Technology is constantly infusing with the sport of hunting to help create better hunters that are more efficient. Learning how to choose a reliable trail camera should be one of the first steps any new hunter takes on their journey to mastering their skills. Experienced hunters know it takes more than just a bow or gun to catch your prey. You need to understand your prey and the more you do, the more successful you will be hunting.
Some of the best trail cameras give the modern hunter a huge advantage when it comes to monitoring trails and patterns. It’s important to mention that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the old-fashioned techniques of setting up a stand and waiting. The problem with this strategy is you can end up sitting and waiting the entire day with no guarantee that you will see any of the prey you are hunting. This technique also limits you to watching one trail at a time.
By utilizing a network of trail cameras, you can watch multiple trails simultaneously. Then you can go back and review your footage and images to see where the big game is hiding and when they usually move. Recently manufacturers have begun to incorporate other technologies into their cameras to increase data gathering. This includes features such as GPS Geotagging, weather recording, and time and date stamp. You can literally stalk your prey before you pull your rifle out. You can also avoid stalking prey that is too young to hunt.
The best trail cameras are usually strapped to trees and along trails and left to gather relevant information. By using motion sensors, they are able to gather information over a long period of time without filling up your memory card or running out of battery. Some units are even solar compatible allowing you to leave them permanently watching your trails. Our list of the best trail cameras below will help you achieve some of the best hunting results you have ever experienced.
|Trail Camera Name||Megapixel||Flash Range||Video||Trigger Time (seconds)|
|Browning Strike Force||10MP||100 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.67|
|Moultrie A-20||12MP||50 ft.||Yes||<1.0|
|Stealth Cam G42||10MP||100 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.5|
|Stealth Cam P18||7MP||60 ft.||Yes||NA|
|Bushnell Trophy 12MP||12MP||80 ft.||Yes||0.3|
|Bushnell Trophy 14MP (Low Glow)||14MP||60 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.2|
|TEC.BEAN||12MP||75 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.7|
|Crenova ||12MP||65 ft||Yes (HD)||1|
|Bushnell Trophy 14MP (No Glow)||14MP||60 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.2|
|Bestguarder ||12MP||75 ft.||Yes (HD)||0.6|
The Top 10 Best Trail Cameras to Improve Your Hunting
1. Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera
The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera utilizes a lighting fast .67-second trigger time that allows you to capture images even when they only pass by your camera for a split second. This unit is capable of recording HD quality images as well as sound and the six AAA batteries provide this device with extended operating times and flash range. I hear similar technology has been implemented in a Security Camera System before providing useful results for catching thieves. But I digress.
This camera has an impressive flash range of 100?. This means you are always going to get the best image lighting possible when using this device. Another great feature this unit includes is the Browning Buck Watch time-lapse viewer software. This intuitive software is designed to give you better access to your footage. The interface is simplistic and easy to use, making it the ideal combo software for this device.
10 MP Quality Photos
HD Video Clips
Zero-Blur Infrared Technology
100? Flash Range
.67 Second Trigger Speed
Long Focal Length
2. Moultrie A-20 Mini Game Camera
The Moultrie A-20 Mini Game Camera gives you added quality over the competition. This unit is sure to deliver you uncanny photos due to its 12 MP camera and extended flash range. The Moultrie trail cam features a 50? flash range to help you capture low light images. This device is capable of taking high-quality photos at night by utilizing its built-in infrared flash technology to illuminate your prey without alerting them to your presence. This flash incorporates 32 LEDS for daytime use and 850 nm Nighttime Infrared for night illumination.
This camera has a very friendly user interface that makes setup and review a snap. The Moultrie Mobile Management app takes your hunting experience to the next level and is sure to keep you ahead of the pack. The video quality on this unit is 640 x 480, so it is not HD quality. This device uses eight AA to keep it powered and due to its minimal power consumption these batteries can last for months.
50? Flash Range
12 MP Camera
2 Year Warranty
Slower Trigger Speed
3. Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Game Camera STC-G42NG
The Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Trail Game Camera STC-G42NG can snap high-quality photos of your prey without alerting them to your presence. This unit is ideal for anyone looking to capture more nighttime images. This unit features a superior low light and night performance capabilities designed to give you the edge when hunting your prey.
