February 16, 2023
By Drew Warden
Each January, the Archery Trade Association hosts a trade show where a wide array of archery and hunting industry manufacturers conduct business with buyers and, often, launch new products. While walking the show floor in Indianapolis this year, I saw tons of new bows, crossbows and gear. However, something that particularly caught my eye was how technologically advanced today's trail cameras have become.
Cellular trail cameras—considered groundbreaking innovations seemingly not that long ago—now appear almost commonplace. More than that, many of the newest cell cam models can also utilize multiple cellular networks. A select few can even transmit live video of what's happening in front of the camera at any given moment. Now, artificial intelligence is even entering the mix.
Bottom line: If you're looking for a new trail camera that gives you more powerful scouting capabilities, there are plenty of choices. Read on to learn about some of the latest and greatest trail cameras manufacturers have launched for 2023.
Bushnell CelluCORE Live Cellular Trail Camera
This scouting camera from Bushnell is a perfect example of some of the latest trail camera technologies coming together. The CelluCORE Live offers real-time video on demand as well as Dual SIM Connectivity. That's livestream video at the touch of a button on your smartphone through Bushnell's Trail Cameras App and a camera that automatically connects to the strongest network signal in the area—not just a single provider. The result is it connects, receives and sorts high-quality photos and videos faster. Add an optimized antenna for better signal transmission and high-output No-Glow IR LEDs for 100-foot night range and you've got a very potent scouting tool. Data plans start at $9.99 per month, and buyers get their first 30 days free. $299.99 | bushnell.com
Covert Scouting Cameras WC20 Series
This camera option from Covert allows users to capture and transmit photos with either an AT&T or Verizon wireless plan. And it captures up to 1080p videos locally. If you want to run multiple WC20s, you can also opt for a shared wireless plan across multiple units—as opposed to having to set up individual plans for each unit, as you might on some other cameras. With a new, more compact body housing, faster recovery, a highly sensitive .30-second trigger speed, 40 IR No-Glow LEDs for a 100-foot flash range, and one to three turbo shot burst mode and MaXimum Silence Image Capture to prevent spooking game, there's a lot to like with this camera. It also has an integrated 1.5-inch color settings screen for quick and easy selection in the field, as well as a threaded port for using Covert T60 accessories. Monthly, quarterly and yearly plans are available on AT&T or Verizon and start at just $4.99 per month for up to 100 images. $129.99 | feradyne.com
Cuddeback is well known for its Cuddelink system, a proprietary wireless mesh network that allows trail cameras to communicate with each other (remote cameras transmit images to a single home image collection camera). However, the new Tracks camera steps away from this system, offering instead a more traditional cellular camera for those with smaller parcels or those who don't want or need an array of cameras.
It uses an advanced IR-cut image sensor for better image quality and reliability. Unlike some lesser cell cameras with poor or spotty coverage, it also employs dual external paddle antennas for excellent LTE reception in fringe areas. The built-in user interface with two-line backlit display makes it easy for users to program and change settings in the field, too. It runs on cheaper, longer-lasting D batteries, and dual SIM pockets mean it can use either AT&T or Verizon cellular LTE service. $149.99 | cuddeback.com
Stealth Cam Deceptor
Two is better than one, especially when it comes to network carriers and cell cameras. Unlike many prior cellular units, the new Stealth Cam Deceptor comes with SIM cards pre-installed for both AT&T and Verizon and includes an auto-detect feature that senses the best available signal to use. This allows the Deceptor to better overcome changing signal propagation and better maintain the link between the camera and the user's smartphone.
Using Stealth Cam’s Command Pro phone app, you can also use the On Demand function to command the camera to capture near real-time stills and video. This is perfect for checking a target area’s weather or the presence of game before entering. The Deceptor captures 4MP to 40MP images and QHD 1440p video with audio, and the camera has a fast 0.4-second trigger with a selectable 5- to 180-second recovery timeout. Capture range, meanwhile, is a solid 80 feet courtesy of a 36-piece 940nm No-Glow LED array. $149.99 | stealthcam.com
Moultrie Mobile Edge Pro
One of the most technologically advanced new scouting cameras, the Mobile Edge Pro is the first trail camera ever to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to help eliminate false triggers (False Trigger Elimination). The artificial intelligence fuels three all-new features: SmartCapture, SmartTrigger and SmartZone technologies.
