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Illinois hunting and fishing

Trail Cameras: Great technology or rip-off?

September 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM

First, please be advised that I am not paid to promote the products of any trail camera manufacturer or its affiliates. Second, the following is my opinion only, not that of Prairie State Outdoors. Other testers of trail cameras may have arrived at different conclusions (but it is not likely… if they are truly “independent” testers.)

Over the last several years, I have put most trail camera brands to the test. To say that these devices are a disappointment would be a major understatement. I would even go as far as to say that the majority are a major rip-off of sportsmen.

Yes, the concept is great! Stealthily capturing the photos of big area bucks—day and night—can enhance the chances of being in the right place at the right time during deer season. However, paying $200-$450 for poor quality equipment is greatly disheartening for consumers.

Here is one of the major problems: Most trail cameras are made in China where quality control is lost in translation. By the time a quality problem is discovered, a thousand-fold pipeline of cameras are already on their way to wholesalers… and ultimately to consumers. Trail camera companies rarely have the defective units pulled from shelves. They pray one of two things will happen: the units will function until the 90-day warrantee is spent, or they will quickly have a new supply of redesigned cameras to replace defective ones sent back to them by consumers. Either way the consumer loses! Sending the camera back for replacement costs a consumer the UPS bill and the wait.

Illinois hunting and fishing

What upsets me more than poor product quality is how the trail camera manufacturers promote their junk to sportsmen. Here is how that works: “Pro” hunter, whitetail-slayer Kill-‘em-on-film-guy/gal is paid $60,000-$250,000/year to promote a particular brand on their outdoor show. They brag how X-brand is better than anything on the market. Naïve sportsmen think, “This pro knows their stuff, so this camera must be a good product.’ Then they buy one.

A high percentage of the “pro” and “want-to-be-pro” whitetail limelighters would sell their souls for the chance to make a living in the hunting industry. Their ethics soon after go out the window and they front any product manufacturer that hands them a big paycheck. Though lots of hunting products are quality-made and do the job, most trail cameras are bottom-of-the-barrel, high-priced garbage.

Again, in my opinion, here are the worst of the worst that I have extensively tested: Cuddeback, Stealth Cam, Bushnell, ScoutGuard, Recon, and the Predator.

Yes, Cuddeback has a fast trigger. Beyond that, however, they are a consumer nightmare at best.

Most models of Stealth Cam cameras eat batteries, have a slow trigger, and take tons of photos of blowing grass and tree limbs.

Bushnell cameras program nicely, but are the pits otherwise. I have had ants get in the cases and rarely found one that lasted more than one season.

ScoutGuard, advertised as “compact,” offers a one-year warrantee. Good thing, in my opinion, you’ll need it. They are not easy to program and their photo quality is poor.

Recon cameras eat batteries, have a slow trigger, and are a nightmare to program. Junk!

The Predator is the best of these six, but it offers poor battery life, has a slow trigger, and has a narrow photo cone (you’ll see lots of deer butts).

In the $200-$450 price range, Moultrie may be the best buy out there. Yes, this camera brand has a slow trigger speed, and the older models (I-40 and I-60) are a bit clumsy for loading batteries and card, but they do take reasonably good photos and Moultrie is quick to replace bad units. (They experienced a bad run of cameras due to loss of the LCD screen. Moultrie immediately replaced these units if consumers returned them.)

I just put a new Moultrie I-45 in the field with the auxiliary unit that sends photos to a website (400 for $30/month). This combo unit is $400 plus the monthly AT&T fee of $30. The concept is great, but my initial three-day results were not. Though the camera is easily programmed and is packaged nicely, the trigger is slow and too sensitive. The infra-red flash distance is not nearly as good as on the old I-40. If my results with this camera improves, I will post that finding in a later notice.

Catching a camera thief on film is the greatest feature of the new Moultries (I-45 and I-65). If set for immediate photo transfer to the website, it will take a mug-shot of a camera thief so they can be prosecuted. And the theft of over $300 in Illinois is considered a felony. Jail time! Again, the jury is still out on Moultrie’s latest and greatest.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Without doubt, the best standalone camera on the market is the ReConyx. It is not cheap, though. The RC60 costs $600, and the RC60 RapidFire is $650. I have had two in use over the last two years. These cameras perform with absolute flawlessness! They are very well sealed and take great photos 99 percent of the time. (Any camera’s photo quality can be affected by fog, rain, and direct sunlight.) The units and components are built in the U.S. The company’s VP over sales, Jamie Ratajczek, attests that he will not compromise ReConyx quality for sales quantity and large profits. The return of bad cameras to ReConyx is almost non-existent.

