Sunday, November 30, 2008

I just had to set a trail cam in this location

Seems I always end up around creeks and ponds looking for places to set my trail cameras, but when I came across this site I laughed so hard I almost cried. Now I worked in the woods for over 20 years and some as a timber faller, but this looked like a beavers nightmare. Trees were hung up, one was bent around in a way to prevent another from falling and it looked like a beaver was likely to get hurt if things continued without a well thought out plan.

I always carry extra cameras with me for just this rare occasion, but while setting up the camera I had forgotten to bring any nylon cords to tie the camera and nothing I had would work. So I had to improvise using a small vinemaple limb that bends but rarely breaks. Now I'm sure the beavers are going to laugh when they see my situation.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Elk herd passing in front of the camera

Still trying to photograph a nice blacktail buck in an area away from the elk hunters, it's black powder season so I try to keep clear of the elk. This herd of over 50 has been feeding around the cameras and must feel pretty safe because of the brush, I don't think the hunters have a clue. I believe they enjoy getting there pictures taken.

I was very close to them today and had to sneak in a big circle to avoid them so I could check several cameras.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I framed a Wild Turkey photo that was taken several years ago on my game camera.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm already looking forward to spring and summer

With all the fog, mist and cold damp weather that eats through the bones, to the short daylight hours of the winter waiting for the sun to burn through the fog, I yearn for the warmer days of spring and summer. But not lost during the winter time is all the hours I spend looking for new locations to photograph bears, the only animal I can really admit to leading to certain locations for a photo. I can get them to climb trees, walk logs and do most anything just for that special picture.

Bears are unique in that they are extremely intelligent, fearless and have a tremendous sense of smell, plus through observation their uncanny ability to solve problems, and you now have an animal that you can lead all over the woods or maybe they just follow to find out what your are doing. Either way it can lead to some great photos.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My owl stump ..... maybe someday

This location has me stumped ... the colors and background are fantastic, I can just see an owl landing on this at night, the only problem is the owl. I have used this location for 4 years now and just can't seem to move the camera and give up. The only pictures I get are of mice and sometimes a deer or elk will climb the hill behind the stump and trigger the sensor.

I use a very sensitive board so there's no chance of missing anything on the stump. I refuse to use bait or scent and will go with the odds that with mice on the stump an owl will surely land within the next century. I even prune the hemlock tree that's on the back of the stump to give more room for landing. I now believe if I see a rabbit road kill on the way to check the cameras I will be tempted to go to the extreme and use bait, but heck, it's only been 4 years

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buck with a fresh wound on the knee

Seems this is the largest buck I can get pictures of this year but from past years I know there are larger bucks around. He has a fresh wound on the knee and appears to be from fighting so I'll leave the camera here for several more weeks.
This is a terrible location to get to with all the brush and young fir trees even during the day, but I got a late start and reached this camera in the dark with it raining cats and dogs. This location is over 2 hours from my truck in daylight and almost 4 in the dark, needless to say I was soaking wet and ready for a hot bath by the time I reached the truck. I think my shins looked just like the deers leg after stumbling into every log and stump for 5 miles in the dark.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Does human scent or a game camera flash change a bobcats habits

This question has been debated for some time now, so I went back through all my bobcat photos just for the last 5 years looking for evidence. I was amazed at the number of bobcat pictures taken during this time, and not one picture showed a problem of a cat bothered by the camera, the flash or my scent around the area. I have photos that show up to 6 pictures in a series of the same bobcat, some of the cats walking or sneaking up on the camera after the first photo was taken and many where the bobcat ignored the camera and kept walking.

This picture is a good example showing a bobcat never changing its trail, even when I tried my best to get it to walk closer to the camera. I can set my cameras up on the same trails or logs year after year and get bobcat photos.

The bobcat in the photo always walked in the sand behind the alder tree, it was a good location because the tracks showed up well in the soft sand but sometimes the tree ruined a good picture. So I layed limbs across the trail so it would use the main deer trail between the tree and the camera, much to my suprise it never changed and continued to walk the same path. I finally moved the camera down the trail farther to a better location, but still on its tracks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Test picture for a closeup of a bobcat

The plan for this setup is to get a picture of a bobcat looking into the camera from a distance of a foot. They have to step over this small tree as they walk the larger log, the same location I got the blurry bobcat pictures, then spot the camera and smile. I have a 50/50 chance of getting the head or tail if it's walking the wrong direction and was glad the young "possum"walked the log first so I can change the focus to .5 meters. It might take a while to get the photo of the bobcat so I need to have the settings correct on the first pass.The Opossum turned out nice but I want a sharper head shot of the bobcat to show the markings.

On another note, when checking my cameras today after the heavy rains and flooding, I was crossing a swamp and got my boot stuck in the mud, jerked my foot out of the boot, lost my balance and walked around without my boot knee deep in mud. By the time I found my boot the area looked like an elk wallow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Got the Pileated Woodpecker

I could hardly wait to check the woodpecker camera, even though the weather has been bad and expecting 4 to 8 inches of more rain in the next couple of days, I had to hit the brush. I could see the tree the camera was on and it looked like a lot of new digging for bugs so I was getting excited to see if it really was the Pileated Woodpecker.

Sure enough, I had 18 pictures of it up close but a few were blurry from being too close. Had the focus set on infinity and the ISO on 200 but will change the focus to 3 meters next time. Might place the 600 there, it takes great pictures and would like to enlarge a couple pictures of this beautiful bird.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Blacktail buck on my coyote setup

I set this camera up for coyotes where this trail crosses a swamp, the nice color of the leaves I believed would blend well with the coyote. Of all the times for a buck to go through the camera holding his head up. I haven't had much luck with deer this fall, so this is about par for the course.

I did stumble across a great place to set a camera for a photo of a Pileated Woodpecker, so all wasn't lost. And I do mean stumble, seems the older I get the more often I trip and fall when my feet get tangled in the berry vines and brush, but as all loggers do I fall towards my work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Always alert

This raccoon has been using the trail for several weeks, but my camera was set at shoulder level for deer which is too high for a good picture of smaller animals. I wanted a closeup so I set another camera low to the ground and aimed at a spot where the raccoon looked down the trail. Only took 5 days to get the picture I wanted so I moved the camera to a different location. I was lucky, with all the rain lately it has been terrible to get clear photos.