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Adviser: Moultrie – game camera, photo trap
Here is an overview of the subject of game cameras and photo traps. In addition to giving you tips on how to set up the devices, we also provide information which will be new even to those familiar with game cameras.
We have also tested the following Moultrie game cameras for you:
- Moultrie A-5
- Moultrie A-8
- Moultrie M-880
- Moultrie M-880c
- Moultrie M-880i
- Moultrie M-1100i
- Moultrie Panoramic P150
General adviser for using game cameras
Game cameras are generally equipped with a sensor which reacts to changes in temperature in its field of detection. A change in temperature, whether positive or negative, will activate the game camera. A PIR – Passive Infrared Sensor is responsible for this. Many are familiar with this type of sensor used as a lighting switch or in the security industry. In the case of game cameras, the sensor activates a photo or video function which records the creature moving in front of the camera.
How do I set up the game camera?
When positioning the game camera, make sure that it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. This does not mean that the game camera will be damaged by the heat of the sun, but we recommend this due to the backlight and glare of the sun which can affect the quality of the camera’s pictures. In addition, the camera may be triggered erroneously due to the heat from the sun, or not triggered at all. Place the camera in a shaded area to prevent the above two points from occurring. You should also ensure, when positioning the game camera, that it can’t be triggered by branches, shrubbery or bushes. Similarly, it’s possible that small animals, such as birds or rodents, may cause unwanted triggering. If you don’t wish either of these situations to occur, you should position the camera correctly, and adjust its level of sensitivity to prevent it from being triggered erroneously.
When using a game camera in the winter, what should I bear in mind?
The winter actually facilitates the work of the game camera or photo trap. Due to significant differences in temperature between the animal moving in front of the game camera and the ambient temperature, the camera reacts in an optimum way. Depending on the type of game camera, it’s often possible to set its sensitivity according to the surroundings, and thus, for example, to set different thresholds for winter and summer.
The game camera’s sensory technology
The detection range of PIR movement sensors is approx. 50 degrees. Within this range, a standard game camera can detect differences in temperature and activates the corresponding capture function. Depending on the model, capture time is 2 seconds or more. This means that two seconds are required between detection of the animal and actuation of the camera. This is enough to take several pictures of the animal, depending on the speed at which it moves.
Where does the game camera store the images?
Image data is stored on a memory card inside the game camera. The memory card is the ideal medium for quickly and reliably loading data. It has often proven very beneficial to replace the memory card with another. While the replacement card saves new images, you can take your time and store the images from the original memory card onto your laptop at a later stage, rather than having to do this while out in the wild or in a hurry. This saves having to bring your tablet with you. Memory cards can be purchased at different prices from various manufacturers. The differences in terms of quality of the storage media are related to the write speed at which you can save the data on the memory card. In general, standard models are fast enough. Extra-fast write speed is not necessary for a game camera. However, you should ensure that the card also operates effectively in sub-zero temperatures. Therefore, we recommend that you don’t make false economies where your game camera’s memory card is concerned. Buy a suitable memory card from the medium to high price range from a renowned manufacturer.
Is the game camera powered by electricity?
Regardless of how and where the game camera is set up, it can be powered in different ways. Rechargeable batteries are the preferred method for powering the game camera out in the wild. Always remember to keep freshly charged batteries at the ready to replace the old ones. Otherwise it can be annoying to have missed capturing any animals just because the batteries had run down. To achieve high battery power, you should also remember that the batteries must be hard-wearing in order to be used in the game camera. We recommend tough, winter-resistant lithium rechargeable batteries. Even in low temperatures, these batteries ensure high performance. Tests show that lithium rechargeable batteries still perform well even after a week’s use in temperatures of minus 20 degrees. Therefore, we recommend this type of rechargeable battery to be on the safe side. Alternatively, NiMh rechargeable batteries also perform well. If you are able to replace the batteries regularly, we recommended these, although they do have to be replaced more often. In addition to battery-operated game cameras, there is also the option of solar-powered versions. It’s possible, with just one solar panel, to operate several game cameras with the power from the sun. Correct installation of the solar panel system facilitates use. On the one hand, you don’t have to keep replacing the batteries. On the other, you don’t need to visit your game camera just to change its batteries. This leaves you more time to focus on what’s important. If you set up the game camera near the main’s power supply of a building, with the appropriate accessories, you can operate it serviceably and conveniently. This saves having to keep changing the batteries.
