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Do you own a Cuddeback Capture?

by Bow Staff 30. March 2009 17:26
Bow Staff

Is it necessary for me to update the firmware on my Capture?

All users should update their Capture IR with this firmware if their Capture IR firmware is 23 23 or less. You can find the version of your Capture IR by:
Removing batteries from your Capture IR, wait 15 seconds.
Reinstall the batteries.
Numbers will be displayed, such as “02 02.” Wait a few seconds.
“- -” will be displayed, wait a few seconds.
More numbers will be displayed. If these numbers are “22 22” or greater, you DO NOT need to update your Capture IR.

What will this Firmware update fix?
This new firmware will greatly extend the illumination range of night time images.



All New Trail Cameras for 2009 - Announced at the bowhunting ATA Show.

by Todd Graf 10. January 2009 13:09
Todd Graf

Here is the run down for all the new trail cameras for 2009.

CamTrakker - Unit MK-8

After talking with Dan Stoneburner, the owner of CamTrakker, I found that his focus will remain the same as he continues to improve on the CamTrakker MK-8. Although this unit was released in 2008, changes have been made to the unit's firmware upgrades. The MK-8's most recent update has really made the unit very stable and is working great. If you have already purchased a Camtrakker MK-8 you should contact CamTrakker to make sure your unit is upgraded to the newest version.

Here are some of the highlighted features of the CamTrakker MK-8:

  1. Adjustable flash ranges for both IR operation and Strobe flash operation.
  2. Long lasting lead-acid battery life, included with purchase.
  3. Easy to use & set-up
  4. Ability to view photos in the field.
  5. Easy access to both battery and SD Card
  6. High quality images
  7. Burst mode for daytime images

Recon Outdoors - Viper

The Viper is one of the latest additions to the Recon Outdoors line of Infrared digital scouting and security cameras.  We will be adding Recon trail cameras to our site this year and we look forward to testing these units.

Here are some of the highlighted features:

  1. New shape and superior functionality - this unit is extremely small
  2. 2.1 MP infrared images
  3. You no longer have to open the unit to check cameras status
  4. One keypad on the front of the unit allows you to view everything including picture count, battery voltage, available memory space all at a glance of any eye.
  5. Available in no camo and Mossy Oak Tree Stand.

Bushnell - All New - Trophy Cam Model (119415) includes built in LCD color viewer & 119405 (B & W Text LCD)

You will not believe the size of this unit. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is packed with some incredible features. This unit is so small you could fit them right into your pants pockets.

  1. 3 / 5 Mp high quality full color
  2. Day / Night Auto sensor
  3. Adjustable PIR (low/medium/High)
  4. Trigger speed less than 1 second
  5. Multi image mode - 1 - 3 images per trigger
  6. Temperature ranges / -5 - 140 degrees
  7. 24 infrared night vision LED's - 45 feet range
  8. Runs off of 8 AA batteries for up to 6 months.
  9. Video length up to 60 seconds.
  10. Requires the purchase of a SD Card.
  11. Model 119415 comes with color built-in LCD color viewfinder

In the photo above you can see how small the new Bushnell Trophy Cam is comed to the older units.

Reconyx - MC65 Solocam IR - All New for 2009

Reconyx introduced the next generation in digtail scouting with the Mathews edition Solocam camera.

  1. 1/5 Second Trigger speed
  2. 1 Photo per second
  3. Lo-Glow IR - Semi-Convert
  4. IR Flash range of 50 feet
  5. CF up to 32 Gig - 4 gig card holds up to 10 - 15,000 photos
  6. Color by Day / Mono at Night
  7. 1080 High Definition images
  8. Operating tempatures - -20 to +120 degrees

Predator Trailcams - All new for the Xtinction & Evolution XR is "One touch set-up"

  1. "One touch set-up feature" Install batteries, Insert storage device choose - one touch option ans walk away! Its that simple.
  2. The Xtinction features included - Double Vision Technology which uses 32 or 48 "True" infrared emitters. With 32 emitters activated the nighttime range will be 25 - 30ft, depending on conditions and settings. If 48 emitters are activated the nightime range will increase out to 40+ feet.
  3. High Resolution Images - 3.2 Day / 1.3 Night.
  4. Both units come standard with Next Generation Camo.
  5. 4 digit securtiy code can be entered on both units to prevent theft.
  6. Both photos and videos can be viewed in the field.