This unit features a burst mode setting that allows it to automatically take anywhere from 1 to 9 images when triggered. Couple this with a 100? infrared flash range and you have yourself a very effective night stalking strategy that is sure to improve your overall effectiveness in the wild. This unit is compatible with any standard USB memory stick so your memory options are virtually endless. In addition, a built-in SD card can hold an additional 32 gig of photos.
Triad 3 Technology
42 LED IR Flash
Matrix Advanced Blur Reduction Technology
Multi-Zone Detection Capabilities
SecureLock Password Protection
4. Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera with Batteries and SD Card
The Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera with Batteries and SD Card comes in a rugged camouflage protective casing that can handle rugged environments and the elements with ease. The 7 Megapixel camera captures images in all lighting conditions with great clarity. A patented BurstRapid Fire Mode allows you to get the full picture without filling up your memory.
This very well designed trail camera is easy to operate thanks to the EZ Dial programming used. This unit can record up to 15 seconds of video per shot and can capture up to six images in a row utilizing the Burst shot feature. You can also enjoy the benefits of low light and nighttime footage thanks to the 18 infrared Emitters that allow this unit to take photos in complete darkness at a range of up to 50.
EZ Dial Programming
External 12V Power Port
SD Card Slot
18 Infrared Emitters
4 gig SD Card
Tree Bark Camouflage
5. Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Game Camera
The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera gives you one of the fastest trigger speeds on the market. An impressive .3 of a second trigger speed ensures nothing slips past your surveillance unnoticed. This unit is also capable of taking 720p video. You can customize your photo resolution by selecting between 3MP, 8MP, or 12MP. This great feature allows you to get the most out of your memory cards.
This unit is equipped to handle low light and no light conditions with an infrared flash range of 80′; nothing will get by your watchful eye, day or night. The Multi-Image Mode allows you to take 1 -3 images per trigger so you can get a better understanding of your prey. Also, a field scan mode allows you to use time-lapse technology to continue sly take photos of your hunting ground.
1 Year Battery Life
Hyper Night Vision System
.3 Trigger Speed
Adjustable Trigger Speed
Field Scan Mode
6. Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor Low Glow Game Camera
The Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor Low Glow Trail Camera features a 14MP camera that delivers crystal clear imagery, even when your target is on the move. The PIR Sensor includes an automatic setting that adds to the overall usability of this camera. This unit can record high-quality video with a resolution of 1920 x 1080p, so you never miss any details.
This field camera sets the bar in terms of functionality and usability. The GPS Geotag feature keeps accurate location data of your photos and the freeze frame shutter gives you photos with uncanny detail. Coupled with the Data Stamp technology that records the time, temperature, and moon phase of your pictures, you are sure to have all the information you need to catch your prey,
1 Year Battery Life
Hyper Night Vision
Freeze Frame Shutter
Night Video Quality is Grainy
7. TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera
The TEC.BEAN 12MP 1080P HD Game & Trail Hunting Camera delivers stunning picture quality thanks to its 12MP full-color camera. This camera can be set to take 1 – 9 burst shots when the motion sensor is triggered and the night vision includes a 36pc 940nm Black Infrared LED, so you are guaranteed to capture all of the action regardless of the time of day. This unit has a very intuitive feature called Motion Freeze. This feature is perfect for the surveillance of cold-blooded animal such as reptiles. This feature also reduces power consumption.
This unit is very well designed at can withstand the most rugged environments and weather. A 2-level waterproof protective case keeps your data and camera safe in the wild. A 2.0 color TFT LCD displays your images in excellent clarity without the need for a computer or additional hardware. This is really the best feature of this unit and it allows you the added convenience of being able to check your images on-site. This gives you better response time and can lead to a more effective hunting strategy.
36 LED Flash
2x, 3x, 4x Digital Zoom
TFT LCD Screen
1920 x 1080p Video
No Strap Clip SnapNo Strap Clip Snap
8. Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera 12MP 1080P HD
The Crenova Game and Trail Hunting Camera utilizes a 120-degree wide angle lens to increase your scanning effectiveness. Combined with a built-in time-lapse feature you can watch vast areas easier than ever before. This unit has increased sensitivity over its predecessors. This increased sensitivity is made possible by the use of two PIR Sensors. This means nothing is getting by your trail camera unnoticed.
