The Evolution of Tools for Checking Trail Cameras

By Brodie SwisherNovember 5, 20161 Comment

As much as I hate to admit, I remember the days of running trail cameras with 35mm film. I remember racing to Walmart to drop off a roll of film to have it developed. I was too cheap to pay the extra fee for faster processing, so I would have to wait the three days it took to get my pictures back. I couldn’t wait to get those pictures back to discover the giant whitetail bucks that were secretly living on the property I had permission to hunt. The lady in the Walmart photo lab would call when my photos were developed. I’ll never forget the disappointment I felt when I pulled those first 36 prints from the white Walmart envelope only to discover a handful of photos of what midnight looks like in the whitetail woods. The worst part was, that lady made me pay 7 or 8 bucks for those lousy pictures! I swore that day I would find a better solution for scouting deer and running trail cameras.

trail camera tools

There’s been a lot of changes when it comes to trail camera scouting in the last 15-20 years.

Sure, that story makes me sound old. But it’s honestly not been that long ago that we had to suffer through such scenarios to check trail cameras. Times have indeed changed and the tools now available to deer hunters will blow your mind.

The addition of SD cards in trail cameras changed everything. It mean’t that we could haul our laptop to the woods to get instant viewing results. I remember thinking how slick I was pulling out the laptop at my bear bait sites or my favorite deer hunting spots to view photos. But that got old quick. And it was really tough on equipment. Simple mistakes with mud and moisture can ruin a laptop in a hurry. It was pretty pricey means of checking trail cameras.

Move ahead a few years…I thought I was doing good when I put the iPad to work checking trail cameras via the Lightning card reader. It was light, pretty compact and made grabbing images a breeze. But I found out the hard way that an iPad is even more fragile than a laptop. One trip to the woods resulted in a cracked screen. Another scouting trip left the screen shattered in a million pieces. I had ruined an iPad checking trail cameras. Once again, a costly mistake.

And then card readers made specifically for hunters finally arrived. I tried several of those early models and was less than impressed. The quality was lacking. My default option was carrying a decent point-and-shoot camera with an SD slot to the woods to view images. It got me by, but I knew there was a better way.

So I was excited when the Stealth Cam Reader Viewer came on the scene a few years ago, offering a simple and compact unit for checking trail cameras. No longer did we have to carry around an extra camera to use as a SD card reader. You simply place your card in the Stealth Cam Reader Viewer and you have quick and easy access to the viewing of your photos. The unit is flat and compact, making it simple enough to stow in your back pocket or pack. The unit is built tough with a beefed up housing and armor clad corners to handle the abuse it will endure. ($99)

Stealth Cam Reader Viewer

The Stealth Cam Reader Viewer is a beefy little tool that makes checking trail cameras a cinch.

As slick as this product was, I began to search for something even smaller. “You can do about anything on your smartphone these days,” I thought. “Surely there was a way to use my smartphone as a card reader.

And then it happened.

Stealth Cam unleashed their Memory Card Reader, designed to be used with your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Android device. This thing is shorter than a stick of gum! It’s truly genius.

stealth cam memory card reader trail cameras

This is the Memory Card Reader for the Android device. The cost is $14.95.

Think about it. Most of us carry a smartphone device. It serves the same role as that laptop and iPad – and now it can become your ultimate SD card viewer and photo capture tool for checking trail cameras.


I loved this little tool the moment I laid eyes on it. The size and simplicity of use is second to none. With the use of the free i-EZ Drive smartphone app, you can load, view, save, and delete images quick and easy, all from your phone. Compatible card types include: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MMC 4.0/Micro SD/Micro SDHC. Best of all, it’s very affordable. The Stealth Cam Memory Card Reader has truly made checking trail cameras as simple as you can get. Be sure to check it out at

I honestly don’t know how you can improve on this latest little gadget from Stealth Cam. Of course, I’ve said that before, and I always seem to be surprised. For now, enjoy the simplicity of checking your trail camera in the field with your smartphone with the Stealth Cam Memory Card Reader.

Stealth Cam trail cameras

After years of trial and error, the ultimate tool for checking trail cameras has arrived. The Memory Card Reader for the iPhone is slightly different from the Android device. It rings up at $29.95.



Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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