First Step in finding the Perfect Whitetail Trail Camera?
Where does one start? Its simple.... "WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED"!!!
Everybody knows that whitetail junkies will find any way to somehow be in touch with
a whitetail at all times. Any "Serious" Trophy hunter knows that he/she has to be in
constant contact with the woods in order to consistently succeed each & every season
on mature whitetail bucks.
Thankfully each year we get closer to mature whitetails through the ever advancing
technology of todays scouting camera's. To think that it all started with the ole "One
time data collecting string stopping trail timer". You know...the device for which you
never really knew if it was a squirrel...a coon...or a deer that actually pulled the string
out stopping the clock on the trail timer. But hey...lol.... even with that kind of device
you were well on your way to being a hi tech hunter. Ya just had to think positive and
believe it was only a deer that could of pulled the string. Try and hand that gadget to a
hunter today? Lol... he will pitch it back at you with directions to the garbage can.
Well thanks to human passion and desire to improve ways to always be hunting when
your not in the woods. We have found ways to improve our ability to be scouting with
advanced electronics while still being hard at work and/or even completing that annual
"Oh Honey... you ARE gonna do or ya AINT going hunting this season" list.
So as about every hunter that has purchased or is looking to purchase some sort of
trail camera knows. We all would just as soon get it right the first time when we make
a trail camera purchase. Therefore we find ourselves asking which brand or model
should do i buy, How many do I really need, How many can I even afford, Which ones
are junk and what is the best way to even use a camera for getting all the info one
needs to succeed on trophy bucks each fall? We all want a trustworthy & reliable
game camera that will seeming do most of the scouting for us. But with all of the
different brands & models on the market today. This whole trail cam thing has proven
to be an aggravating and not so simple thing.
cams without some sort of a hassle is not a given thing. Trail cams can & will come
with all sorts of problems or issues that you never dreamed of. And for some reason,
the manufacturers don't explain any of this in the user manual or display on the front of
the box. So to "HELP" you try and select just what might be the very most important
thing in choosing the best trail camera for you and/or your situation. You are going to
have to Anyone consistently using trail cams are constantly learning that trail be as
patient as you are while waiting on a trophy buck and do some extensive research to
get all your questions answered BEFORE putting your hard earned money on the
To get started one needs to compile a list of a few questions before consider the
purchase of a "GREAT SCOUTING EXPERIENCE"!! And after several years of
dealing with several brands and models of trail cams. It is in my opinion, that the
question which takes top priority on my list for selecting the perfect trail
camera is "HOW IS THE CUSTOMER SERVICE?".
First and foremost the most important part of purchasing the best possible trail
camera is knowing that the best customer service is available to you in the
event that you immediately need help with your purchase.
I don't care if you paid $5, $50 or $500 for your new game camera nor do I care what
celebrity hunter recommended it. If one cannot get the type of help needed from a
customer service department at a time when it is desperately needed. And if you
receive customer service without getting any type of hassle from the manufacturer?
Then that camera isn't worth ten cents. A true customer service department does not
want to create their customers more problems. They want to solve your problems
quickly and get you back in the field. Not to mention that great customer service
creates happy customers which means repeat product sales.
Now always remember that the camera you just hired to be in the woods doing your
scouting for you. Should always be in the woods collecting valuable data. Not sitting
on your kitchen table broken down while waiting for the manufacture to decide if they
want to answer the CSR line, return an email and/or call ya back to help get you back
into the woods. Also realize there are allot of companies out there that simply don't &
won't care about your problems as their goal was to simply get the initial sale.
Therefore I find this to be the top concern needing resolved prior to completing any
other type of research. And i will share some true life experiences that myself and a
few hunting partners have experienced with specific customer service departments?
