerned about theft, put a second camera 10 ft up in a tree, looking at the first camera.
    But the design of this handy device has nothing to do with theft. It can always occur.
    I am so impressed with the simplicity and utility of this DIY device, that I went out and bought the materials to assemble 6 of them the same day I read the article, and can’t wait to set them up. They overcome a lot of the problems with straps.
    My hat is off to the young genius who came up with this idea.

    • Moriah Boggess

      I agree about theft David, this mount just helps you hide your camera more easily than with a conventional strap, but if a thief sees it they will steal it. Glad to hear that you were able to make practical use of this post!

    • Moriah Boggess

      I agree about theft David, this mount just helps you hide your camera more easily than with a conventional strap, but if a thief sees it they will steal it. Glad to hear that you were able to make practical use of this post!

  • Michael Meier

    Great idea for positioning. As with most trail camera posts no one ever talks about security boxes/locks. Most of us have to secure our cams due to theft and and/or bears. Maybe QDMA can start a series on trail cam security. You pay as much for the locking cable & box as you do for the cam.

    • Moriah Boggess

      I agree that theft is a big problem Michael! If theft is an issue on your property I suggest hanging the camera high so that the thief can’t reach it or use a security box. However, I have seen petty thieves smash cameras in security boxes and cut locks. Usually the best defense is to reduce chances of trespassers seeing your camera.

  • F12Mahon .

    Replace the wingnut with a standard nut and tighten with a wrench to discourage theft. 3/8 wrench fits none of the hardware here. A 3/8 bolt requires a 9/16 wrench. If you replace the wing nut you will need a 7/16 wrench.

    • Moriah Boggess

      Unfortunately a potential thief can still unscrew the mount from the tree. If theft is a problem I suggest hanging your camera 7-10 ft off the ground with the help of a climbing stick. This greatly reduces the chance of a trespasser seeing your camera and makes stealing it more difficult.