Fabled electronics superpower Bushnell has, at long last, delved into the burgeoning and hugely competitive world of Cellular trail cameras and, as the self-proclaimed; Gadget Guru, I had the opportunity of field-testing this new product recently. A Cellular trail camera is essentially any wildlife surveillance cam capable of transmitting images, from your camera to your smart phone, without having to trek miles into the forest to retrieve SD cards, as hunters did in the past. There is some image quality lost in transmission but these gadget’s convenience more than makes up for it. Let’s take a look at Bushnell’s CelluCORE 20 and what it has to offer hunters and wildlife enthusiasts, based on two months of field-testing, 2000+ images later, captured at 4 different locations in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, Canada.

CelluCORE™ 20 Trail Camera

The Dual-SIM configuration of the CelluCORE™ 20 allows this trail camera to automatically connect to AT&T or Verizon−whichever offers the strongest cellular network or availability in your region. For Canadian residence like me, AT&T was the way to go and thanks to its optimized mega-antenna, you know you’re always getting the strongest cellular signal possible. Having field-tested trail cameras by Spypoint, Moultrie, Tasco and Wildlife Innovations in the past, it will be interesting to see how this new camera compares in such aspects as; image quality, user capability, functionality and battery life.

 

Source: author

Trail Camera function and operation

All of  CelluCore’s connectivity parameters are easily accessible and well laid-out on the display panel, including camera status, battery life and cellular signal. Cellular signal ranges from red, yellow or weak signal to green or stronger signal. Green is always preferred.

 

Source: author

Using the Bushnell Trail Cam App

Source: Bushnell.com

Once I had the Bushnell Trail Camera App installed on my smart phone, activating and initializing the camera was a easy as scanning a QR Code, provided on the camera back panel.

Bushnell’s proprietary battery pack assembly was interesting, a bit tough to lock into position but the AA batteries remained concealed and protected behind the plastic casing which I liked. Other trail cams I’ve tested, including earlier Bushnell models had battery compartments located on the front panel, exposed to the elements when your camera casing is open.

Trail Camera- Put to the Test(Night time)

I set-up the CelluCore 20 at four different locations between October 1st and end of November, to access its functionality and image transmission capability, both during the day and at night. All locations were within 2 miles of my hunt camp located in the mountains near Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.

Interested in learning more about hunting in the mountains:

Now lets look at some of the night time images captured by the CelluCore 20 in that time. Take note that time, date, moon phase, temperature and even camera name is imprinted on each image capture, adding essential scouting details  hunters can refer to later.

Source: author

source: author

 

Trail Camera – Put to the Test(Daytime)

An 8-point buck on the prowl during the peak of the rut!

An 8-point buck on the prowl during the peak of the rut! – Source: author

A mature bull moose stops by for a visit shortly after Quebec's moose season

A mature bull moose stops by for a visit shortly after Quebec’s moose season Source: author

Two female whitetails feeding on the side of a rocky knoll.

Two female whitetails feeding on the side of a rocky knoll. Source: author

CelluCore 20 Trail Camera Specifications

Color Gray
Night Vision Flash Low Glow / 80′ Range
Resolution 20MP
PIR Sensor Low / Medium / High /Auto
Wireless Connectivity Yes
Display N/A
Stamps Date / Time / Temp / Moon
GPS Geotag No
Power Supply AA (12)
Solar Compatible Yes
Battery Life Up to 6 Months
Video Resolution HD Video
Video Length Up to 30 Seconds
Storage Capacity 32 GB
Field Scan 2X No
Records Audio No
Hybrid Capture Yes
Product Type Trail Cameras
Collection CelluCore
Interest Hunting / Security
Warranty 2-Year Limited Warranty

Camera functionality in the field

Here I am at one of my test locations, eagerly awaiting my Bushnell App for successful image transmission.

Here I am at one of my test locations, awaiting notification from my Bushnell App, which indicates successful image transmission. I also asses `time lag` from moment of image capture to when it appears in your app. It should be less than 5 minutes or almost `real time` in some cases.

Overall impression

My overall impression of the Bushnell Cellucore 20 was positive. Image quality for a cellular trail cam was better than any I tested previously. As far as user capability and  functionality, I found it straight forward and easy to use. Battery life was also exceptional for a cellular camera, which are notoriously hard on batteries.

The product casing, although bulkier and larger than some other models felt solid and well-constructed.

The Cellucore 20, from my experience, transmitted images flawlessly even in areas with weaker cell signal, although transmission time from image capture to receipt in the app was delayed. (up to 30 mins in some cases)

Want to know more about hunting with Trail cameras, check out my feature in Ontario Tourism Magazine: http://s8.clarkcommunications.ca/neont/hunting-with-trail-cameras/

Image Quality Comparison

Here is a side-by-side image comparison of a Spypoint cellular camera image, compared to the Bushnell CORE20 image. Both images taken during the same test period a short distance apart.

 

The Spypoint image on the left appears grainy and washed out, typical of many cellular trail cameras. `The CelluCORE 20 image on the right is clearer, crisper and displays improved image quality.

Final Thoughts

Considering this cellular trail cam model retails for under $100 USD currently, this product is an amazing deal. It performed well for me during both the October moose and November deer seasons, running nearly 2 full months nonstop.  Battery life remained at nearly 100% on both my test cameras, which is almost unheard of. All in all a great product hunters will surely appreciate.

For more information on the Bushnell trail cam app and data plans: https://www.wirelesstrophycam.com/

For more information on the Bushnell Cellucore 20: https://www.bushnell.com/trail-cameras/wireless-2/cellucore-20-low-glow-cellular-trail-camera/P1688588.html