How can I protect my game camera?
Game cameras are easy to steal, e.g. if you set them up out in the woods. They are generally attached with cable ties or securing straps. They are also small, easy to handle and not exactly cheap, a fact of which most are aware. Thieves sometimes make the most of this very situation. The right position for the game camera should be chosen carefully. Various types of anti-theft devices also exist which prevent the game camera from being stolen. Hinge-free panzer chains and steel cables especially designed for the camera hold out the prospect of respectable security. Camouflage netting – such as that used by the German Armed Forces – is a good way of providing your game camera with extra protection. Many game cameras can also be password-protected. This automatically makes them less interesting for thieves when they discover that they are protected in this way. Think carefully about safeguarding your game camera so that it will give you lasting pleasure.
How do professionals use the game camera? Monitoring wild animals – Feeding stations – Visitors in the wood
The latest technology has become more prominent in many areas of our lives. The area of forestry and hunting is no exception. Where game clocks were once used or people observed or counted animals, this can now be done easily with a game camera. For this purpose, the pictures taken and videos filmed feature specific data. This data includes manufacturer, date, temperature, GPS, moon phase and time. The game camera is thus an extremely good observer and provides a reliable service both day and night. It can be used to easily monitor and document feeding stations. In addition to feeding stations, there are also other fields of application, of course. Particularly for hunters, hunting lodges and perches can be effectively and sustainably observed. The cameras can also be used for wallows, bait places or feeding grounds. The animals are generally not aware that they are being filmed or photographed until the game camera activates a visible flash. Animals react in different ways to the flash. If you want to make sure that the animals' natural behaviour is not disturbed, you should use a camera with an invisible flash. In general, wild boar and deer do not tend to react too dramatically to the visible flash. Even martens and raccoons are not frightened by the flash. Wild animals seeking to enter civilisation tend to be rather insensitive to the game camera’s flash, whereas deer are extremely shy and react even to invisible flashes. To protect the game camera from possible damage caused by frightened wild animals, we recommend positioning it at a height of at least 2 m. It’s always advisable to first try out the mounting position. This will enable you to see whether the height is suitable for the focus and angle of the camera with respect to your target area. When used in the woods, as this is a freely accessible area, you should make sure that the labelling indicates that the camera is suitable for use there. This standard depends on the federal state in which you are based. One standardised national rule does not yet exist. Therefore you should ask the competent authorities about this to make sure that you’re on the safe side. Once everything has been clarified and is legally in place, the game camera will help you with your daily work, saving you money and time to get on with other activities. If you really don’t have a lot of time to check the photos, you can select a game camera with special features that automatically send the images via GPS / MMS.
Alternative uses of the game camera – an all-rounder for many areas
If you think that a game camera is only used by hunters and foresters to observe and count deer, you are wrong. It’s not for nothing that the camera is also commonly referred to as a “photo trap”. If somebody or something “falls” into this trap, it can be immortalised by a photo. Thus, you have a small, practical monitoring camera which, unlike surveillance cameras that you see at the bank, for example, blends almost invisibly into the background. In addition, the game camera allows for flexible positioning which makes it even more interesting. This photo trap offers unlimited areas of application, and, as long as the respective legal regulations are observed, it can be used in truly fascinating ways.
The following areas are possible:
- Monitoring: This camera is traditionally used to monitor and count wild animals. Deer, wild board, martens, badgers, foxes, etc., you’ll soon discover who is settling in your area.
- Environmental pollution: Do you not sometimes wonder why so much building waste, household refuse and junk can be found in picnic areas? It’s easy for polluters to quickly drive up in the dark, unload and quickly drive off again. In such cases, a photo trap can provide a quick solution and also do the community a favour.
- Thieves in the garden: Opportunity invites theft and many have stolen an apple from a garden or tasted plums from a tree or taken a few strawberries from the strawberry patch. This may well be delicious for those who haven’t paid for the fruit, but it’s also annoying and unfair for those who’ve spent a lot of time cherishing and caring for their plants without being able to enjoy their harvest. Sometimes it’s not even about money, but rather a question of principle. It’s great if you can capture your thief on your game camera and find out which one of your neighbours has been roaming around your garden.
