Effective scouting begins with not letting the animals know you’re doing it. Nothing has had more impact on how a hunter scouts in the last three decades, than the evolution of trail camera technology. The first models, powered by D-cell batteries, using rolls of 35mm film, gave us our first glimpse into what happens in the woods when hunters aren’t around to see it firsthand.
As all technology does, these first cameras evolved pretty quickly to incorporate digital storage instead of film, and improved battery management systems to get away from the expensive and heavy D-cell batteries, and incorporate smaller and more affordable AA options.
For many, this is where the evolution stopped. Maybe they are using a new flash system, or mounting them in a different way, but for many hunters, pulling SD cards and running AA batteries to the woods every month or so has just become normal. No doubt these hunters are getting far more information out of the woods than ever before, and even these trips are far less than what manual scouting trips from 50 years ago required to have real success in the woods, but are they maximizing the technological options and advancements available? At the end of the day, even these trail cameras, that seemed like a pipe dream just a 15 years ago, still have two huge limiting factors, pulling SD cards and battery life.
Does the market already have solutions for both? The answer is a resounding yes.
It doesn’t matter if the visit is to swap SD cards, or change batteries, the simple fact is that by visiting that camera you are introducing human activity and scent into an area where you don’t want either of those things to exist.
Luckily, for those hunters who take scent control and human intrusion seriously, you have two technologies available that can all but eliminate camera visits, cellular photo transmission and solar battery management. Combining these technologies gives you the option to place a camera early in the year, like now, and not worry about getting photos, because they are sent to your phone via mobile app, or changing batteries, because the solar panel can keep the camera going for months on end.
While cellular transmission options are pretty straightforward, there are some better or more affordable options than others. Solar is really where you can see some dramatic differences in what is offered. Many of us are familiar with the solar panel setups used to charge 12V batteries stored at the base of the tree, there are some other, more compact, easier to use options available as well.
SPYPOINT trail cameras offers several models that incorporate their integrated solar panel technology, for example. These cameras don’t require mounting a solar panel to a tree to charge a 12V battery, because the solar panel and battery are contained within the camera itself. What’s more, is that the SPYPOINT solar panels don’t require hours of direct sunlight to add to the charge of the battery, meaning they work to keep the battery charged even when not in direct sunlight.
The LINK-S and SOLAR-DARK cameras have an internal lithium battery that is charged by the solar panel directly. Both cameras also allow for the installation of AA batteries as a backup in the even that the internal battery level is drawn below a certain point. The LINK-S is also a cellular camera, so camera visits can be eliminated for card pulls as well. The SOLAR-DARK, while not cellular, can be paired with the new CELL-LINK from SPYPOINT, a universal cellular adapter, that can make virtually any trail camera, regardless of manufacturer, a cellular camera. The new LINK-MICRO-S-LTE also uses the integrated solar panel design. In this camera, a removeable lithium battery pack replaces the battery tray design used in the LINK-MICRO-LTE. The solar panel charges this battery pack, rather than an internal battery. While this does eliminate the AA backup, it saves on space and weight. Like the LINK-S, the LINK-MICRO-S-LTE is also cellular.
We already touched on the savings you can realize by avoiding trips to service batteries, and the reduced human footprint on your hunting property. There’s an even more obvious savings though, the batteries! It isn’t cheap to keep cameras powered through the course of the year, especially if you run them 12 months a year. Rechargeable options can save hundreds in batteries, literally paying for themselves over the life the product. Not to mention, if they allow you to stay out of the woods, and your season is more successful, you have that as an added bonus.
At the end of the day, technology is always evolving. Just because what you are currently using is lightyears ahead of where you used to be, doesn’t mean there aren’t other advancements you can also take advantage of to put the odds in your favor. Deer have thousands of years of instinct on their side. An ingrained desire to avoid detection.
Why don’t you put the solar technology advancements of trail cameras on your side, so you can avoid detection for a change.
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