The truth about cell cams

I pulled up to the soybean field along the well traveled Iowa gravel road and threw the truck in park.


It was October 10th, 10 days into the Iowa bow season.


My plan was to take a walk around the bean field looking for a good scrape to place a trail cam on that was easy to access, I had a few regular cams in my pack as well as a Tactacam Reveal cell cam.


After walking the field edge and not finding anything that screamed at me as a great camera location I headed back to the truck...and that’s where I found the best sign…


The problem of course was that there wasn’t a great tree to place the camera on to catch the activity on the scrape located there and even if there was it was literally in the ditch and very exposed to people driving by...i knew the camera wouldn’t stay on the tree long especially on public land…


So I crossed the road following the well beaten deer trail to a line of mature trees about 40 yards off the road. There were more good looking fresh scrapes in that area and with the added cover of grass and trees I figured this would be a little safer location even though it was still high risk for theft…


With that in mind I decided to deploy the cell cam, and locked it to the tree with a HME Cable lock


Now I typically ran Cuddelink cell cams (on private land) and with that system sending all the pictures from up to 24 remote cameras through the “home” cell unit you needed to have the images sent in batches of a certain number of pictures (ex: 5, 10, 20, etc..) or at certain time intervals (ex: every 1 hour, 4 hours, 12, etc..) to prevent backing up the system but i figured with a stand alone cell camera you could set it to send instantly without an issue…


So with the added theft risk setting it to instant might help me get a picture of the thief before the camera was taken...but as far as deer intel was concerned (for me personally) I didn’t see a huge need to get every picture as it was taken...I mean I wasn’t going to run out and kill a deer after getting it’s picture 1 minute ago, I just needed the intel for the day and not having to drive over to check it would save me time, disturb the deer less, and wouldn’t bring unwanted attention to the camera location…


However after a few days of deployment I noticed I would only get 1, maybe 2 pictures of each deer that showed up....


I thought that was odd since I had the camera set to a 5 sec delay over a scrape, those bucks should be there for a little while longer than that i thought, so I decided to change the sending setting on my app to 12 hrs. This would send me pictures twice a day (Tactacam had timely(instant), 12 hr, and 24 hr sending options) and give me the intel i needed. The downside was the theft issue but I was willing to take the chance to get the pictures…


And it worked!



I started getting 3-5 pictures of a buck coming to the scrape, working it, and leaving. Perfect!


What I learned is that cellular cameras typically take 30-45 seconds to send each picture via cell. During that time some makes/models will still take pictures and store them on the SD card while others are unable to take pictures until the image gets sent through…


So what does this mean??


Well if your delay settings are 1 min or longer you should be just fine running the instant setting on stand alone cell cams, however...


If you don’t want to miss pictures on a lower delay, set your cameras to send via a batch setting rather than instantly…


This is how I tell my customers to view cellular trail cams…


View the cellular option as a way to check your cameras, not as an up to the minute action report. There’s HUGE value in this even without instant pictures. Human intrusion is the #1 killer to hunting properties and hunting spots, this solves those issues and still gives you the intel daily and in most cases multiple times throughout the day!


I hope this article helps clear some things up and give a better understanding of how cell cams can work best for you.


If you ever have questions about cameras or are in the market for more please let us know! We’re more than happy to help!


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P.P.S. - If you’re looking for the new 2021 Tactacam Reveals you’ll definitely want to be on the list to get first crack at them when they arrive, they won’t last long...