SmartCapture uses AI to let hunters select which species they want the Edge Pro to capture, which saves battery life and reduces sorting time on the back end by eliminating unwanted species. SmartTrigger uses AI analysis to adapt in real time, only triggering the camera when a desired species is in range. With SmartZone, meanwhile, you can designate custom detection zones and ignore areas where tree limbs or grass might create false triggers. Moultrie estimates these innovative technologies combine to reduce up to 99 percent of false triggers in the field.
Then, of course, there is the NYXEL NIR (near infrared) technology for improved low-light performance with minimum power consumption, Bluetooth-enabled Live View Aim with the Moultrie Mobile app, 36MP image and 1080p video capture, lightning-fast trigger speed, 100-foot detection range, nationwide coverage with Auto Connect Technology and more. In short, the Edge Pro and its innovations represent an exciting step forward in trail camera technology. $179.99 | moultriemobile.com
It seems dual-network connectivity is one of the big new developments among trail cameras this year, and Muddy's new Matrix is no exception. Both AT&T and Verizon come pre-configured on this scouting camera, and the unit automatically detects the strongest network in any given location for uninterrupted communication to your mobile device. This is ideal for remote areas where only one network offers good reception.
The camera is also compatible with Stealth Cam's Command Pro app, and users can send a command to the camera to immediately capture photos or videos. This On Demand functionality is perfect for checking the area around your stand before slipping in for an evening hunt without spooking game. The Matrix captures high-resolution 36MP images and 1080p video with audio and has an 80-foot detection range, as well as programmable photo burst and recovery timeout. $129.99 | gomuddy.com
Pairing solar panels with trail cameras makes complete sense, and this is exactly what the new Flex-S cellular trail camera does. By harnessing the power of the sun with an included solar panel that charges an internal lithium battery, using the Flex-S means fewer trips to replace batteries and—above all—less disturbance of your hunting area.
In addition to solar power, this camera also utilizes eight AA backup batteries or a LIT-22 battery pack. When the internal battery percentage drops low enough, the Flex-S automatically toggles over to the backup AAs until the solar panel recharges the main battery once more.
The Flex-S also has the same dual-SIM configuration that the standard Flex trail cam does, meaning the camera will connect to and utilizes the strongest network available—AT&T or Verizon. Not to be overlooked are the 33MP photo and 1080p video with audio capture, up to 0.3-second trigger speed, 100-foot detection range, GPS functionality and the ability to update firmware remotely, among others. $189.99 | spypoint.com
Wildgame Innovations Encounter XT
The Encounter XT is Wildgame Innovations' first dual-network cellular camera, coming with pre-installed SIM cards for both AT&T and Verizon. The camera automatically identifies and selects the strongest signal in an area once every day to keep you in constant communication with the unit.
Meanwhile, the Encounter XT's On Demand image and video capture feature allows users to take images and video of what's happening in front of the camera at any given moment with the HuntSmart app. It's a great tool for checking out an area without spooking game on your approach to a stand or blind.
Other great features include an 80-foot flash and detection range, a trigger speed under 0.5 seconds, burst photo capability, high-resolution 34MP imaging, 720p video capture with audio and programmable recovery timeout from 5 seconds to 180 seconds. $119.99 | wildgameinnovations.com
HME Cell Cam Signal Booster
Got a new cellular camera from Stealth Cam, Muddy or Wildgame Innovations but find it's set up in an area with poor signal? Consider the new Cell Cam Signal Booster from HME (Hunting Made Easy). It's an auxiliary antenna that improves signal strength and range by up to 50 percent compared to a cell cam’s built-in antenna.
It comes with a rugged, weather-resistant housing that can be rotated on an included steel mount, as well as a 10-foot weather- and critter-resistant cable to easily connect the trail camera to the booster. With this cable, you can place the antenna well above the camera, further increasing line-of-sight reception and transmission. And, with the included sturdy cinch strap, users can secure the antenna to trees of various sizes, too. The booster is compatible with AT&T and Verizon networks. $39.99 | hmeproducts.com
Stealth Cam Fusion X-Pro
Another dual-network cellular trail camera, the Fusion X-Pro is pre-configured for both AT&T and Verizon. It also features built-in auto-detect programming to monitor signal strength for both networks and select the one with the strongest signal on any given day for any area.
Like other Stealth Cam cell cameras, the Fusion X-Pro works with the Command Pro app. Through this app, users can remotely monitor their camera, download images and videos and operate the camera through their smartphone. An On Demand feature also allows you to remotely capture images and video almost instantaneously to see what’s happening near the camera.
