This time of year, it’s nice to have an extra set of eyes in the woods. The new Cabela’s trail camera could be your solution.
As deer seasons open around the country, now is the time to be using and checking your trail cameras.
It’s always fun to see what is happening in the deer woods, as you never quite know what will show up. Checking your trail camera memory card is like opening up a present!
But it will also pay off when it comes to patterning deer movement.
I was fortunate enough recently to test out the Cabela’s Infrared (IR) 8 megapixel (MP) trail camera. Luckily enough, I was also planting a new food plot and some shooting lanes over the summer, where I could test out the trail camera’s capabilities.
Here is a thorough review after months of use in the field.
Out of the box
First, I pulled the camera out to review it for ease of setup. The manual is very straight-forward, and can get you in the field taking pictures very quickly.
It requires eight AA batteries, and has so far lasted almost four months without a change in battery indicator light, which is far better than many of the other trail cameras I’ve used.
Per most trail cameras, it does not come with a SD memory card. However, it suggests using a Class 10 card with minimum write speed of 17 MB/second.
The Cabela’s SD Pro Memory Cards come in several different sizes, from 8 to 64 GB.
The trail camera comes with a mounting bracket and strap, so you have the option to directly screw it into a tree or attach it via the strap.
Settings and Features
The camera setup process is very straight-forward. You can choose to take videos (720P HD) or photos (5 or 8 MP).
I like the photo burst option, which allows you to take one to three pictures per trigger. It’s just a nice way to ensure you’re getting at least one quality picture with a fast-moving animal.
There’s also the option to take time interval shots, from five minutes to eight hours apart. The two-inch LCD display screen is an awesome feature so you can check your pictures in the field easily.
Performance in the Field
I mounted the trail camera to a birch tree (using the provided strap) on the edge of my new food plot to keep tabs on the deer activity throughout the process.
It might not look like it below, but from a couple steps away I was surprised how well it blended in!
Clearly the appearance and infrared don’t bother the deer or bears, as I have hundreds of pictures of them posing not ten feet from the camera, taking selfies.
I had my camera out for over a month on the edge of the new food plot as we mowed, sprayed, and tilled it.
It collected pictures of: bucks, does, and fawns; black bear sows and cubs; gray wolves; and of course hundreds of different birds. The daytime pictures are crystal clear and have great, rich color.
I’m blown away by them!
While the dusk and dawn pictures are still fairly clear, the night time pictures are a little grainy. The other thing I noticed is that in the hot and humid summer months, early morning images turned out a little foggy.
I spoke with several other camera owners who didn’t have that issue, so maybe it’s just my particular camera.
It seems condensation enters the lens area in the morning when the humidity is high and heat is rising. This hasn’t been an issue since that humid weather.
After a month on our food plot area, I moved the trail camera to a shaded spot over a Trophy Rock. It’s located just off the edge of the food plot, but with clear views to it. The does and fawns immediately came out to investigate.
Luckily, so did a few bucks.
The only potential issues I experienced with the trail camera were extremely minor.
- Foggy morning pictures on hot and humid summer days. This wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, since those couple hours in mid-summer make up a very small proportion of my total trail camera time.
- Nighttime pictures are average. However, they’re still better than many other trail cameras I’ve tried, so this is another non-issue.
- Normal trigger speed is too sensitive for wide open fields. On several occasions, the camera was set to the normal Passive Infrared (PIR) level, which captured thousands (literally) of pictures in one week. All but four or five of them were clouds casting shadows over the field. You may need to keep it on low PIR.
In the end, I would recommend the Cabela’s IR 8MP trail camera to anyone. The big positives include the super-long battery life, crystal clear day time pictures, and price (at only $149.99).
Since I first received the product, Cabela’s has now introduced a 10 and 12 MP version, which I imagine would only further improve on the great design.
All images by Ryan Lisson