BY James Brown​, 7 Minutes


So you’re looking for the best Trail camera to amp up your hunting game? It is a good idea to have a good trail camera before you kick off the hunting season, not only hunting is a hobby for some but it’s a passion for most and like any other sports, you need to be on top of your game for the Game.

 

And with that said, out of hundreds of game cameras out there we have narrowed down the list to about 5 of them, to help you choose the best of the best trail camera available in the market right now.


We understand there is an overabundance of information out on the internet and we don’t want to confuse you with so many product recommendations. that way it will be a little convenient for you.


Mixed with our personal experiences and doing tens of hours of research so that you don’t have to waste your time reinventing the wheel.

 

Our major focus was on things like Flash foot range, Trigger time/speed, recovery time, motion sensor range, megapixels, burst mode, Low light performance, HD Recording, Low light, Infrared etc.


So here is our pick for 5 best game cameras this year.

OUR TOP THREE PICKS

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Wireless- Best trail camera

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Browning Strike Force HD- best trail camera

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Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam Standard Edition-bes trail camera

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The Dark Ops is the most robust camera in Browning's Dark ops series. Its a solid no glow trail camera with one of the fastest trigger speed on the market.

best trail camera

Browning dark ops elite is a small compact trail camera, but that does not stop it from being tough and reliable. It takes 6 AA batteries inside a push-button tray, which is much easier to remove than the Bushnell Trophy Cam. We really like the illuminated screen and buttons.


Another great feature is its 30-second countdown: It will give you 30 seconds to get out of the view before it starts recording, other cameras on the market starts recording right away.        


Dark ops 940 extreme and pro XD dual lens have almost the same feature but they are a little expensive than this trail camera.


It also has a very heavy-duty strap, takes a 32-Gigabyte card, which is really good for taking lots of photos (about 500+ HD photos in one setting), 1 hour plus Audio-video and a 10 megapixels camera. You can literally leave it for weeks and it will not run out of storage and battery.


The 10 MP camera has a sensor of 55-foot detection range with a trigger time of just 0.4 seconds, yes just 0.4 seconds, yeah compete with The flash next time.


With a recovery time of 1.5 seconds, it records 1280 x 720 HD videos with sound (5 seconds to 2 minutes, 20 second night time) which you can adjust in the settings.


The thing we don’t like about the camera is it doesn’t have the connection cord for the TV and the ac power adapter.


Our recommendation is if you buy this camera, use lithium batteries because it gives more power, longer battery life, long time for the camera to be on the field and it will be a good long-term investment for you! Unfortunately, it does not work with common D cell batteries, as Dark Ops is designed to use a little less common C cell batteries.


Final thoughts are, Dark Ops is almost as good as Bushnell Trophy Cam but it does lack a little in durability compare to Bushnell otherwise, it’s a great product overall.

The Good Stuff:

  • Extremely fast detection circuit
  • Internal picture viewer
  • Quick trigger speed
  • Superior detection zone
  • No Glow infrared flash
  • Heavy-Duty design
  • Extended battery life
  • Reasonable price
  • Very solid picture/video quality

The Bad Stuff:

  • Shorter detection range against Strike Force
  • Nighttime power consumption is higher

This trail camera is one of the most popular, high-performance camera out there. You will surely get the return on investment with the feature and performance it delivers.

Its ability to capture high resolution images makes it one of the best game camera out there. Especially its ability to record video and audio for a longer period of time.

Even though Bushnell trophy cam is on a little expensive side of the spectrum in the price list, but it doesn’t stop itself to amaze us by its picture and video quality.

 

It comes with an 8 Mega Pixels camera that records with audio in 1280 X 720 pixels, yeah that’s HD, The performance of this camera is exceptional no matter if you use it as home security, wildlife monitoring, surveillance or scouting game. The quality it offers is 4 times better than any other trail camera in the same class.