I have also been told that improvements have been made to increase the overall battery life of these units.

Moultrie Game Spy Management system - New units for 2009 Include the following features - (4 New Models)

Moultrie has really made some big improvements to their trail camera lineup for this year.  Just about every complaint that customers had about these units has been addressed.  They are smaller, the batteries and flash card are eaiser to access, and the trigger speed has been improved as well.  The only thing that has been sacrificed in this year's units is they now take 4 D-cell batteries instead of 6, which will give up some battery life in order to acheive a smaller package.  After looking at the cameras firsthand, I think it was a good trade-off.

Game Spy I-45 Includes -

  1. 4.0 Mega Pixel
  2. 50ft Flash Range
  3. Tempature, moon phase, time, date and camera ID on every photo and video
  4. Color during the day / IR during night
  5. Three picture resolutions / two video resolutions
  6. Operates on 4 D-cell batteries
  7. Upgradeable software

Game Spy I-65 Includes -

  1. 6.0 Mega pixel images
  2. 1.8 inch built-in picture and video viewer
  3. Barometric pressure
  4. Password security
  5. Time-lapse mode
  6. Four picture resolutions
  7. The I-65 Also includes all the features of the I-45!

Two other units, the Game Spy M-45 & M-65 are both available with the same features as the I-45 and I-65 except with a standard flash unit, not infrared.

But these great new features aren't even the best part about these new Moultrie units.  With all of the new units you can at anytime purchase a modem which attaches to the unit and will wirelessly transmit images through AT&T's cellular network. Once the images are sent you can log into Moultrie's new Game Management website which will offer you private access to manage your photos, data and cameras all through your computer once signed up.  I have to admit this is pretty cool that you can buy the moden attachment when your ready.  Retail cost on the modem unit is going to be around $150.

The new Moultrie I-45 and I-65 trail cameras.  You can see the overall package has been completely redesigned for this year.

The website being displayed above the Moultrie's Game Management site where you can manage your cameras and images when using the modem adapter.

New Cuddeback Units for 2009

The folks at Cuddeback are releasing two new units for 2009, however they are still in production and didn't have any working samples for us to look at or photograph.  We did get some specs on the forthcoming cameras though.  The two new units are the NoFlash X2 and the Expert X2.  These are essentially upgraded versions of the old NoFlash and Expert units with a few improvements.  The NoFlash X2 will take 5.0 mega pixel images during the day and 1.3 mega pixel black and white images by night.  The interesting part about the NoFlash X2 is that it uses two separate cameras for taking pictures by day and by night., meaning each one is optimized for the best quality at both times.  The NoFlash X2 also features 15 second delays during both day and night and you can set different delays for each.  Video clips are now shot at 18 frames per second for higher quality.

Both cameras will now accept SD cards instead of CF cards (which are more expensive and harder to find than SD) and a new "Genius" mounting system.  The Expert X2 has all the same features as the NoFlash X2 in a standard flash camera, however it only has a minimum 30 second delay at night and 15 second delay during the daytime.  As soon as we get some more information or photos we'll be sure to blog about them.

It should also be noted that a new firmware version has been released for the Capture IR cameras, which greatly increases the flash range of these cameras.  Visit Cuddeback's website to download the firmware and upgrade your camera today.

Most importantly we will be stocking, selling and testing all units right here at!

To view photo samples you can check out our new site -!

Trail Camera Cold Weather Review - Part 2

by Justin Zarr 4. January 2009 04:20
Justin Zarr

Shortly after Todd's initial cold weather trail camera test I set out to see how well two of my trail cameras had been performing in the same conditions.  I had set out a Cuddeback Capture and a Moultrie Game Spy I40 roughly 3 weeks earlier, both with fresh batteries and memory cards.  Throughout the course of the summer and fall I had great success with both cameras, capturing thousands of images.  Battery life on both cameras had been excellent, with both lasting well over a month on a fresh set of batteries.

Click below to watch the in-field testing of the Moultrie I40 and Cuddeback Capture during sub-zero temperatures.
Cold Weather Trail Camera Testing - Day 2

Click below to watch the final results and view images taken during this cold weather test.
Day 2 Testing Results Video - CLICK HERE

The first camera we checked with the Moultrie Game Spy I40.  This is an infrared camera that takes full color images by day and black and white images at night.  I had set it out near a scrape that Mike and I located at the end of November in hopes of getting some images of a few bucks we knew were working the area.  Unfortunately after trudging through over a foot of snow to get to the camera, we found that the batteries were dead and it was no longer taking pictures.