Example #1: A hunting buddy of mine purchased one of the ever so popular
Cuddeback cams for $250. Now the Drury Brothers recommend this camera. So it
just had to be one of the best cams on the market right? Lol.....ahhhh the power of
marketing. Well anyway the camera didn't even last him one week in the woods and
he was already having issues. But all will be good as he just has to make a call to
Cuddeback and it'll be back in the woods ASAP. Now obviously he first tried emailing
Cuddeback to not get any response. So after a few days he then tried calling only to
get an answering machine where he left a message. After several days of waiting
along with several failed phone call attempts he finally was able to reach someone. He
was told to ship the camera to Cuddeback. But hey, I know your camera is new....but
please send your camera back with a healthy sum of money to cover diagnosis,
repairs and return shipping. Lol.......What? Does anybody feel the stress building in
this experience? First off this is a "NEW" camera and the box says that it comes with
a warranty? Guess before buying any camera, hunters might consider calling a CSR
to see how they handle warranty claims and be sure to read through the
warranty policy on the box.
Now first if the faulty camera purchased is still basically "NEW"? Then in my
book it should be a replaces WITH NEW and one a "No Questions Asked with
NO MONIES PAID" replacement policy. Because spending day after day after day
just trying to get someone to even answer the phone is #1 sign that this is a bad
company to deal with. 2nd warning is that if you have trouble getting them to call you
back for help with their product? Remember that is keeping your newly purchased
scouting buddy out of the woods even that much longer. Im sorry, but that just is not
gonna cut it for me! I buy a camera for the purpose of scouting whitetails and not for
the purpose of trying to win a warranty claim battle. And if my cam takes a crap the
end of October, at the time when it is most important that it be in the woods? Then I
need a camera company with a customer service department that is dedicated to
getting my cams back in the woods immediately!!
Example #2: A fellow business and hunting partner of mine had purchased a new
Moultrie cam. Said that he was gonna give Moultrie cams a try based on price
combined with a few decent reviews that he had read online. Now my buddy is no trail
camera expert, but he isn't a total idiot when it comes to trail cams either. To explain
he is in the business of making custom trail camera mounts where he works with
several different brands & models of game cams and is experienced well above the
novice level. Now my buddy has used enough trail cams from different manufacturers
to know that it is necessary to read through the user manual. So after taking the time
to get familiar with his new cam. He headed off to the woods with his new Moultrie
trail cam with the information that was kindly provided to him right out of the box.
After two weeks in the woods Bill was obviously anxious to see how the new cam had
performed. Well to his surprise, the new camera took three pictures and shut off. So
obviously he goes through his list of possible circumstances to trouble shoot the
problem. He replaces the batteries, replaces the card and gives it another two weeks
in the woods. Low and behold he arrives two weeks later to find the results were the
same. Three pics and it shut off again. So Bill gave me a quick call to see what I
thought. I told him one can never tell sometimes, but some cams are card brand
and/or size sensitive. So you may be using either the wrong card size or the wrong
brand of card. If the manual or the internet doesn't offer advice, then is it his time to
get on the phone and see what help Moultrie has to offer.
Now Bill said that getting in touch with Moultrie wasn't an issue at all and he explained
to the CSR what issues that he was having with the new camera. The CSR asked if
he had formatted the card and Bill told him that the card was brand new and yes he
formatted the card both times. This is where Bill said the guy started getting rude as
the CSR said "Yes Im sure you did. But did you format it correctly"? Bill said he kind
of chuckle and ask "Is there another way"? That is when the CSR replies "SIR....Do
want my help or not?". Bill laughs again and say "Shoot away Skippy". It was then the
CSR informs Bill that he needs to do a long format "every time" he resets his camera
in the woods. Bill replies "Sounds simple enough. But hey just a thought, Maybe you
can ask Moultrie to place that extra valuable piece of information in the user manual.
Or hey....maybe they can even build in a format option into the menu of the camera"?
This is when the CSR proceeded to make comments insinuating that Bill just didn't
have the knowledge needed to operate Moultire products. Now if I am right...I believe
Bill called the customer SERVICE department and now the customer HASSLE
department. Sadly, most trail cam companies only provide you with a customer
service representative that does not posses any knowledge of their actual products.
Instead...they are just hired to read Trouble shooting prompts from a computer screen
and then hand out an RA#. There are simply not enough a PRODUCT SERVICE
Technicians available to the consumer theses days. So call ahead of your
purchase and see what you may be up against in the event of a scouting cam
Now about a couple of weeks later. Bill ran into another issue with his Moultrie cam,
but this was an issue that would be rather quick, easy and painless to get resolved.
Now it's pretty common for most camera users to use the mounting strap provided
and forgo the use of the 1/4 - 20 threaded insert provided on most all game cams.
