Interested in buying a barrel camera or video camera to capture your waterfowl hunts? Here are a few things to look for that may help you choose the right one.
I remember looking for my first barrel camera and thinking that the quality wasn’t all that great and there’s no way these things are going to last that long out in the field. Fast forward 10 years and action cameras now have great video quality and durability that even I could never imagine.
Cameras like the LidCam and Tactacam have seen numerous redesigns to get them to this point. Some barrel cameras even have 1080p HD video and built in WiFi.
These are the Top 3 Duck Hunting Action Cameras for 2019:
ShotKam Gun Camera (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Shotkam is expensive, but it produces some of the best quality video available. If you want the best barrel cam, this is it. LidCam (click to check the current price on Amazon) – LidCam is a budget action camera that mounts directly to the bill of your cap. You don’t have to worry about fancy gun mounts that could interfere with you swing. LidCam captures your field of vision and even has WiFi. Tactacam 4.0 Gun Package (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Tactacam is well known in the action cameras industry. Just makes sure you also purchase the gun mount.
Why I Picked the ShotKam
When you sit down and compare the ShotKam to the Tactacam and LidCam, the differences are noticeable.
- The ShotKam films fast action shots crisper and clearer. Its 100 frames per second (FPS) make it considerably faster than the Tactacam (60FPS).
- The ShotKam comes with a 64GB memory card right out of the box. Most other barrel cameras have a memory card slot, but the card is not included.
- The battery life with the ShotKam is considerably longer than that of the LidCam and Tactacam. The ShotKam has a 6 hour long battery life which is 3.5 hours longer than the Tactacam (2.5 hours).
- ShotKams built in WiFi lets you review shots quickly anywhere you have internet connection.
- The ShotKam only requires you to turn it on once. If it senses recoil, it will store the video from your shot. You don’t have to hit a button when you want it to record.
Here is a great clip of the kind of footage you can expect to achieve with a barrel camera.
Features to look for in a quality action camera for duck hunting:
- Full High Definition (HD) video recorded in 1080P. Some of the cheap action cameras have 720P or less video quality and the picture can appear grainy and even unusable.
- Image stabilization over a wide range of uses. The less shaky a video is, the better the end product will be.
- Automatic recording based on the closing of the action and felt recoil. ShotKam has perfected the ability to not need to hit a button every time birds are coming in and you want to record.
- Long Battery Life of up to 6 hours
- The More FPS, the better. 60 FPS is standard, but 100 FPS gives you clearer and crisper video for quick action shots.
- Wi-Fi compatibility. Wi-Fi lets you review each shot immediately after you take it assuming you have a laptop or phone nearby to transmit to. This is extremely helpful at the range if you’re looking to see where you missed the shot and ways to correct it quickly.
- Expandable memory card slot. HD video takes up a lot of space, and external memory slots help increase the amount of video you can store at any given time. 64 GB is the standard memory storage of the latest barrel cameras.
- Mounting location and adjustability. Barrel cameras are usually mounted before the forearm or ahead of the magazine tube. Being able to adjust the site picture and aiming ability will help you produce quality video where your aim point is on target.
- Simple to set up and operate.
- Anti fog lenses for cold/wet/humid conditions.
- Good Warranty
- Light weight so it doesn’t interfere with shotgun swing or motion.
About Duck Hunting Action Cameras
Action cameras are a great way to document your duck hunts. They come in a variety of different designs with many different features. They are often referred to as duck cams, video cameras, or shotgun barrel cams. While there are some similarities between the three, there are also some key differences.
Action Camera Mounts
- Barrel Mounted Cameras – Barrel Mounted cameras attach to the underside of the barrel just in front of the forearm or magazine tube of a shotgun. They record everything that the gun is pointed at.
- Ballcap Mounted Cameras – Cap mounted cameras attached to the bill of a cap or hat. They record wherever you’re looking.
I’ve used both the barrel cameras and cap mounted cameras and my preference is the barrel cam. Why? Because it’s easier to center the shot on video with a barrel camera than it is with a cap mount.
The barrel camera is mounted securely to your shot gun barrel and is aligned perfectly every shot. Barrel cams like the ShotKam can even be sighted in if it’s off center.
The ball cap mounted cameras like the LidCam require you to adjust your head and cap in a way that makes it difficult to stay on target consistently. You might record one perfectly centered video for every two videos that you only catch the edge.
The barrel camera centers the shot for me every time without having to wonder if I captured a good video. Ball cap mounted cameras are cheaper however and if you don’t like mounting a camera to your gun, they can provide an alternative that is both easy and quick to use.
The Gaining Popularity of Recording Duck Hunts
The popularity of barrel cameras for hunting has grown considerably within the past few years. One quick look at Youtube and there are tons of hunting videos recorded with barrel cameras. Let’s face it, a photo after the hunt with the birds you harvested doesn’t really encapsulate every moment.
With action cameras, you can share the highlights of your hunts with friends and family. You can also critique yourself on the bad shots and work on correcting it.
There have been countless times I’ve reviewed hunting footage to realize what I thought had happened was completely wrong. Things happen fast when hunting waterfowl and being able to review each decoying shot is something that can make almost anyone a better hunter.
Duck hunting with an action camera is gaining popularity with each passing year. Barrel cameras now record incredible HD video that not only looks awesome, but is easy to capture as well.
My favorite barrel camera for 2019 and for duck hunting is the ShotKam. It records in 1080pHD at 100 frames per second which makes the video crystal clear and sharp. It’s battery life is more than two times longer than other barrel cams, and it comes with a 64GB memory card right out of the box. The intuitiveness of the Shotkam to record without having to press any buttons is a feature no other action camera can compete with.
If you’re in a hurry or on a budget, the LidCam shoots good video and mounts directly to your ball cap. It will take some adjustments to get the field of view just right, but I’ve been impressed with it in situations where I didn’t want to use a barrel cam.
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John is our resident expert on the outdoors. He writes about outdoor gear, camping, traveling, and anything outdoors related. He has over 20 years experience camping and hiking the backwoods of Montana and has traveled extensively all over the world.