Three Types of Trail Cameras for Monitoring Wildlife

The best trail camera for you depends on where you’re hanging it and how often you retrieve the information.

Moultrie Mobile XA7000i Cellular Trail Camera
Trail cameras are so camouflage; most animals will never even know its there.Moultrie

A trail camera set up at a particular spot in the woods to monitor wildlife patterns isn’t just the next best thing to being there. It can actually be better than being there. That’s because trail cams don’t spread scent, shift around in a stand, burp, fart, sneeze, or nod off. They don’t scare animals, but they do allow you to make an extremely accurate assessment of what’s in a given area, what’s moving through, and of course the type and size of animals.There’s a wide variety of trail cameras available today. Most all of them can take either photos or videos day and night, are motion-activated, and are waterproof. The right camera for you depends on how often you want to, or will be able to, access the camera itself, the quality of the images, and the cost—the easier to access the images and the higher the quality, the more expensive the camera. Here’s a guide to choosing the best trail camera for you, based on those access and cost differences.

Easy and Often Access

Victure Trail Game Camera
The Victure Trail Cam is powered by AA batteries and records both photos and videos on an SD card.Victure

If you want to keep tabs on an area that you can get to easily—say, on your home property or a place that you drive by every day—a trail cam that records images on an SD card will probably work sell for you. These are inexpensive, so some people invest in two or three such cameras so they can monitor multiple areas.

Hands Off

Campark Trail Camera
Campark’s Trail Camera has a built-in Wi-Fi function, allowing you to download photos via an app on your smartphone.Campark

Some trail cams allow you to access the images via a Wi-Fi signal that you can pick up on your phone from a short distance (50 feet or so) away. Such cams are a good choice if you are frequently in the region you hunt, but don’t want to spend much time in the area where the camera is set up, spreading your scent. Such cameras are ideal if you hunt woodlots or other discrete areas that allow you to approach closely, on foot or in a vehicle, without potentially spooking wildlife. They’re also much easier to use because you don’t have to open the camera and access the SD card in order to see your images.

Cellular Compatible

Moultrie Mobile XA7000i Cellular Trail Camera
The Moultrie Mobile XA7000i Cellular Trail Cam allows hunters to receive images via the AT&T 4G network (Verizon models are also available).Moultrie

Let’s say you want to monitor a region long-term. Or, you want to set a camera in an area that requires a long hike in, which both takes time and has the potential for spooking animals. Or, you simply live very far away from wherever you set up your cameras. Such situations are best served by a camera that allows you to access images via cell signal. Not only will you be able to continually monitor your images and video, you’ll be able to do it anywhere you can pick up a cell signal.

Some of these cell cameras also offer the ability to be powered by a small solar panel, and have high-end features such as HD. Such a camera is the priciest out there, but it allows you to set it and leave it there for the duration of the year, and that’s worth a lot.