I'll be honest, this came as a pretty big surprise to me.  The I40 has been one of my most reliable cameras when it comes to battery life.  With 6 D-cell batteries this same camera lasted over two months during the summertime without having this problem.  After getting home and checking the images on the camera it appears that the batteries lasted just over two weeks.

Here you can see the first image taken on the camera with new batteries on 11/30 when the camera was put out.

I had the camera set on a 3 shot burst when triggered, and managed to get this photo of a nice buck that none of us have seen before.  One nice thing about this I40 is that with 72 IR emmitters that flash range at night is very good.  Compared to some cameras that only cover out to 20 or 25 feet, the I40 will reach out to 40-45 feet no problem.

This is the last image on the card taken on 12/15 before the batteries expired.  The real kick in the pants is that this is a false trigger resulting in a blank image, which does happen quite a bit with this camera.

Todd and I are working on another test right now to specifically gauge battery life in these cameras, and I'm hoping the I40 fairs much better than it did in this test.

My Cuddeback Capture, which many of you have read has been performing very well this year, was put out at roughly the same time.  When we came upon the camera to check it nearly a month later in the sub-zero conditions it still had plenty of battery life, and did take my photo as I walked in front of it.  As you would expect the LCD display was a bit sluggish when clicking through the menus to see how many photos I had, but that's to be expected of any camera in these conditions.  The Capture is a rather "simple" camera without a lot of bells and whistles that's designed to do one thing - take pictures.  And as you can see below, even in extremely cold weather conditions it was doing just that.

Here is the first photo taken of me on my way out of the woods just after setting the camera up.

One of several coyotes working this area while the camera was out.  This is a good representation of the quality of image you can expect from the Cuddeback Capture at night.

And finally the photo of me checking the camera, nearly one month later in sub-zero conditions.

We're working on some additional tests with these cameras including battery life, trigger speed, and flash distance at night so stay tuned as the results come ine we'll get them posted.

Todd and I are headed to the ATA Show this week where we should see not only some new trail cameras for 2009, but all of the latest bowhunting products and innovations.  Be sure to check back our blogs for daily updates from the show on Thursday and Friday! We'll be bringing you the info on all of the latest gear, which will be availble right here on

Whitetail Hunting in December

by Justin Zarr 16. December 2008 13:15
Justin Zarr

Despite my recent close encounter with a nice buck here at home my confidence was still pretty low in my hunting spots.  Late season seems like it's always hit or miss and given my trend of misses lately I figured it was time for a change.  So I packed my truck and headed down to West Central Illinois for another shot at some of the bucks Mike and I had seen back in November.  With nobody pressuring our hunting spot since we left last month I was hopeful that a few bucks may have called this place home in order to avoid the firearms hunters that no doubt invaded the countryside recently.

That first morning I headed for a tree that Mike and I hunted earlier this fall, close to where I missed my one shot at a mature buck so far this year. After hanging my Lone Wolf climbing sticks and Lone Wolf Alpha Assault treestand before light I got settled in for my Saturday morning hunt.  Having a lightweight setup like this Lone Wolf gear is essential for hunting this way as it affords me the ability to move around from spot to spot quickly without moving bulky climbing ladders or screw-in steps that take forever to set up.  Temperatures were mild, in the mid 30's, this morning with strong South winds.  Fortunately given the terrain in this part of the state I was able to get down into a ravine and out of most of it.  I was set up right on top of a good bedding area, hoping to catch these bucks coming back from their nightly feeding areas.  Again, a lot of guys would avoid these types of spots in fear of spooking deer but with a limited amount of time to hunt and knowing the deer were pressured less than a week ago with firearms season, I know they wouldn't be moving much and my best chance was to get as close as possible to them.

Shortly after I got settled into my stand I glanced over my shoulder and saw a buck headed my way.  I immediately stood up and grabbed my bow before taking a better look at the buck.  As fate would have it, this nice 2 1/2 year old just wasn't what I was looking for and as he made his way past me at a mere 12 yards and gave my every opportunity to shoot him, I just couldn't do it.  I would rather eat both of my tags than shoot a deer I'm not going to be happy with so I watched him meander off further into the ravine, looking for a spot to lay down out of the wind.

