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Gear Review: Covert's Blackhawk LTE Wireless Camera

Covert has upgraded their wireless cellular trail cameras this year with extended battery life and improved wireless functions.

I have been a big advocate for Covert's trail cameras over the last few hunting seasons. The cameras simply work when you need them to and provide a reliable source of scouting that I found isn't the case for many trail camera manufacturers.

Covert has had a great track record with their cellular trail camera technology, and the Blackhawk LTE and Code Black LTE are new and improved models, ready to help you get an edge on your target bucks this fall.

The difference between the Blackhawk and the Code Black is the cell tower provider. Blackhawks are run through the Verizon cellular network, while the Code Black is ran through the AT&T network.

With Verizon performing much better in my hunting locations, I am currently running the Blackhawk LTE camera from Covert this year. So far, I could not be more happier.

Despite what most people think, you don't have to buy the cameras based off of your personal cell phone plan. Once I learned that, it became sort of a no-brainer. The cellular cameras don't connect with your personal phone plan, so you can choose which network has the best signal in your primary hunting locations.

Covert has an app that you can download and use to manage the camera from your phone or device. That way, you can have the pictures stored inside the mobile app and through the web portal.

Benefits of a Covert Cellular Camera

It is no secret that wireless cameras are a game changer. They can be beneficial in so many ways, whether you're targeting mature bucks or just trying to control the deer herd on your property.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of testing out the Blackhawk. Before I get into the camera's specifics, I want to break down how I am using it as a critical scouting tool at this very moment in the early parts of the season.

Over the summer, I had placed my Blackhawk in a very accessible location and tested it out. I wanted to make sure I knew how to properly set it up. I put it in a spot in the woods that isn't a primary hunting location, where I could get to it quickly in case of a mistake during the set up.

As I was making sure I understood the nuts and bolts of the camera, I was running a large amount of regular trail cameras in other places in hopes of targeting a buck to hunt.

After a few months I had found a buck on a very small piece of property that I have permission to hunt. It was seen on camera frequently, and almost definitely homing the area.

Covert Blackhawk LTE Covert Blackhawk LTE Covert Blackhawk LTE Covert Blackhawk LTE

Once I thought I had figured out a solid pattern on this buck, I made a plan to implement the Blackhawk cellular camera. I dealt with a bit of mind battle, thinking whether or not I wanted to go after this deer. Age and potential wasn't perfectly determined, but with my curiosity building, I pulled my Blackhawk from the test woods and decided to put it into action.

I slipped into this property and created a mock scrape fairly close to where I thought he had been bedding. With the Blackhawk set up and a test photo sent to my phone to make sure it was in working order, I left the property in hopes of catching a glimpse of the buck soon.

I had left town for my wedding anniversary, but I felt my phone buzz about nine hours after setting up the Blackhawk LTE. When I looked to see what it was, I was pleasantly surprised.

The buck had made a visit to the mock scrape and was marking his territory. Within hours of leaving the camera, I witnessed just how amazing this product was going to be. Let's just say I spent a "small" portion of my weekend anniversary celebration thinking about my strategy on this buck. The photos I had sent to my phone are below.

Covert Blackhawk LTE Covert Blackhawk LTE

It was amazing to see this cellular camera perform so well, so quickly. This is a prime example of how you can utilize cellular cameras to increase your success this fall. There are so many products, tips, and tactics that you can put into effect to help harvest mature deer, but the most effective thing is less human pressure, hands down. When hunting older, mature whitetails, keeping the pressure off the deer and your properties is always a key to success.

These cameras allow you to do just that. The first hunt in a location is always the best, so try to use these cellular cameras from Covert to your advantage. You could put it in a known bedding area and leave it all year, all the while monitoring what is happening in the area. You could place it into your best pinch point, and ideally know when to move into that area when the rut arrives. Or, you could always set it over a community scrape and keep tabs on what is in the area without ever having to step foot on your hunting ground.

It is an incredible scouting tool, and such a great innovation in technology.

The price point on cellular cams is always the hang up for most, but if you take killing big deer seriously, the extra investment is easy to make, in my opinion.

Whether it ends up being this particular buck or not, I am beyond excited to implement this camera into my strategic approach of putting down a good buck this fall.

Covert's Blackhawk LTE Specifics

Now that you have seen how this camera has already helped me, I want to cover the specs of the camera itself.

