Bushnell is a company that has dedicated to create high-performance sport optics products for the last 65 years.
Beside wireless trail cameras, they also build products such as: binoculars, riflescopes, spotting scopes, GPS among others.
Trophy Cam HD is a line of outdoor game cameras. Some are 24MP, and others are 20MP, some are no glow, others are low glow.
Among this verity they also built a 14MP wireless Trophy cam.
Setting up a Bushnell Trophy Cam HD wireless
It is well known for its easy setup. This is very essential as it helps provides the first impressions of any product of this type.
On a website, users can check coverage prior setting up the account, and then they can create a profile by providing an email and password. They are also required to provide the serial number on camera.
Next step includes powering the cam to Setup Mode and entering the cell phone number to the device.
A GPS test is performed and a trial image is transmitted to the phone which can be viewed by downloading the app and using the same login information from the web portal.Click here to watch the installation video.
Just a few years ago, let’s say 2013, cellular trail cameras existed, but without apps that could allow users to remotely mange their devices. Those days are forever gone and the tendency is now to use an application on your smartphone to control the cam.
Bushnell cellular trail camera mobile app pretty much does what other apps do on other brands: it provides the ability to change and control settings remotely. Searching by the name Bushnell Wireless Trophy Cam you can download it for free from Google Play or App Store.
By following their recommendation users should get up to 3 months of battery life when using 12 new lithium AA “Energizer®” or Alkaline AA batteries. Obviously another brand can be used, but they specifically suggest that one.
Many users also confirm to enjoy a long battery life by using these types of batteries.
On their user guide they specifically state that NiMh rechargeable batteries are not recommended, as the lower voltage they produce can cause operational issues.
As with other devices, mixing batteries is not recommended; therefore they should be all lithium or all alkaline.
Other power options
An external solar panel of the same brand can be connected to the DC jack at the bottom of the unit. It has a built in rechargeable lithium battery and if the AA batteries are installed, the camera will be powered by the solar panel´s rechargeable battery as long as it provides adequate voltage, otherwise the camera will switch back to using the normal battery power.
Having poor signal has turned out to be one of the main reasons of disappointments with this device, even when verifying the coverage has been stressed a lot by the manufacturer as it should provide users with clear information of signal range.
So while this Bushnell cellular trail camera runs on AT&T, it´s a bad idea to physically take an AT&T cell phone to the area in which the camera will be deployed before purchasing.
In areas where a poor signal is presented, the camera may only send notifications when it is able to connect. In this case, users receive a bunch of images once this happens.
Once a good signal is present you should be getting images and notifications within a minute or so from the time the pic is taken.
One weak point of this brand is that it has no option to connect an external antenna, so verify if another cellular game camera running on another telecommunication company may work.
Field scan feature
Another reason for disappointment is that the camera won’t send field scan images over the air.
This really shouldn’t be disappointing as the user guide clearly states that filed scan images will be saved to the SD card and will not be transmitted wirelessly.
This feature enables owners to monitor specific areas outside of regular range, such as a field edge, by taking time lapse images of videos. The camera can be set to certain intervals, and once the feature is turned on it will take a picture or video clip automatically without requiring a trigger from an active subject.
So be mindful that you will literally have to drive out to the field, pull the card out the cam and view time lapse images from your laptop.
Starting as low as $6.99 a month data is provided and sold directly from Bushnell, although it operates on the reliability of the AT&T network. There are low resolution (thumbnail) and high resolution images.
Even when you can purchase a low resolution package, these still provide a good indication of the subject that triggers the camera and should not be considered as poor quality images. In the majority of cases it is all you really need.
High resolution images are also available from $0.99. These are 3.5 or 8MP images for much better viewing and zooming to clearly see the full quality of the game you are observing.
These plans are offered regardless of who is your cell phone provider, so it can be any provider other than AT&T. All you need is to make sure you have a good AT&T coverage and follow the setup instructions in order to receive images.
Once again: AT&T does not charge you for data. It’s all Bushnell. Unfortunately if you have AT&T you cannot add it to your existing plan, rather, you have to buy data from Bushnell.
Images and videos
Some people have become disappointed for expecting the device to operate differently than how it was built.
Overall, this camera hardly have any complains about bad quality photos, and if there are any is most likely to a defective unit or lack of proper settings in combination with the environment where the camera is installed.
The Trophy cam wireless renders between reasonable to great image quality shots, and even thumbnails are clear and decent quality.
If from time to time you get dark pictures your LED Flash Intensity may need adjustment or you might need to modify the Night Vision Shutter Speed. Fortunately, both of these features can be adjusted from the app.
If you still feel images are too dark, you could try to edit them with a software on your mobile or computer.
Only still and motion trigger photos are sent wirelessly. As mentioned earlier field scan images will be only saved to the SD card and won’t be sent online neither will they be accessible from the web or app.
When the camera is set to video mode, the video files are also stored on the SD card and can be viewed any time.
Because this unit has built-in infrared LEDs, the flash is invisible to humans at night. The IR LEDs work as a flash enabling the unit to take clear photos or videos in black and white in the night, while it also takes colorful pics and vids during the day.
Sim Card is not included with the cam. Once you get a high quality SD card it should be good enough, but it is also good to hear directly what Bushnell suggests: they recommend using SanDisk® SD and SDHC Cards up to 32GB capacity, Ultra® or Extreme® series for HD video.
Playing and tweaking
It is completely normal if after deploying the camera is not rendering pictures or notifications as you expected. After all, there are weather and environmental conditions, and settings you may ignore.
For example, a user expressed they had 40 mph winds around three days that kept blowing a branch in front of the camera causing blank pictures. After lowering the sensitivity and playing around other settings, they were able to get things down to normal again.
After initial set up and installation of the camera in the field, tweaking it to get better results is something you´ll definitely have to go through. People are quick to jump on social media and blast X or Y product without further testing or even without reading the whole user guide from A to Z.
Issues like: “extremely dark pictures at night” and “half body pictures” are only examples of things that may need to be modified. In the first case you might need to continue adjusting some features until images are acceptable. In the second case, you might need to modify intervals.
Furthermore, you might find a series of issues that affect the performance of the camera, like: camera not powering up, stops taking images or won’t take images, PIR sensor not flashing, and many others. Make sure to read possible fixes for these by going to the user´s manual between pages 51-56.