Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Too many elk

After 2 weeks I was forced to move the camera from the mt. beaver location because the elk have been terrible with my camera. Every week I've had to hunt for almost an hour for the camera after it was bitten and tossed over the hill and into the huckelberry brush. The only good thing was I picked a gallon of berries, nice big blue wild high mountain huckelberries which my wife Kathie made into a fantastic pie. I even forgot to bring in the camera and left it on the ground, so hope it hasn't been stepped on by the elk when I go back to check the cameras. At least I'll get a chance to pick more berries.

I' ll also show a picture of a squirrel that I got on another camera that I had set for predators and showing the mountain in the background. This is very steep country so it's better to have a sunny day to check the cameras rather than rain and being in the clouds at this elevation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wildlife and their reaction to game cameras

There appears to be a lot of discussion about the reaction of wildlife and the flash of game cameras. Does the flash change or alter an animals behavior or way of life? My answer to this question is a definite "No".

In order to answer this question you must not think as a human, but as an animal whose life depends on being aware of all threats to its life by using their eyes, ears and nose to sense any danger. Should any animal feel threatened by a camera or flash, the answer is no and my trail photos show this to be true. Does the smell or odor of a human bother animals, that is also a no. Animals know whether a human is close by or has been in the area days before, their lives depend on knowing this as well as knowing whether any other predator is lurking about.

An example is a deer bedded down at night and smelling a bear, bobcat, coyote or even a cougar in the area and looking for food. First instinct for a human is to run, but a deer lives with this every day of its life and understands that where it lays it will have several routes of escape ready and will wait till it knows for sure of where the danger is coming from and then decides what should be done. They understand the results of making a mistake could be death, but it's not fear that keeps them alive but instinct through learned behavior.

I can go to the same trails year after year and get photos of the animals that use these trails because the camera doesn't make them change their habits or use a different trail. Here's two pictures of a bobcat taken in fast picture mode showing that the first flash had zero effect on the bobcat. I have many such photos of all kinds of different animals showing the same results.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My location for a Mountain beaver

I'm 99% sure this is a mt. beaver hole, but will know for sure in a month if I'm lucky. This is a good find because its in the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens and it will show that they survived the blast on the back side of a ridge very close to the mountain. This is within my study area that I go into during the summer and fall to learn about the survival of smaller animals after the eruption. I've seen lots of chipmunks and mice and the wild flowers have made a great comeback to reseed the landscape and provide food that's needed for the smaller animals.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Good setup for trail cameras and otter

For some animals that are very difficult to photograph, like otter, I use a double camera setup. I will use a fast camera and hide it behind a tree so it can't be seen until the animal is almost in front of the camera. Then I place a camera in the open so it can be seen to keep the animals attention, as with this otter family. The last pup stopped to look at the camera as the mother and another pup continued walking. Otter are smart and if they choose can race through a camera and never get photographed. Sometimes I will leave the camera in the open turned off to not take a picture, this often gets more pictures as they check out the dummy camera.

This also works for bobcats and coyotes to keep them from looking into the camera and getting eye glare. They can't look at both cameras at once and at times both cameras will give good pictures, especially when using two different brands of cameras for trigger speed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bear hunts like a cougar

At first this photo shows a bear waiting to pounce on an animal that would be walking on the trail beneath the windfall that it is laying on. But in reality this is a random picture I got in a series of 7 of the bear on this log. I get thousand of photos of animals every year and can write most any caption to make you believe that this is normal animal behavior. But I study animals to learn about there behavior and try to keep my captions in line with normal activity of each animal.

Bears do not hunt in this manner, but this photo is of a bear resting on this log during the day. I have most of my cameras set in multi picture mode to take advantage of lots of pictures of one animal as it is in the camera view area. When the camera is set on trails this is the best method to study the animals activity and also its reaction to the camera.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Old broken windfall makes a nice trail

There's a well used game trail under this dead tree that blew down last winter but I found a small trail leading up onto the log. This bear climbs up on the log and lays down for a rest on occasions and other times it just looks around for a better view. The location is great for photos, a small tree very close for the camera and a nice background, plus most of the time the bear uses the log during the day. This photo shows the bear walking the log and climbing over the break.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bear climbing a maple tree

Thought I was done with bear pictures but found where they climb this maple tree. I climbed up the tree and put some syrup on a limb and set a camera aimed at the bottom. Took a week before any action and it was just this one bear that I got several pictures of on the tree.