I believe this is the buck that I passed on, although since this photo was taken last month he appears to have broken off his right G3 as well.  A nice buck, but just not the one I'm after. This particular photo was taken with a Moultrie I-40 trail camera which is one of our top sellers and has a great flash range and amazing battery life.

Later that morning I did spot a better buck working his way up the ravine from me, however either he didn't hear my grunts in the wind or didn't care as he eventually worked his way over the hill along with a 1 1/2 year old buck.  Then shortly before I was set to climb down for the morning I spotted two does running over the hill away from me. As I was wondering why they were running I spotted a beautiful blonde coyote that came running almost to the base of my tree, but spooked off before I could get a shot at him.  Even as I climbed down that morning I knew I made the right decision to head back to this spot as the deer were still in there and moving during daylight.

The evening hunt was rather unproductive as I only spotted 4 does far off in the distance and that was all.  I was set up near a CRP field that held a lot of deer earlier this fall, but I have a feeling after the pressure of firearms season they are sticking more towards the thick security cover and out of the open areas until well after dark.

At least the cool sunset gave me somthing to look at since I wasn't seeing any deer!

A new piece of gear I tried out for the first time on this evening hunt was my Lone Wolf Foot Rest, which I recently installed on one of my hang-on stands.  It took me about 10 minutes to drill some holes into the platform and install the rests, and I'm glad I did!  I only sat for about 3 hours this evening but they definitely made it a more comfortable sit, that's for sure.  I'm planning on installing more foot rests on all of my stands during the off season in preparation for those longer all-day sits next November.  If you're looking for a cheap and easy way to make your Lone Wolf stand more comfortable, check these out.  We have them in stock and ready to ship here at for only $17.95 and there's still time to get them before Christmas! Click here to get yours.

Sunday morning was my last hunt of the weekend as I wanted to get home early on Sunday and keep the wife happy.  (I'm sure many of you can relate!)  I headed back into the same stand from the morning before and with 55 degree temperatures I worked up quite the sweat!  Once again not long after daylight I had another nice 2 1/2 year old buck working up the ravine towards me, however this one got downwind of me before he came into range and headed for the next county in the blink of an eye.  The funny part is that during our November hunts we had deer downwind of us all the time and none of them reacted as badly as this buck.  I guess it just goes to show what a lot of pressure will do to your deer!

An hour or so later I had two small 1 1/2 year old bucks come by and I was able to snap a few photos of the closer one as he crossed 20 yards behind my stand and made his way into the bedding area.

I sat until about 9:30 this morning before calling it quits for the weekend and climbing down.  On my way out of the woods I put out my new Cuddeback Capture IR trail camera.  This is a brand new camera that was just released in the last few weeks and is an infrared version of the popular Cuddeback Capture that was released this fall.  I've had great success so far with my two regular Capture cameras, so I'm hoping to continue with this one.  Unlike the standard Capture the IR version is 5.0 megapixels during the day (standard Capture is 3.0) but only 1.3 megapixels at night with the infrared flash.  My only worry is that the flash range is only rated for 25 feet, which is pretty close.  For this reason I purposely kept the camera close to the area I'm hoping to monitor which is a well-used trail that connects two good bedding areas.  If you'd like to pick up a new Cuddeback Capture IR we have them in stock and ready to ship here at  At $229.99 they seem like a great camera with a lot of great features.  Click here to purchase yours.

When Mike and I return in two weeks to hunt after Christmas I will hopefully have some images to share with everyone.  My hope is that a few of the bucks from our November hit list are still around including Big Rob, Stickers, Dope Ear, Lieutenant Dan, Curious George the 2 1/2 year old buck we each passed numerous times that we couldn't get away from!  I feel good about our chances of connecting on a buck before the season is over, and with 2 1/2 days to get it done I think we could end the season in good fashion if we play our cards right.

The new Cuddeback Capture IR digital trail camera.  Will it perform as well as the standard Capture?  We'll find out in two weeks!

Cuddeback Capture IR Now Available!

by Staff 4. December 2008 04:46 Staff

Cuddeback Capture IRAfter a much-anticipated wait the new Cuddeback Capture IR digital trail camera is now in stock and shipping here at This camera features the same user-friendly functionality of the best-selling Capture model now with infrared no-flash technology.  Click here to purchase your new Cuddeback Capture IR camera.

