Depending on your style of hunting, trail cameras can be an invaluable resource. Options have exploded over the past few years: Now, with the availability of affordable cell cameras (or cell cams) just about anyone can access the benefits of running cams.
Cellular Vs Standard
For many years, cellular technology in trail cameras was only an option if you were willing to shell out big bucks for a camera and a significant amount each month for a cell plan. Even then, cell signals were prone to issues, and the common complaint about cell cams is that they didn’t transmit properly. This essentially turned a cellular camera into a $500 standard trail cam.
The advent of modern affordable cell cams has completely changed the game. Companies like Spypoint have developed reliable cellular cameras that start at around $130, like the Link Micro. This particular camera even includes a free plan with a limited number of pictures sent each month. There’s a host of other options for cell cams that come in below $200.
Standard trail cams are less complex and generally dependable by not having to rely on cell signals. You can pick up a cheap one for around $50 that will work and do its job. However, they do require a physical presence in the woods to pull the card and view or transfer the images.
Which One Works Best?
If your goal is to have a large number of cameras up or to be able to monitor multiple properties, you will probably lean towards standard cameras. The primary consideration here is the cost of purchasing 10-20 cameras or more. This will require a greater time commitment as you will now have to travel around checking cards on all these cameras.
However, if you plan on running 5 cameras or fewer, the new cell cams can be a great option. The ability to get a notification on your phone when the camera takes a picture is pretty awesome. By not having to go into the woods to check your SD cards, you can avoid getting your scent in an area you will be hunting before you actually hunt.
I don’t rely heavily on cameras, though I am trying to incorporate their benefits more into the way I hunt. At most, I run 1 camera per property. My main goal is to just see what animals are on the property, so I will place a camera in a high traffic location such as near a pond, on a travel corridor, or near a food source. I currently use the Spypoint Link Micro. It’s a good choice for me as I can remotely get updates on what animals are out there to my phone. It is especially beneficial for hunts that I travel to. If hunting a new location, I will chain the camera to a tree and use it to quickly gain intel. Another trick I use is hanging the camera 20 feet or so up the tree using climbing sticks. This reduces the risk of theft on public land.
The benefits of running trail cameras can far outweigh the costs. Whether you go with a cell or standard trail cam, you can get started for a reasonable cost. Using the cameras can help you save time by patterning animals, selecting which ones to target, and understanding more about the way they use a property. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend integrating them into your hunting style.