This camera comes with a 3.5 ft feet long strap, with two versions: camouflage and brown. It comes with 32 LED’s with a range of 60ft range, which is a bit less but still manageable. I really like the night vision of this trail camera, it produce outstanding images even at night.


Moreover, the good thing is its powerful LEDs, which are infrared, means much much clarity, detailed pictures and videos with those extra LEDs making it the best in-class compare to other models.


About the sensors, this one capture everything in detail within 60ft range while cheaper ones, they do capture images but the quality with them is un-matchable. With the other in class, trail camera the picture starts blurring when the animal is far.


This product can hold up to 8 AA batteries at once. However, it can still operate for a good amount of time on 4 AA base Batteries. In-addition, you can expect it to run for a hefty two months or even more with all 8 AA batteries in it.


The camera has 32GB of memory, which is more than enough to capture lots of images, we are talking 2000 photos here and it will still have room to capture more or about 2+ hours of footage, which is great for those who don’t check their game camera often.  


The product is waterproof although it’s not made for extreme weather but it has a tolerance of -5 Fahrenheit up to 140 Fahrenheit.


 This device is a little bigger than the other ones on the list but it is a lot more capable and robust. Overall, it is a mid range camera but the quality it delivers is amazing!

The Good Stuff:

  • High resolution images of up to 3264 x 2448 (8MP) in size
  • Featuring video recording with audio of up to 60 seconds in length
  • Invisible IR-Flash with range of up to 45 feet
  • PIR with triple levels of sensitivity
  • Programmable triggering intervals between one and sixty seconds
  • Can take between one and three photos per trigger
  • TV output port
  • Long-lasting weatherproof body frame, able to resist snow and rain
  • Field scan time lapse mode
  • Batteries can last up to an year under right conditions
  • Very Quick trigger speed

The Bad Stuff:

  • Streaking can arise in low light with fast moving game if the camera is set to 5 or 8 megapixels
  • Different lighting conditions can puzzle the sensors resulting in photos with red, green or blue color casts

The trail camera is manufactured by GSM Outdoors, has acquired a hefty following and position itself for building valuable trail cameras.

The G 42 produces sharp, vivid and clear photos despite being at such a low price with even better detection range.

With its reliable battery life, the camera proved to be one of the best trail camera of its class. 

Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo-best trail camera

Our third pick is Stealth Cam G42, it’s the cheapest camera on the list but certainly not bad for its price. Like any other cameras on the list, it captures quality photos.


The company claims with the retina advanced low light sensitivity you will get crisp and sharp images during low light i.e. early in the morning/ later in the evening.

What I like the most about this product is its blur reduction feature; it offers true sharp images as well as reduces blurring in the pictures.


The camera has 12 Mega Pixels shoots at an impressive 1080p accompanied with 100 foot of black infrared emitters with a reflex time of 0.5 second which is quite interesting considering the price of the camera.


The camera also has wide field of view allow it to capture broad area. What we have found with Stealth cam G42 is the still photos and time laps are really impressive but the video quality is okay-ish during the night.


It also has geo tagging which provides a great opportunity for you if you have a lot of different units out to track and recall all your favorite locations.


The best thing we like about this trail camera is that it has security password on its camera which you can set it up in the initial installation, though it cannot save the theft but it will make sure that nobody can use the camera further.


The burst mode gives up to 9 images per triggering and it can be used as a security camera as well. It has an outstanding battery life of one year, it is always better to use lithium batteries with it.

Quick tip: don’t use cheap batteries, you’ll have to compromise with the image/video quality and the camera & battery will die quickly.


The Good Stuff:

  • Quick trigger speed 
  • Crisp and razor-sharp day photos with  no blurriness 
  • High definition video with sound Selection of modes and other settings 
  • Setup is easy and Good detection range is remarkable
  • Excellent body design 
  • Good battery life 
  • One year warranty

The Bad Stuff:

  • Recovery time is not that good
  • White-outs may occur during night photos

A great compact, fast triggered trail camera manufactured by Browning with an excellent night time photo taking abilities.

