Wireless Trail Cameras 101

How Wireless Trail Cameras Work and Why You Should Use Them This Season

Up until opening day, you have worked relentlessly every single weekend. You have practiced shooting, planted food plots, hung stands, trimmed shooting lanes, mowed trails, and even washed your hunting clothes…there is no doubt you are ready. However, upon the arrival of opening day, you make a mistake…you climb up into your “go to” stand. When you checked cameras on September 1st, the pictures reported intel all August that “Junior” – your 150 inch 8 point, is sticking around in the area. With this information, you assume this is the best spot to intercept him on opening day. In fact, you could not be more wrong. Once September arrived “Junior” picked up his cozy thicket bedroom, and lush soybean field, for a new home, on the other side of your property. How were you supposed to know? You stayed out of your property and decided to check cameras after you hunted awhile just in case you might booger up the spot. This is a real shame because…”Junior” in light of the changing times, hormones, and weather just went across the fence and surprised your very accurate neighbor…

Now up to this point in time, this was a common occurrence for whitetail hunters. We would check trail cameras once a month and base our hunts on that Intel. While it was the best strategy at the time, a single step in the trail camera industry has changed the way hunters use trail cameras forever. This step was the unveiling of cellular and wireless trail cameras.

2016 Bushnell Wireless Trail Camera
(Video) – The wireless trail camera that checks on you. hunt-proven features deliver all the evidence you need to plan your perfect shot from wherever your smartphone is.

 

How Cellular and Wireless Trail Cameras Work

The old blinding flash cameras that would clear the entire woods have been replaced with now silent, HD video, audio, and black flash capable cameras that wouldn’t alert even the most cunning buck. The recent advances in the trail camera industry make even professional hunters wonder what the next “big thing” will be. For the time being though, we have our hands full with the latest advance, wireless trail cameras. It seems hunters in the backwoods and hollers all across this great nation have just recently caught up to actually using trail cameras for the first time. They haven’t even gotten up to speed on using them correctly, and now they are being thrown this curve ball. Heck, these “wireless trail cameras” might register as some type of “sorcery” by some ole’ Georgia boy’s standards. Sorcery or not, wireless trail cameras have made a colossal leap for the industry and more notably for the hunter.

So how do wireless trail cameras work? Unbeknown to hunters the terms wireless and cellular don’t actually mean the same thing. Wireless refers to a camera with wifi signal and is only capable of sending images through a connection, while cellular means having the ability to send images to a phone via text  or email by using a network. In the case for hunters, if you want a trail camera to send you images via text and email at anytime from anywhere,  you desire a trail camera with cellular capability. In some manufacturer’s descriptions, wireless just means not having to go directly to the camera site to check the camera, you can connect with it by driving or walking within range of the wifi signal. While this has its advantages, hunters are more concerned and interested in cameras with cellular capability.

For the case of this article, we will stick to the term hunters use to describe “trail cameras that send photos to your phone” as wireless trail cameras, but understand that we are supplying information on cameras with cellular capability. The way these “cellular capable” wireless trail cameras work is through a network, with a plan. A wireless trail camera acts as a hybrid between normal trail cameras and a basic cell phone. It has a plan, a SIM card,  and can send a certain amount of pictures depending on your preferences and payment plan. It does this by using a normally 2G or now 3G network coverage, SIM card,  and signal just as a cell phone does.

Buying A Wireless Trail Camera

Now while it might sound extremely interesting to get your hands on a cellular/wireless trail camera, it can be a little confusing and overwhelming. Some trail camera manufacturing companies need you to set up the plan, yet others will allow you to immediately set up the cellular trial camera nd use it for the first month (for free), then pay as you go with the same SIM card.

Again there is a difference between wireless trail cameras and wireless trail cameras with cellular capability, so be sure you are considering and buying the right type of camera. The ideal cellular/wireless trail camera should not only have a rock solid camera as a base before the network is even considered, but also allow easy setup, payment options, and an image management system.

 

wireless-trail-cameras-101_pngpic

 

icon-color-lcd icon-wireless icon-solar icon-noglowled icon-multiflashmode icon-hyperpir icon-hypernightvision icon-hdvideo icon-gpsgeotag icon-freezeframeshutter icon-fieldscan2x icon-datastamp

 

