Tagged "Trail Camera News"

6 Essentials for the Trailcam Enthusiast

Posted by Nick Hartman on

This is another guest article by Michael Pahl!


When I first started running trail cameras several years ago, I lugged around a grocery bag of batteries and a cardboard box of cameras. You’d find things in the grocery bag like random mixes of Duracell and Energizer AAs, and things in the cardboard box like the classic Moultrie M80 and some old WGI cams. It made hitting the woods to pull cards a little awkward but overall did the trick. Luckily, I only had a handful of cameras to manage back then and was still able to capture some target animals, like this cool smoke phase hen.

Times have changed and so has the quantity of cameras I’m using, as well as the quality of pictures I’m getting. The gear I use to help get the best out of all my inventory is more important now than ever before. This guide is intended to serve as insight into 6 essential gadgets every trail cam enthusiast should consider.

1. A level. Any level that’s small and light will do the trick.

Very few things pain me more than seeing a perfectly good trail camera picture ruined by being unlevel. I see it all the time, but there’s much more to it than deleting an otherwise postcard-worthy picture. Many people don’t realize a level trail camera works better than one that’s unlevel. That’s because the sensor on trail cameras (Passive Infrared or PIR) works by extending a cone-shaped detection zone outward from the camera. When your camera has a heavy tilt one way or another, it can miss detections that would normally be well within its detection zone. This is why trail camera height is also important. The picture below would have likely triggered on the buck to the right much sooner had a pesky raccoon not chosen to interfere the day before.

2. Slate River Stealth Game Camera Mount

What good is a level going to do you when the perfect place to hang your camera is a tree sloped at a 60-degree angle? That’s where these little slate river mounts come in handy. No matter where or what you are mounting your cameras to, you can get a good position with the nearly unlimited adjustments offered by these mounts. I always carry one with me in the field and I have never had an issue with any of them not holding up over time. The only downside here is they do tend to make a camera more visible to thieves, so keep that in mind.

3. Extra SD cards, SD Card Holders, and SD Card Smart Phone Readers

I always carry two SD card holders with me. One for freshly pulled cards full of pictures and one with blanks ready to go. It only took mixing these up once to learn my lesson. SD card holders help organize, protect, and store your cards. With the trend in the market towards high-quality video, SD cards are getting larger in capacity and therefore more expensive, so SD card storage is becoming more important. I carry a small SD card smartphone reader on me during hunting season. I’ll often pull a card before a hunt and flip through it in the stand. It can get your heart pumping when you flip through a card and come across something like this, especially when its 10 degrees out and motivation is plummeting. These are also really handy when testing a new spot out. You can set your camera, walk down the trail, and check the pictures quickly to confirm your height and angle.

4. Permethrin spray or aerosol.

I brought home one of my Moultrie S50i cameras a few weeks ago because it wasn’t working all that well. I pushed the eject button on the camera while sitting in my living room only to send the battery tray and 10 trillion baby spiders flying out and onto the floor. The wife was not happy to say the least. I nearly retired my camera obsession right then and there. So, here’s where the permethrin comes in; it kills ants and spiders on contact. Simply spray a small amount onto a paper towel and wipe down the outside of the camera and let it dry. Be sure to get areas of the camera typically used by ants like the rubber plug over the 12v power connection as well as around the battery tray. Use some latex gloves while doing this as permethrin is not designed for human skin contact. It’s completely odorless and deer and other animals don’t seem to pay it any extra attention.

It’s a sad state of things when you need to worry about Lyme’s Disease every time you trot through the woods. Lyme’s is extremely serious and needs to be taken seriously, especially if you live east of Ohio. A light coat of permethrin on your jeans will kill ticks on contact for 5-6 weeks. Not only that, but it lasts through 6 washes in the washing machine as well. Buy a bottle and save yourself from Lyme’s and your cams from ants at the same time.

5. Lithium and rechargeable batteries.

Everyone knows Energizer Lithium Batteries are the best option for trail cameras. They are lightweight, not susceptible to cold weather, and last a lot longer than other options. Lithium technology is so advanced, we have even gotten to the point where the Reconyx HyperFire 2 can take 70 pics per day and last up to three years! There are a ton of other considerations when thinking about batteries, so we’ve compiled a ton of battery information here for you to further your research.

After I got about 20 cameras (160 batteries), I decided to invest in a cheaper way to fuel my obsession. I invested in quality rechargeable batteries for my SpyPoint EVOs and Link – Dark’s that you can look into here. I get great life out of each charge and if you pick up a spare or two you can simply swap them out once every 2-3 months for a fresh battery. SpyPoint is the best in the business when it comes to battery options as well as being one of the only companies to integrate Solar into their cameras with their Link-S model. I have had the Link-S out in moderate sun for 12 months without changing batteries. Try that out of any other cell cam. In the future, I will invest in more solar options, but the risk of theft increases so keep your equipment locked down.