And guess who the pro-staffers are for ReConyx? Mark and Terry Drury. There is little these two whitetail enthusiasts take on that is not quality in nature. They, unlike many of the other television pros, do not prostitute themselves or their ethics for insta-cash. If it’s crappy, they have nothing to do with it.

My best advice for trail camera consumers is buy a ReConyx … if you can afford one. If money is no object, the BuckEye camera is also built for longevity. It transfers photos up to five miles to a base computer. The BuckEye company has been building similar security cameras for two decades. This company’s components are top-notch. My nephew owns two units that have performed without incident for two years. They cost $1,500 and more depending on options.

If money is tight, but you still want a trail camera, try a Moultrie I-40 for $200. It is the best alternative until trail camera manufacturers wise up and build a quality product worthy of the sportsmen who use them. The I-40 will need to be set up on a scrape or diagonally to a trail (due to its slow trigger). It also can not be aimed at blowing objects; its trigger is too sensitive. It will take good photos, though, and the battery life is excellent.

Lastly, do not be fooled by advertiser hype that infra-red flash does not spook deer. Infra-red creates less of a shock for deer than incandescent flash, but it still causes a percentage of bucks to shy permanently from the area. Deer are like people—some do not mind the limelight and others avoid it.

There are undoubtedly a few sportsmen who will read this assessment of trail cameras and disagree with my downplay of a particular unit they have had luck with. If so, comment on that good fortune. Those of you who have had poor luck with a certain brand, also comment and let others know your opinion. Again, I’m not paid by ReConyx, Moultrie, or any other camera manufacture. None! My only concern is that sportsmen do not get ripped off by manufacturers who would rather pay Joe-Pro thousands of dollars instead of putting that money toward better cameras for consumers.

At five trail camera seminars last year in Michigan I asked the question, Who owns a trail camera? Seventy-five percent of the seminar-goers raised their hands. I then asked, Who has not had a problem with their camera? Only three hands went up in the five groups. All three owned ReConyx. Finally, I asked, Who owns a ReConyx that has caused them a problem? No hand went up. There you have it!

There are few things more frustrating than anticipating the photos of big bucks in your area (after a week or more of waiting), and then discovering that your expensive trail camera got only blowing grass and deer butts. Again, please comment for the good of would-be trail camera consumers.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I have had great luck w/ the Cuddeback Capture IRs.  In fact, we bought 3 this year because they were so easy to set up and we have been getting plenty of good pictures on them.  Prior to these we had an expensive Leaf River that we had nothing but trouble with.  I couldn’t be happier w/ the Cuddeback’s.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 02:07 PM

Les, i would say you are just about right on
i have used several and the cuddeback seems to be the best trigger speed….. although they have had problems but when they work they do fine….. that being said, i think $150 for their best camera woudl be fair and $75 for the capture….. thats what i feel their quality is worth…

hopefully these manufacturers read your article and take it to heart….. but i doubt it…

thanks for being honest when its not popular to do

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 02:41 PM

Les, what model of Cuddeback did you test, and what were the nightmares you ran into?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 02:42 PM

Great article Les. I just took the plunge and bought a ReConyx last month. I also had a Bushnell given to me so I set them both up. Keep in mind that I’ve never used a trail camera in my life but just recntly liked the idea of capuring deer in suspicious places. Let me just sum up 30 days of use: ReConyx = perfect. Bushnell = junk. I am actually looking forward to using my new trail camera this year! 
...
Just back from Ohio = skunk.
...
Illbowhunter, yes, it’s true! I broke down and bought one. No razzing please.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 09/28 at 03:10 PM

Nemo, Take your pick. I have tested all the Cuddebacks. I have talked to several guys who bought Capture IRs that were bad out of the box. They do program easier than the old ones. One friend bought three Cuddebacks that all went bad when they were barely out of warrantee. He had to threaten the company with a lawsuit to get them repaired. Try a ReConyx. You will throw the Cuddes in the garbage- my opinion. <Les<<

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 04:11 PM

Do yourself a favor and go to one of the home brew trail camera sites and learn how to build your own.
The warranty is top notch, if you have a problem you fix it.

home brew trail cam’s have a faster trigger speed then store bought and take much better pictures.

