When it comes to game cameras, I was late getting on the bandwagon. For years, friends and relatives had been using them and showed me their pictures. But I didn’t break down and buy one myself until this summer when I found one on sale.
(Count on me to be at the tail end of embracing any new technology.)
Since then I’ve been experimenting on where and how to position it. And I’ve already come up with a veritable zoo of wild animals.
It took me a while just to figure out how to work the darned thing. I couldn’t get it to operate and had to get my son to help. He got it functioning and suggested setting it up on the front porch for a trial run.
There I got some great shots of our kittens, along with a late-night intruder — a prowling white cat.
When I was sure the camera was working, I scouted for places to put it. Rather than buy a bunch of cameras, I figured I would just move this one around, at least for now.
I started at the entrance to a food plot and captured some deer in misty morning light. Then I caught a really bizarre nighttime shot which was either a snake dangling from a branch with its mouth open, or a vine or stick that fell and triggered the motion-activated camera. There was just one shot of it, which indicated some kind of motion happened.
Much as I would like it to be a snake, just for the pure creepiness of it, it was probably just a falling stick.
Not getting a lot of action in this spot, I moved the camera to the far side of the food plot overlooking a weedy area — too weedy, it turned out. The very next day a windstorm struck, and I wound up with about 100 pictures of moving plants.
When the wind finally settled down, I got some good shots of deer, wild hogs and a nocturnal raccoon.
Deterred by the possibility of more wind, I moved the camera to a shallow, wooded creek — a natural watering hole for critters. They didn’t disappoint. Deer, raccoon, possum and armadillo all came down to drink.
Later on I tried a couple of other spots, just for variety, and was surprised to come up with absolutely nothing, not a single photo over several days. That couldn’t be right. I decided the batteries had to be weak so I replaced them, and sure enough wound up getting lots of new shots.
This time I let Angelyn choose a location, and she selected a turnout off a gravel lane. It couldn’t have been better, as the lane turned out to be a thoroughfare for deer, fox, bobcat and coyote.
Most impressive to me was the bobcat. There’s just something majestic about big cats, even bobcats. I got shots of the husky feline in daylight and dark. In the nighttime shot it appears to be sneaking up on something.
Also at night I photographed a fox with ears alert — probably watching out for the bobcat or for coyotes, which also walk the road.
I also had a bunch of nighttime shots with nothing. I figured it was the wind again, but Angelyn wisely suggested we plug the photos into her laptop computer for a closer look.
Sure enough, we were able to make out shadowy shapes of coyotes in the darkness, including one that appeared to be black.
A black coyote — now that’s a find!
Overall, I have decided there are pros and cons to game cameras.
Pros include spotting trespassers, locating deer or turkey for hunting season, and just keeping up with what’s out there.
As for cons — well, game cameras have a way of taking some of the mystery out of the outdoors. Without game cameras we could always speculate about the possibility of bears, panthers, maybe even Bigfoot. But if you have game cameras out and never see such things, it’s harder to imagine they’re there.
Nevertheless, now and then we still come up with those mysterious shots with something big, dark and not quite identifiable lurking in the background.