Semi-Annual Trail Camera Check

I check most of my trail cameras twice a year. That's most true for the cameras that are a half day walk back in the woods. Some of the closer ones could get a fresh check three or four times. The cameras are strategically placed over a 35,000 acre area south of Newberry. It's my way of staying connected to the the wild activity in the YooP when I'm away. 

Camera types are Bushnell, Moultrie, and Reconyx - all are no-glow (which means they don't have a red or white flash when they take night pictures). No-glow cameras don't get quite the same distance as a red or white flash camera, but my goal is to try and not disturb normal animal activity. So the less disturbance my cameras have, the better.

Reconyx is by far the best. The picture quality is top notch, and the video is stunning high definition. The video quality (of all cameras) is a little lower than original on my condensed video - so keep that in mind when you watch. I've had over 20,000 pictures on a Reconyx camera and it still took a picture of me when i went to check it. I use lithium batteries on all my cameras.

In my opinion, Moultrie pictures are slightly better than Bushnell. They both only hold 8 batteries (compared to 12 in Reconyx). That could be an advantage (cheaper) or disadvantage (don't last as long). I did have a Moultrie run out on me after taking a day's worth of pictures of ravens and bald eagles on a deer kill. There was just enough battery left to get some neat bobcat pictures - but they didn't last through the night and were dead for the remaining 2 months before I had a chance to check in on it.

I place my cameras in tight areas. I want up front and personal images and video. That's my preference. I don't want to have to blow up an image of a far away animal to figure out what it is. Plus, I like the challenge of finding the appropriate pinch points where animals funnel through the woods. 

The Moultrie video is fine, but it must be a tad noisier than the others. On one particular set, I had the camera strategically placed within feet of where the animals would travel. On most occasions the animals jumped back and often ran away when the Moultrie began recording. Some of them seemed to adjust and get used to the noise, but I don't know if some animals stopped taking that route. That's not acceptable. But then a buck sat down in front of the camera and took a nap. He stayed there for a long time, as evidenced by the video each time he moved. Eventually however he jumped up, seemingly startled by the camera video, and moved off to another spot. 

I will only use the Moultrie video when my camera set isn't so close to where I expect they'll travel. I'll give it at least a 10 foot distance. 

The Bushnell video is also ok in quality, and haven't noticed it spook animals. I've had bears walk within inches of it. But I have one major beef - it records in MVI format and that's not compatible with my Mac. There is software to convert, but I haven't found one that I like yet. Plus, its an extra step I really don't want to take. 

Bottom line, for relatively the same price - I'd probably buy Moultrie over Bushnell cameras. If for nothing else, so I don't have to convert the video. I just won't place it as close to the trail. Interestingly, Reconyx video isn't readable on my tablet. That doesn't bother me as much though as I don't store my files on the tablet. 

Reconyx is hand's down my favorite. It's at least 2x the price of the others. Now that my quantity of cameras is sufficient, any additions to the family will probably be chosen on quality - which means it's Reconyx for me from here on out.