Features of this new camera include a 25 foot infrared flash range, simple setup using the rotary dial system, adjustable triggering intervals from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, and extended battery life using 4 standard "D" cell batteries.  Both the Cuddeback Capture and Capture IR use standard SD cards, which are also available right here at

To purchase the new Cuddeback Capture IR click here.  To read reviews of the standard Cuddeback Capture click here.  Our full review of the Capture IR will be posted within the next few days, so check back soon for more information. 

Categories: Current News

Deer Hunting Scrapes - It Won't Be Long Now!

by John Mueller 27. October 2008 13:50
John Mueller



            The scrapeing is going on strong at my place in IL right now. I found a hot scrape last weekend and set my Moultrie I40 up on it. I was pleasantly surprised this weekend by the results. I got pics of a quite a few different bucks using it. Most of the big guys were at night but that may change in a week or 2.


            Here is a pic. of a real nice 10 pointer I had an encounter with 2 weeks ago right at dark. I had him at 40 yards but couldn’t see my pins. At least he is still around.



The Big 10


I got a few action shots of the bucks with their antlers in the branches too. I may have to change the I40 over to the video mode. It has that option built in.


I can almost reach it.



Giving it a thrashing.





         Another visitor. 



Big bodied 8 pointer.



            If you’re interested in putting a trail camera on your own scrapes, you can order yours right here on Check out the trail cam section


Cuddeback Excite 2.0 Megapixel Digital Trail Camera

by Administrator 26. September 2008 15:43

Two summers ago I was in the market for a new trail camera, my first digital model to be exact.  Up until that point I only had experience with my 35 mm CamTrakker units which worked great but I was eager to get into the digital world and stop paying those film development costs.  So I did a little bit of research to see what was available in my price range with the features I was lookign for and settled on the Cuddeback Excite 2.0 megapixel digital trail camera.  The unit was fairly compact in size with a reported excellent trigger speed, battery life, and traditional flash for night photos. 

With a retail prce of around $300 (which has since falling to under $250) it was one of the more affordable digital trail cameras on the market, and I had heard a lot of good things about Cuddeback units in general so I placed my order.  Several days later a nice new trail camera showed up at my office.  I was eager to use the camera so of course the first thing I did was take it out of the package and start figuring out how to use it.

My first complaint was that the camera didn't come with a flash card or have any internal memory, which meant I had to go buy a flash card somewhere.  While this is fairly common for most trail cameras, it still frustrutes me none the less.  Would it really be THAT hard to bundle the cameras with a flash card?  I'm sure most consumers would be willing to pay a few extra bucks to avoid that trip to the electronics store when they'd rather be in the field using their new trial camera.  In any case, off I went to my local Best Buy to pick up a compact Flash card, which set me back another $40 or so.  I also picked up 4 "D" cell batteries while I was out, and I was finally ready to go.

When inserting the batteries into the camera I then became frustrated by the metal plate that holds the batteries in place.  I couldn't seem to get it to stay put properly and the batteries kept falling out every time I turned the camera on it's end.  However, after a few minutes of tinkering with it I finally figured out the trick and got everything in place.  A word of advice - make sure the little plastic lever behind the battery cover is pulled out and to the side when inserting the batteries, then push it back in place once you've inserted the cover.  It took me a few tries to figure out how to work the battery cover properly, but once I figured it out I haven't had a problem since.

My next step was turning the trail camera on and figuring out how to take photos.  After a minute or two of running through the instructions I managed to set the date, time, and camera settings without too much effort.  The menus are fairly simple to understand and easy enough to set properly, which I really liked.  The buttons that control the camera are big enough that they're easily depressed, and there's not so many of them that you can't figure out what they all do.  The on/off switch is also good size and right in your face, which is a plus.  Like many other cameras I've played with in the past with my Cuddeback Excite you have to remember to set it to "live" mode once you turn it on or you won't capture any photos.  Just because it's on doesn't mean it's actually taking photos, remember that!  A few pushes of a button once you turn the switch on and you're ready to go.  Additionally, there is an easy to adjust hi/low sensitivity setting which allows you to adjust how sensitive your camera is to motion in case you have the camera in a high-traffic area and don't want to capture every photo of every raccoon, squirrel, or bird that comes by. 

