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Trail Cameras - an Addictive Hobby

Posted: April 17, 2014

Trail cameras are a way to see elusive wildlife and keep an eye on woodlands when you can't be around.

My addiction to trail cameras began when a friend showed me deer pictures his trail cam had captured on his property. I was intrigued by the idea of keeping an eye on the property when I couldn’t be there.

The next February we decided to participate in a coyote hunt, and I did some scouting using a trail camera. I put out various bait including dog food and some canned mackerel. While I was not successful getting coyotes, I did capture an image of a fisher. I was hooked.

I tried the next fall to capture images of bucks before deer season. I got several bucks one time, but never again. I decided the flash was the problem. The does and fawns didn’t seem to mind, but the bucks wouldn’t come back after being flashed. As they were active at night, this was a problem.

After deer season, I found a dead deer near one of our deer fences and put up a camera. Subsequently, I got over one hundred images of several different coyotes. This bore out my theory that coyotes, being very smart, will only come to natural bait. Now, I was really hooked.

The next spring I put out a salt block and a new infrared camera. This time I was after the grand slam. I wanted a buck, a turkey, and a bear. I got pictures of several deer and bear, but not the turkeys. Then I found a place along the road where they were working and moved the camera. Finally, I had turkey pictures. I also got a beautiful picture of a coyote running along the road in the daylight.

This past year, I had four infrared cameras over salt/feed cube sites any time it was legal to do so. I am getting valuable information on our wildlife and their habits. I have pictures of several bears, three sets of twin fawns, a piebald deer, bobcats, fishers, a tom turkey with his tail fanned, and this spring the big prize - a sow bear with three cubs, one of which was a cinnamon. These are images I never would have gotten without the cameras. I have learned a lot about the wildlife that share my forest. I hope to keep learning more in the years to come.

By Susan Benedict, PA Tree Farm Committee Chair