Gerald Almy: Time to consider a trail camera

Gerald Almy

One of the jobs of a full-time outdoor writer is to try to keep up with the latest new developments in hunting and fishing gear. This can be fun, but it also can be a lot of work. And it’s a challenging task because of the many new innovations in technology and manufacturing that take place every year.

If something like a fishing lure is involved, a company will usually send a sample for the writer to test. For more expensive items, the typical policy is to ship out a “loaner” that the writer can evaluate for 30-90 days to do his or her research and then return — hopefully not too beat up or scratched and nicked.

That was the policy in place when I decided to field test one of the newest trail cameras on the market from Stealth Cam. Trail cameras have become almost a mania among deer hunters who buy two or three or even a dozen and place them all over the woods and fields to see what the quarry is doing and where it’s traveling.

Personally, I think some hunters go overboard with this, but trail cameras definitely can be a valuable tool for hunting. Just use them with a bit of restraint. With that said, here’s a review of the G42 NG (no glow) trail cam.

For over a decade and a half, Stealth Cam has been creating some of the most innovative trail cameras on the market. They have a reputation of producing a quality product, and I could tell this camera fit that mold right out of the box. There were no shortcuts taken in manufacturing this product.

The camo pattern blends in well with most trees in the Shenandoah Valley, and all functions I tried worked smoothly. The camera was easy to set up and in no time I was gathering pictures of deer, raccoons, crows, and unfortunately, coyotes. Yes, one night at 3 a.m., the camera photographed three scrawny coyotes on our land in western Shenandoah County.

This camera features the company’s TRIAD 3-in-1 technology, allowing you to capture still images, HD video or time lapse shots. I found the quality was excellent in all three modes. With the video mode you can capture 5-180 seconds of footage.

The camera can also be set at four megapixel levels, 2, 4, 8, and 10. I particularly liked the ability to capture images with 10MP for the clarity and sharpness. Whichever trail camera you buy, be sure it has at least 8 megapixels. Anything less than that and you won’t be happy with the picture quality.

The Stealth Cam G42 also features is a Burst Mode that lets you take 1-9 images per triggering. The camera has a Test Mode and USB output for transferring images and an external power jack for 12V battery box. I used the 8 AA batteries and found they lasted a surprisingly long time, but it’s important to keep fresh batteries in the unit. Fortunately, there’s a battery power indicator that lets you know their strength.

If you want to cover a long distance, you’ll like the fact that this camera can capture images at up to 100 feet with its 42 LEDs illuminating the target. The trigger system is fast with a half-second activation period. This is helpful so you can capture those animals that move quickly through the target area.

Their proprietary Matrix Advanced blur reduction technology allows clearer night time shots. This is a plus because blurry night time images are a problem with some trail cameras. It has multi-zone motion detection capability and secure lock password protection.

Late winter use of trail cameras has many benefits. For one thing, it helps you keep track of when deer are shedding antlers so you’ll know when to get started searching for them. A good trail camera will easily let you tell the difference between a large doe and a buck that’s dropped its antlers.

Another thing I like trail cameras for this time of year is reassuring me when I think a particular buck I’ve seen may have been killed by another hunter, or died in a fight or from natural causes. Sometimes bucks disappear during the hunting season and we assume the worst. But if you keep your trail cameras working after the close, often you’ll catch sight of these bucks that suddenly emerge from who-knows-where and pop up in front of the camera. Likely they were hiding out from the pressure in some isolated, thick spot that everyone overlooked or simply moving only at night during hunting seasons.

It’s a joy to find these bucks are still alive, after you’d all but given up hope. The Stealth Cam G42NG will help you in that quest. But of course many other fine trail cameras on the market from other companies will, too. Just do plenty of research, check reviews and make your purchase carefully.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.