Allot of hunters don't take into consideration there are better options for mounting your
camera in the woods. But because Bill is serious about getting your cams hidden and
out of view of trespassers & weary whitetails. Bill has designed what we feel is the
perfect screw in trail camera tree mount that utilizes the very 1/4 - 20 threaded insert
provided by most camera manufacturers. Now one would think every camera
company uses the same sized insert right? Lol...well guess what? No they don't
Guess again as some camera companies dare to be different in some of the most
unusual ways. Anyhow, Bill gets a call from one of his camera mount customers
saying "Hey Bill, your mount fit one of my Moultrie cams....but it didn't fit the thread on
one other model of Moultrie Camera". So with being dedicated to solving issues for his
customers, along with wanting to make sure he had products to cover every brand,
make and model of camera out there. Bill said no problem. I will make a quick call to
Moultrie and see what size it is. Then I will make you a new mount and get it in the
mail to you. Cost of the mount and the shipping is on me as this was an unforeseen
issue and certainly not of your fault nor mine. But either way I will call you back letting
you know as soon as I have an answer from Moultrie.
Now again they answered the phone on the first attempt. So Bill was off to a good
start. Like I just said "WAS". It quickly became apparent that the customer service
representatives at Moultrie don't even really know anything about their products.
Seems they are able to just read information off of a computer screen, from a list of
categories to "TRY" and help you solve your issue. In the exact words from my
partner Bill. This is his experience with the a Moultrie CSR to find out what size of
thread they were using on one model of their camera's.
I called Moultrie to ask what thread size they were now using on their trail
cams. Now after about a minute I quickly understood that the CSR obviously
didn't have a clue what the thread size was as I asked the CSR what size of
thread they were now using and he said......lol get this. He couldn't tell me
because as a customer I wasn't authorized to know that information. Lmao....an
exclusive trade secret I guess. So still needing to know the size I then asked
him "Well I guess I have to ask you if you guys make a screw in tree mount for
your camera's? The CSR replied "We don't make one". So I then had to ask
"Then why put threads in the housing"? The phone went dead. So I said well it
is ok that you don't make one. But I happen make a product that allows your
customers to place your cams in any scouting situation. So I just need to know
the thread size. The CSR's response was "I don't care what you make". At that
point I just told him that I would just return my $150.00 Moultrie camera and as
well tell all my friends and camera mount customers to avoid Moultrie as they
have issues that they are not willing to assist you with? And guess what?....Lol,
I suddenly got a tech on the phone which I thought was going to be the miracle
I needed at the start of the conversation. Now this is supposed to be "A
TECHNICHIAN". So get this.......this guy tells me that the thread was a 10-32
metric thread. I told him it can't be metric because that was not American. He
said it definitely was metric because they're made in China. I asked what size
thread is on the mount you guys make? He said we don't make one! So again, I
said I do so PLEASE help me......help you make your product a better and
easier device to use for all your customers. Lol....he says.... "Sorry can't help
you there. It's a metric thread and that is all I am at liberty to say." Then I
pointed out to him that I am a master machinist and he needs to understand
just what legitimate thread sizes actually were. Needless to say that was the
end of the help I got from Moultrie.
So with still having the need to resolve the thread size issue. I joined a "Moutrie
Forum" looking too see if others were having the same issues. Lol..... WOW!
Man we're there some pissed off folks on there on there. They referred to the
M-80 and M-100 model camera's as having "the mystery thread!" So because I
have been a machinist since the age of 17 I had to go about it the hard way. But
it didn't take me long to figure out on my own that 5 mm works great and that I
would have saved time by just bypassing the ever so helpful efforts of
Moutrie's Customer Service Department. Needless to say, I also understand
why Moultrie went back to 1/4-20 threaded insert. Lol... have to assume they
got tired of pissed off hunters calling them on the phone. Lol, now they not
only have an insert on the back. But they put an insert on the bottom of the
Now the moral to this story is that when someone answers the phone and says
"Thanks for calling Moultrie - How may I "HELP" you"? Then you should be able to feel
at ease knowing you are about to get some actual help and attitude free assistance.