Covert Blackhawk LTE

Considering what the camera is capable of, you would think it would be some gigantic electronic box. The Blackhawk LTE measures in at 6" x 4.75" x 3.5" and is extremely light, making it very easy to pack in your bag and cover some ground.

It's also worth mentioning that Covert is fantastic at helping out with your camera if you have any questions. They have a customer service team of smart, helpful technicians that will walk you through the camera's set up step by step. On top of that, they have how-to videos included on their website that make things a breeze.

All of this combined together makes for a very easy and simple experience. I know the thought of wireless cameras can make many that are not tech savvy cringe, but Covert does an outstanding job of making the process painless.

The Blackhawk LTE takes 12AA batteries, but can be ran on less. I have only tried 12, mainly because I want the camera to run as long as possible. The new LTE technology has vastly improved the battery life on these models, and if set up properly, they should sustain you for four whole months, according to Covert.

Once you are ready to set up the camera, you'll find that it is a very user friendly and easy piece of equipment to maneuver through. The interface has a two-inch, color view screen that allows you to position your camera perfectly for the desired shots. The buttons are all clearly labeled, so there is no confusion when navigating through the settings and menu.

The fact that the on/off switch is right in front of your eyes is a particularly nice feature. Most of the cameras I have used in the past have the on/off switch on the side or at the bottom, where it is not easily seen. I hate to admit it, but on other cameras, I often slide the switch to what I think is on and then come back weeks later to notice that I had actually turned the camera off. It's a very dumb move, but there is no chance of me making this ridiculous mistake with the Covert Blackhawk LTE, and I am thankful for that.

Covert Blackhawk LTE

The camera is equipped with a .65 second trigger speed, which seems to be perfect. I have yet to have a deer walk by and see the camera only catch the back end of the whitetail. The invisible flash technology reaches out to 100 feet of range, impressive to say the least. I currently have my cameras settings set at a 4-burst shot, and the deer have yet to be startled in any instance.

The Blackhawk has the ability to be set on a 1-10 turbo shot burst, so you can use whatever you think is best for your scouting intel. It can be changed directly through the app, too.

The photos from the Blackhawk LTE are 12 megapixels, providing you with a  a very clear picture. I was able to correctly identify the deer in those photos without any issues. It's important to note that if you are receiving pictures via your Covert app on your smart phone, the photos may seem blurry. It's a pre-set mode that's meant to save space when sending photos through the cellular network. It still took a higher quality photo, it just didn't send that version.

You can set it to send the HD version, and it will present a much clearer photo. That was something I caught on to quickly, and it really makes a difference when you want to get a better look at a certain buck.

Covert Blackhawk LTE

All of the photos are stamped with the time, date, temperature, and moon phase. When entered properly, these elements can really help you do some detailed scouting. Hopefully you canput together a more specific plan when trying to pattern a buck.

Going cellular

The Covert Wireless web portal and mobile app is really where this product shines. I still haven't wrapped my head around all of the capabilities, and I am still learning a few new things here and there as I tinker with it. Ultimately, there are some awesome features that it brings to the table.

One of the aspects I really like about the web portal and app is that you can have multiple users logged into an account. That way, if you are managing or leasing a property with a group of hunters, you can all be inside the app and see what the cameras are capturing.

In the past, Covert's cameras would just send the photos via text, but now they go to the portal and they don't charge you for every picture sent. So, in a nutshell, Covert's portal uses machine-to-machine communication for the best wireless delivery on the market and advanced capabilities such as real-time control, weather and wind information, and instant picture viewing available at all times.

With the touch of a finger, you can change your camera's photo burst amount, go from photo mode to video mode, adjust the video size, sensitivity, shutter speed, photo size, and so much more in mere seconds. And you can do it without ever even leaving your living room. Just let that sink in for a minute.

After purchasing a camera, Covert has a few plan options to choose from. Go with one that best fits what you would need, and rest assured you are not stuck with an option if you change your mind later. You can end the payment plan at any point, and you can switch plans if you would like. This can all be done through the web portal as well. Here is a layout of the plans for the Blackhawk LTE.

Covert Blackhawk LTE

As I mentioned earlier, I could not be more pleased with my Blackhawk LTE wireless camera. Technology is advancing quickly, so you might as well jump on board and hopefully use it to increase your hunting chances.

There is only one problem I have with the Blackhawk LTE camera from Covert so far. That problem is that I don't have enough of them!

NEXT: LAST-MINUTE CHECKLIST FOR TUNING UP YOUR BOW

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Gear Review: Covert's Blackhawk LTE Wireless Camera