August 30, 2013
How to Hunt for Years on $2,000: Trail Cam, Pack, and Knife
By Dave Hurteau
Okay, this being the fourth installment of the series, I’m dispensing with the long lead-in. If you don’t know what I’m up to at this point, start here and follow the links. And now, for the last three of 12 essential deer-gear items, all totaling less than $2K.
Moultrie Game A-5 Camera
In the print edition, we recommended the newer D-333 7.0M model, but I’m updating that here and now. Why? Because while the D-333 we used worked fine, I have since seen quite a few unsubstantiated online reports of the camera simply crapping out. Meanwhile and more important, F&S contributor Steven Hill just finished testing this camera’s even cheaper little brother, the A-5 (shown), giving it a bargain rating “very good,” noting that it had the best long-range detection of all the low-end cams. That said, if trigger speed is more important to you than long-range detection, look at the Wildgame Innovations AXE-2, also $70, which had better trigger speed and battery life. And check out the full test in the October issue.
Remember that you’ll often need to get deer to pose for a bit in front of the lens to get decent pictures with cameras in this price range; therefore they work best in conjunction with mineral licks (where legal), mock scrapes, and small feeding areas. If you want to snap bucks on trails, cruising naturally, you need spend more.
MSRP: $70; moultriefeeders.com
Field & Stream Rogue River Pack
Despite the name, we are not associated with makers of this pack. So don’t be thinking were trying to hock our own stuff. No, this is just a solid pack for the money, and you can often find it on sale at local stores. With padded back support, padded shoulder and waist straps, lots of storage, plenty of pockets, and straps for lashing extra stuff, this is a comfortable, basic pack that does the job. I bought one probably four years ago and I still use it.
MSRP: $60; dicksportinggoods.com
Gerber Moment Fixed Blade Knife
It’s a tad on the large side for deer, but I don’t know where you’ll get a better, full-tang field knife for this price. It has decent steel that takes and very well and hold it okay. The rubberized nonslip grip should keep your hand on the handle even it the midst of field dressing, and the knife comes with a plastic sheath. The upside of the substantial size is that the 3.6-inch blade is thick and strong enough for boning out or quartering deer in the field.
MSRP: $25; basspro.com