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Field Tested: Bushnell CelluCORE 20 Solar

You'll be thrilled with this efficient, easy-to-use cell scouter.

Field Tested: Bushnell CelluCORE 20 Solar

$179.99 / Bushnell / 800-423-3537;

As summer transitions into fall, I really get excited about the process of placing my trail cameras out on the various properties I bowhunt.

I have a variety of cameras in my arsenal, from basic “economy” models I’ve had for years to higher-end cell cams that generate high-quality images, offer numerous settings options and provide a variety of intel I can use as I prepare for the season.

This year I opted to run Bushnell’s CelluCORE 20 Solar at my house, where I just so happen to have a few acres of huntable land. And, from the time I took it out of the box, I could see there was a lot to appreciate about this solar-powered cell cam. First off, it was absolutely one of the easiest cellular trail cameras I have ever set up. There were no issues with activation, no trouble acquiring a signal and no problems with the camera taking photos or transmitting images to the app — all of which have happened in the past with other models. To get started, you simply download the Bushnell app, register for an account, install the batteries, scan your camera’s QR code and away you go. The app walks you through everything — it’s that simple!

Although the CelluCORE 20 Solar has been on the market for a couple of years, Bushnell just added dual SIM connectivity, which essentially means the camera will connect to the strongest cellular network in the area in which the camera is located.

Two things that really jump out to me about the camera are the comprehensive instruction manual that comes with it and the Camera Status Indicator Guide on the operating panel. The indicator guide easily explains, via red, yellow and green indicator lights, whether you have a fully functioning camera, with good signal strength and battery life, or if there are any issues. You also see, or get notified about, any issues on the app, making both great resources when you’re first setting up the camera or transitioning to a new location.

As far as camera highlights, you have to start with the solar panel, which charges an included lithium-ion battery. The big benefit to solar power, of course, is that it greatly reduces the number of times you need to head afield to change batteries or check on the camera, keeping your scent and disturbance minimal in your hunting area. A huge plus of Bushnell’s solar panel is that it’s detachable. If you get enough rays in the location where you set the camera, you can leave the panel attached. If not, you can remove it, attach the included connector cable and mount the panel to another location — using a mounting bracket — to ensure the battery charges. As a backup, the camera is also powered by 12 AA batteries.

Other features of the CelluCORE 20 Solar include a trigger speed of less than one second, high-output LEDs and an 80-foot range for nighttime images. For those who like to capture as much intel as possible — like when trying to pattern a certain buck — the camera records data such as temperature, wind direction, moon phase, barometric pressure and more.

As far as capturing photos and video, the CelluCORE 20 Solar takes high-quality, 20MP images that are transmitted to the app and videos that are saved to an SD card. It also has a Hybrid Mode, allowing you to take both photo and video when deer, elk, turkeys and other game show up. Other settings allow for changing image resolution, number of photos per camera triggering and video resolution and length. Plus, the CelluCORE 20 Solar provides the ability to adjust the flash for your specific setup, offering short- and long-range photo options, as well as a fast-motion option. The fast-motion setting increases shutter speed for the sharpest, clearest images, while the long-range mode results in a slower shutter speed, providing maximum flash range but blurrier nighttime images. If your camera overlooks a food plot or other area where game tends to congregate, you also can set the triggering interval anywhere from 5 seconds to 60 minutes to avoid capturing numerous, duplicate images of the same subject or subjects.

In regard to data transmission plans, both AT&T and Verizon monthly plans are available, but the first 30 days after you activate the camera are free from Bushnell. The camera also comes with a two-year limited warranty.

If you’re looking for a cell camera that’s easy to set up, simple to operate and, most importantly, provides a wealth of invaluable photos and data right to your phone, with the added bonus of not having to change batteries throughout the season, the CelluCORE 20 Solar is an excellent option! — Associate Editor Mark Demko

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