September 15, 2020
I’m leaving the farm and flipping through radio channels in a desperate haste to outpace the likes of Gaga, Tyga, and all the other something-ga-s that people are listening to these days. I’m finishing skimming through that hot mess of music when my phone starts buzzing. Being the good citizen, I don’t look at it. But by the time I finally pull in the drive, it’s vibrating the last of my truck dashboard dust into the floor, and my curiosity is piquing. I open the app, and boom — studs are walking past my cellular trail camera less than an hour after posting it.
There’s no doubt about it, cellular trail cameras are changing the way hunters scout deer. Wi-fi, Bluetooth and especially cellular cameras are allowing hunters to scout and monitor areas more efficiently. For those willing to use this resource, and who do so wisely, it’s an extremely valuable tool. I use them for four primary reasons.
First, pre-season prep takes time, and while a cellular camera isn’t a fix-all, it certainly reduces scouting time. Hunters who have little of it to spend benefit most from wireless options, such as the Moultrie X-6000 series. It’s offered as the XA-6000, which is powered by AT&T, and the XV-6000, which uses Verizon towers. Choose between the two based on which one provides the best coverage at your hunting spot.
It also serves hunters well who have a limited number of days to hunt. Monitoring a cell camera in real time — from your phone or computer — can let a hunter know right away that a given buck is in the area. Whereas, a hunter might not know for a few days or weeks if waiting to check a traditional, non-cellular model.
Another benefit is deployment on distant hunting properties. Whether it be private or public, leased, owned or by permission, a cell camera keeps us from traveling as much. And multiple fuel-ups cost way more than most cell cam data subscriptions.
Finally, these are extremely beneficial for hunters who stress over minimal pressure and human intrusion. Whether it’s the days preceding the opener, or weeks prior to a rut vacation, done correctly, running a cell cam is the lowest-impact trail camera plan available to hunters. Cameras that connect to other nearby cams via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth — which send all photos to a home base cam that retrieves photos from each camera within range — is the second best option. Still, a cell cam is the way to go for fastest data retrieval.
To me, the two biggest advantages of implementing cellular cameras is real-time data and infrequent trips to pull cards and service cams. Because of this, I prefer to use an external battery pack and battery box. This lengthens lifespan and keeps hunters from making unnecessary trips to replenish juice bars.
Where legal, I also place these over small pockets of mast, food plots, pinch points, water holes, mineral licks, bait piles, mock scrapes or real scrapes. Hanging these over trails or trail intersections works as well, but in my experience, you’ll receive a lower volume of photos.
For best results, if concealed well, hang cameras about 3 to 4 feet off the ground. Don’t angle the camera too high or low. If hanging it on a trail, angle it at 45 degrees (in relation to the trail) to increase the window of photo capture opportunity. On public lands, or if deer in the area are known to spook from cameras, it might be best to hang cameras higher, or even out of reach, and angle them downward at the target area. Remove all vegetation that might trigger the camera, or obscure photos.
I recently tested the Moultrie XA-6000, and several things became abundantly clear. Each of the theoretical benefits proved true. Cell cameras really do have the capability of elevating scouting efficiency, minimizing applied pressure, decreasing time invested, optimizing time that is spent, and speeding up data delivery. And, in my opinion, the 6000 shines in each of these categories.
This is a dependable and reliable model. It’s mate — the easy-to-use Moultrie Mobile app — is a breeze that even technologically-challenged people could master. Simply download the app, create an account, register the camera, choose a plan, and boom — pictures for not just days, but months.
The mobile friendly app offers a wide range of custom settings and functions to align with specific user goals. It runs on AT&T and Verizon 4G networks, so cellular service is reliable. Both daytime and nighttime photos are crisp, 16-megapixel images. While it doesn’t transmit it cellularly, it also captures HD video and stores it on the SD card. It even comes with image recognition, making it easier to sort through photos of bucks, does, and other animals.
The battery life is impressive and is advertised to last up to three months. For those unwilling to run it on 12 AAs alone, an external battery pack is available. This greatly extends the life of the camera, and further reduces necessary trips afield.
This is also one of the more affordable cell camera options on the market today. The unit is listed at $119.99, and data plans are equally affordable. Initial monthly plans range from $4.99-34.99. Personally, I found my sweet spot with the unlimited plan, which costs either $16.99 monthly, or $155.88 for a one-time-per-year payment. The latter option offers better value, regardless of the plan. Plus, if you have three or more cameras in the field, data subscriptions decrease even more.
All in all, this camera checks boxes, and as its specs show, it sports impressive capabilities. The price is better than right. This model has a 2-year warranty, great detection and flash ranges, solid battery life, and a phenomenal grade for ease of use. The X-6000 series does what it’s supposed to — take photos and get them to your phone without jacking everything up.
Moultrie X-6000 Series Cellular Trail Camera Specs
- MSRP: $199.99
- Service Provider: AT&T or Verizon
- Warranty: 2 years
- Photo Resolution: 16 megapixel
- Video Resolution: HD (1280x720)
- Photo and Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Trigger Speed: 0.9 seconds
- Detection Range: 80 feet
- Flash Range: 70 feet
- Multi-Shot Mode: 1 or 3 photos
- Detection Delays: 0, 12, 30, 60 or 300 seconds
- Managed Memory: Yes
- Camo: Moultrie Pine Bark
- Moultrie Mobile Compatible: Yes (Built In)
- Battery Source: 12 AAs
- Battery Life: Great