It has already become one of the top selling trail camera for multiple year featuring some of the best camouflage pattern.

Browning Strike Force HD- best trail camera

This Trail camera comes with a 10 megapixel sensor, and a 100 foot IR LED illumination flash range, means it has a brief faint red glow before it take a picture or a video.

The camera doesn’t have the fastest trigger speed in the market but it still manage to capture the animals with a pace of 0.67 second.

The picture quality is solid, it has good clarity, colors are vibrant, especially the daytime pictures, they are really good.  Strike Force HS eliminates the possibility of big glaring weakness.

It takes up to 6 AA batteries in an eject tray. The battery is good with a moderate battery life especially when compared to others models in the same price range. Moreover, it comes with an accurate battery power indicator which is a plus.

The camera was designed to operate in all weather conditions and is water resistant (not that you want to immerse it in water).

Note: water resistant device are not waterproof, you cannot submerge them in water, but they can withstand a heavy rain.

It’s a reasonably small game/trail camera and is easy to conceal on a tree or wherever you want to put it, you can easily hide it, making it theft proof in its own way. It does have the python bracket if you want to lock it for an enhanced security.

The only thing we do not like about this device is even though the camouflage model is pretty good and it can easily blend in the environment, the strap is easily noticeable even from far away.

Overall the product is good but sometimes the latch design doesn’t work or it breaks off, however it’s a rare glitch. Strike Force HD comes with a warranty and you can replace it with a new one if you face similar problem.

The Good Stuff:

  • Compact size with dimensions 5 x 4 x 2.5 
  • Fast trigger speed of 0.67 seconds
  • Impressive recovery time (2.3 seconds)
  • Outstanding flash range of 100 feet
  • High picture and video quality (10 megapixels and 720p)
  • Long battery life, can take up to 10,000 images on a single set of 6 AA batteries
  • Simple to set up and easy to mount which includes a Python cable lock for security Supports 
  • up to 32 GB SD cards
  • Reasonable price

The Bad Stuff:

  • Does not include a memory card
  • Does not have a built-in display

The plotwatcher pro was definitely ahead of its time when it was first released. 

Its a game surveillance camera which will monitor game pattern without a hassle. with the 8 AA batteries can last up to 4 months.

The only reason this camera is not higher above the list is because it doesn’t have the night vision, It cannot record during the night that’s why Plotwatcher pro specifically designed purely for game hunters, while not a good performance for home surveillance or security.


 It comes with 2 set of power banks, can hold 8 AA batteries if you want up to four months of battery life or you can use 1 bank with 4 AA batteries which lasts for about one month plus. Another good feature is that It has a very good quality clasp which makes it weather proof.  


We really like how the preview mode in the selectors will give you a sample of what the camera will see so that you can adjust it properly.

Day 6 plotwatcher pro has up to 32 GB of space which is great because it can take up to 1 million pictures and 1,280 x 720 video resolution, This might be a good choice for those who want High Definition clarity for game surveillance.


A 2.5 inch LCD display makes the set up of the camera immensely convenient.


The advantage of time lapse camera is that you will be able to see beyond what a traditional motion sensor camera can see. For us the best thing about Plotwatcher pro is that it gives you a whole wide and large area (300+ ft) for surveillance as well as identify travel pattern of the game.


The video playing software, which comes with Plotwatcher pro, is great, the game search feature is unique, and it searches any kind of activity in any area of the photo you desire which can prevent you from wasting time as it does not detect leaves even if it is wind out there.


Overall the product is good. The only bad thing is that it cannot take pictures during the night.

The Good Stuff:

  • Time-lapse camera records footage for longer
  • Time-lapse also allows the user to get more coverage
  • Up to 4 months battery life, using 8 x AA batteries
  • Additional lenses for zoom and wide angle can be additionally purchased
  • SD card storage for easy footage retrieval
  • One button setup
  • Comes with a big LCD display

The Bad Stuff:

  • Lack of zoom but it can be redeemed with an optical lens
  • Inability to operate during the night

Best Trail Camera Under Budget

The A-30 is a simple yet high performance camera against its low price which is under $100.