Once I was ready to hit the woods with my new Cuddeback Excite I had to figure out how to attach it to the tree where I wanted it set up.  I couldn't figure out the eyelet that comes attached to the back of the camera, I'm assuming you're supposed to use some sort of strap through the eyelet but that seemed like too much of a pain for me, so I opted to go with the torx-head screw that is included.  This is a nice little feature that allows you to screw the camera directly into the tree for a nice solid attachment, then the cover goes over the screw head and can be locked for an additional measure of security.  Just make sure you've got a torx-head wrench with you when you want to move your camera.  I forgot mine in the truck once after a long walk and I was none too happy when I had to turn around and go back to get it! 

A week or so after I set my camera out I came back to check on things and was amazed to find out that even though the camera showed a bunch of activity, there were no photos on the compact flash card.  Dejected and pissed off I took the camera home to do some testing.  I tried several CF cards and numerous setting changes with the same results - the camera would activate and say it was taking a photo, it would even flash in low light, but there were no photos on the card.  Eventually I gave up and the camera sat on my desk for a few months without moving.  By the time I got around to figuring out what was wrong the season was over and my camera hadn't taken a single photo of a deer.

After deciding I must have had a defective camera I went on the Cuddeback website in hopes of finding a number to call for some help.  What I found instead was an FAQ area that walked me through some simple troubleshooting before deciding that my camera was indeed defective and needed to be sent back.  An online RMA process gave me all the info I needed so I packed my camera up and shipped it back to Cuddeback.  I was very impressed with their online system for returns and repairs.

About two weeks later my repaired camera showed up at the office and it was time to start over.  Kudos to Cuddeback customer service, this was a very painless process and I had my camera back in my hands with a new set of instructions and a repair sheet to tell me what had be done. (If I recall correctly I believe they replaced the actual circuitboard inside the camera).  So I threw some batteries in, put my CF card in, configured all my settings and put it up on my desk.  After a few test shots I tested the camera and bingo!  I had plenty of good photos on the card this time.  At last, I was ready to put it out in the woods for a real test.

That weekend I took a trip down to Pike County, IL with Craig Neace from  I decided to see how the Excite would do on the farm we would be hunting later that fall.  Craig and I located a suitable spot for the camera, screwed it on the tree, turned it on, and off we went.  I knew I wasn't going to be back down to this spot for at least 4-6 weeks so I hoped the batteries would hold up and I would have some good photos to show for it.

Early September arrived and it was time to go hang treestands in preparation for the October 1 opener, and check my Cuddeback Excite while I was at it.  Much to my surprise the camera still had plenty of battery life in it after 6 weeks in the field, and it had taken nearly 100 photos without a hiccup.  Now it was time to see what type of photos we had.

Overall my impression of the photos taken by my Excite is so-so.  This is a middle-of-the-road camera so I didn't expect the best photos in the world, which is what I got.  The 2.0 megapixel images are plenty large to view fullsize and see pretty good detail, but a lot of the photos are blurry, especially if the deer is moving at anything more than a slow walk.  I'm no expert but it seems that the problem is caused by a shutter speed that is a bit too long during daylight hours, trying to gather additional light without using the flash.  It can be frustrating at times as about one third of my photos are pretty blurry. (click the photo on the right to see it full sized for an example)  However, the rest of them are pretty crisp so I can't complain too much. (click the photo below to view larger version)  Trigger speed appears to be great as I didn't have very many butt shots, and sensitivity appears to be pretty good as well as I didn't have many empty shots either.  All in all, I was very happy with the results of my first real test in the field.

I set the camera back up with some fresh batteries and didn't check it again until the 20th of October and the same as last time I had a lot of photos, some good, some blurry, and plenty of battery life remaining.  Once again the Cuddeback Excite did it's job and I was happy.

My next test and last of the year came during the late season here in Illinois when I set the camera up near a hay field that the deer were hitting hard on a nightly basis.  Unfortunately something must have been blowing in front of the camera because it took one photo every minute for 800 minutes in a row until it ran out of battery life.  A week later when I came back I was disappointed to find 800 images of the forest, and only a few chance shots of a few does that wandered in front of the camera near dark.  Since the hunting season was over and it was brutally cold and snowy outside I took the camera home and did some more testing, which showed it was working alright, before putting it up for the year.  Next time it goes out in the field (in about a month) I'm going to try the sensitivity setting on low to see how it performs.