As an additional measure, I also decided to go with some high capacity (2550mah) rechargeable AAs for the cameras I run close to my house. The upfront cost was a bit daunting but I’m close to breaking even already and its only been two years. High-quality rechargeable batteries provide long life, right in-between Alkaline, and Lithium options, and offer up to 1,000 charges per battery. Pro Tip: If you had a bad experience with rechargeable batteries in the past TRY AGAIN! Stick to name brand batteries like Tenergy Premium and Eneloop Pro. These things have come a long way. Just be sure to use a high capacity version and a good pulse charger. Those two things are essential! Now that I run close to 50 cameras on six different farms across three counties, my battery requirements are nearly 425 AAs per year (~$745)! Being a sucker for video surely doesn’t help, and ultimately, I had no choice but to look into a more cost-effective way of making things work.  Do some research and add some diverse power options to your arsenal this year and you’ll be glad you did.

6. A touch of Anti-Fog by Rain-X or Nikon.

A tiny bit goes a long way, but several companies out there offer anti-fog solutions. The two I’ve used come from rain-x and Nikon. In short, they work by prohibiting condensation on the lens, which means clearer pictures. Some cameras have a much harder time with fog than others, and some locations and times of the year are especially tough but using a bit of anti-fog can really help.

The good news…

Camera equipment adds up to be a lot of money quickly, doesn’t it? Especially for those of us die-hards. But there’s good news. Did you know TrailCamPro sells package deals with the vast majority of cameras we offer? Each basic package comes with Lithium Batteries, a Slate River Mount, SD Card Reader, and an SD Card. Premium packages come with two SD cards, a security case and python lock, Lithium Batteries, and SD Card reader. A premium package covers items from three of the six categories above plus anti-theft measures. These deals help you gear up in one place and save the most money possible.


The Better news…

TrailCamPro recently launched our own loyalty rewards program. Just signing up gives you 1,000 TCP points which turn out to be $10 off your first purchase. You earn points for every dollar spent on TrailCamPro.com and each 100 points turns into 1$ of TCP savings. But it gets better…. Silver and Gold tier rewards customers get 25-50% off Energizer Lithium and Tenergy rechargeable batteries. That amounts to a huge savings year after year for enthusiasts like me. As a bonus perk, UPS 2nd Day Air shipping is deeply discounted for Silver members and free to all Gold members. You can view all the details on the Rewards Program page.

Thanks for checking out the blog post and good luck this year!

-Michael Pahl

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Cold Weather Trail Camera Runnin'!

Posted by Nick Hartman on

This is a repost from an earlier blog post last year.

It's that time of year again. Here in Springfield, Missouri, temperatures are well below freezing at night and it is only going to get worse. On windy days, the walk from the car to the warmth of a building is hard enough! 

Who in the world wants to run trailcams in cold weather???

Actually, I do! Winter is the best time for my favorite animal pictures.... Predators!

I know most folks are interested in trail cameras for deer, primarily buck pictures. However, switch it up a little bit this winter and go after coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, wolverines, etc. I think you will find it a nice change of pace and keeps you active through the cold and dreary months.

Enter our 2018 Winter Predator Trail Camera Photo Contest

Tips for Running Trail Cameras in Cold Weather

  1. Use Lithium batteries. Our Lithium batteries have dropped in price making them even more affordable.
  2. Have 2 SD cards per camera. Get to the camera, swap the cards and keep going. You'll leave less scent in the area but more importantly, it's cold! Get you fingers back in your warm gloves and keep moving.
  3. Get creative with your setups. Find a fox den or a log crossing over a stream. We've seen great images when a camera is placed over a carcass you find in the woods. 
  4. Extreme temperatures require extreme trail cameras. If you live in an area that hosts sub-zero temperatures, chances are the less expensive trail cameras aren't going to cut it. They usually stop working somewhere around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If this sounds like you, then you need to start budgeting for a Reconyx. Yes, they are expensive, but you'll still be using it ten years from now. This isn't a sales pitch, but if you need something that works down to -20 or -40 this is your only option.

Long story short, don't put your cameras away! Let's all freeze our toes off this year together and have some snowy pictures to share when Spring rolls around!


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2018 Archery Trade Association Show - Trail Cameras

Posted by Nick Hartman on

Every January we send our CEO (Rich) and our tech guru (Charles) to the ATA Show to scope out all the new trail cameras coming out in 2018. Here are some quick blurbs...

PLEASE take everything with a grain of salt. I am a highly skeptical/conservative person by nature, so I urge you to remember that having prototype cameras and fancy marketing does not mean that the production cameras will match the hype. We will test everything when it is actually released and while we do test companies prototype cameras to provide the manufacturer feedback, we do not publish test data on prototypes. We only publish information from production cameras.