From back LCD display to high resolution photos to a quick trigger speed of 0.7 seconds, the trail camera has it all for the price. An absolute bargain. 

Moultrie A-30 is a fully functional low tiered trail camera that delivers great results at a great price tag but do not expect it to perform like a full featured game camera. The Moultire A-30 comes with red glow LED’s, which means a dim visible red light, will blink after every recording.


Moultrie A-30 is a compact trail camera with dimensions of just 5.5″ x 3.5″ x 2.5″. For those of you looking for a camouflage design, you may get disappointed as it comes with an overall olive green color, which blend in the environment well especially forests.


The plastic body feels sturdy meeting the standard long set by Moultrie particularly for a trail camera under $100. There are two sets of bracket on the back of the camera to position the camera onto a tree.


The power On-Off switch is on the left hand side in a control panel. A convenient eject-able battery tray is present to house batteries. Another great feature about this camera is its LCD display, which is fairly small but it is easy to read and bright. There are 3 buttons to choose and alter the settings.


You may find it uncomfortable to operate the camera and change its setting a little, as the hinged door do not fold back far enough to access the control panel.


The device can hold up to 8 X AA batteries. The eject tray design is makes it easy to load/unload the batteries. The eject button makes it even easier to access the batteries however you may find it a bit stiff to remove with a brand new camera.


We really like the battery indicator displays the amount of battery left in percentage, which tend to be pretty accurate. The battery can last for many months alone with picture only mode. However, the video mode drains the battery a lot faster than it should so don’t expect it to last more than a month at most.


The daytime images fancy strong colors and they tend to be smooth and crisp. Target further than 100 feet may face some blurriness.


Nighttime photos are equally good with fine contrast and stable brightness producing the best in-class photos. The duration of the videos is limited to 15 seconds.


The device doesn’t include audio feature, with nighttime video producing better quality than the daytime videos in terms of color and contrast. A-30 records HD videos at a resolution of 1280 X 720p with a 12-megapixel camera.

The Good Stuff:

  • Robust body frame
  • Impressive battery life of about 6-7 months
  • High quality night photos
  • 16000 images in one setting

The Bad Stuff:

  • Poor battery life on videos
  • No audio recording

This trail camera is an entry level camera with impressive performance including its no-glow LED's, High resolution photos and its ability to work in high temperature environment..

The delay to set a time interval is one of its best feature to take photos at time you desire upon motion.

LDesign Hunting Trail-Best trail camera

The LDesign Hunting Trail camera is a decent entry-level trail camera for hunting to identify pattern of the game for hunting. Another good thing about this device is that it works just fine for home surveillance.


The LDesign Hunting Trail camera houses 12 AA batteries to function at the optimum level. However, it can run on 6 AA batteries.


The device can support up to 32 GB of memory with a class 10 SD card. A standard Mini-B USB cable is required to connect this trail camera with your PC which is included in the package.


The LDesign Hunting Trail camera have a set of built-in 42 illuminated 940NM motion triggered Black IR flash which can target up to 65 feet and is more than enough to capture any game pattern be it during the night or the day.


However, our experience with this trail camera suggests that small animals that are far away from the camera are hard to detect.


The device comes with a 12 MP camera but it can range from 2 MP – 12 MP depending up on the resolution settings you select: 2, 4, 8, 10, 12. With a reflex trigger of 0.8 seconds makes it a little slower than other in-class trail camera.


A great thing about trail cam is that it can record HD videos at 1080p @ 15 frames per second with audio despite being at such a low price. With the burst mode, the camera can take up to 1 photo per trigger activation to get full moving track of an object or 1~7 photos per trigger depending upon the settings.


The concerning stamps setting offers time, date, temperature, moon phase, GPS and camera ID on every image and video recorded. In-addition, the LDesign Hunting Trail camera is built to stand against rain, snow, fog or any other though conditions with IP64 waterproof design.


