Bushnell Trophy Cams
You might think that a trail-camera is a piece of kit designed for specialists.
Sure, they work for anyone with a serious and committed interest in the natural world, from researchers wanting to monitor animal movements and populations to wildlife film-makers and photographers (and hunters of course for whom they were originally developed, hence the rather macho names given to some). But trail-cams are incredibly good fun too, for anyone who wants to discover what’s going on outside their front door (or even inside the house!) whilst they are not around.
There are many trail-cameras on the market. Some only take still images of subjects that trigger them, others take both still and video images. The quality of these pictures is an important consideration, but by no means the only one. I’ve used many trail-cams over the years and the Bushnell Trophycam is by far the most user-friendly I have come across, whilst still producing good images.
Like most, you can set it to take still images of anything that trips the passive infra red sensor, or PIR….. (big words for exactly the same technology that trips your outside light when you get home in the dark). You can alter the sensitivity, the active area that will set the trigger and the quality of image taken by the camera. The highest image quality on still picture mode is 8MP, giving plenty of detail to identify what (or who) has been snuffling in your flower borders or rooting around your bins. A carefully positioned camera can help identify anyone in an area they shouldn’t be too!
The option to leave the system running for up to a year on one set of batteries, with the images bearing the date and time they were taken, means you can walk away and review your results when ever you want. Alternatively, you can de-activate the date stamping, and so have images that are more aesthetically pleasing.
The camera produces colour images by day, and automatically switches to infra red (black and white) by night with a built in IR light that illuminates subjects up to 15m metres away, whilst remaining invisible.
The video mode, ranges (depending on model) from a pretty low res and still in 4:3 format (old telly shape), right up to 1080p HD on the latest models. All models are have very responsive triggering and a variable reset time.
If all this sounds a bit techy for you, don’t be put off. Setting up the cameras is super easy, with a very intuitive menu system that uses plain English (or another language if you prefer!) to guide you to successful images every time. I am a terror for never reading instruction manuals (sounds familiar?), and managed to set up my camera in no time by switching on and scrolling through the menu.
The 119435, 119446 and 119466 models spell this out on an LCD screen and the 119456 and 119467 do so on their little built-in colour monitor which doubles up to allow you to review your photo or video results instantly in the field, an option missing from most other trail-cams. And believe me, a bit of instant feedback is GREAT FUN!!!
(2011 models now offer SD card support up to 32GB, a timelapse mode and will record audio in video mode - all excellent additions to an already list of features!)
Once you have one of these little beauties in your possession, you’ll think of all sorts of things you can do with it! It’s super to set up with the help of kids, who really get into the idea of covert surveillance with instant results the next day. Waiting to review the images from the night before on the screen the following morning is almost as exciting as Christmas! Who knows, you may even capture the moment Santa pops out of the chimney!!