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Shed buck game camera pics, and a surprise.....

by Scott Abbott 22. December 2008 09:46
Scott Abbott

 

Looks to be a healthy buck who has shed his antlers at first glance......

 

 

  Maybe even at second glance.....

 

 

How about now?????

 

 

For my area his muscles structure would be very large in his shoulder area to be 1.5 buck, nor do his facial features look to be a yearlings so I am leaning at 2.5 years old...  I never saw this buck all summer on camera or all fall from stand..... 

I just put a camera back out a week ago to check on the shedding process.....  This is the only shed buck on camera so far.


I wonder if that is a birth defect or an injury sustained later in life.   Any thoughts, ideas or experiences to shed some light on this?

Making a Mock Scrape.

by John Mueller 2. November 2008 14:58
John Mueller

Making a Mock Scrape 

Last Saturday I found a great spot for a mock Scrape. There is a long ridge that slopes down along a small creek on my property, creating a natural funnel. At the end of the ridge is a nice trail leading from my field that crosses the creek. I found a small branch that overhung the trail. This is very important. There must be a low overhanging branch to make the scrape under. The deer also leave scent on the branch with their forehead glands. As you can see in this picture I also broke the branch to add a little visual effect.

 

Notice the broken branch above the deer.

 

 

Then I brushed all of the leaves from a 3’ diameter circle under the branch with a stick. After removing the leaf litter I made some long scrapes in the dirt like a deer’s hooves would make. I like to make it look as real as possible. You can add some scent if you want, but I have found it is not necessary.

 

When I returned on Sunday to check the scrape a deer had worked it and added another a few feet away. I then went and got my trail camera and set it up on the new scrape. I had lots of action in just a few days. Right now is a great time to make mock scrapes. The bucks are really hitting the scrapes hard at this time. It’s a great way to see what bucks are in your area. Here are a few that worked my mock scrape.

 

 

This guy looks like an old bruiser.

 

Another big bodied visitor.

 

A good young buck working the scrape.

Notice that all of this activity is under the cover of darkness. That is why I usually don't hunt over scrapes. But it is a great way to get an inventory of your bucks. You can get your trail cameras and scents right here on Bowhunting.com in the shopping section if you need one.

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

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

IT WON”T BE LONG NOW

  

            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 Bowhunting.com. Check out the trail cam section

  

Predator Evolution Digital Trail Camera

by Bowhunting.com Staff 26. September 2008 15:32
Bowhunting.com Staff

Predator Evolution Digital Trail Camera

With the advent of digital cameras and their increase in popularity it wasn’t long before the first digital trail cameras hit the market.  Over the past several few years we’ve seen and used a lot of trail cameras that weren’t worth the packaging they were shipped in.  At one time it basically got to the point where we had so many problems and issues with trail cameras that we nearly stopped using them altogether.  We’ve had constant battery issues, confusing set-ups, and countless wasted trips into the field to retrieve cameras that hadn’t even been working.  Anyone who has been through this painstaking process can surely relate.

When we first heard about the Predator Evolution camera the touch screen user interface was what caught our eye.  While we work in front of computers and use technology on a daily if not hourly basis when it comes to trail cameras and anything we bring into the field; simplicity is king.  We don’t want to read  a complicated instruction manual in order to use a trail camera.  In the past, some of us had actually written cheat sheets to use in the field when trying to set up certain cameras.  This isn't exactly fun.

We’ve now been using our Predator Evolution cameras for the past few months and will give you the straight forward product review that you deserve.  After all, that is what Trailcam.com is all about.  Providing straight forward, unbiased opinions of trail cameras and trail camera accesssories to help you, the consumer, make better purchasing decisions.

Overall Design and Impressions

The guts of the Evolution are housed inside of a compact and waterproof polycarbonate case.  This is the same material they use to make bullet-proof glass!  The case is very similar to many of the high quality camera cases that are used by professional photographers to protect their camera equipment.  The Evolution's case is unbreakable and won’t crack like many of the other trail cameras that use a cheaper ABS plastic housing.  When you are paying good money for a trail camera the last thing you want is for the case to break or crack, allowing moisture into the unit which can destroy the electronics.   Speaking of which, all electronics in the Evolution are tightly packed behind the LCD screen with only a single visible “On-Off” switch visible when the case is open.  The entire unit is very small in size, which we love.  Big, bulky, heavy cameras are not only a bigger pain to carry around the woods but also present a larger target for deer, and theives, to spot.

The Evolution has one of the most impressive fit and finishes of any camera we’ve seen or used.  From the touch screen to the large secure latch this camera has been built right.  Our only real complaint is the storage of the batteries.  Predator uses a battery pack that holds 10 AA batteries.  This is somewhat loose inside of the provided holding area and could be improved, but it works fine as-is.

The user interface of the Predator Evolution is extremely easy to use and well designed.  The only problems we encountered were during cold conditions when the screen became slow and at times almost unresponsive.

