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I have two killer tags I waited a long time for ...a Bull moose tag in Colorado....20 for drawing that tag... and a elk tag in Wyoming that took 11 years and I want to make the best of them. I have never really used trail cameras and thinking about getting some. I will be scouting a lot but can't be there 24-7. If I decide to get them I will likely have five or so in each hunt area??? To much??? I am looking for something fairly simple and affordable and trouble free. Are there ones you can review right there without have to go back to your computer. Anyways not much of a tech guy but can learn the basics any suggestions???? Thanks for any thoughts...
If you want super cheap the cheap primos work fine. I have a browning that I really like because it has a 1” viewing screen. So I can confirm the camera is pointed in the correct spot, it’s actually taking pictures etc. Elk are pretty active. I don’t see a reason to put them too closely.
usually take a laptop into the field with me to check. one advantage is instant feed back if you need to move the camera, angle etc. they sell adaptors to read SD cards for your phone, they sell little screens you can use, but I have found my small laptop with SD reader the easiest, then I can review them all later as well, and wipe the card and put it back at same time.
Say each camera costs $100. That's $1K worth of cameras. Only you can determine whether or not it's worth it. I NEVER place cameras without security boxes (metal) for protection against damage by bears (happens often) and as a little bit of insurance against theft (nothing's perfect) with Python Locks around the tree. So that's another $30 on top of camera price.
With "cheap" cameras I've had moderate success. Often lots and lots of blank images from false triggers to wade through, malfunctions, or whatever.
I've been running Browning Strike Force for several years and been very please with their performance, battery life, quality of photo (and video).
Really the most efficient way to view photos is to run through them on a computer (including laptop). It's much faster than trying to scroll through them on the game cam itself. And larger photo is easier (and more fun!) to view.
In the field in a pinch I'll view pics either on the game cam itself or on my digital camera that takes SD cards. Note you can save time from having to zoom in and out when viewing them on a digital camera by using your binos backwards as a magnifying glass (pretty handy trick at times - good for removing splinters or other close-up work too).
I'll be honest, though. 95%+ of the time the only thing game cams seem to tell me is places NOT worth hunting. Granted, that can be valuable knowledge, but it's amazing how many absolutely "killer" secluded water sources, wallows, or pinch point trails end up having maybe only a decent animal once every week or two. As in way too long between activities to be worth sitting there. Still, you may end up finding "the spot".
You'll get alot of opinions on this.
I wouldn't buy any cams until you scout the areas you're interested in and they show promise. That could be 3 spots...maybe 10 spots. Figure you'll get a good feel after the first scouting trip on the number of cams you might need. If a spot doesn't pan out you can always move the came instead of buying another. Plus if the critters move between summer and fall areas....you'll need to plan for that.
If you can't check your cams often....then maybe cell cams is your better option. Also....when you're done with the hunts you may want to sell the cams so consider resale value when it comes to brand and features. You can always buy quality used ones to save some bucks too. Also get enough SD cards and batteries to do the swaps when you visit the cams. I also cable mine to the tree with a padlock to deter cam thieves.
My Moultries have a playback feature so I can check the card in the field. That will tell you if the cam is in a spot with activity. If it is, swap cards, check battery level and go onto the next cam. Make sure you format your SD card everytime you check the card on your PC. It's easy to do with any MS operating system. If you do not reformat the card.....the cam may not read and therefore will not work. That sucks leaving the cam to soak for a few weeks and when you check it, the card is blank because it wasn't formatted when read it last time....BTDT.
The problem with card readers in the field is the reader might use a different format than the cam's format. That means you'll need to reformat the SD card in the field using the cam.
I run over 50 cameras every year, mostly for bear. Like mentioned above, metal boxes protect your cameras from bear and thieves. You'd be surprised how many try to take the cameras or sd cards. I run Apeman cameras, my preferred camera, and I get mojo tries and wildgame innovations cheap... I usually use each camera at the house for a few days to make sure it's doing what I want it to do.
As for reading the sd cards in the field, I just put them into my regular point and shoot camera. Let's me see what's on the card, lets me delete pictures I don't want. I usually swap sd cards out every visit, so I can bring bro home and put them on my laptop. Each sd card is marked do I know what camera they came from.
Lap tops are very handy if you have the extra room. Most of the time I just plug this into my phone and it's easy to save, open, n download pics.
These have got the job done for me, surprisingly decent!