  • New sharper thumbnails, 4 times the resolution as the previous model
  • All new Aggressor camera body with an all metal buckle
  • Expanded network coverage
  • Wireless connectivity straight out of the box – sim card and data included
  • 3G Wireless functionality only compatible in the US
  • Affordable pre-paid data plans available from Bushnell
  • Daily location monitoring
  • Premium command and control, manage your camera settings via your computer or smartphone
  • Free iOS and Android app – Send images to a smartphone, email, web or facebook
  • Lightning fast – 3-second trigger speed
  • Runs up to 3 months on one set of batteries
  • 14MP high-quality full-color resolution
  • HD Video – 1280×720 pixels
  • Weatherproof
  • 48 No-Glow Black LEDs with 60′ range, invisible to game and other hunters
  • Day/night auto sensor
  • External power compatible
  • PIR sensor is motion activated out to 60′
  • Adjustable PIR (Lo/Med/High) or Auto PIR
  • Programmable trigger interval: 1 sec. to 60 min.
  • Multi-image mode: 1-3 images per trigger
  • Video length: 1 second to 60 seconds, programmable
  • Field Scan 2X with two available time slots so you can monitor dusk and dawn movement
  • Temperature range -5° F to 140° F
  • PIR sensor is motion activated out to 60′
  • Runs up to 3 months on one set of batteries
  • Adjustable web belt and 1/4-20 socket
  • SD card slot

 

Built upon the success of the Bushnell Aggressor Trail Camera, the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor Wireless is the wireless trail camera with all the bells and whistles of a high-end trail camera, now with the addition of cellular capability. The Aggressor Wireless Trail Camera operates on AT & T’s wireless data network using pre-paid plans through Bushnell.
The Steps are as follows:

1: Install batteries and SD Card

2: Register your camera online

3: Mount the wireless trail camera on your favorite tree

4: Command, control, and receive using your phone, email, the web, or your Facebook.

The Bushnell Aggressor Wireless comes with a 1-month free trial with unlimited thumbnails, plus a special subscription offer. After this, you can receive images based off of your selection on the plans that work the best for your needs. Bushnell’s wireless trail camera plans are as follows:

(You do not have to have AT &T on your current phone plan, nor sign a contract, the service is provided through Bushnell)

Data Package Monthly Thumbnails Price Per Month
No Data* 0 $0.00
Maintenance Mode** 0 $6.99
Economy 1,500 $9.99
Basic 3,000 $19.99
Deluxe 7,000 $29.99
Elite 15,000 $59.99

The Economy plan with the right settings will allow you to experience great results and benefits from a wireless trail camera, without having to break the bank. Just one camera with the right settings, and in the right spot can allow you to be sent images consistently with very valuable info. Once you do happen to receive a picture of a hit-list buck you can download the HD full resolution image. The prices for downloads are below. Remember the HD high-resolution photo is on the SD card, but the option to download immediately is available.

Options Images
Per Image $0.99
10 Image Pack $7.99
25 Image Pack $16.99

 

The sections below will go into greater detail on the trail camera location, setting, and setup specifics when using these cameras. Buying a wireless trail camera is a clear advantage, you are saving not only time and gas but keeping the pressure off your hunting property as well. Buying is only the first process, however. A user needs to research and think out where they will place the camera, how that information will benefit them, and what settings will report that information.

Wireless Trail Camera Tips

While trail camera tips, in general, are pretty easy to understand and set up, there are some tips to take note of when using wireless trail cameras. These tips could create the advantage you are looking for in a wireless trail camera.

Wireless Trail Camera App Use

wireless-trail-cameras-app-thumbnail

Bushnell has its own app for your cell phone to make management and image viewing a breeze. But there is more to the app than just viewing pictures. The app allows you to change the wireless trail camera’s settings at any time. This is extremely important as the settings can control how much intel and thumbnails you receive each month. By changing the settings to a longer delay, and only a single photo burst you can continually receive pictures as deer work in front of your wireless trail camera without actually filling up your plan’s limits.

wireless-trail-cameras-101_phone-display-previewBeyond the settings, from the app you can change the memory function to “overwrite” and rewrite memory after the SD card fills up. What are we talking about? Well, let’s just say you happen to hang the trail camera in a very hot pinch point and fill your 1,500 photos a month within 15 days. When this happens you might also get worried that your SD card might fill up as well before you get a chance to visit that property. Avoiding a situation of missed intel from a full SD card, Bushnell has given you the option to switch the camera to “overwrite”, meaning once the memory is full, the camera saves over the first pictures taken. This gives you more time as the first 1,500 photos it writes over, already happen to be on your phone. This function allows the user to stay away from the camera site even longer, while at the same time gives complete access to readjust settings whenever an adjustment is needed or desired. The settings can have a huge impact on how fast or slow your image limit fills up. You should take a very close look at the section below for setting suggestions and tips for each situation you might encounter.

Go Solar

wireless-trail-cameras-101_solarpanelfortrailcameras

Whatever wireless trail camera you use, check to see if it has solar compatibility. If so get it! It could make the wold of difference by literally completely eliminating the need to check cameras for extended amounts of time! Having the ability to extend your battery life with solar use creates the perfect scenario for properties that are a far drive or potential leases out of state. Sending photos via text or email drains batteries fast in wireless trail cameras so hooking the camera up to a solar panel will ensure you can truly stay out of that area longer. It also gives you better piece of mind that the camera will continue to supply you with intel.