Add in an 80-foot detection range, a programmable recovery timeout (5 to 180 seconds), a 0.4-second trigger speed, selectable photo burst settings and the ability to capture 36MP stills and 720p video with audio, and you have a powerful scouting tool here. $119.99 | stealthcam.com
Billed as an exceptional price-to-performance cellular trail cam, the new Mitigator offers dual-network connectivity and near-instantaneous on-demand remote image capture for around $100. Pre-configured for AT&T and Verizon, the Mitigator uses an auto-detect feature to connect to the strongest network at any given location to ensure constant communication with the user’s smartphone. With the Command Pro app, hunters can send an On Demand command to the camera through their mobile device to immediately capture up to 20MP images and transmit them to their phone. An 80-foot detection range, programmable burst and recovery timeout options and a rugged and discreet tree bark-style chassis housing rounds things out. $99.99 | gomuddy.com
Bushnell CelluCORE 20 Dual SIM/20 Solar Dual SIM
This year Bushnell upgrades its CelluCORE 20 and CelluCORE 20 Solar with new versions that include Dual SIM connectivity. These cameras will now automatically utilize the strongest network—AT&T or Verizon—at a given location. A new optimized antenna also ensures you're getting the strongest signal possible. Both cameras are compatible with Bushnell Trail Cameras' app, so users can check photos and videos from anywhere.
Cameras also feature a sub-1-second trigger speed, an 80-foot night range, 20MP image capability, HD video and 32 GB storage capacity. To dramatically increase battery life, the CelluCORE 20 Solar model has an integrated solar panel that is removable and adjustable, so you never have to choose between ideal camera or panel positioning. The Solar version has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can maintain full charge for up to 70 images per day with 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. Both Verizon and AT&T data plans are available, and buyers of either camera get the first 30 days free. $139.99/CelluCORE 20 Dual SIM; $179.99/CelluCORE 20 Solar Dual SIM | bushnell.com
Primal Outdoors OutPOST-360 (and BlindSPOT-360) LIVEStream Game Camera
The OutPOST 360 and BlindSPOT-360 LIVEStream Game Cameras were two of the more unique products I came across while walking the floor of the 2023 ATA Show. I hesitate to call them trail cameras because the folks in the Primal Outdoors booth were themselves hesitant to describe them as such. However, they do serve some of the same purposes, albeit in a slightly different way.
For starters, both are real-time LIVEStream cameras, meaning you can see what's happening at a camera site immediately (livestream viewing, photos and video) right on your phone. But, unlike other trail cameras, these two offer 360-degree pan viewing and 100-degree tilt control—all controlled from your smartphone via the PrimalCAM app.
This gives you a complete view of the surrounding area, instead of just what's in front of the camera. It's perfect for sneaking in for an afternoon sit without spooking game or just for seeing what's happening in the area. Both also offer zoom capabilities to see even farther out than standard trail cameras.
Like more traditional trail cameras, both units have PIR sensors that are triggered when an animal walks by. However, unlike most trail cams, these do not have internal SD cards, so they won't automatically capture an image when triggered. Instead, your phone receives an alert that the sensor has been tripped and you can use the app on your phone to see if it's an animal you want to record or photograph. This removes some of the "hands-off" benefits of a regular trail cam, but you also won't get a ton of images of animals you don't want either.
As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between the two cameras is that the OutPOST-360 is constantly connected to cellular networks, while the BlindSPOT-360 uses its built-in WiFi signal to connect to your phone. With the OutPOST-360, you can view what's happening from your phone from anywhere (even thousands of miles away), whereas with the BlindSPOT-360—more of an in-the-field scouting tool—you can connect with your phone from up to 40 yards away.
Both run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and the OutPOST-360 comes with an included solar panel to extend battery life. $300.00/OutPOST-360; $139.99/BlindSPOT-360 | primaloutdoors.com
The new LM2 offers a lot of performance in a compact, affordable package. A cellular trail camera that transmits 20MP photos, SpyPoint's LM2 is a perfect scouting tool whether you're a rookie hunter or a longtime veteran. This camera has a new antenna to maximize available signal in an area so that hunters can always view photos that LM2 transmits in SpyPoint’s app. This great trail cam also has a half-second trigger speed and 90-foot detection and flash range, which makes it harder for wary bucks to get by without winding up on camera. In addition to single photo capture, the LM2 also has a multi-shot option. $99.99 | spypoint.com