You can build a trail cam for around $200 +/-

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 05:47 PM

Homebrew is a great option to build a high quality trail cam, but you need to have some electronic and mechanical abilities so it’s not for everyone.  I’ve built some in the past and had issues with circuit boards not working when they are soldered perfectly.  If you’re comfortable with a soldering iron and tearing apart expensive digital cameras.
  I would agree that Reconyx is the cream of the crop.  I’ve seen some amazing pictures from them.
  For more the budget minded I agree with the Moultrie I-40.  I have an older Gamespy 200 which worked fine until ants tried to turn it into a home this summer.  I haven’t had it out since, but it might still work fine.  My other choice is the new Bushnell Trophy Cam.  It’s tiny, takes decent pictures, and decent priced.  It’s actually made by the same company as the Scoutgaurd and HCO cameras, but seems to have better quality standards and comes with a 2 year warranty from Bushnell instead of the 1 year with the others.
  If money were no object I’d have a fleet of Reconyx cameras, but for now I’ll stick with Moultries and the Trophy Cam.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 06:59 PM

Wow..for the price of these cameras, I’d sit in the woods and take some snaps with my Olympus and send them to you by e-mail.  Good article.  Too bad we don’t have a Consumers Reports for Sportsmen…there’s a good idea!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 07:04 PM

Tim,
I have been using the cuddebacks for years and now the scoutguard and coverts.
The customer service is the best as problems were fixed asap.

The entire reason for a camera is to get a decent pic of deer activity and use that somehow to hunt a specific deer. The best pic quality is from a custom p41 built camera.
The moultrie is a decent camera that just plain works…that all I need.
amo

Posted by AntlerMineOutdoors on 09/28 at 07:13 PM

I am totally happy with scoutgard cameras and I have owned them all from “Cruddyback” as my son calls them to Reconyx.  Just called in today to send my Predator back as the picture quality sucks.  I haven’t had one camera I haven’t found problems with.  As far as cuddeback goes, I would rather sit out a bowseason than give them anymore money.  I have been through every generations of cuddeback and I have had to return several multiple times.  I could care less about trigger speed, I want reliability.  I love the reconyx but they are too expensive. $600.  I own one and thats it.  At this point I am happy with Scoutgard, you just can’t get cameras now and they are releasing a new model in October.  Duh, bow season starts in September in alot of places.  Should of been released in July.  Les hit the nail on the head when he addressed the problem about manufactoring.  China’s standards are horrible but where do you find something that is not made in China anymore and I’ll buy it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 07:36 PM

cameras are high priced and a waste of money. you can’t kill the photo. if you spend enough time in the woods you will see the deer that you are trying to capture in the camera. i would even go so far as to say having a camera set up while you arent there to show you photos while you sit on your couch is cheating. this is a fad and they werent even popular 5 or 10 years ago. its a marketing scheme and its a waste

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 08:35 PM

DO THE WORK and sit in the woods and HUNT. its that simple

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 08:36 PM

Homebrew is a great option to build a high quality trail cam, but you need to have some electronic and mechanical abilities so it’s not for everyone.  I’ve built some in the past and had issues with circuit boards not working when they are soldered perfectly.  If you’re comfortable with a soldering iron and tearing apart expensive digital cameras.

I have to disagree I had ZERO experience with electronics and soldering when I built my first home brew digital approx 6 years ago.
The control boards that are sold for home brew use are very dependable and have next to no issues with working how they should be working, in my experience.

The best pic quality is from a custom p41 built camera.

Have you tried a S600 (6mp) ?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 08:40 PM

lungbuster, what planet do you live on?  Game cameras have been aroung for 10 plus years.  Some people work and they can’t sit in a stand all day and some people just enjoy the thought of having that big boy on camera or maybe that cougar that everyone is seeing.  If having a game camera is cheating, then I am one cheating SOB and I love it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 09:03 PM

Excellent article and I totally agree! We have tried a few models of Cuddebacks, a CamTracker,a Penns Woods, a few Leaf River models, and other lesser units and NOTHING compares to our Reconyx! Our Reconyx out performs all others by a mile.My only regret now is that we can’t get all the money back that we have wasted buying other cams and buy more Reconyx cams!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 09:37 PM