So even if you ask how testing is going on prototype cameras, we won't tell you. :)

Browning Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: In my opinion, there has been no better run camera company than Browning the last several years. They have hit the nail on the head in regards to price point and performance. With that being said, they have gotten to the point where they have WAY too many models. For the life of me, I can't understand why companies (not just Browning) feel the need to have 20 different models when they could easily condense that down to 3-5 (insert angry face emoji).

I'm not going to go through all the different models, because I'm still annoyed by it, but they do have two interesting additions... The Browning Recon Force 4K Extreme (4K video @ 60 frames per second) looks to be a high-performance video trail cam that I imagine will knock our socks off in video quality.

The other notable improvement is dual lenses in the new Dark Ops XD Pro and the Strike Force XD Pro. One lens does day pictures and the other does night pictures. This is normally done to improve night pictures and I can't wait to test that.

Outside of those two items, everything else just looks like minor tweaks.

ETA: March (4K is July)


Bushnell Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: The only new thing they have is a 4G/LTE cell camera to release, the Bushnell Impulse. Supposedly, it will have both cellular capabilities and bluetooth connectivity for programming. It is also capable of providing you with a live camera view and active GPS. 

I sure hope those last two things are true. Customers have been clamoring for GPS and Live View for years. I'll remain skeptical until I see it - seeing is believing!

One thing I already don't like is that the Impulse has an internal antenna just like the old Bushnell Wireless. This was a huge problem for that camera so I don't understand why they kept it? There will be no option for improving reception with a booster antenna either.

ETA: March


Covert Scouting Cameras

Quick Hits: Covert is adding 4G/LTE cameras to replace their 3G cameras. The Covert Blackhawk LTE (Verizon) and the Covert Code Black LTE are expected out in February. 

They are supposed to be able to send videos, as well as pictures. Look for improved battery life and transmission times.

It looks like they still have the Maverick and Viper cameras but are adding a camera called the Covert Ice Cam. 

ETA: February - March



HCO Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: Their new 4G Verizon camera is already out. Nothing new to report.


Moultrie Game Cameras

Quick Hits: Moultrie kept most of their 2017 games cameras around with minor updates and name tweaks. I.e. the M-40i is now the M-50i.

I'm most disappointed that there are no updates to the Field Modem and Moultrie still does not have a self-contained cellular camera. However, their 2017 trail cameras were really solid so I'm happy they didn't do a major overhaul to cameras that already worked really well.

They do have a new wireless/bluetooth camera call the Moultrie M-BTi. Setup is done completely on the app and comes equipped with no glow IR, 1080p video, and 0.5 second trigger speed. I'm still not quite sure on what the overall market it for hotspot wifi/bluetooth cameras, but I do think they are pretty cool and could lead to really progressive products in the future.

ETA: Spring


Primos Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: Primos' Proof cameras are still around and appear to have no updates. This is unfortunate as Primos won the award for most warrantied trail camera in our office last year. They really are great cameras, when they work. Which seemed to be less and less as 2017 went on. 

Primos is releasing a cell camera for next year called the Proof Cellular. It is cheap - $199 - and is supposed to be extremely easy to setup. 

ETA: March-ish


Reconyx Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: The big news is Reconyx has a new camera, called the Hyperfire 2.

Pictures + videos (unlike the current Hyperfire cameras) but most importantly, Reconyx swears the night pictures on this camera will be amazing. So amazing, that we (by "we" I mean Charles) are building a machine to measure blur on night images. Please don't ask me for an ETA on that machine, Charles is the smartest person I know, but also the most meticulous (really, really slow). 

ETA: February (fingers crossed)

Jamie's Beard Game = #STRONG! 


Spypoint Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: Spypoint is coming out with another cell cameras, the Spypoint Link-Dark. This will be a no glow camera somewhere between the Link-S and the Link-Evo.

Also, if you haven't noticed, Spypoint's app has antler recognition software. This software automatically sorts all the antlered bucks the Link camera has taken. Works surprisingly well and is pretty cool!

Outside of that, nothing new to report.

ETA: March


Stealth Cam Trail Cameras

Quick Hits: Everything looks the same with the exception of a new camera called the Stealth XV4. It advertises really crisp night photos. 

 ETA: ???


New Trailcam Companies

Hawk - New to the camera world, they have a tiny new camera called the Hawk Ghost. It is super small, uses 4 batteries, is controlled by an app on your phone, and is supposedly waterproof down to 1 meter. This could be an interesting camera as they hired an engineer we have worked with before and he is one smart dude (but not as smart as Charles - nobody is ;)   ). 

ETA: April

Big Tine - They have a camera called the Big Tine IADG. I have almost no information on this one. I can tell you it has a viewing screen, accepts 8 AA batteries, and 0.5 second trigger. 

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Life in the Trees - Game Cameras

Posted by Nick Hartman on

Great setup idea from a researcher in Africa!


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Used Trail Cameras

Posted by Nick Hartman on

We currently have more used trail cameras than you can shake a stick at. If you need one, now's the time! 

Hope you have a great weekend!

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