- House and yard: We don’t want to assume anything, but wouldn’t you like to know who – when you’re on holiday – took your letters out of your letter box? Or who likes to peek through your windows to see what your house looks like inside. Particularly with respect to break-ins, a photo trap provides extremely good proof of any unwanted guests in your home. This proof which you can then hold in your hands is worth its weight in gold.
- Car: Are you fed up of the fact that someone keeps letting the air out of your tyres or is repeatedly scraping a key down the side of your car? You don’t have to put up with this either. A silent monitor can provide you with a faithful service in this scenario. Of course, can also protect other objects with your photo trap.
- Animals in the garden and house: Do you ever wake up in the morning wondering why the roses have been eaten or why the grass is more black than green? You will have been paid a visit by a wild animal which has treated your garden as a self-service store. To take appropriate measures against wild boar and red deer, you need to know who is getting into your garden and how. In such cases, the photo trap is a worthwhile investment for securing your garden. Unhappy are those who have a marten or raccoon in their house or attic. It’s essential to know, in this case, how the pests are getting into your house, as leaving dog hair around or leaving a radio switched on in the roof are not successful deterrents. The intelligent animals are not scared off by these methods. You will need to set up the appropriate equipment, i.e. an electric anti-marten or anti-raccoon fence in order to enjoy lasting peace.
- Building sites: On building sites too, a “No trespassing” sign may not stop everyone from daring to do just that. In the morning, if an expensive building machine is missing, or a tank has been emptied, the installation of a photo trap would have been a worthwhile investment to provide the police with suitable evidence during their follow-up proceedings. With such evidence, the clear-up rate is far higher than without.
Technology: Would you like to know more about your game camera?
To quote a well-known German film: “that’s a silly question”. A game camera is a camera installed in weather-resistant housing which, triggered by external influences or automatically, takes photos of its surroundings.
Details about the game camera function
The game camera is equipped with a motion detector. This detector reacts to movement and changes in temperature. This means that when a living being moves in front of the game camera, it causes a relative change in the environment. This triggers the game camera. The better the game camera, the finer and more precise its reaction. Thus, erroneous triggering occurs less frequently with branded goods than with no-name products. The movement detector’s reaction depends on the technical components built into the device. i.e. the game camera generally captures the required content of the captured area. Whether or not the camera is actually triggered depends on the surrounding temperature. If this is the same as the animal’s temperature, this makes one less detection characteristic. If there is no reflective ability either, or this is made difficult due to weather conditions such as fog, this creates extremely tough conditions for the game camera. If you know that these conditions are likely in the area of use, you should pay particular attention to the game camera’s quality. The game camera’s technology varies depending on the model. The speed at which the camera is triggered also depends on its quality. When making your purchase, don’t forget that the camera’s trigger speed significantly influences the quality of the photos. Take the case of an animal running past the game camera. If your camera takes time to trigger, only the last third of the animal would be photographed. When purchasing your game camera, pay attention to the corresponding characteristics. Anything under 2 seconds is a good trigger speed, however, if the value is higher than this you should consider purchasing a different model.
Photo and video function
In standard mode, the game camera takes photos, of course. We are talking here about a resolution of 640 x 480 to 3840 x 2160. This high resolution delivers photos which, of course, correspondingly take up your camera’s memory capacity. You should take this into account when choosing image quality. The same goes for the game camera’s video function. This resolution here can vary from VGA 640 x 480 to the HD range of 1280 x 720. As with photos, the storage medium should be taken into account. If you wish to produce high-quality photos and videos with your game camera, always use a 32 GB memory card as standard.
Memory cards and write speed.
The price of memory cards is falling rapidly thanks to technical progress. This means that what used to be the price for an 8 GB card, now corresponds to the price for a 32 GB card. Read- and write-speed are remarkable even on large memory cards. It’s a well-known fact that these memory cards can be used without problem even for HD video cameras. If you want to be on the safe side, read the latest test results from well-known consumer organisations and then choose your favourite.
Game camera trigger speed
“Time is money” is not just an economics guideline, but also applies to game cameras. The faster the game camera’s trigger speed, the higher the value of the camera. Depending on the purpose and area of use, an average trigger speed can be sufficient, for example if you wish to photograph a feeding station or bait location. However, if you are dealing with deer crossings and clearings, we recommend that you choose a camera with a fast trigger speed. When we say “fast”, we are talking about less than one second.
