To put it bluntly, when scouting cameras first hit the market, most of them were junk. We just didn't know any better. Over the years we've witnessed a gradual increase in quality and a subtle culling of those companies that were content to produce so-so products. Today, we've got access to some killer cameras that won't break the bank.
Better yet, those same cameras are almost all designed with technology that allows for high-resolution photography and video during day and night. Those same cameras have come a long way in durability, which is no small feat considering they are electrical devices we leave out to the whims of Mother Nature for months at a time. And on that note, a continual gripe from consumers about cameras has also been addressed — battery life.
Anyone who has been in the camera game long enough knows what it's like to spend good money on a camera only to spend far more money replacing batteries every week — not to mention the lost photo ops as those cameras sat idle, drained completely of juice.
For sure, remote scouting of everything from wallowing elk to cruising whitetails has never been easier. This is due largely to the companies that produce the following 10 trail cameras and accessories.
It's a rare situation where I'll mount a camera directly to a tree using the factory provided strap. Instead, I opt for camera mounts like the Aim-It from Bohning
. The Aim-It Camera Mount gives you the chance to adjust to nearly every angle imaginable, which is important if you plan to mount your camera higher than average.
I do this for two reasons. The first is because a camera that's 9- or 10-feet up in a tree will spook far fewer deer. The second is that a camera mounted that high is far less likely to catch the eye of thieves. As an added bonus, birds-eye-view images tend to give you a better look at a buck's rack instead of a profile shot.
Browning Trail Cameras Range Ops XR Series
The name Browning
is synonymous with quality outdoor gear, but you might not know that the company has an entire line of trail cameras. A standout (and one heck of a deal) in this line-up is the Range Ops XR Series
This small-in-stature 8 megapixel camera can capture up to two minutes per trigger of HD video, has a Time Lapse Camera Mode for monitoring food sources, and has an extremely fast trigger speed (.67 seconds). I've been using the Range Ops XR Series for two months now and can say without a doubt that it's one of the most efficient cameras I've used as far as battery life is concerned.
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Wireless
has built a strong following with their Trophy Cams, and the latest version is certain to keep that trend alive and well. The new Trophy Cam HD Wireless
can transmit thumbnail images to your phone via text or email, all while operating off of a prepaid AT&T data plan, which can cost you as little as $10 per month.
A .6-second trigger speed in this 8MP camera allows for crisp images and video. If you want to monitor a kill plot or perhaps a grove of apple trees, the Trophy Cam HD Wireless also features the Field Scan 2X time-lapse mode.
Cabela's Outfitter Series
I spend a lot of time setting up cameras on trails because I want to know where bucks travel to and from. Because of this, I get a lot of photos of noses and butts, which is not ideal. This spring I started messing around with Cabela's new Outfitter Series 10MP Trail Camera
, and that problem has largely gone the way of the dinosaur.
Their new cameras utilize advanced centering technology to sense when an animal has entered the center of the frame to capture more full-body shots. These cameras also feature an 85-foot detection range (daytime), perfect for covering food plots. As with all quality cameras, the Outfitter Series 10MP Trail Camera takes high-res images and high-definition video at all times, day and night.
Day 6 Outdoors PlotWatcher Pro
Day 6 Outdoors
has led the way in time-lapse cameras with their original PlotWatcher. The newer PlotWatcher Pro
is even better, although it's important to understand what these cameras are designed for. Unlike scouting cameras with a time-lapse mode, PlotWatchers are designed specifically to offer time-lapse only, which means they are really good at it.
Whether you're keeping tabs on strutting toms in the spring, or a half-acre of clover in the fall deer woods, the PlotWatcher Pro is the best option for monitoring daylight movement. Operating on eight AA batteries, the Pro is capable of recording up to 1 million images, which it saves directly into its Tru-Video format so you can essentially watch a movie of the goings-on in your plots.
Moultrie Panoramic 150i
produces some of the best cameras on the market, period. A new personal favorite in their extensive lineup is the Panoramic 150i
, which is outfitted with three infrared motion sensors to cover a full 150-degree detection area. This is roughly three times the area of most conventional cameras.
Each 8MP 150i features Moultrie's NO-GLOW Infrared, is capable of taking 720p video, and can capture up to 9,000 images on a single set of batteries. This is one of the coolest cameras on the market and is ideal for certain spots in the whitetail woods, as well as those times when you want to monitor an elk wallow or a pronghorn watering hole.
Primos Truth Cam Ultra 46 HD
I like Primos'
cameras for several reasons, but one of the most prominent is because of the ease-in-setup. Their cameras, like the new Truth Cam Ultra 46 HD
, are designed with simple sliding switches that allow you to easily choose settings.
This is important if you plan to utilize the HD Video, or perhaps the HD time lapse, or maybe just take advantage of the 7MP images the Truth Cam Ultra 46 HD can capture. To ensure that you never miss your shot, this camera also utilizes Primos' Early Detect Sensor.
Stealth Cam G42NG
New for 2014 from GSM Outdoors
is the 10MP Stealth Cam G42NG
. I've had this camera on a food plot for a month and a half now and have gotten hundreds of high quality videos thus far on a single set of batteries. Each G42NG is designed with Quick Set modes that allow for easy setup, Burst Mode for taking anywhere from one to nine images per trigger (.5-second trigger speed), and a Time Lapse Function just in case you want to monitor a hotspot in the mornings or evenings.
To ensure you don't spook wary bucks and does, the G42NG utilizes 42 'Black ' IR Emitters, which produce top-quality nighttime pics without the game-alerting flash of other cameras.
Extreme Hunting Solutions Wedge
Extreme Hunting Solutions
has created some unique products; however, The Wedge
particularly caught my eye. The Wedge is, well, a set of interlocking wedges that you can use to position a trail camera perfectly.
Anyone who has used trail cameras long enough knows the drill for rounding up a stick and jamming it behind the top of their trail camera in an attempt to get the correct angle. Those days are history thanks to The Wedge. Admit it, this idea is genius.
Wildgame Innovations Buck Commander Nano Series
Four cameras make up the new Buck Commander Nano Series
from Wildgame Innovations
with the 10MP BCN 10 leading the pack. The BCN 10 is built with a wide-angle lens, features 21 high intensity LEDs, and captures nighttime images via an infrared flash.
Whether you choose the BCN 10 or one of the other cameras in the lineup, rest assured that your choice will not be easily spotted by game animals or thieving two-legged critters alike thanks to its diminutive size of only 3x2.25x3.25 inches.