This unit includes a 12MP camera that captures imagery with stunning realism and the video function allows you to record your footage in 1080P High Definition format. You get extended night vision thanks to a 42pc infrared flash system. The entire unit is inside an extremely durable hard plastic casing that is shock and water-resistant.
5 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
12 Megapixel Camera
2 PIR Sensors
Not No Glow Camera
9. Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor
The Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor features a No Glow design that allows you to take high-quality photos without alerting even the most finicky prey. This unit takes HD video with a resolution up to 1920 x 1080p and the field scan option allows you to cover large areas easier. The 48pc no-glow LED night vision flash gives you quality lighting that is undetectable to your prey.
This unit also features a fully adjustable PIR sensor. You can easily record your picture data such as date, temperature, GPS location, and moon phase. All this added information allows you to create a highly effective hunting strategy. This unit features an anti-reflective cover that can be removed to fit your particular needs.
1920 x 1080p
48pc No Glow LED
Date and Time Stamp
32 gig SD Card
10. Bestguarder HD Waterproof IP66 Infrared Night Vision Game & Trail Hunting Scouting Ghost Camera
The Bestguarder HD Waterproof IP66 Infrared Night Vision Game & Trail Hunting Scouting Ghost Camera takes 1080p HD video from over 75? away. A 12 MP high-quality full-color camera captures images with added clarity and the burst shot features can be set to take up to 9 photos per trigger. This unit features superior night vision capabilities thanks to a 36pc LED. The Illuminight Sensor improves night vision capabilities over previous models and you can record video as well as sound.
This unit incorporates a patented motion detection technology that can be used to capture cold-blooded animals, such as reptiles, that normally wouldn’t trigger the infrared sensors on the competitor’s brands. You can also use the time-lapse feature to get a general idea of what is occurring over longer periods. This unit has the ability to capture a large amount of helpful data including GPS location, moon phase, date, time, barometric pressure, and your camera ID. This unit gives you the added information you need to formulate the perfect hunting strategy for your region.
1920 x 1080p FHD Video
High Sensitive PIR Motion Sensor
The Top 10 Field Cameras to Improve Your Hunting – Final Thoughts
Now that you have a better understanding of what makes a field camera so valuable to use, you are ready to start incorporating this piece of hardware into your hunt. Now you can hand select your prey and stalk it with never before accuracy. No matter what you hunt, a field camera is sure to give you the added edge you are looking for.
Trail Cameras – Tips and Techniques from the Pros
Trail cameras are quickly becoming a standard piece of equipment in the average buck hunter’s tool kit. These handy cameras are designed to snap photos of your prey, usually a prize buck, without it ever noticing. This information can then be used to plot out the perfect time to ambush your prey. Trail cameras are only as effective as the hunter setting them up. Use these tips and take your hunting to the next level.
Your Camera Strategy
It isn’t enough to just place your trail camera in the woods and hope a buck wonders across it haphazardly. Deer are creatures of pattern, so understanding and spotting their trails are critical to your overall camera placement. Remember deer trails are seasonal, so what may work for the spring, may be completely off during the summer or winter season. Once you have located a solid deer trail and set your camera up you are going to want to start taking an inventory of the number of bucks and their size.
Set Your Bait
Capturing clear pictures of your deer while they are moving can be difficult, especially during low light conditions. To counteract this you should try to give your deer a reason to stop and pose for a clear photo. Place a deer lick directly in front of your trail camera and watch as your prize buck comes in and strikes a pose. If you prefer, commercial food scent can work well in this scenario.
Once you have located a deer trail with moderate traffic, begin digging a 2-foot circle about 20 feet in front of your trail camera. Next, pour your salt into the hole and give your local deer about 2 weeks to find the hidden treats. Do this in 3-4 locations and before you know it, you will have a firm understanding of the number and types of deer you are dealing with. On average, setting up two licks per 80 acres is a great strategy to follow.
Place Your Cameras Eye Level or Higher
It is recommended you hang your trail cameras high. Eye level and higher will give you the best view of your buck and it will allow your camera to use its flash without spooking your deer.