Setup & Ease of Use

When we first received our Predator Evolution trail camera we opened the owner's manual, and found very little information about how to use the camera.  We loaded it with batteries, turned the unit on (with the very simple “on-off” switch), and quickly realized why.  It has quite simply some of the easiest and most straight forward controls we’ve ever seen.  The first time we had ever seen, used, or turned the camera on we had it completely set up in a matter of 2 minutes.  It was beyond simple and actually enjoyable to set up, unlike many of the cameras we've tested over the years.

The huge 3 1/2 inch touch screen does what it was designed to do.  It puts all of the information in a very organized list.  You can very simply access all the functions and settings by scrolling through the options with the arrows located at the bottom of the screen, and by using “Enter”.  Every function and/or setting is very simple to understand and clearly spelled out for the user.  Even someone who has never set up a trail camera in their life should be able to figure this camera out in a matter of minutes.

When looking at the ease of use of a camera the most important thing we want to know when we're walking away is that it is working properly and we won’t return to find an empty card.  There's not many things in the November woods that can send us off into a furious tyraid than checking a trail camera that we've had over a hot scrape for the past 7 days only to find out it hasn't been working.  And believe me, we've had this happen more times than we'd care to admit (and I'm sure we're not the only ones).  The Predator Evolution does what it’s supposed to, with very little possibility of not turning it on or not setting it up correctly.  When you flip the switch to the "On" position there is no further action needed to make sure this camera is going to take photos.  Simply close the case and walk away.

Functionality

The Evolution allows the user to choose between video clips or still photos.  The video is a great feature for those who are looking to get the best possible look at an animal from multiple angles.  However, beware that this camera is extremely sensitive so you may end up with video clips of birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals as well.  Also, if you are going to use this camera in video mode your best success will come in areas where your quarry is in a stationary position for a few moments.  Places like food plots, mineral sites, scrapes, and wallows work the best. 

Images and video are stored on either a Compact Flash card or mini-USB drive.  Both formats work well and for those of you who may have a stash of Compact Flash cards already this shouldn't be a problem.  However, we would like to see added functionality for accepting more widely-used memory sticks such as SD in the future.  Compact Flash cards seem to be getting harder and harded to come by, and certainly aren't coming down in price.   The cheapest card we could find at a local retail store was $45 for a 2.0 GB card, compared to $25 for a 2.0 GB SD card.

The Evolution is an infrared nighttime illuminating camera.  This means there is no white flash for your night time photos or video clips which could potentially scare game.  We’re not going into any further detail regarding the infrared other than it works great.  Distance is good, anything within pretty much 15-20 feet is illuminated very well.  Beyond that, like any other camera, it has its limitations.

Picture Quality

The picture quality and video quality of the Predator is probably middle of the road.  We’ve seen higher quality photos from different systems, but this isn’t something we always consider a top priority.  Generally speaking, we're not blowing our images up and making posters out of them.  We are using them to gather information on what types of animals are on a particular piece of ground.  The images and video we’ve gotten through our Predator cameras are good, but could certainly be improved on.   Infrared images are occassionally washed out and excessively grainy.  It would be nice to see this improved in future product releases.

Still photos from the Evolution are 2.0 megapixel color images during the day, and 1.3 megapixel black and white images at night.

Trigger Speed

The trigger speed of the unit is excellent.  It’s as fast or faster than any other trail camera we’ve  used.  Predator advertises a trigger speed .15 of a second and although we have not gotten our stopwatches out and tested this, it certainly seems fast to us. It also has an adjustable sensitivity level from 1 to 9 depending on the size of the game you're after, and the conditions that you're using the camera in.  This is a nice feature to have because we have set up cameras in certain areas where a blowing leaf or corn stalk has used up both our memory card and batteries before it could take any real pictures. 

Battery Life

Although battery life could certainly be improved upon, the interchangeable battery pack is handy for quick changes in the field.  Here you can also see the rubber o-ring on the inside of the case that creates the water tight seal when closed.

Battery life of the unit is OK, but could certainly be improved.  Like most of the trail cameras on the market when the cold hits the life of the batteries go downhill fast.  In warm weather we have had units last for up to a month.  In cold weather the length of operation drops dramatically, sometimes lasting only a few days.  The Predator is not nearly as bad as some units we've tested and with the use of rechargeable batteries it’s manageable, however this is one area we would like to see improved in the future.  AA batteries are not exactly cheap so if you have multiple units and it gets cold things can get expensive in a hurry.  Especially when you're chewing through 10 AA batteries at a time.

Mounting and Security

The Evolution uses a separate mounting bracket that is secured to the tree first and then the camera is placed on the bracket.  This is a great little feature that not many other companies have thought of.  A heavy duty mounting pin is then put through the rear of the camera unit to mount it onto the bracket.  Predator offers additional mounting brackets for additional functionality and versatility.

In order to secure your camera Predator offers a cable locking mechanism and also features a 4 digit security code which makes the camera effectively worthless should anyone steal it.  Trail camera theft is an unfortunate reality in today's woods and it's nice to know the guys at Predator are doing their best to help prevent it.