I recently purchased a stealth nomad from dicks sporting goods. I got a couple good pics of some good bucks and was very pleased. I started having problems with the camera returned it and got a second.(same model) Now I am having problems with it. Its only been like a 2 month period since I bought the first one. I cant find the rciept and the company wont give me my money back. They just want to give me an in store credit. I paid with a credit card and I know they can track the transaction and give me cash back.Im a college student and didnt have a lot of money to begin with. VERY DISAPOINTING. Wish I would have read this first.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/28 at 09:44 PM

Great article - But I have to disagree with your comment on Mark and Terry Drury. They put thier name on a few pairs of high priced water proof scent lok boots, Jackets, and bids. I bought the $170 boots, and they were not water proof and the zippers and snaps failed the 3rd time out. Returned for regular rubber boots $50. My cousin got sucked into thier outter ware and had the same problem. Zippers and stiching failed. He also returned for a different brand. Just my advice - if the product has to keep you warm and dry - stay away from the Drury name.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 08:38 AM

sent my first junk stealth cam back as well got another junk one free its just as worthless as the first one did get a few good pictures when it decided to load film and work now it rests on a shelf in my garage

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 08:42 AM

My first camera was the wildview, 100% junk. Last year bought the cuddieback capture because it used the SD type memory card, I already have several SD to use. The cuddieback capture has been great. 95% of the pictures have some type of animal, very few black pics, even a squirrel at 20 yards will trip the trigger. I found the flash doesn’t seem to bother the deer to much as I have the delay set at 15 min vs 30 secs. When I do get a nice mature buck picture, it is usually only once a year, camera shy I guess. I bought a second capture last week, purchased on ebay new, $60 cheaper than Cabelas. Bought another flash because the night pictures are so much clearer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 08:48 AM

I agree with ILbowhunter.  I really like the Scoutguard with the 10 second video option.  The picture quality is very good.  The only thing i have noticed is that, at times, the deer have noticed the camera as it was recording.  I actually have a video of a doe licking the camera.  Overall, for my money, I recommend the Reconyx or Scoutgard.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 08:56 AM

I’ve had 3 camera’s so far. Stealth - never worked out of the box. Bushnell - been using it about three years. Takes decent pictures but do get alot of pictures of deer butts. Easy to program though. Also have a 14 yr. old Camtracker and have never had a problem with it. Takes great pictures and has a fast trigger speed. Paid $500 for it back then but it was worth it. Not sure if they’re even made yet. Would like to get a digital one. Had some pictures developed a couple weeks ago and the developer said they were the best pictures she ever seen.
I would say either spend the money for a good one or do without.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 11:20 AM

My brother has two Cuddebacks. They take nice pictures, but he’s had nothing but problems with them and has attempted to contact the Cuddeback company multiple times and has never been able to talk to a real person. He’s about ready to give up trying to get them fixed. He bought a Bushnell camera this year and it’s taken some nice pictures so far. He’ll never buy another Cuddeback product.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 07:33 PM

Lung, No, not everybody works.  There are alot of guys who can just hunt, not many, but some.  Like my retired father-in-law.  Your comment on sittin on the couch just aint cuttin it with me.  I can honestly say I have never patterned a buck strictly by using trail cameras.  Now patterning trespassers, yes. Works great for that.  I enjoy using cameras.  I’ve taken them elk hunting and sat them over water holes just to see what comes in at night and I would say that the majority of people who use scouting cameras don’t connect on a buck just on pictures alone. If they do its by luck.  My hunting stratagies are based on terrain features, funnels, pinch points, etc. Sorry but I don’t rely 100% on cameras like some people do.  To me its just another hobby.  I wanna catch the oddity in the woods.  Its as simple as that.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 07:36 PM

Les, ive also used trail cameras for Years to the point of addiction.  Currently i have ten.  I have probably used them about 12 years. I agreed with about everything you said but

The Predator is the best of these six, but it offers poor battery life, has a slow trigger, and has a narrow photo cone (you?ll see lots of deer butts).

Did you seriously mean to put predator there or is that a misprint?  The predator extinction has the fastest trigger on the market like 1/5th of a second and i have attempted to run by mine and it catches me before i get into the center of the frame!!I have gotten pictures of bats in flight,deer running by it from the side. 