Security

wireless-trail-cameras-101_securityboxfortrailcameras

It’s not every day a trespasser sees a trail camera, with cellular capability, and a solar panel hooked to it. They may or may not know the trail camera has just sent a text of their mug to your phone. A cable lock or even a security box will at least deter a trespasser.  While you might be able to capture the image for a clear identification, you can at least deter them from severely damaging or stealing your camera. If you are investing the amount of money into a wireless trail camera, at least protect it!

Setups and Settings For Wireless Trail Cameras

You can only receive critical intel based off of how valuable your setups and settings actually are. A poor setup and poor selection for settings will inevitably result in missed intel and opportunities. Whether this mistake creates consequences such as simply too many photos (you miss photos the end of the month), not enough photos (you don’t happen to fill your plan), or just bad images ( you set the camera to high you just see tips of antlers), taking the time to learn and practice the best setup and settings for each situation is well worth the time. To walk you through this process we have provided common situations and goals of trail camera sites, but with the setups and settings tailored for wireless trail cameras. These will help you dial in on what you desire out of your wireless game camera, and help you get the most from your money and time spent.

Bait Site

wireless-trail-cameras-101_bait

Situation: Bait sites are the most common trail camera site you see for hunters. The bait usually in the form of food (corn) or a mineral attractant allows hunters to “pull” deer into the trail cameras frame. Bait sites in some states where bait is illegal during the hunting seasons are commonly running during the off-season. This relays information on sex ratios, doe numbers, fawn recruitment, and of course helps create a buck hit-list. Normally, when using a regular trail camera, the bait can easily be filled or replenished when the cards are checked. However, when using wireless trail cameras a hunter must be cautious of keeping bait at the site. Using products such as The Cube™ by  Big & J Attractants can help ensure this. The Cube™ is a compressed granular attractant designed to last longer and provide better, longer reaching attractant than just a bag of corn.

wireless-trail-cameras-101_cubebigandj

Goals: Pull in all deer (does and bucks) utilizing the property to create a somewhat accurate inventory.

Setup: Place the wireless trail camera within  detection distance, but at a distance, the camera can clearly view any deer utilizing the site. 10 yards from the bait site usually allows most trail cameras to detect deer, capture the full body of every deer on the site, while at the same time be close enough to take great night-time images. The camera should be placed about breast-height and face north if possible to avoid complications of direct sun.

Settings: Wireless trail cameras over bait sites is where a mistake most often occurs. This mistake is usually made with the selection of the wrong settings. When deer come into bait sites they can spend a lot of time licking the mineral or eating the attractant. This is especially true for deer fawns. This means you don’t necessarily need 3 photos every minute… you will fill up your image limit quickly. Instead, we suggest just 1 photo every 5 minutes or longer depending on what you see in your first hundred or so batch of images.

Mock Scrapes

wireless-trail-cameras-101_mockscrape

Situation: Mock scrapes are a trail camera site that is often not used by hunters when it absolutely should! Mock scrapes, besides simply extracting interest from bucks, is a successful way to draw deer into a trail camera site, but also a tree stand site, that is legal and not considered “baiting”. Just like a food plot, a mock scrape is another attraction that can add another key point of interest for a buck near your stand. Unfortunately, science and studies have shown mock scrape use favors the night. Regardless, mock scrapes make great locations for wireless trail cameras as they are not considered “bait” but still attract bucks in front of the camera. Installing an unresistible mock scrape can help you create and maintain tabs and an inventory of all the bucks on your property. In order to do this, you must start the scrape out with the help of deer scents. Code Blue Scrape Mate® and Rack Rub ™ create a combination of scents for the ground and the tree limb of a mock scrape. These scents establish a mock scrape, and will create a baseline to keep bucks coming back to check it.

wireless-trail-cameras-101_mockscrapemate

Goals: To take inventory and keep tabs on bucks, and their movements on and across your property.

Setup: Find a thick low hanging branch (around 5 –  5 ½ ft from the ground), or hang one up in a good location. Break off the end and leave a good section hanging. The low hanging branch snapped and twisted towards the ground will be the first indicator for a buck that  a mock scrape is there. Then rub the Rack Rub™ on the branch. Next, take a branch – not your boot and scrape out a wide area directly under the branch. You want fresh dirt clearly seen from a distance. Distribute Scrape Mate® scent in the dirt. You want to set the trail camera up about 10 yards away, distant enough to capture the buck on the mock scrape, but not so close that he will spook at the silhouette of the camera.

