The phrase “You get what you pay for” has never been more true than with motion-activated trail cameras. At first glance, it would seem that owning a bunch of cheap cameras is better than a few quality models, yet once you add the cost in gas, time, and batteries (not to mention the frustration of poor performance), a quality purchase is a much wiser decision. Trail cameras are great for scouting, and they also serve a host of other purposes such as home security, camp security, and entertainment. Post a trail run of your camera by a bird feeder or bath and capture nature at its funniest. As summer turns into fall, deer are very pattern-able and trail camera technology can tell you when and where they’ll be. Fortunately, the price of trail cameras has recently decreased, so rather than focus on price, set your sights on these four qualities to ensure long-term satisfaction.

cam picBattery Life: Read the labeling carefully and consider buying rechargeable batteries as a way of cutting costs.

Infrared over Flash: Perhaps deer become used to a camera flash. Infrared is less disturbing, and won’t reveal the location of the camera should some two-legged dears come snooping around.

Still and Video: Today’s better cameras offer the option of both. A brief video clip creates more interest and can capture information that a still may miss.

Ease of Viewing: Higher-end cameras often allow you to view your photos or videos at the site, eliminating the need to travel back home to see what’s happened. That also means less activity and human scent at the camera location, an important element as the season approaches.

Here are five high performers: FUZE 12 Touch | Trophy Cam HD | Truth Cam EL Blackout | Sniper Shadow | Game Spy

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.