This article hits home with me this year.  I bought a spypoint over the summer.  It has a lens issue had to mail it to canada but had wonderful service and it was back in working over in 2 weeks. 

Bought a wildview for 42 dollars.  Their new 5.0.  The flash bulb busted in it in under a month.

Buddy bought a cuddy because of the marketing for 300.  I think he got screwed they have too slow of a recovery time. 

I do agree with silbowhunter.  He built me two and they are amazing cameras.  I am technology retarded so i dont mess with them but i did find me a friend close by who is technology average that has no trouble making them.  The picture quality is the absolute best and the trigger speed is second only to the predator.  And a distant second i might add.

I also have 2 other wildviews “scrape cameras only” A 4.0 leaf river IR “limited flash range”. 

Before you buy go to http://www.chasingame.com

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/29 at 11:25 PM

As for some negative experiences with cameras.  I was buying the cheap green 35 mm stealths about 5 years ago because at that time they were the only options for under 100 dollars.  If it was above 75 degrees, and i tried placing them in the woods, I would sit in the woods until sweat was pouring off me trying to get the IR to work.  I had about 5 of them and all were about as junk as the next.  When it cooled down, i could run them again. 

The Worst experience i had was when i tried another cheap 35 for 150 bucks back then.  It was called a hawk eye.  JUNK.  never took a single picture with it and the company never repaired the camera when sent in.  I basically had 150 bucks stolen by this company. 

Personally i think all the companies have came ALONG way since then.  You can get a wildview in your hands for 50 bucks if ya know where to buy them, put them on a scrape, and it will take pictures for you.  And most will have a deer in them.  And those moultre cams maybe 180 do very well.  But like silbowhunter stated as far as trigger time, and picture quality, nothing with a regular flash compares to a homebrew.  The homebrew 6.0 has carl zeiss lenses in them and NEVER blurs.  I had a good buck last year that i had a cheap 4.0 moultre on that blurred horribly with movement.  I was catching a good buck in this small patch of timber near town.  Every picture i would get would be blurry! I even had pictures of him with messing legs and everything.  I finally put a homebrew on it and could count points. 

lungbuster, trail cameras are FAR from an asset killing a mature buck.  They are an asset to knowing what kind of mature buck is in your area and finding a deer you would like to hunt.  Sign can tell you that a mature buck is present but sign cant tell you if that mature buck is a 160 inch pig or a 4.5 year old terd like the deer higgins had in his article this month. 

Wes, i would love to hear about some of your experiences with trail cameras!! Do you find that if you put trail cameras on runs for a few months that the does using the runs actually create a new run 10 or so yards away in many situations?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 03:14 AM

Clint,
Chasingame is a pretty good website with alot of reviews. I checked it out a couple of months ago before I purchased my two cameras. It gives the whole scoop of the China fall out and why most cameras had to be returned.
I finally decided to purchase the new Bushnell Trophy Cam. I am very pleased with all the features. Trigger speed and recovery are excellent. I have several pictures of bats flying around. Video is also very good quality. I am very pleased so far.
I do have one of the first digital stealthcams. It is a poor quality camera and it hasn’t been out for a few years because of that. I decided to put it out again this year with lithium batteries in it. It is over a scrape and so far so good on battery life. It is still very slow and captures only part of the animal unless it is standing there for any amount of time. I’ll never own another stealthcam.

Posted by archernut_ibs on 09/30 at 09:07 AM

Clint, The Predator I tried out ate batteries. Though its trigger was “reasonable,” it had too narrow of photo cone and I got lots of butts.(Maybe you caught the second bat and not the first.) I sent the camera back with my evaluation. If they corrected the problems, they never sent me another camera to re-evaluate. (Guess they did not like my initial assessment.) Most trail camera companies are arrogant when told their camera needs improvements. If you give them constructive advice… they get their noses out of joint. The biggest problem with camera companies is simple: They release cameras before they are fully tested as “reliable.” Who pays the price… the consumers do! For example, I received four cameras from Bushnell to try out. Absolute junk, all four. I gave them a full report on how these cameras could be improved. They sent me four more “improved” models. More junk! I wrote their chairman and vp. with my complaints and concerns. Guess what… they referred me right back to the manager who was okaying that junk to be sold to consumers. In my opinion… the big guys did not care as long as profits were coming in and they were smoking expensive cigars.

