Scouting cameras have changed the way many people hunt, myself included. Just a few years ago I was bowhunting black bears in Quebec, and the hunt wasn’t going well. I had hunted a week straight, and I had not even laid eyes on one bear.
There was one day left of my hunt, but I was considering going home early. A friend of mine who was with me had also hunted an entire week without seeing a bear. After a short conversation, we decided to drive home a day early so we could see our families. That was the plan until another friend of mine approached us as we were packing with a picture of a nice black bear that was taken the night before by his scouting camera. One look at the picture, and I decided to stay one more day. That final night of the hunt I arrowed a 300-pound black bear. Without that picture of the bear, I would have went home empty handed.
Scouting cameras are truly an amazing scouting tool. Below are a few of the latest and greatest models on the market, but first let’s look at a product that can make your camera more effective.
PINE RIDGE AT-5: Sometimes getting the perfect scouting camera picture can be difficult because you don’t have a tree in the right place to hang the camera where you want it, or you can’t hang your camera at just the right angle. Pine Ridge Archery solves that problem with the AT-5 Camera mount. You put your camera in the AT-5 and mount your camera on a tree and adjust the mount at a variety of different angles, so you get great pictures every time. Don’t have a good tree to hang your camera on? The AT-5 will also mount to a metal fence post. Tap a fence post into the ground, attach your camera via the AT-5, and you are good to go.
RECONYX HC600 HYPERFIRE: One of my favorite brands of scouting camera is the Reconyx. They are built to last and built with the hunter in mind. I know many wildlife professionals that also rely on this brand when doing research because they work so well. The new Reconyx HC600 Hyperfire will surely make any hunter a Reconyx fan.
The high output Hyperfire has many great features like No Glow infrared technology that eliminates the game-spooking glow that many cameras have. Catch all the action thanks to the lightning-fast 1/5th of a second trigger speed. It can take 2 frames per second. The image detail is also great. It is color during the day and monochrome at night. On top of all that 12 AA batteries will keep this camera going strong for up to 40,000 pictures. The HC600 also comes with BuckView software, has up to a 32GB memory card capacity and operates in temps as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit and as hot as 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
CUDDEBACK ATTACK IR : Cuddeback is typically the first name that rolls off the tongue when you start talking about scouting cameras, and for good reason. They have been in the camera business for years and make some the the best scouting cameras on the market. One fine example of that is the new Attack IR camera.
This tiny camera can easily be hidden just about anywhere but still has great features like Video Plus mode that takes both a still photo and video every time it takes a picture. It also features Guard Duty time lapse mode that takes five pictures every minute regardless if an animal triggers the camera, Smart Color Technology which ensures the pictures are of great color quality and Centered Subject Technology that keeps the deer in the center of the picture. With trigger times of 1/4 of a second and the ability to take 50,000 images on 4 D cell batteries, this infrared camera will be a favorite.
BUSHNELL TROPHY CAM : Bushnell burst onto the scene with the tiny Trophy Cam a few years ago. Now Bushnell has added great new features to the camera like Low Glow black LED lights that won’t spook game or be noticed by other hunters. The new model also comes with a Field Scan mode which takes pictures at regular intervals without having to be triggered by an animal. The camera not only stores pictures but has a video function that even records audio.
The new camera also has a 2-inch X 2-inch screen that easily allows you to see your pictures in the field. It even has a zoom feature that allows you to get up close and personal with the pictures that were taken. The camera is capable of using a 32GB card, and the AA batteries often last a complete year.
MOULTRIE GAME SPY I-35: If you really want to have a camera that is on the cutting edge of technology, check out the Moultrie Game Spy cameras. The Moultrie Game Management System allows you to see the pictures that your camera has taken without ever visiting your camera in the woods. The system utilizes GPS cellular technology, so now you can download pictures with your home computer or while on the road with a cell phone.
This system can be used with the Game Spy I-35. This camera takes great pictures and can also store 30-second videos during the day. On top of that the camera has an amazing 52-degree field of view, so it rarely misses a thing. The camera takes great infared night pictures, operates on six long-lasting C batteries and can handle a 16 GB memory card.
A nice feature of all of the above cameras is they have large megapixel capabilities, so the picture qaulity is great. Another great feature found on many cameras today including those above is that each picture comes with temperature, moon phase, time and date on them, giving you great information that will help you put the pieces of the puzzle together so you know when and where to hunt the big one. A great scouting camera can often give you the clues you need to score on the buck of a lifetime. They work so great it almost doesn’t seem fair. Almost!