November 02, 2020
By Haynes Shelton
Late in the summer of 2019 I hung a pair of Moultrie trail cameras on my family’s property in the piedmont area of North Carolina, where they remained until spring of 2020. Those cameras stood watch over the property for the duration, as I remained some 300 miles away in Metro Atlanta, Georgia.
Family members of mine who live nearby serviced the cameras with fresh AA batteries, and they even swapped the SD cards once along the way. But I wasn’t around much to help with any of the maintenance. No, I didn’t check the cameras every couple weeks or log the photos onto my computer. You know why? I didn’t have to!
One of the cameras I used was Moultrie’s XV7000i, a 20MP camera with 0.3-second trigger speeds that connects to Verizon’s 4G cellular network to send photos directly to mobile devices. The other camera was an older model from Moultrie that lacks internal cellular capabilities, yet I installed it with a Moultrie Mobile Field Modem that allowed it to beam deer pics straight to my iPhone. Amazingly, these unique Field Modems can be used with all Moultrie cameras manufactured since 2015.
I only hunted the family farm a few days last season, as I spent most of the fall traveling across the Midwest on other whitetail excursions. However, while I was sometimes thousands of miles away, I felt more aware of my local deer herd’s movements than I ever had.
It felt surreal to be sitting in a treestand in Missouri or a blind in Kansas while scrolling through photos of Tarheel bucks visiting a food plot upwind of one of my tree stands. One particular 8-pointer often visited a Hodag Licking Stick just after dark, and my Moultrie camera texted me notifications to that effect while I was far, far away. Some days I wished I had a teleporter that could beam me back to those familiar woods.
I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to my fascination with how well these Moultrie Mobile cameras worked. After all, trail cameras of the cellular-variety have been around for a few years now, and many serious whitetail hunters have used them to their advantage to pattern giant bucks from afar. It’s amazing how frequently cameras of this type are now mentioned in hunters’ stories in North American Whitetail, and how much credit they receive for being integral to the harvest of mature bucks.
That said, there are still plenty of hold-outs out there. Some guys and gals are intimidated by the technology and fear it to be complicated to use. Still, some whitetailers prefer to hunt without modern gadgets like trail cameras. In some places, the use of such scouting tools is prohibited. To be sure, always check local regulations before using trail cameras, whether they’re cellular or non-cellular.
I won’t make a plea for the old-schoolers to start using cameras if they prefer not to. I respect other hunters’ right to pursue game the way they most enjoy, so long as it’s legal. However, I will encourage anyone who hasn’t yet experimented with cellular cameras, like the ones in the Moultrie Mobile lineup, to take the plunge and try them out. The advantages they offer deer hunters abound.
The removal of the human from the camera site has got to be the biggest advantage of the cellular camera, and for good reason. Human odor, noise and intrusion is eliminated when photos are sent directly to a smart phone or tablet, rather than having to be extracted manually from an SD card. The result is reduced human presence throughout the year, which reduces pressure on deer.
While running the Moultrie Mobile cameras last season, I didn’t even go into the field to adjust camera settings. Instead, I had full control of trigger speed, photo quality and other functions through the Moultrie Mobile app on my phone. Since both of the cameras I used were in locations with decent cellular reception, everything worked great. It was that simple.
Of course, if I’d been home more last season, I would’ve been able to use the Moultrie Mobile system to react quickly to plan my hunts around fresh deer movement.
It’s hard to gather hotter intel on buck movement than a photo beamed to your phone at mid-day of a buck chasing a doe. That could be the tip-off that leads to a stand location change that leads to a blood trail that very evening. Likewise, confirmation of slow or no deer movement could be the boost you need to move onto another spot.
This year, I’ll be trying out another new cellular camera from Moultrie. Just announced this week (July 20, 2020) is the X-6000 series, available in both Verizon and AT&T models. It’s a 16MP camera with a 0.9-second trigger speed and 80-foot detection range. It offers multi-shot photo detection modes and can shoot 1280x720 HD video. Better yet, it’s extremely affordable! The company is offering economical data plans, as well.
Also new from Moultrie this year is their Interactive Maps feature on the Moultrie Mobile app. This program is free to all Moultrie Mobile members, and it allows users to drop pins to mark their favorite camera locations. The mapping program also allows users to toggle through satellite, street and hybrid map overlays, while also offering drop-pin icons for things like: food sources, bedding areas, feeders, stands, rubs, etc.
It’s exciting to see a trail camera manufacturer offer a comprehensive mobile app that’s focused on making hunters more effective in the field. This coming deer season, I plan to not only use the Moultrie Mobile system from afar. With any luck, I’ll have a nice North Carolina buck to show for my efforts! Stay tuned.