Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dew on the game camera lens

I try very hard this time of the year to prevent dew on the camera lens, but around swamps and creeks it's difficult. I use Rain-X on the outside glass lens on the case and it works fine if I remember to apply it once a week.

A good example of dew are these 2 bobcat photos I got this week showing the bobcat walking the log and then coming back past the camera in less than a minute later. They were taken in the morning daylight before the dew evaporated. Most of my bobcat photos are taken at night when the lens is dry, the dew is worst in the early mornings as the temperature changes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Coyotes are getting winter coats

With the colder weather the animals are getting their winter coats, so now is the time for the best predator pictures if the frost and dew stays off the camera lens. Another trick is to hide the camera so the coyote is seen in more of a natural hunting mode.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Elk by the scent tree

The cougar urine scent on the tree doesn't seem to bother any animal and that follows everything I've learned about animals, that's why I never worry about my scent when checking the trail cameras twice a week. I have yet to see an animal change its pattern or habits because of human scent or a trail camera and that goes for most of the scents I've tested as well.

This wasn't my best way to test scent because the trail is next to the tree, normally I will use the scent about 12 feet off the main trail to get the animal to search for the scent. This would be the better test, but I was checking to see if the advertisement was correct that it would frighten the deer and elk, it certainly failed this test.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scent test using cougar urine for an attractant

Often I have been offered a chance to test different kinds of scents to see if they work as advertised. This time it was a bottle of cougar urine and it was claimed to attract cougars and had a warning on the label that stated, this scent will frighten away all animals, such as deer for a long period of time, so be careful in its use.

I used the entire bottle on a tree in a location that has plenty of deer and elk with an occasional cougar passing through, mainly to test it for deer as a repellant. I did this because I wasn't sure it was cougar urine (had my doubts on just how someone would collect cougar urine) so the easiest test was to see if deer would stay away from the area.

I checked the camera after 5 days and low and behold I had 12 pictures of deer sniffing at the tree and several young bucks that seemed to get excited and urinated on the ground around the tree. I will check the camera later this week, it might be a good deer attractant.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Impossible game camera photo

I set this camera up for otter on the river and with salmon running thick I knew it was a great location. I didn't want to miss a picture so I used a fast camera with a large media card. I forgot to check the 9 volt battery that powers the board before leaving and the power dropped below what was needed to run the board, when this happens the camera will take rapid photos till the card is full. I ended up with lots of photos without anything on them and was almost ready to delete the entire card when I saw this salmon in one of the pictures.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Small herd of elk

Trying to get a picture of a large bull elk and thought it would be easier with all the elk sign. Several cameras are in good elk country and even saw two nice bulls today when checking the cameras, but no bulls in the small herds. Have several other trails I'll place cameras on the next time I go out that look promising for a nice bull elk photo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three coyotes in one game camera photo

This is the same location where I adjusted the camera for more light during the day and thought the night pictures would be fine. Also a first for me after many years using game cameras to get three coyotes in one picture. Normally I set the cameras close so doesn't allow time for several animals in one picture, but in new locations I allow more distance so I don't miss an animal and it depends on what pictures I get on whether I move the camera closer or change locations.

I was sure this was a good predator trail so pleased with the photo of the coyotes, but might now move farther down the trail for a better background. I do keep track of the animals on each trail by using Google Earth map and marking the trail with my GPS.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Setting the angle of a game camera is critical where the sky light shows in the photo

When setting up a game camera in the timber or dark area there is a big difference if you allow background light into the center of the picture. Digital cameras have sensors that pick up the light, this controls the flash and different settings for the best photo. But for trail cameras we need to help the camera out in certain situations by keeping the camera aimed low enough to keep the light in the top 1/3 of the picture so the settings will allow the camera to lighten up the photo automatically. This all happens in milliseconds.

Here's a good example I got just the other day when setting a camera on a ridge trail overlooking a canyon. The sky light on the first picture was too bright and so the camera never adjusted for the dark area during the day, this would have been too dark to show up the animal during the day, at night it would have worked fine. The next photo I lowered the camera just a little to keep the light higher, this made the camera adjust to less light and the settings worked fine during the day. I use an old digital (HP D100) for my test photos by holding it in front of the game camera after I have it set up and taking a picture. These photos are just as they came from the camera so you can see the difference in taking more time to aim the camera using what light is avaliable.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bull Elk in same location as Heron

This loan bull elk come down to the swamp for water and a little roll in the mud in the same area I had the game camera set for the Blue Heron. The sensors I use can pick up motion and heat out to 60 or so feet and works for open areas as well as close pictures, plus the cameras are over 4 meg in high quality so I can crop a little to identify the animal.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Great Blue Heron up close and feeding on "what"?

I have seen a heron feeding in this area on several occasions so decided to set a camera up and aimed at the leaning dead tree that is in the background. I wanted a picture of it sitting on the log, so I placed the camera down low in some brush and aimed it up to center the log, the Great Blue is quite tall when it stretches the neck and I wanted to get the entire bird in the photo.

To my suprise, by aiming the camera up above level , I captured a great photo of the heron as it fed in front of the camera. This photo hasn't been cropped, so you can see how lucky I was to get the entire heron in the photo. Sometimes luck plays a big part in the quality of game camera photos, but it's fun to take all the credit.
At first glance I thought it was a bullfrog tadpole at about 2 years old. But another blogger friend, "camera trap codger"who is an expert in animal identification, believes it to be a newt. Now I had never heard of a newt, so after a search on the internet I found that I had always called them a salamander. They are very toxic and glad I read up on this species and the differences between a salamander and the newt.