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Game camera advice
I have not previously considered, bought or used a game camera. This year I have access to some property that I do not know at all. In order to figure out if there is enough game to make the time investment worthwhile, I was thinking of buying a few cameras. With the prices soaring, and the amount of bad press that I have read about different products, I was hoping to get some advice from those of you with experience.
I would like to buy simple basic cameras with few frills but sturdy and reliable. Please give me some direction.
Lion image from a video taken with the Browning Recon Force Extreme Trailcam
Lion image from a video taken with the Browning Recon Force Extreme Trailcam
Happy to weigh in. If price is an issue, go with the Browning Recon Force Platinum. You can pick them up for as little as $110.00. But if you're willing to spend $180 per camera, then buy this year's model, the Browning Recon Force Extreme. Many of the videos on my vimeo site were taken with the platinum model. But if you look at my most recent nighttime owl footage, you'll see a stark difference between the extreme model used and night video from the platinum model. I use these cameras weekly, 52 weeks a year. My most recent daytime mountain lion footage was taken with the extreme model. Incredible results for a camera that costs less than $200.
I've been using trail cams since they used 35mm film :) I have always had great luck with the various Moultrie cameras and their warranty and customer service is great.
I use tasco but my partner picked up a browning of some sort, around $100. Catches birds in flight. Pretty easy to use as well.
I don't have a lot of experience but here is my $.02: I have a Bushnell Trophy Cam 12 MP and it works great, about two years of use. Every time I've checked it, lots of pictures and I don't think I've missed anything. High quality pictures.
I bought two Spypoint cameras and haven't been happy with them at all. Very few pictures on them every time I checked them and I thought I had been putting them in bad spots. Then I figured out the problem was the camera - I found a snake in the basement this spring, got rid of it and in the process figured out a small rodent problem. I set up my Spy Points and my Bushnell in the basement and crawl space to try and figure out what was going on. I realized that my Bushnell would get videos of me every time I walked by but the Spy Points only got tripped about 25% of the time. I've also set up the Spy Points in a hay field at my in laws ranch. Checked them after 6 months, I knew cattle were in the field for some of that time but only ended up with about 50 pictures. Someday I need to test them and place both cameras in that field next to each other and see what they pick up.
So long story short, stay away from Spy Point in my opinion.
Have owned / used several brands over the years. Right now, Browning trail cams are tough to beat in their respective price points IMO. Bought my first Browning trail cam about three years ago....and have since replaced a half dozen older model cameras with Browning cameras.
I have several older Moultrie M80's and M80 XT;s and older Bushnells... Slowly moving to the Brownings, esp. the Micros .... Check out Trailcampro.com..... they have reviews on most cameras out there and some good prices.... one thing I will say, if your using in cold weather, extended use and do videos, use Energizer Lithium batteries, and if doing only pics, no vids. a 4 or 8gb card will be fine... if doing vids a 16 gb card or more is better.... I'll be switching out my regular summer use Duracells to Lithiums, getting ready for colder weather.... I'll get 6 months on the Lithiums, ...
I own about 60 moultrie cams. They work great and you can connect them to their mobile solution which sends the pics in real time.
Prices have actually come down a lot respective to the technology and will continue to do so. Spypoint Force 10 is hard to beat at the price point imo. Have one browning command ops, great trigger speed but not great picture quality. Check out trailcampro they seem to have honest reviews. Trigger speed and reliability are my big two features I look at. Just reading the vast array of responses already makes me chuckle though. It's like broadheads there's a lot of good ones out there and some junk that surprisingly sells well. That said it seems with these things even with reputable brands you can get a lemon once in awhile.
They seem to be getting better overall IMO. I'm happy with Spoypoint Force Cams, and Browning just always seems to be solid no matter who you talk to. Moultrie haven't lasted for me. Maybe it's the Canadian weather, I'm not sure.
Fantastic help and specific replies. I couldn't ask for more
Thanks to all that answered. I will now get on it immediately
If you want to see a great comparison of the various models and their respective reviews check out https://www.trailcampro.com They offer solid insight and if you purchase a camera from them you can get a 2yr warranty. I purchased my first wireless/cell based camera from them and I'm glad I did as it crapped out after 2 months in the field. I've probably owned a dozen cameras over the years and while they continue to improve you need to be aware that sometimes they simply don't perform and break down. Do your research and try and buy something with a warranty would be my suggestion.
Agree-Moultrie or Browning is what I am running too. Both great camera companies.
I took the advice of others here and it made a real difference on my "under $100 cameras". Many times we blame the camera, when in reality we didn't read the manual and use the correct SD card, or didn't follow the setup instructions. -Do not mix SD cards. One card for each camera. (2 cards if you are rotating/taking one home to view) -More cameras is more important than fewer "high price cameras". The more you use, the better idea of what animals you have and where. -Multiple cameras? Stay with the same brand - that way you know the buttons and understand the set up. -I prefer very simple camera setup. I've had one "over $150" camera and it was too complicated - especially in the field. Others, however, really like and Use the unique features of the more expensive versions. Depends on your needs and personality for using the upgrades. -Buy a adapter so you can use your smartphone to view/delete pics. Likely under $30 and saves a lot of time. Plus you can view in the field. Currently I use Stealthcam and don't plan to change as I understand how to set them up. I have 3 older moultrie and they still work.
I've run Stealth Cams for a lot of years. Last year I wanted another camera for less than $100 and decided upon a Covert.
I only have 4 cameras as I put them out 100-200 miles from where I live
They take great pics
There is more to hanging a trail camera with a SD card in it. Be sure to format the SD card when you buy them or they may not work. (Lesson learned)
Another thing is to keep a journal of where they are :)
They are fun. Enjoy
HuntStand is a good app for keeping track of them. It also takes down date and time of when you drop the icon on the spot so you can remember when you put the camera there.
I have made and/or bought cams for the last 11 years. The bought ones have been 1 Primos 60 (horrible cam) and then I went to Moultrie. I had to send some back for warranty replacement. I've used the M-990i, M-990i Gen2, and the M-999i. I only take vids these days, don't have much use for pics anymore. I have two M-990i's that are approx 3-4 years old and still videoing. I had to return a couple of those to get some good ones. I had one M-990i Gen2 that was replaced twice....not a good one for me. They finally sent me a M999i for some review work I did on the Gen2. I think I had to send back one M-999i for warranty replacement. I have two and just got a 3rd delivered today. They take outstanding vids. There is a seller on EBay right now selling them for $90 and includes free shipping. That is the cheapest I have seen anywhere. They do not make them anymore but the 2yr warranty should still apply. They may upgrade you if you have to send it back. Just make sure you register the cam on their website. Here is the EBay link.
If I ever get tired of Moultries, I may switch to Brownings....unless something better comes out. The technology changes quick.
Mount them at least 9 feet up the tree pointing down with a slight angle. Do not tell others where you deployed them. Use a cable lock and a metal security box.
I bought 2 more Wild Games this year for $40 at Dicks, half reg $80 to add to my others. I've been using Wild Games for 6 years now & they work fine for me. (look online, sale going on now I think & free shipping over $25 order. I had 2 Moultrees first, well over $100 & neither one worked from day one..