Settings: Trail camera settings on mock scrapes can be tricky. Bucks can spend some surprising amount of time fooling around with a mock scrape, but then again another buck could be close by and hit the same mock scrape soon after. We suggest starting out with 1 photo, every minute. This will capture 1 buck multiple times, but still catch potential followers that could sneak in during a longer delay time. If your images are coming into fast and filling your limit, simply adjust the delay to slightly longer 2-3 minutes.

Rut Funnels

wireless-trail-cameras-101_funnel

Situation: While mock scrapes and bait sites provide intel that is considered inventory, a trail camera over a rut funnel is straight intel for hunting. Trail cameras over funnels, usually a pinch point from bedding to food, from bedding area to bedding area, or simply the only transition from one area to another, gives extremely valuable information. Such information could be a mature buck’s daily pattern, new fall patterns that are established as bucks check doe bedding areas, and the best information you could receive, a hot doe in the area. This information sent to your phone or email directly with a wireless trail camera could tell you that you need to get in and hunt then and there.

Goals: Derive information on buck movement, patterns, and potentially hot does or hot spots for rutting activity.

Setup: A rut funnel might be an opening or “gate” in a field, a saddle between hills, a shallow point in a creek, or simply a trail along a thin band of woods between Ag fields. In all cases setting the wireless trail camera up at a 45-degree angle rather than in line with, or perpendicular to the trail or deer run is best. Setting up the trail camera in line with could spook deer, perpendicular could allow a deer to pass straight through before the camera sets off. A 45-degree angle allows more time for the trail camera to capture movement, while at the same time having the ability to capture multiple deer traveling on the run in the case of bucks dogging does.

Settings: Rut funnels, or basically a deer run with a lot of traffic requires different settings than bait sites and mock scrapes. Unlike those sites, a deer traveling through a funnel with be moving through rather quickly. You don’t want to miss any deer, especially as seeing that a mature buck or several could be following closely behind one doe. For a rut funnel we recommend running 1 -3 photo burst (depending on the time of year) with a 30-second delay.

Food Plots

wireless-trail-cameras-101_food

Situation: Feeding plots, Ag fields, hunting plots, or kill plots, regardless of what you call them or use them for, these food sources are great locations for trail cameras. You generally know where deer are funneling out of to get into a food plot, so placing a trail camera facing the plot, on this gate or opening can reveal what deer and when they are feeding on the plot. This can directly be used for hunting and patterning bucks. With wireless trail cameras, you have the ability to hunt a buck that has just recently been hitting the food plot an hour early due to a cold front. This is an absolute advantage to grasp if you have the chance.

Goals: Monitor the food plot and pattern bucks and does on that food source.

Setup: Setting up a wireless trail camera over a food plot follows the same guidelines a trail camera over a funnel would. If you are watching a section of the plot, simply ensure the camera is facing the right way horizontally and vertically. If you are placing the trail camera over an opening or pinch point on the food plot then set up again at a 45-degree angle, getting the plot but also the trail as deer progress into the plot.

Settings: If you place the wireless trail camera over a section of the food plot to watch deer feeding then you want to see the settings for 1 photo every 5 minutes. If you are watching an opening into the plot than bump the interval down to 1 minute in order to catch multiple deer exiting or entering the food plot.

Wireless Trail Cameras 101

While you might have just gotten used to running trail cameras, the industry has thrown another game-changer on your plate. There are definitely benefits to taking advantage of by using wireless trail cameras, but only if you place the cameras at the right locations, with the right settings, and with the right image system management. Generally, use common sense when setting up cameras according to what you want to capture, the location you are at, the time of year, deer behavior at that site, and the area surrounding the camera.

We hope these tips and wireless trail cameras 101 helps you make the decision on whether or not a wireless trail camera is worth it, and assists you with capturing the most valuable info you can with it. If you want to dive deeper into more trail camera tips check out another blog below!

2 replies
  1. Kristine Cordy
    Kristine Cordy says:

    Hello, my name is Kristine Cordy. I’m a high schooler in the process of preparing for my AP Computer Science test. My family are big hunters and have recently gotten a Spartan GoCam. I’ve chosen to do my AP project on wireless/cellular trial cameras. I have to explain and show how the computing innovation impacts society, culture, or economy positively and negatively, and as well as describe how it transforms, consumes, or produces data. And lastly I have to describe at least one data storage concern, data privacy concern, or data security concern directly related to the computing innovation.

    I found your article helpful, but I was wondering where you got your information, because I could not find any cited sources through out the page.

    Reply
  2. Mason
    Mason says:

    Hi I was interested in buying the camera but my problem is the area I want to put the camera has no cell phone service. Is there a booster I can buy that will help with this?

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *