Being in the right time at the right place can make a huge different to our results in the field. Achieving that end is usually the result of investing considerable time and effort in careful reconnaissance to work out the habits of our quarry. But a simpler way to monitor the comings and goings of wild creatures is to set up a trail camera like the Hikmicro M15 4G.

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The M15’s trigger was sensitive enough to capture this tiny mouse on a nocturnal raid                                                             

Using a trail camera to see what’s going on around your shoot when you’re not there can be a real revelation. While any form of observation is likely to provide useful information, it can be surprising to see what quarry species get up to when left to their own devices. Trail cameras can also provide a valuable insight into the activities of unauthorised and unwelcome human visitors who don’t realise they’re being watched.

Much of my shooting time is spent controlling grey squirrels, and I often use trail cameras to monitor activity around my bait stations. Information from these cameras helps me to make sure the hours I spend in the hide with my air rifle coincide with the times when the destructive rodents are most likely to put in an appearance.

I also know lots of shooters who use trail cameras to keep tabs on the comings and goings of foxes and deer, and these clever gadgets can also play a very useful role in security.

Photographs captured on a motionactivated camera helped me to put a stop to the repeated vandalism of my squirrel feeders a few years ago, and I imagine these devices would be just as usual for bringing poachers and trespassers to book. 

Hikmicro’s M15 4G trail camera is one of a new breed of trailcams boasting cellular connectivity. This unit has a recommended retail price of £164.99 and uses 4G to send still images and video direct to your phone or computer. A free basic data plan allows you to receive 100 photos per month; other packages costing £4 to £13 per month are available through the Hikmicro Sight app.

I really don’t like having to waste my time working out how to operate sophisticated electronic kit, so I am pleased to say that the M15 is very simple to set up. You begin by opening the weatherproof cover and inserting either six or 12 AA batteries and an SD card, none of which is supplied. The trail camera can then be synced with your phone at the press of a button.
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  • Threads in the M15’s housing mean you can quickly attach a tripod and other camera mounts
  • Simple controls make easy work of setting up the M15, which can also be operated via your phone

This connects to the Sight app and gives access to features including remote setup and a cloud album. The Sight app’s setup menu enables you to choose whether the camera is set to capture video (WVGA, HD 720P or full HD 1080P), photographs (3MP or high-quality 10MP) or both. You can also adjust PIR sensitivity and flash output, as well as select Delayed Shot and Scheduled Shot modes. The camera can be set to run either for two periods during the day or continually around the clock. All these settings can be made remotely via your phone, so you can make adjustments and view captured photos and videos from virtually anywhere.

All the technical wizardry listed above is fine as long as it works, and I have to say that I was very impressed with the M15’s performance is real conditions. As mentioned, I do a lot of grey squirrel control. 

Compared with something like a deer, a squirrel is a comparatively small and flighty target to trigger a trail camera, so I reckon that makes for quite a challenging test. With the M15 I captured a lot of very useful images and information during its weeks on test.

The M15 was quickly sending colour daytime images to my phone, and the discreet onboard 940nm IR light also enabled me to capture some really interesting black-and-white images after dark. This unit’s sensitive PIR trigger has a delay of just half a second, which proved to be fast enough to capture a variety of wildlife visiting my bait stations. The camera was even triggered by mice coming to raid peanuts at night.

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The M15 enabled Mat to monitor activity around his feeding stations right                                                                                   
around the clock and from anywhere                                                                                                                                                     

Admittedly I had the camera set up just a few feet from the action, but if its trigger can be activated by tiny mice, it should have no trouble picking up larger animals and people out to its stated 25m detection range.

As well as showing you what’s going on around your shoot, the M15 also tells you when it’s happening. Images and video recordings are stamped with the date and time of capture as well as moon phase and air temperature. I know from experience that this information can make a big difference when trying to build a picture of your quarry’s behaviour and habits, and those habits can change greatly through different stages of the day and night and in different climatic conditions.

I used the supplied strap to attach the M15 to a tree next to my bait station. The unit’s camo-finished armoured casing is also threaded for the attachment of tripods and other camera mounts. Whichever option you choose, make sure the unit is securely fixed because – as with most trail cameras – its motion sensor will be triggered if it is rocked by the wind.

A week after I had set up a feeding station with the M15 in place, it was apparent that the resident squirrels were not only really enjoying the peanuts I was offering them but also making most of their raids during the last two hours of daylight.

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 Knowing when and where to target your quarry can make a big difference to your results                                                      

Working from that information, I crept into the hide for my first session during the latter part of the afternoon and had a solid tally of 13 grey squirrels by the time dusk had closed in. In fairness, most of my ambushes take place during either the start or end of the day, but the M15 enabled me to avoid an unnecessary early start by ruling out what looked likely to be a far less productive dawn shift.

I know trail cameras aren’t for everyone and there are lots of shooters who may never have a need for one. But for those who do want to take advantage of the insight they can provide, the Hikmicro M15 4G provides a reliable and easy-to-operate solution at a sensible price. And if you’re concerned about having to keep paying out for the monthly connectivity plans, you can always sidestep that option and download images and video direct from the memory card instead. Flexibility is one of this unit’s many appealing features, but it’s the ease of use and dependable image capture that top it for me.

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Mat made this haul in a short session by timing his ambush to coincide with peak squirrel activity                                        


Dimensions: 112 x 86 x 143mm
Weight: 440g
Trigger speed: 0.5 seconds
PIR detection range: 25m
Supplied with: Fastening strap, SIM card, antenna, USB cable and quick-start guide
RRP: £164.99