Most all camera components come from China, Taiwan, and Japan. Even ReConyx buys electronic components from the Asian market (but ReConyx buys quality components and assembles them in the US under close scrutiny). There is a wide range of quality between China and Japan. Of course, Chinese electronics are cheaper, and in my opinion, less reliable. To increase profits most camera manufacturers buy the cheap sh—. You guys that like your ScoutGuards, Bushnells, Cudde Captures, etc. will change your tunes when those $200 cameras are kaput before you receive full worth out of them.

Much of hunting Corporate America has figured out that consumers - you and me - can be suckered in by paying JoePro to brag on their products. It’s a lot like a bad outfitter. He takes your money, gives you one-fourth of what he advertised… yet, he cares less if you’re POed and you do not come back. There is ten more suckers standing in line with money in hand. We, as consumer/hunters need to demand quality. Spending $200-$400 for a camera should earn us the right to have a minimum of five years use, not five months or five days.

In regard to the bantering over trail camera use as “unfair” or “cheating:” We as fellow hunters need to stop faulting each other for individual techniques. It’s simply a matter of choice and the degree of challenge. If we don’t quit bad-mouthing each other over trivial issues we’ll soon go the way of the dinosaur. Let’s spend our energies on getting good products and better deer management from our IDNR. Good luck this season! <Les<<

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 09:26 AM

les, my predator does eat batteries.  I ended up buying lithium for it and those are ALOT better but it takes about 25 bucks in them to run so it better go all year! If i would have paid the 450 for it… i might be singing a different tune.  175 is all i paid.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 10:57 AM

It’s about time someone has the guts to give an honest opinion,I believe allot of people have been duped on numerous outdoor related products (esp. Scent Lock)! I have had numerous nightmares with allot of different camera’s, I was starting to think I was jinxed and I’m a professional photographer!!!!  I just purchased 9 Predator XR’s last week, I’m about to find out my fate in a couple of weeks!  They say the meaning of insanity is doing the same over and expecting different results smile

Posted by Wags on 09/30 at 11:12 AM

OK, wags, you got me started now! There is so much trash on the market that hunters are buying, it just makes me sick. Les hit the nail on the head when he stated the issue of the “kill em on film guy”(or girl)and how they push trash to the hunting public. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bumped into other hunters and listened to how they’ve bought total trash from “scent control” items that are nothing more than watered down tap water, to other items that “Joe blow hunter/huntress” recommended. It’s just unreal! It happens to be the same people that wait in line for hours to get an autograph from these “hunters” and totally neglect real professionals just a few hundred feet away! Today’s outdoor marketing guru’s could push human scent as a deer attractant, if they could get a TV hunting personality to endorse it. Give it time and it may just happen.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 09/30 at 11:36 AM

I used to use 35mm Steaths and other than about 30% of pics with no deer, they worked ok.  Got sick of the film developing so then bought a Moultrie about 5 yrs ago.  Only got 2 pics on that cam in a month’s time.  Hunted over the cam one morning and after 5 deer walked right by it, no pics.  So threw it away.  I now have 2 Cuddebacks (one flash and one IR).  Both work great, but I’ve read many poor reviews (mostly on battery life) on the IR when they first came out, but they did an upgrade about 8 months ago and I have one of the newer ones. 

Hey Lungbuster - unless you walk out the door naked and with nothing in your hands to deerhunt with, then you are cheating too if you think trail cams are cheating.  A trail cam is just another hunting aid, just like the sites on the bow you use, the Thinsulate boots you wear, etc.  That’s my take on it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 12:37 PM

“watered down tap water”  Mark, can you please explain the process i might go through to do this?  smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 02:11 PM

Clintharvey, I’ll explain how to “water down tap water”. Just put it in a bottle and slap a label on it that says “Scent Eliminator” and it will automatically be watered down! grin

