“If you’re not happy with the products on the market, you’ll just have to make your own.” So says Wildgame Innovations, a family-owned and operated company that spawned from a family of avid hunters involved in a quality deer management program.
“They had begun managing their own 1,100-acre deer lease down South. They tried one supplement after another and simply didn’t get the results they were looking for,” recalled Customer Service Manager Ron Ferguson.
Of course, field-testing (hunting) is half the fun—even when you are in business. By 2002 they had thoroughly sorted through other products and claims, finally believing they had a product that would not only grow big bucks, but also attract and hold them. Then they launched the company.
“Today we are one of the fastest-growing companies in our sector,” Ferguson continued. “We put a lot of effort into finding products that really work while keeping away from ‘gimmicky’ products that don’t measure up as promised.”
Later, Wildgame merged with a company making feeders and brought Ferguson on board. It didn’t take long before still another opportunity arose. Game cameras certainly weren’t new at the time, but they were expensive and complicated to set up and navigate. Ferguson knew some guys who had built them in the past—Chris Farling and Brandon Roach. All agreed there had to be a better way. The trio defined their mission and set off with a vengeance to accomplish it.
“We set out to make game cameras easier to operate but cheaper, too,” Ferguson said. “Trail cameras were expensive and out of reach of too many. Today we still keep to that—plenty of innovation and a reasonable price. We started out with that in mind and never looked back.
“[Wildgame] introduced a bunch of new trail cameras for 2011. The one I am most excited about is the Red 6,” said Ferguson. The Red 6 is quite a package. Built on the principle of a dual flash—infrared and strobe—the Red 6 is equally adept during the day for color or at night for black and white (IR) and captures both video and still photos. The Red 6 is equipped with 32 MB of memory and will handle another 16 GB via a micro SD card. “The Red 6 runs off four C-cell batteries and has a port for an external battery. We didn’t include a viewer on the camera, mainly due to cost. We wanted it to be compact, simple and cost effective. It’s a great midrange offering with an MSRP of $99.99.”
None Wildgame’s “inline” cameras will come standard in camo this year, but several models will be made for vendors with various camo patterns.
For those a bit more budget-conscious, Wildgame has introduced the Flash 4. This 4.0 mega-pixel camera comes with a standard strobe. The body style is the same as the Red 6 with a flash range of 40 feet. The Flash 4 doesn’t have a viewer, nor will it take video at night. “The Flash 4 brings a lot for the price. In addition to taking color photos and video during the day, it will also take color photos at night,” explains Ferguson. With the four C-cell batteries you should be able to get four to eight weeks of use depending on how frequently the flash or video is operating and the number of day versus night photos.
Wildgame also offers three models of action cameras, the AC3, AC5x and AC5xc. The AC3 is 3.0 mega-pixel camera with a Variable Horizon lens. “The VH lens allows you to mount the camera to a tree, the underside of a gun or the stabilizer of a bow—virtually anywhere you can think of—and rotate the lens so the image will be ‘right-side up’ when you view it later,” said Ferguson. The AC3 also features Wildgame’s Rapid X technology, allowing it to take still photos in three-, six- or nine-shot photo bursts.
The AC5x is a major step up from the AC3. The AC5x (Black) and AC5xc (Camo) will accept up to 32 GB of memory and uses a lithium-ion battery. Charging the AC5 is as easy as plugging it into a USB port. The AC5x also shoots video in HD. “Like our trail cameras, we worked hard to make sure you wouldn’t have to struggle with our action cameras. The navigation on all of our cameras is easy. You don’t have to scroll through a bunch of pages to get where you are going,” Ferguson explained.
“Smaller stores make up a large part of our business. One thing I can assure them: If they think they can sell two, they better order six,” Ferguson advised. “The last thing they want to do is give up the hundred-dollar sale on a Saturday just because they didn’t have enough on the shelf.”
With gas prices again soaring, Ferguson said, guys simply aren’t running out to their leases to scout as often. Trail cameras are taking the place of those regular one- to two-hour drives, letting the camera do the work for them.
“Our packaging makes the camera self-explanatory and an easy sell,” Ferguson said. “The best way to increase sales, though, is for the people behind the counter to get out and use the cameras. Just like a favorite bow or accessory, it’s easiest to sell something you actually use. The same is true of a camera, especially if you can show the customer some photos your camera actually took.”
For more info go to www.wildgameinnovations.com.