Because a CSR that is not only rude, but is reading printed information off information
from a computer screen that should have already been in the user manual, included
with the camera. It is quick to understand that you have no reason to want to own a
trail camera from this company. Because I can tell you this. From running 50+
camera's in the whitetail woods each and every season for several seasons. I have
quickly come to learn that I need a customer service department where each CSR is
personally knowledgeable of their products. Because when I am needing to quickly
resolve an issue so as to get a cam back into the woods ASAP!! I need an actual
REAL technician and not a telemarketer!
Example #3: (third time is a charm, Lol) I have personally dealt with GSM Products
for quite a few years. For those that do not know, GSM is the maker of both Stealth
and Wildview Game Cams. I will let you know right off the bat that I have had BRAND
NEW camera's that didn't even work properly right out of the box. As well I will
personally say that GSM has one of the worst customer service departments in all of
the trail cam industry. WHY? First I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell
you that I still to this day have not ever gotten a response to any of the several email's
I had sent about three years ago. To contact this company you will need to make a
phone call. When the CSR answers the phone at GSM....you are about to experience
customer service for your new purchased product that makes absolutely no sense.
This is due to that after you explain your situation. They will send you a return
authorization number so that they can send you a "REFURBISHED" camera to replace
your "NEW" camera. That is how they handle all of their warranty claims. What a deal
huh? Now you need to send your camera in first and ok I can and did that. But
then......you never hear anything from GSM................and you never hear
anything.....and...you never hear anything. Literally MONTHS will go by before you
ever got a replacement for the new camera you purchased. Not to mention you will
more than likely have to call them to remind them that they have your brand new junk
camera. You know...the one you said you would replace three months ago. Then
when you do get it you find out we were sent a junk refurbished camera. Now why if I
bought a camera "NEW" and I have a receipt showing it was "NEW" then why is this
company not sending me a "NEW" replacement? So as you can only imagine we had
to call GSM.....get another RA# and it took us several more months of complaining
and waiting to finally get a new camera to replace our new camera that was junk to
start with. Keep in mind this exact situation happened on more than one occasion.
Oh....and while all that was going on......an entire year including an entire deer season
had came and went. Get the point?
Example #4: I had purchased a case (12) of what was referred to as price point
camera's (lol, I call em CHEAP) from Hunten Outdoors. This is a company that was
new to the hunting camera industry and had the audacity to call their cams the best on
the market with such an interest that they were going national. They boasted they
were so good they had a lower return rate than Reconyx. Now I have a few Reconyx
camera's and I have had the same cams for the last six years. So you can imagine
that the salesman and myself didn't develop a strong friendship when I told him his low
return rate was currently due to they have not sold enough cameras to start getting
any returns yet. Lol....I thought it was funny. He didn't. But the truth hurts. So I told
him I would do some online research to see what users were saying about their cams.
Now because they were new to the hunting public the reviews were limited. But what I
read didnt seem all that bad for a cheap/price point camera. So beings I run an
outfitting business and need a camera that I can afford to get stolen. I purchased a
case of these cams for $45 each. Now I purchased these cams in March.....I dont put
out my cams until July and I take them down in late March. So with the exception of
one camera, I got about eight months of service out of these cams so far. The one of
twelve cams I put out this July for it to only take pics for one week and then crap out
and wouldn't even turn on. So, I knew it was time to test the Customer service
department at Hunten Outdoors. I will tell ya this....I am beginning to believe that most
all trail cam companies DO NOT utilize their email service. I got no response from
their online "Contact us" So with one phone call I got an answering machine but left a
message to get a call back within an hour. So far, so good I guess. So I explain my
position with the one out of twelve camera bought and got the cam replaced. Sounds
great right? Well just know that the CSR said.... "I will replace it THIS TIME but the
camera I am sending you wont have a warranty and I WONT ever do this for you
again"! WOOOAH!!! are you kidding me? Lol....nothing like being so rude to say dont
ever forget that we are doing you a one time favor and don't bother calling back due
you will never get one from us ever again.
SO WERE DOES THE BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE END........?
Well camera enthusiast need to know that not all is lost in find a great camera
company. Finally here is some actual proof that there ACTUALLY ARE some great
camera companies that care for their customers. The following examples show the
appreciation for your business and that they want you too succeed in the woods as
that is what helps then succeed in the Industry. Through our several years of
experience with game camera's. Though we have had some issues with certain
camera's from a couple manufacturers and we no longer use some of their cams.