Posted by Marc Anthony on 09/30 at 04:58 PM

Sorry lungbuster but I have to agree with ilbowhunter. I have built and deployed over 20 homebrew trail cameras and I have yet to “pattern” a buck that I have captured on a camera. The cameras to me are strictly recreational. I love to check my cameras to see what, or who, is roaming the woods, fields, and streams. Just because you dislike the use of trail cameras doesn’t mean using them is cheating. Let me ask, do you hunt with a firearm during the firearm season? That could be considered cheating to many diehard “bowhunters.” I for one hunt strictly with my bow because that is what I enjoy. I don’t want to have someone drive the deer to me so I can open up on them with a firearm. I don’t consider this method of hunting cheating at all. I just choose to hunt with my bow. The same can be said for trail cameras. If you don’t choose to use them and consider them a waste of money, then by all means, don’t use them. I love to build them just as much as I love to use them. I have many photos of all wildlife that most people don’t get the chance to see and when I show them my trail cam pictures they are fascinated. By the way, in my opinion, it’s very hard to beat the homebrew trail camera for features, function, ease of use, quality, and customer service.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 06:18 PM

Thanks for the great article!
I as well dont agree with Lungbuster on this one. Since I have started using trailcams about 5-6years ago I have NOT sat on the couch any more, nor have I spent less time scouting. In fact I believe I have spent MUCH MORE! The use of trailcams in my opinion, is just a great way to view wildlife and although the celebs to try to push using them as a way to pattern and kill a HUGE buck…........Very seldom does that happen. I dont know of anybody that has done that, nor have I.(though im sure its possible in more patternable areas such as montana) I do get very nice/interesting pictures of bucks/does and other wildlife that I enjoy seeing. Its like opening a present on christmas day every time you go to check your cameras because you never know what you will get. My cousin recently has 5 bobcats in one photo (2 jumping) on his cuddyback capture! Its awesome, but I dont believe in any way its cheating. Most of the big bucks I get pictures of are out of there by the time season starts or switched to being mainly nocternal. Its just nice to see what deer you have in your herd and what ones made it through to the next year or just to have photos to give someone of a buck they shot when he was alive.
I have had 3 2.0mp wildview stealthcams. Slow on trigger speed and had trouble with two, sent them back and was sent new ones. Used all of them for at least 3 years and am down to one now. I dont expect them to last much more than 5 years if they are out in the extreme heat and cold. I thougth they were decent cameras for the price. Was going to buy a 5.0mp IR stealthcam cause JIM SHOCKEY said they are awesome> J/K. Now after hearing reviews not sure what to get. Buddie had a moultrie and it was junk out of the box, never had any luck with it. I think my cousin likes his 3 cuddyback captures though, he hasnt said bad about them yet. Was thinking about getting one of them. In limbo now as I dont want to build my own or pay for a Drury Reconyx!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/01 at 01:16 PM

i just boughyt a wildgame by innovations i put it out and got some real nice pictures.i dont think any product the we all buy,unless you spend $500 or more is going to be the best product.like most of you said were all working guys and cant afford the pricce so we get what we can afford.so far my cam has been great.the battery life has been good over 2 weeks which i think is fine if it is taking alot of pictures.mine was out for 2 weeks 154 pictures and the batteries were just starting to get weak.im not cutting down anybody that has the money to buy the best,but alot of us dont so we buy what we can afford.same as bows everbody has there own opinion on them.my problem with this article is if your going to test trail cams then test them all

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/02 at 10:01 AM

i just wanted to add that i know everybody here watches alot of the hunting shows right if you will notice that most of the trailcams are set up on private land that have food plots and most of them use cmere deer and other attractents and that where they place the trail cams like wackemmstackem you spend more time looking for them just because they show up on your trail cam dont mean thats where they stay.i hunt 6 acers in lerna illinois my wifes aunts place last year they were comming up to her birdbath to drink i never seen one when i was down there hunting.this year i put up a trail cam and have only seen one doe.so i guess what im trying to say is trail came are nice to HELP but there not going to put the deer in your lap

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/02 at 10:51 AM

Well written Les. My only experience with trail camera equipment is with Bushnell. Both the cameras that I own are junk!!! They sit in the garage on top of a shelf; out of site, out of mind. It pains me too much to throw something away that I paid so much for. As for buying anything else.. my wife won’t allow it. Thanks alot Bushnell for screwing me out of a few hundred bucks!!!

As for the Pro-Joes and Janes….. I try not to buy any of the junk they sell. I use Ivory soap and scent free Arrid deodorant,I buy rubber boots and camo from Farm and Home, and I use my own urine for mock scrapes. With that said I’m still successful, I am still married, and I’ll be able to put my kids through college.

One last thought… who ever decided that Chuck Adams should be labeled “the world’s most successful bowhunter” ? To me that’s just plain stupid and arrogant.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/03 at 05:01 PM

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