With this summer comes a new test of the camera entering it's 3rd season.  I'm hoping to take advantage of the extended battery life during the warm summer months so I don't have to check the camera very often, thus minimizing my scent in the areas I'll be hunting come fall.  I hope to put the camera out sometime in July at our new hunting spot in Brown County, IL and leave it up for a month or so before returning to check on things in August.  Overall I have been pleased with the performance of this trail camera.  With prices dropping to the $230 range this is an excellent option for people who want a digital trail camera with good trigger speed and decent photo quality.  It may not by an infrared camera, but the standard flash does a good job at night with the pictures turning out pretty good.  Nighttime photos are a little grainy at times, but they are good enough to get the job done.

Overall I'd give the Cuddeback Excite 2.0 megapixel Digital Trail Camera a 3 out of 5 rating.


Final Preparations For Bowhunting Season

by Justin Zarr 21. September 2008 16:38
Justin Zarr

It never seems to fail; no matter how good our intentions are for getting stands hung and trimmed out months before the season starts, life seems to find a way to deviate us from those plans.  In my particular case, I've been planning a wedding for the past 13 months which has taken a lot of time away from my normal routine of scouting, stand hanging, and general preparation for bowhunting season.  In fact, it's less than 10 days until the Illinois archery season opens and I haven't purchased my tags or even shot any broadheads yet!  Although I do plan on getting a few shooting sessions in this week if at all possible.  I'll be back in town on October 5th and plan to hit the ground running when I get return, so it's definitely time to start getting things in gear.

This past Saturday Mike and I spent some time hanging the last few stands, trimming the last few lanes, and making the last of our pre-season preparations at our local hunting spots.  It's amazing to me how grown up some of these stands can get after only one season.  Shooting lanes that were clear last year have grown over and needed a little bit of TLC before the season opens, which is just what we gave them.  I was able to give my Hooyman Extentible Tree Saw its first workout of the year and overall I was happy with it.  I'm a little hard on my saws and pretty critical of their performance, but overall it held up well.  It definitely works better as an extentible saw than a traditional hand saw as the handle was a little flimsy for my liking.  My Felco hand saw still can't be beat for standard duty, but for those pesky limbs and twigs that are out of arm's reach, the Hooyman works great.  I would definitely recommend this product to any bowhunter who does a lot of standing hanging both before and during their bowhunting seasons.  If you're interested in trying one out, we have them for sale in our shopping cart right here on for only $38.99.

We also happened on our first rubs of the year as well.  With the bucks having shed their velvet their testosterone levels are starting to pick up a bit so we should be seeing more and more rubs pop up over the next few weeks, and pretty soon a few scrapes as well.  I can't wait!

This is the kind of stuff that should get every bowhunter excited for the fall!  We found this fresh rub in a heavy fencerow between two standing corn fields that connects two small woodlots.  It's a great place to catch a buck traveling if they leave the corn up.  But once the corn comes down these bucks don't like being caught out in the open during daylight unless they're chasing a hot doe in November.

Speaking of hard horned bucks, I got my first trail camera pictures of bucks who had shed their velvet.  One is a tight-racked 10 pointer that I have several pictures of throughout the summer months.  I originally thought this buck was older than he really is, as he looks like a 2 1/2 year old buck to me.  He also exhibits the exact same characteristics of so many other bucks on this property over the past 6 years we've been hunting it.  Narrow rack, short brows, and G3's that are every so slightly longer than his G2's.    I don't think he has the genetics to blow into anything huge, but I guess we'll have to wait and see over the next few years if he makes it through.

This buck is a perfect representative of the type  of genetics we have on this particular farm.  Year after year, fresh crops of bucks pop up with racks that look identical to one another.

The second buck was the first antlered deer photo I've gotten all summer on what we call the "main farm" property.  It's hard to be totally sure, but I believe that we got a few photos of this particular buck last year during the late season.  At the time he had what looked like a fresh wound on his left side and we wondered if he would make it through the season.  Well, if this photo is indeed the same buck (and I think it is) it looks like he's doing just fine.  He appears to be either a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 year old buck with either very small or no brow tines.  I'm sure I'll get a few more looks at him this fall once I get my cameras over some scrapes, so I'm looking forward to getting to see his rack a little better.  This is also the 2nd group of photos from my Cuddeback Capture and so far I've been very happy with it's performance.  Flash range is good, batteries are holding strong after nearly a month, and I haven't had any motion-blur problems like I did with my Cuddeback Excite.  For a $200 you can't beat it right now.  Check them out over at, we have them in stock and ready to ship!