Those camera manufacturers took great care of us with a "No Questions Asked"
Customer service resolutions. In my book what that makes them a company well
worth doing business with. Wild Game Innovations is one of those Companies.
Though I personally was not excited with their weak activity detection in most all of
their models and we found their cams to be noisy that alerted game of its presence
regardless of what you did to hide the camera. If we ever had an issue with a WGI
Camera they replaced their cam with a NEW camera in a short period of time. And
note....THEY REPLACED THE CAM EVEN IF IT WERE TO BE OUT OF
Bushnell is another camera company this is basically a "NO QUESTIONS ASKED"
company. Again, even if it were out of warranty. With Bushnell all you need to do is
drop the bad cam in the mail with ten bucks and within a few weeks you get a new
cam in the mail. And with each return experience I personally had with Bushnell? They
didn't just send me a new replacement. They sent me the newest most updated model
of camera they had at no extra charge. NOW THAT....!!!! IS CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!
Or is it? You want the best example of the greatest customer service that any trail
camera company can provide? First keep in mind I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANY
TRAIL CAMERA COMPANY WHATSOEVER!!! I am sharing my personal experiences
and the legitimate experiences of my closest of hunting buddies. If you are a serious
trophy hunter and you want "A REAL TRAIL CAMERA"? I will attest that I have only
experienced one brand of camera that is as close to perfect as you can get and that
Reconyx cams. Well first let me tell y'all that unless you have ever had the
"privilege" of owning or even using a Reconyx game camera one time? Then you have
never had the opportunity to realize just how big of a piece of junk all the game cams
that you have been using really are. I know they have a big price tag and you will say I
cant afford one. I will tell you that you cant afford not to own a Reconyx if you are a
serious hunter. Besides....sit down and figure up all the money you spend on gas,
food plots, hunting supplies, arrows, license, tags, etc each year and you will soon
see just how many Reconyx cams you could of bought in one year. Anyways, back to
the subject of customer service. I have had two minor issues with a couple of my
Reconyx cams. Keep in mind that each camera was still working pretty much
flawlessly at the time I chose to send in the cam for inspection. One season I had a
camera that was taking blurry pics and the following season I had a different cam
taking blurry night pics but clear day pics. Each time I contacted Reconyx "VIA EMAIL
WITH AN IMMEDIATE SAME DAY RESPONSE". I always enclosed a sample of the
pics showing the issues I was having. Each time I was immediately given a return
authorization number to mail in with the camera. Within a couple days of mailing in
each camera I received a confirmation that the company received my camera and
was issued a work order number to check on the status/progress of my camera
repair. Usually within a week I had a return tracking number showing that my camera
was on its way back to me. And guess what. I have never had a camera company
pay for the return shipping both times. Not to mention that Reconyx not only fixed the
issue reported with the camera, But they also did a complete system check on the
entire camera and replaced anything that appeared to be weak and updated the
camera with the latest software AT NO EXTRA COST!! Also, I was given a complete
print out of each and everything that was done to my camera. So who has the best
customer service? You decide. But I will tell you that it will be worth your while to take
the time and contact a camera company to see how their company performs before
you purchase one of their trail camera's. Because even though you have not yet
purchased one of their camera's. A great customer service provider will take the time
to let you know they will be there to help you when you need them "NO QUESTIONS
Share Your Cameras Experiences
What to do we do when any of our trail cams crap out. The first thing we do is see if the
manufacturer will replace and/or exchange the cam for a usable one. Just because most camera
manufacturers have a warranty period on their products. There are some camera manufacturers
out there that have great customer service departments that are willing to replace your camera
with no questions asked. Those manufacturers already know that it will be their great customer
service that will lead to you choosing their brand over another the next time you are in need.
Next we share our experiences with everyone we know. That doesn't mean that we purposely
bash those companies when things don't go our way. We just simply "share our experiences" so
as to help others know what to expect or what they have to look forward to with specific
companies and/or their products. The sharing of true life experiences in order to recommend, help,
educate, inform and/or warn others can be done without being labeled as a basher.