The LCD display is convenient during low light condition. The overall size of the LDesign Hunting Trail camera is compact with dimensions. You don’t have to worry about your media gets stolen or deleted as the device is password protected for added privacy.


Another great feature is the camera will only work during the time period that you have chose to set in the settings which is great as it will avoid the camera to take too much photo.

The Good Stuff:

  • High Resolution Photos
  • Ability to operate on half the amount of batteries
  • Great sensor sensitivity 
  • IP64 water design
  • 52 degree field of view
  • built in 2 inch color TFT display

The Bad Stuff:

  • Comparably slow trigger speed

Best Trail Camera for a Hefty Budget

The trophy cam HD is Bushnell’s high tier top of the line trail camera. This model is the most advanced game camera Bushnell has designed till date. The trophy cam is very popular amongst hunters featuring one of the best optics currently on the market.


The built quality is remarkable and it can withstand wear and tear caused by extreme weather.


It works great for both surveillance and hunting which can easily be obscure with its less complicated design.


The trophy cam HD comes with a sim card with an attached data plan makes it very convenient and compatible especially for hunting purpose. The data plans are affordable and not at all complicated, you will find it easy to upgrade or downgrade the plans without any Hassle.


A great thing about this device is that it does not require configuration to work, you just get it out of the box and it starts to work right away.


Even if you are using it at maximum capacity, you can expect it to work a minimum of 3 months.


The wireless feature is the best in class. The data plan is completely free for the first 30 days, the camera will send unlimited thumbnails of the photo captured by the device. It’s a no contract plan that runs through AT&T network.


For maximum coverage, make sure to check AT&T coverage in the area you want to place your game camera. Head over to wirelesstrophycam.com over to access your camera on the AT&T network.


Additional added feature is the trophy cam HD wireless app. To access the app, use the same credentials that you have used on their website.  


Another great feature of this device is its heat sensors and motion sensor, both of which are dead accurate. When the camera detect a motion through its motion sensor the heat sensor start reading the heat signature of the target letting the camera know when to capture.


This feature prevents the battery from draining unnecessarily. The sensors can detect movement within 60 feet of range with a trigger time of just .6 seconds. Moreover, the 32 infrared no glow LED’s capture clear night time photos and videos without alerting the game or compromising with the image quality.


 The bright and clear LCD display is 2.4 inches. The 8 MP camera sensor produce larger than life images of sheer quality with high resolution looks extraordinary on a large screens.


Bushnell’s trophy cam HD is one of the best camera available in the market today, we’re really impressed by the high definition quality images it produces, making it a tough competition for other high end trail camera in the market today.


This beast is the best trail camera we’ve had the privilege to test, definitely a recommendation. Also check what other users have to say about this game camera here

Things to keep in mind before buying a trail camera:

1. One of the main things you have to keep in mind is that there is a lot of marketing going on in the trail camera space and brands will try to sell you things that just don’t add any value to your life but they market it in a way that looks compelling. for example: there was this one company who was selling an odorless SD card which is just a waste of money, or one was selling with an apple scented Trail camera but there functions aren’t that great! So, stay away from these overly marketing cameras. 


2. Only use cameras that use AA batteries, or use Lithium batteries, they are going to be cheaper for you in the long run.


3. About trigger speed, it is good to have a fast trigger speed or you’ll miss your game but being smart and strategizing beforehand, where to put camera should be your priority. We recommend a trigger speed of 0.7 sec and less.


4.  Do not get fooled by Mega Pixels, Higher mega pixels doesn’t always mean better quality photos, look for the resolution of the images and always look for the sample photos of the trail camera.


5. Although white flash(Incandescent cameras) will give you colored photos they can scare the game away during the night and they eat up more battery, so we recommend you to get black flash, this flash emits no visible light at all.

Whereas Red glow cameras do emit light when taking a picture, but it’s just a faint red glow, they tend to produce a brighter and crisper image than black flash camera.

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