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Digital Scouting Cameras: One Year of Testing

It has been a year since I decided to test and review digital scouting cameras. Through doing these tests Iíd hoped to give hunters some good information that would help them as they shopped for a digital scouting camera of their own. I think I have accomplished this and fortunately for me, Iíve had a lot of fun doing the tests.

Iím not sure exactly how many pictures Iíve taken but it is over 10,000. I received the first bobcat picture in the last batch and have yet to get a picture of a coyote, but sooner or later Iíll get one. Itís still exciting to get each group of pictures.

So far I have used eleven digital scouting cameras and am currently trying to decide which one I will try next. There are still plenty to choose from.

What have I learned over the past year?

For the most part you get what you pay for. Although there are some expensive cameras in the $300 plus range that arenít much better than the cheaper ones there arenít any in the under $200 range that come close to those in the $400 plus range.

You canít beat a real digital camera for good picture quality. There are some hunters out there that do not care an ounce about picture quality but there is a difference. The higher mega pixel scouting cameras that have come out are an improvement over their predecessors but their prices are higher and they do not match the picture quality.

If the possibility of your camera being stolen is a factor you have a tough decision to make. The cheaper cameras are lacking in their ability to be locked to a tree whereas the better cameras come with much more secure locking capabilities. This makes for a tough decision. Buy a cheap scouting camera that is easy to steal or buy a more expensive one that is harder to steal. Whatever you do, donít buy an expensive one that does not have good locking capabilities.

The latest is an infrared model and Iím not completely sold on it although it is still early in my testing. Iím not sure about the pink black and white (can this be) pictures, Iíve been somewhat spoiled by good quality nighttime pictures. Iím not convinced that these cameras are less susceptible to thievery either. An intruder would definitely see the flash but the red IR lights are very noticeable as well and they stay lit for a few seconds. Iím thinking a flash could possibly be mistaken for lightening whereas the red IR lights are a real eye catcher. As far as your digital scouting camera being stolen the IR versus flash may be a wash. The real advantage with the IR may be the distance issue.

For me batteries are a difference maker. The cameras I have that use AA rechargeable batteries and/or get six months plus from a single 9-volt battery are head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. One of the major advantages of digital scouting cameras is how cheap they are to operate as compared to 35mm models. If you are buying a lot of batteries the advantage of a digital camera is lessened somewhat and more importantly it is a pain in the rear end.

In 2006 Iíll continue to purchase and test digital scouting cameras, have the enjoyment of viewing another 10,000 pictures and hopefully help the hunting community in the process.

You can read all of the digital scouting camera reviews at www.whitetaildeer-management-and-hunting.com.

Submitted by:

John Cook

John Cook is an avid deer hunter who enjoys testing digital scouting cameras and planting food plots with his children in West Virginia.





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