Game camera display
You need to decide for yourself whether or not you require a display on your game camera. The advantages of a display are clear. You can instantly view the pictures on-site and adjust the game camera accordingly if it’s not taking photos as required. Alternatively, you can take the memory card home and check the photos there, or bring a laptop with you to view the photos in that way. You need to weigh up for yourself how far the additional costs for a higher quality model with a display outweigh the options mentioned above. It’s possible to have both, and depending on the circumstances, the benefits outweigh the cost.
Game camera: At night, everything looks the same
Taking colour photographs is no problem with the game camera. However, at night it behaves differently. At night an invisible or virtually invisible flash is used. The reasons for this are that, on the one hand, you don’t want to frighten the animals away. On the other hand, a visible flash betrays the precise position of the game camera. This could mean that potential thieves could immediately locate and steal your camera. While game cameras exist which use visible flashes, these remain special products which must be requested separately.
Dating your photos
You will find a wide range of data on your game camera’s photos. Some may find this too much information, while for others, it may be exactly the right amount. In general, information about the manufacturer, model name, date, temperature and time can be found on the photos. In addition, in most cases, the moon phases are also displayed. Some may find this a neat gimmick – others, an incomprehensible symbol. However, for foresters and hunters, in particular, this indication provides additional information about behaviour which is essential for hunting.
Moultrie is a manufacturer of professional hunting accessories which has a company history that dates back over 25 years. It’s only since 2009 that the company has been focusing on the area of game cameras. However, when Americans really want something, they certainly go for it! The very next year (2010), their game camera Spy I-35 was elected “Best of the Best” by the important magazine “Field and Stream”. They ceaselessly continued to develop other products. Already in 2013, the outstanding Panoramic 150 was then awarded the Field & Stream award. This is the highest distinction awarded by the important trade journal for hunting, fishing, survival, guns and accessories. In this way, within just five years, Moultrie became one of the USA’s most important and innovative game camera manufacturers. At this pace and with its excellent service, Moultrie has now arrived in Germany. You too can benefit from the affordable prices, technical advantages and high level of service offered by Moultrie. Comparable products cost 50 euros more. With Moultrie, you get a high-quality game camera for under 100 euros! To get an idea of the advantages offered, take a look at this overview:
|Model||Megapixel||Trigger speed||HD||Detection range||Flash range||Flash type||Batteries|
|Moultrie A-5||5||1.17 s||No||12 m||15 m||Low Glow||4 x C|
|Moultrie A-8||8||1.07 s||No||12 m||12 m||Low Glow||4 x C|
|Moultrie M-880||8||0.80 s||Yes||15 m||30 m||Low Glow||8 x AA|
|Moultrie M-880c||8||0.80 s||Yes||15 m||21 m||White LED||8 x AA|
|Moultrie M-880i||8||0.80 s||Yes||15 m||21 m||Black Flash||8 x AA|
|Moultrie M-1100i||10||0.75 s||Yes||15 m||21 m||Black Flash||8 x AA|
|Moultrie Panoramic P150||8||0.73 s||Yes||12 m||30 m||Low Glow||6 x C|
Moultrie A5 game camera – “The people’s camera”
The Moultrie A-5 is frequently in the top ten of the worldwide rankings and is one of the most sought-after game cameras in the world. So, it comes as no surprise that the game camera already enjoys a reputation as “the people’s camera”. The camera’s characteristics show why it deserves this reputation.
Moultrie A-5 game camera trigger speed
The trigger speed of the Moultrie A-5 game camera is just over a second, which is extremely fast for a camera in this price category. With this speed you can easily photograph a wide range of animals. However, it should be acknowledged that after taking a photo, the camera’s recovery time is just under one minute. This is often adequate for use at feeding stations or bait locations, for example, so that you don’t have hundreds of photos of the same thing.
Moultrie A-5 game camera photo quality
Let’s start with the pictures taken at night. The game camera’s flash range is approx. 10 m. This enables you to photograph animals within the game camera’s field of detection. Everything outside this area which is still detected by the motion sensor cannot be appropriately lit up by the 12 LEDs.br>Therefore, any animals outside of this range look more like silhouettes on the photo. In daylight, the camera produces colour photos, as is to be expected for a camera in this price category. The colours are rendered and expressed well. With a 32 GB memory card, you can take up to 8,000 pictures.
