Viper IR 6.0 (U.S.$199.95)

Viper IR 6.0 (U.S.$199.95)

Recon Outdoors


Key features: Captures colour images in daylight and monochrome at night, in single-shot or custom burst mode; half-second wake-up time; modular mounting system.

The promise: “Produces crystal-clear pictures.”

Plotwatcher Pro HD (U.S.$249)

Plotwatcher Pro HD (U.S.$249)

Day 6 Outdoors

Key features: Saves time-lapse images as an HD video, allowing review of 12 hours of footage in minutes; software organizes files by day, with temperature and moon phase.

The promise: “Records what you would have seen.”

Trophy Cam HD ($460)

Trophy Cam HD ($460)

Bushnell

Key features: Invisible to game thanks to low-glow black LEDs; HD video activated by timer or motion sensor; colour LCD screen with zoom and audio playback.

The promise: “Like glassing the field without being there.”

Game Spy M-80 ($179.99)

Game Spy M-80 ($179.99)

Moultrie Feeders

Key features: Mini-cam shoots widescreen images and video with sound; game trigger or time-lapse modes; battery life calculator, plus port for external power.

The promise: “A unit smaller than your hand.”

Archer's Choice (U.S.$229)

Archer's Choice (U.S.$229)

Stealth Cam

Key features: Shoots stills plus 10- to 180-second videos with audio, day or night; time-lapse and motion-sensing modes, burst fire takes up to nine shots per triggering. The promise: “Great features in a small package.”

SG570V Camo ($159.95)

SG570V Camo ($159.95)

HCO ScoutGuard

Key features: Compact, with low power consumption; infrared flash with 45-foot range; built-in viewer; includes video cables and mounting strap.

The promise: “A well-designed digital scouting camera.”

Attack IR (U.S.$299.95)

Attack IR (U.S.$299.95)

Cuddeback

Key feature: Infrared LEDs have 60-foot flash range, but pulse only ¼ second for minimal glow; captures both still shots and 30-second videos.

The promise: “Crisp, clear images that don’t wash out.”

Nighttrakker NT50B ($249.95)

Nighttrakker NT50B ($249.95)

Uway

Key features: Invisible no-glow black infrared lighting for colour shots and video by day, and black and white after dark; remote control with colour viewer.

The promise: “Capture game without being detected.”

Hyperfire HC600 (U.S.$549.99)

Hyperfire HC600 (U.S.$549.99)

Reconyx

Key features: High-output, no-glow infrared flash, with 50-foot range; shoots two HD images per second, with 1/5 second wake-up time; temperature rated for -30 to 50°C.

The promise: “See what you’ve been missing.”

What to consider

What to consider

Thanks to flash, sensor and software innovations, trail cams now record clear, bright images that equal or exceed consumer digital cameras. Not only that, you can now determine your quarry’s sex, size and how often it ambles by, all without disturbing it. Plus, it’s just plain fun to look at the shots.

Quality trail cams now use infrared flashes, since they are more energy efficient, and the red LED glow is less likely to spook game than the old incandescent flashes. But there are other factors to also consider.

Detection: To conserve power, trail cams default to sleep mode. A fast wake-up (or trigger) speed ensures a shot of passing game. A wide PIR (passive infrared) angle is also desirable, since it senses activity in a broader field of view.

Clarity: Technical specifications describing resolution, especially megapixels, can be misleading. Picture quality depends more on the lens and image sensor, so the best way to judge a trail cam’s quality is by looking at sample images.