Final Thoughts

Of all the cameras we’ve seen and used, we believe that the user-friendliness of the Predator Evolution makes it an excellent choice for anyone.  It has some great features that go beyond many other similarly priced cameras out there and because of the great touch screen interface we believe it is a hard trail camera to beat.

Please keep in mind that the Predator Evolution has many features and benefits that we haven’t even gotten into.  This review has been based on the features that are important to us. 

Categories: Pro Staff

Huge Success - Reconyx Trail Cameras

by Todd Graf 15. September 2008 13:54
Todd Graf

Most of you know that I have been testing all the different trail cameras out this fall. With the recent launch of trailcam.com our goal was to test all units and we have been doing just that! On 8/17/2008 I put out a Reconyx with a 2 gig card and 6 Duracell batteries. I had the cameras setting on the 3 shot burst mode. This unit was a piece of cake to set-up, I never even used the manual once. I decided to check on the reconyx this last past weekend to see what the results were going to be and was I impressed!

3109 PHOTOS!!!! and I am not exaggerating.

The unit had about 5% battery life left, I could not believe it. I honestly thought for sure that the unit was being triggered by a limb, weed or the sun but when I got home all the photos were on the card. After reviewing all of the photos I feel like you get a lot of value out of this camera but the IR needs to reach out a little further.

Here are some of the images.

Small 2 1/2 Year old buck. Let him go and he will grow! I did not always say that - just for the record.

 

My only complaint - This unit needs more IR power.

 

Of course what would owning property be without trespassers. I need to put some tire spikes out.

 

Nice buck - any buck that makes it through the WI gun season deserves a medal.

 

IR filter must have switched over early and took this photo during the day.

 

I guess even a few more trespassers will keep you deer nocturnal.

 

I am not even going to make any comments, although I really want to.

Nice Beards!

Good day time photo example.

Now, here is how you know a camera is easy to program - My pops decides to open it and tries to see if he can view the photos. On this unit you can't. Do you think he told me that he did this - Of course not. But I did capture it and I did bust his chops. Thankfully the unit self arms itself and I never missed any shots.

If your intrested in trying this unit out we have them in stock here.

Categories:

Trail Camera Review - Predator Evolution

by Todd Graf 7. September 2008 06:19
Todd Graf

Predator Evolution digital trail camera –First and foremost, please don’t get this post confused.  This review is on the Predator Evolution trail camera, not the new Predator Xtinction trail camera. We are still waiting to get a new unit in our hands for testing. I heard they are having some difficulties getting parts but they are on the way shortly.  As soon as we get a new unit and have a chance to try it out we will let you know.

The Pros:

The video mode is super cool on mineral licks and scrapes! This is probably one of my favorite features of this camera.  Still photos are great, but there's just something about watching a big buck working a scrape from close up that gets me excited.  Plus having multiple angles of the buck's rack can allow you to see all those little  stickers and kickers that are sometimes hiddenin standard photos.  The LCD touchscreen is cool for programming the unit and viewing photos in the field.  More than once I have found myself heading out for an evening's hunt only to stop and check my photos on the way in.  The Predator Evolution is a very compact trail camera which makes it easy to carry around the woods in a fanny pack. The unit comes with a screw-in bracket for attaching the camera to trees easily.  What makes this particular bracket nice is that by simply removing a pin you can take the camera off the tree to making changing batteries and reviewing photos easy, and simply replace the pin to secure the camera when you are done. It works well and is one of the better attaching mechanicsms that I have used.

The trigger speed on the Predator Evolution is also a huge plus.  To put it simply, it's probably the fastest trigger speed of any camera I've ever tested or owned.  I've gotten a ton of pictures of birds as they fly by the front of the camera, which is pretty impressive.

The Cons:

The battery life of this unit is not the best in the world, and replacing 10 AA batteries every few weeks can get expensive quick.  My advice would be to buy rechargeables as soon as possible.  You'll thank me later!  Also, the images are kind of small. I wish you got a little larger picture so you could blow them up if you got a cool shot.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see all the details of a buck's rack or body, especially if they are a little further away.  The last downside to this camera is the performance of the LCD screen in really cold weather.  Just like your cell phone if you leave it in your truck by accident, the LCD screen gets extremely sluggish when it's cold, which can make reviewing images tedious.  And when it's that cold, you don't have much patience for staying still too long!

This photo shows how good the day time photos can be.

 

Here I must have had the unit programmed improperly, as there was plenty of daylight but yet it still took an IR shot.

Not sure why these bucks bucks got freaked out, the unit is very quiet and has no flash.

The IR flash range on the Evolution is decent, but not great.  I am hoping in the new Xteniction unit's IR will reach out further.

Of course I save the best for last - All bowhunters and dee hunters in general  will like this - if you want to get some great videos, this unit can do it!

Check out some of these videos....

Struting Turkey Video

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3310603642800468404

20 Plus deer in Field - Pretty cool. You know at least one good buck has to be out there somewhere!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9007518874748441970

Buck at Licking Branch

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8990171210984315572

 




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