You will want to find a piece of wood or something similar to put behind your cameras top half to angle it downward towards the trail. Your trail camera will be better able to capture multiple deer in a single shot from this angle. You will also get a better view of your buck’s rack.
Find Deer after Velvet Shed
Mocks are a huge draw for deer and in some scenarios, you can pull the majority of the bucks you hunt from Mocks. The theory is the same as using a lick when using scrapes. The point is to get the deer to hang around and take a few crystal clear photos. Start by raking the forest debris and grass in a 5′ radius around your overhanging licking branch. Next, place deer urine in the radius and set your camera up around 15′ – 20′ from your licking branch. This is extremely effective as most bucks will work the branch with their rack allowing you to get the crystal clear pictures you desire.
Check Your Cameras Carefully
You should always approach your cameras in a manner similar to a tree stand. You will want the wind in your face and you will need to approach quietly using stealth. Avoid touching vegetation, as this can alert deer to your presence. Adopting a scheduled time to check your cameras can be helpful, deer will become accustomed to this schedule over time.
Determine Where Your Bucks are Traveling
Setting your cameras up properly will give you the insight necessary to determine if you are dealing with the resident or traveling bucks. Bucks traverse funnels quickly so you should always mount your camera high and at a downward facing angle to get the best view of your deer trail. A mini-mock can get a quick moving buck to stop for a quick photo. Check these cameras every 3 days to establish your deer’s traveling patterns.
Trigger Speed Matters
You cameras trigger speed can make a huge difference in the quality of photos you are able to capture. A wide detection zone should be used whenever possible.
Today, we have a variety of power options to consider when choosing our trail cameras. Rechargeable units can save you some dollars in future replacement costs but you will need to always check to make sure your power levels are high. Many newer units offer the ability to connect your camera to external power sources such as larger batteries or solar panels.
Find The Hot Food Source
As the hunting season progresses you may find it more difficult to locate what bucks survived the hunting season. Locating the hot food source in your area can give you valuable insight into who is still roaming. Grain fields and clear-cuts are usually great places to start.
Make Your Own Camera Mount
In some instances, you may not have a good mounting option. When this is the case you can make yourself a handy mounting pole. Below are the pieces you will need to create your mounting pole.
• 1/4″ Drill Bit
• 1″ Dowel
• 1/4′ Bolt
Start by drilling a 1/4 hole at the end of the 1′ dowel. Now cut the head off the 1/4′ bolt and glue it into the dowel hole. Finally, sharpen the other end of the dowel so it can be stuck into the ground. Now attach the camera using a 1/4-20 threaded socket. Mount your camera and you are ready to start capturing your local bucks. In this hunting scenario, you will want to keep your camera low.
Things to Look For When Purchasing a New trail Camera
Not all trail cameras are created equal and the reality is, many lack the features and quality you desire. As trail cameras have grown in popularity so has grown their functionality, with many offer new features and options previously unheard of. Below is a list of options to review before making your final purchase.
The more megapixels you have, the better the quality of your image. You will be able to zoom in better and get a clearer picture of your deer population.
You don’t want a camera that goes through batteries quickly. It will get expensive and you will oftentimes, miss the best shots.
Here is where you can set your camera’s actions. Having more flexibility in this area can help to improve your battery life as well.
The faster the trigger speed the better. Deer can come whipping down the trail and if your trigger speed isn’t fast enough, you are only going to get the blurred tail end of your bucks.
Infrared can increase you cameras effectiveness significantly. Infrared cameras can operate in pure darkness, giving you the best night imagery available.
An LCD screen allows you to check your camera while in the field. This can give you instant access to the information you need most. This also allows a more precise menu to be used when setting functions.
This is a great feature to have and coupled with a fast trigger speed, you are sure to get quality information.
Units that feature a remote can give you the advantage of controlling the functionality of your device without approaching it directly. Deer are extremely sensitive to the presence of humans and every time you visit your camera, you are increasing the chances of your detection.
Bluetooth models can connect directly to your smartphone or tablet. These are relatively new to the market and they offer the ultimate trail camera experience. You can check footage from a distance as well as, adjust settings and check power and storage levels with ease.