July 22, 2019
Until we finally crack the code of Star Trek teleportation, we hunters will have to be content with plodding along between places at standard human speeds. Which is no big deal, normally...but it can be when you’re not in the deer woods but are desperate for information on what’s happening there. Then the need for TV’s 23rd century technology to become reality early in the 21st is a tad frustrating.
Ah, but what if we could be in two widely separated places at once? Or close enough to “at once” that a slight lag was no worry at all? That presumably would make a lot of things in life simpler. And yes, whitetail hunting and management would be among those things.
Well, thanks to the ongoing development of cellular scouting cameras, we now are close to bridging this gap. We can in effect be in the deer woods even when we aren’t.
We’ve had stand-alone scouting cameras for over two decades now, and they’re popular. But today’s growing interest in the use of cellular-enabled cameras has sprung from four realities: (1) It takes time and often a fair bit of fuel and effort to physically check any camera; (2) every time you visit a camera site, you risk spooking deer — thus offsetting some of the practical advantage offered by acquiring photos of them in the first place; (3) by the time a camera has physically been checked, even the most recent capture image is likely to be somewhat dated; and (4) if you have trespasser/thief issues, a cellular camera offers better odds of identifying the perpetrator. Add up these facts and it’s easy to see the advantage of being able to monitor a spot in real time, even when you’re not around.
The newest approach to doing so comes from the folks at Moultrie. Their app-based cellular camera system - Moultrie Mobile - allows for quick, easy, affordable and disturbance-free camera monitoring, as well as handy storage/retrieval of captured images.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting this system through its paces, and it’s performed as advertised. The unit I’ve been using is the XA7000i, which is built around a 20MP camera.
The camouflaged camera and its neutral-tone strap are really hard to see on most trees, which is great. Not only is the camera well hidden from human eyes, I’ve captured no images of deer looking at it during the day or at night. The invisible flash (80-foot range) thus seems to be undetectable by deer. All these attributes are key advantages, in my book.
Of course, stealth doesn’t much matter if the camera won’t reliably capture images. But this one has done so for me. Using the 7000i in a spot that has a fair bit of daytime and nighttime deer activity, I’ve found it captures clear images and lets you see them within only a few minutes of the event.
Easily controlled via a free app on a smartphone - and with extremely affordable service and storage plans - this system seems a solid option for anyone wanting to enter the cellular camera game without first getting an engineering degree. And that’s helpful. Hunting, management and/or security concerns have many folks wanting a better connection to the deer woods. If you find yourself in that situation, give the Moultrie Mobile XA7000i a look. It could open your eyes to more of what’s out there when you’re not — and let you know about it in close to real time.