It's a little hard to tell from this small photo, but this buck appears to have some healed-over scars on his left side just behind his shoulder as well as right in front of his hind leg.  I think this is the same buck we got two photos of last year during the late season.

This will probably be my last update until October as I've got a busy week ahead of me followed by my wedding next Saturday (GULP) and then a week-long trip to Mexico.  I should be nice and rested when I get back and ready to get in a tree and shoot something!  Good luck to everyone who is hunting - be safe and shoot straight!

Summer wouldn't be complete without at least one trespasser randomly walking through the woods that are clearly posted with "NO TRESPASSING" signs on all 4 sides.  I just wish the photo was a little bit more clear so I could make out who this jackrod is, and what we's got in his hand.  Kinda looks like a camcorder to me??

Cuddeback Capture: First Look

by Justin Zarr 27. August 2008 08:47
Justin Zarr

Several months ago reports started popping up that Cuddeback was set to release a new trail camera for this fall, called the Capture.  As one of the more widely recognized names in the industry needless to say we were excited to see what these new cameras would offer.  This past week our first Capture arrived at the office.  Here are our first impressions.

There are two models of the new Capture available, one with standard flash and one with an IR flash.  Both cameras are 3.0 megapixels in both day and night, and are priced very reasonably.  The standard Capture retails for $199.99 and the IR version for $229.99.  To date only the standard-flash cameras have shipped out so that’s what we’ve had the chance to test.

If you’ve seen any of the new print or TV ads for this product you’ll notice that the main feature Cuddeback is trying to push is the ease of use.  A lot of cameras we’ve tested have settings that are buried several levels deep into the menus and can be somewhat cumbersome to figure out at first.  Let’s face it, none of us want to sit around and read a 20 page manual and spend an hour trying to figure out how to use our trail cameras.  We want to open them up, put batteries in them, strap them on a tree, and be on our way.  With the Cuddeback Capture, you can do just that.

Both Capture units feature a new rotating dial system for controlling the camera settings and arming the camera in the field.  There are only two push buttons, which are only used for your initial time/date/year setup.  Once you take care of those, which takes less than a minute, you don’t have to use them again.  Once your camera is set up and in position you simply rotate the dial to the time delay you want (30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes), close the cover and walk away.  It truly is a very user-friendly interface.

Like the older Cuddeback cameras the new Capture also uses 4 D-Cell batteries for power.  Although unlike my C2000 Excite the battery system is much easier to use.  The batteries actually slide into the case underneath the main cover and aren’t held in by that cheesy metal plate that I always had problems with in the past.
Also new with the Capture units is the switch from Compact Flash (CF) cards over to the more industry-standard SD cards found in most other manufacturer’s units.  This is great for those of us who have a bunch of cameras and have been managing different types of cards.  Not to mention SD cards are more readily available and cheaper than CF cards.  A big thumbs up to Cuddeback for finally making the switch.

My one complaint on this camera is the fact that they did away with the screw-in fastening system found on my older units.  I really liked this method as it added one small measure of security for my cameras.  I could screw them in, fasten the face plate, then put a small padlock on it that made it more difficult for thieves to run off with.  The new Capture units no longer have this option and instead come with a more traditional strap system.  It works fine for what it is, but now there is no easy option for locking the Capture unit to the tree.  Even if you put a padlock on the door that only prevents someone from opening it, not from removing the strap from the tree and taking the whole unit.  Definitely a step backwards in my opinion.

My new Cuddeback Capture went out to the field last night and I plan on checking it next Saturday to see how the trigger speed, flash range, and image quality is.  I tested it inside my house a few times before putting it out and the trigger speed looks like it’s on par with my older Cuddeback units, and image quality definitely appears to be higher than my C2000 Excite.  As soon as I have an update, you’ll be the first to know!

If you'd like to purchase a new Cuddeback Capture digital trail camera we have them in stock and ready to ship over at our sister website!  Retail cost is $199.99 and you can purcahse your new Cuddeback Capture by clicking here.

Categories: Justin Zarr

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