Moultrie A-5 game camera power consumption
One of the additional strengths is the Moultrie’s low power consumption. We are talking here about high-priced game cameras. Consumption during the day is generally low. When compared to night use, which, due to the circumstances and additional flash is naturally higher, this is a very respectable range. 4 x C batteries are required to operate the Moultrie A-5. The batteries are sufficient for taking several thousand photos.
- Sleep mode: 0. 21 ma
- Activation during the day: 256 ma
- Night activation: 1273 ma
Using the Moultrie A-5 game camera
The Moultrie A-5 is a really respectable size. The dimensions of the front of the camera are 15.25 x 17.80 cm. br>Programming is very clearly structured and therefore easy to perform. Thus the game camera is also suitable for beginners in the field. It’s possible to take photos in intervals of 1, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. Picture resolution can be set from 640 x 480 to 2560 x 1920 with an extremely high resolution. Videos are recorded with a 640 x 480 resolution. Various options are available for attaching the camera. There is a support on the back which makes it possible to use the supplied tape tension. The guide also enables the use of a flexible bike lock, for instance. Alternatively, two 1/4 inch threads can be used to attach the camera with screws.
Weidezaun-Info’s opinion of the Moultrie A-5 game camera
The Moultrie A-5 is a game camera which is available on the market for a very attractive price. If we compare models from the same price category, with the Moultrie A-5, you get a game camera which, for its price, gives you outstanding results in the day. Of course, there are always exceptions – however in the day, you get good photos and in the night, good black and white photos. The camera really does suit the description “the people’s camera” due to its great value for money.
Moultrie A-8 game camera – The A-5’s big brother
The Moultrie A-8, which appeared on the market in 2014, is similar in many aspects to the A-5. However, it has a few improvements in relation to it’s little brother which are apparent in its performance and consequently also in the price. It’s a really good example of just how quickly Moultrie takes up users’ ideas and integrates them directly into its new products. Like the A-5, the game camera particularly provides users who have to monitor large areas of land, and therefore require several cameras, with a cost-effective control and monitoring solution.
Moultrie A-8 game camera trigger speed
Like the A-5, the trigger speed of the Moultrie A-8 is just under one second. This means that you won’t miss any animals that move in front of the camera. The camera’s recovery time after taking a photo is just less than one minute. This time is acceptable for getting an impression of the feeding station or bait location. If you want to record situations with a lot of activity in a very short space of time, you should rather opt for a product from the Moultrie M-880 range.
Moultrie A-8 game camera photo quality
Unlike the A-5, the Moultrie A-8 has an 8-megapixel resolution for higher-quality photos. 640 x 480-resolution videos can be recorded which last 10 seconds. The game camera’s flash range is also approx. 10 m. This enables you to record all the animals in the game camera’s field of detection. As with the A-5, this camera has a slightly luminous flash which is produced by 12 LEDs. Wild animals recorded at the edge of the field of detection cannot be recorded in high definition. In daylight, the camera produces intensely colourful photos. Equipped with a 32 GB-memory card, many photos can be taken.
Moultrie A-8 game camera power consumption
This game camera has a considerable advantage over the A-5: With a set of 4 x C batteries, you can take up to 25,000 photos. This is three times as much as the A-5. In addition to battery-power, the game camera can also be mains-power operated via a 12 V connection. Solar panels and extra rechargeable batteries are also available.
- Sleep mode: 0.20 ma
- Activation during the day: 250 ma
- Night activation: 1,200 ma
Using the Moultrie A-8 game camera
Programming the Moultrie A-8 is easy and comprehensible even for those who are new to the world of game cameras. A total of three controllers and four buttons gives you full control of the game camera’s settings. As with the A-5, you have the option of taking photos at intervals of 1, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. The picture resolution can be set from 640 x 480 to 2560 x 1920. Videos are recorded at a resolution of 640 x 480. Various options are available for attaching the camera. As with the Moultrie A-5, there is a support on the back which makes it possible to use the supplied tape tension. The guide also ensures use of a flexible bike lock. Old
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