Wireless trail cameras are becoming much more popular among hunters and deer land management teams. Recently, I have seen many discussions in terms of ranking the best wireless trail camera so I thought that you would be interested in a detailed buying guide. Based on my experience, I’ve come up with a few important criteria to consider before deciding on the right wireless game camera.
About wireless trail cameras
A wireless trail camera is commonly used to help analyze different areas for wildlife that are native to the area. There are normally two types of wireless game camera
They work by taking high-quality photographs or videos using a highly sensitive trigger that will switch when any motion is detected. You will find multiple types of trail cameras that offer you a variety of benefits, which also come with multiple negative aspects also.
Factors to consider when buying a wireless trail camera
Most of the time, they’ll include a solar power plate that will keep the camera operating for months at a time without changing batteries.
Perhaps the only downside is that it relies solely on solar power, you won’t have a problem under sunny conditions, but when the weather isn’t in your favour, you might find power issues.
Besides that, most wireless trail cameras include the standard AA batteries that are reliable and standard across most trail cameras. The only downside to this power source is that you’ll need to swap them every time they run out.
You could also use rechargeable batteries that could save you a lot of money over the years, but they will still have to be switched out when they run out of a charge.
The main reason why you want a wireless trail camera is to take photos, therefore you would want something that can provide crystal clear images. The image is the central feature, and if it doesn’t provide decent quality, it isn’t a camera you need.
Most average trail cameras are around 7-megapixels. There are also the premium ones that will come with a camera that has 10-megapixels or more. You’ll also find some budget-friendly trail cameras that come with the 2-megapixel range.
This one is probably the most important for many of you. Some cameras take photos only when triggered by motion and will only take one photo in every second or two. If a deer or other critter walks through the frame and isn’t positioned well, the photo may be worthless.
Deer hunters usually go for like cams like this because they get multiple angles of a deer’s antlers. Other settings to consider are auto time-lapse modes. These can be set to shoot a series of photos at a given time whether it is triggered or not. This usually comes in handy if you have your camera set up on a large food plot or field.
The cam will take photos of what is in the field, even if the animals are in a distance. Many people love this mode, especially for scouting turkeys. You can get a good look at the exact point turkeys enter and exit fields.
Many of you probably don’t think about trigger speed when buying a trail camera and then become frustrated when they see their photos. Trigger speed is the time between the animal first walks into frame until it takes a photo. It’s really important to choose a wireless game camera with low trigger speed.
Some can take up to a second or two to trigger. If it is on a bait station or food plot, a slow trigger speed may not be much of a factor. But if it is on a game trail, you would probably end up with a lot of photos of deer butts, which is less exciting than deer heads and those aren’t what you would want to capture.
Imagine if every time you opened the refrigerator someone took a picture of you. You would find somewhere else to get food in a hurry. The same thing happens with deer. Infrared allows you to take nighttime photos with less intrusion. Both cellular and wifi trail cameras do not have significant difference in this performance.
You should keep in mind that not all infrared are the same. Some emit a beam of infrared light while others filter the light. Filtered infrared can be completely invisible. Cameras with this technology are often called “covert”. Semi-covert models have some filtering but are not completely invisible.
If you can’t wait until you get home to see your photos, a camera with an LCD screen may be right for you. Instant viewing is fun but many find this feature to be highly overrated.
Standing in front to look at hundreds of photos is a good way to spread your scent all over the area. That’s why most people prefer to get in and out as quickly as possible. So an LCD screen isn’t really that important.
There are many cameras that can shoot HD quality video. This can be fun to watch but is priced into the camera and may not have much scouting value to you.
Remote Access (wireless – cellular or wifi)
This feature allows you to access the photos without spooking game while walking into the woods to swap out SD cards. Remote access is great for hunters who are particularly conscious of their scent and people who hunt on property hundreds of miles away.
Perhaps the only downside to it is its cost. These cost more at the checkout and there is a monthly fee to activate the remote feature. Another thing to consider is cellular reception. If your phone doesn’t work there, the chances of the remote feature working is slim.
These are the factors I will consider before purchasing a wireless trail camera irrespective its a cellular or wifi options, depending on the strength of network in the location you are operating in.