Browning have been my favorite, I found a trail camera last year on a pond in the middle of the mountains, cracked the code on the lock and it had over 300 videos on it, really wanted to see what was on it but put everything back the way I found it!
I have to go with the cheap stuff. Unless your trying to get magazine quality photos. I have a dozen of the cheap walmart Tascos. They work very well, are easy on batteries, and if stolen I only loose 25 bucks.
www.camofire.com has discounts on stealth cams.
My brownings have awesome video quality. If you go high quality video, get large sd cards. I use 128gb on my 4k cam
Windy days give you lots of false triggers.
I like to use some cheaper cameras on game trails and spots that I'm not sure will produce and usually just strap those to the tree unlocked and everything. Then on a good wallow or somewhere that I know gets action, I'll put up a 4k video cam in a lockbox with a cable lock and all that. Hearing bugles on trail cam vids is awesome
Browning with the viewing screen. Simple and reliable. Good luck!
Thanks for all the suggestion might try an inexpensive one for me I don't need video or hd just want to get a glimpse on the animal. i did have one trail cam years ago...used it once...but it told me what i already knew so stopped bothering but even then the quality was fine and iI know it has gotten better since
I second the relatively cheap ones- for me, not $25 as i haven't had reliability there, but the $50-60 wildgame innovations ones pop up on camofire and elsewhere often. They are very reliable and have many more than 5 years old working fine. Like was already said, one disappears and not a big deal. For what you are doing, i think plot watcher mode might be useful, set it up where it can trigger nearby animals but also watch some larger scale scenery and see if animals are in an area, moving anyplace in a park or bog or woods etc and gets you the info you need. Hard to check that on a phone, but simple card swap till later.
Cell cams are not legal in Wyoming, Colorado either I believe. I would get some black out cams, no flash or ir glow.
So a simple process is say you got 10 cameras...you get 20 chips to exchange...visit your camera of course you have a tracking system and then bring them home for viewing???
Twine tickler ....I checked out the link and they do more than five at 22 bucks per unit. that is cheap but too cheap??? I don't need bells and whistles...just basic photos and easy to use. how long did you have yours any issues???
I've used them for about 10 years or so for elk and the most we ever ran was about 6 cameras mostly just as a hobby to see the animals. Mine were cheap wildviews from Camofire and I think they were about $50. I've never seen one for $25, but it's worth a shot and if it works, great and if not, it's not a big deal. With the settings on lower res and reduced frequency pics, on a 8GB card we could usually get them once every 2 weeks and still have some room left on the cards (they could maybe go 3 weeks but we never went that long). we bought the I-phone to USB adapter and you can view them in the field. 2 cards per camera should be plenty. I have never bothered with the camera boxes and I don't think we've lost one yet, but the bears and elk sure do mess with the camera sometimes. 10 cameras will be a lot to run unless they're not very far off the road. Mine were usually 1-2 miles off the road and no trails to get to them. I ran 2 areas about 40 miles apart and it was tough to get to all of them in a day and these were about 100 miles from my house. Doing multiple states would add to that challenge for sure.
Wytex.....cell cams are legal in Colorado.....you just can't use them while hunting.
"The use of trail cameras is legal. However, once you hook a camera up to or sync to a device, it is no longer a legal method of use. Colorado prohibits the use of trail cameras that use the internet or other computer-assisted remote technology while hunting or fishing."
From what I've heard the cheap cams do fine during daylight hours but may not work very well at night. Some of the cheaper cams also won't take photos very far especially at night.
One question I have is if there is a way to lock cams where there are no trees or anything to lock them to (such as sage country). I hate to just trust that I place them in a hidden spot and hope they don't get stolen!
Cell cams also not legal to use for hunting purposes in Arizona either.
Jims, you can get fence posts and drive them into the ground and hang your camera. I've seen people weld the box to the post and just unlock and open the box to remove the cams.
I'm not a welder but that sounds like a decent option. I stake of some sort with a loop could possibly be hammered into the ground.
I looked on youtube but couldn't find any options for open country other than guys hiding them or adding vegetation to them to blend in. Does anyone else have any ideas? I bet if someone invented something that works it would sell and fly off store shelves!
I buy the $35 stealth cams from Camofire, I hang them up and lock them to the tree with python locks. I currently run 10 of them and they're cheap enough if they get stolen, oh well, but I haven't had any issues yet.
I run a few cameras around my property and nearby BLM. I have and extra card, and all my cards are marked as to which camera they are formatted to. I just go for a walk, exchange the card, then read the cards on my laptop back at the house.