Arrggh, that sinking feeling when I open up my Bushnell HD Trophy trail camera and the date says January 1, 2013. It's not January and it isn't even 2013. Rats, the camera reset itself! I know this means the Bushnell has probably missed some shots and quite possibly has a completely blank memory card.
I check the battery level, the memory card, and every one of the 20 steps in the complicated menu. And I check them again. Everything seems to be working fine, at least right now. One of the batteries is sticking out a little. I tap it. Was it loose or not? I don't know but the rangers are waiting for my advice and I've got a dreadful feeling.
(click Read More to continue but be forewarned there are gory photos of a deer carcass coming up and predator photos)
|An eviscerated yearling black-tail deer. The initial incision into the belly, the removal of some of the organs, and the cracked-off ribs indicate that this may be the work of a mountain lion.|
|Puncture marks in the neck also indicate a mountain lion kill although they could be from a dog.|
This panicky feeling reminds me of being a new mom. Your baby is crying and crying and you don't know why. You check the diaper to see if it needs changing and it doesn't but you change it anyhow. You pat and rub and hold the baby upright or tilted or horizontal to see if that relieves some gas. You guiltily try to remember what you ate today - was there something you passed on through your breast milk that upset the baby's little stomach? You wrap the little guy tightly in a blanket and rock him, and when the simulated womb doesn't comfort him you loosen all his clothing so he can kick free and wave his frustrated little fists and then he whops himself on his red-red cheeks. You sing to the baby, play music, and then try being silent and desperately yell at the other kids and dogs to shut up. While everyone else goes to bed, you walk back and forth in the hall holding the baby and trying to make soothing sounds on and on for hours. You can't put him down because then he goes for full bore screaming and the rest of the apartment complex is trying to sleep.
Nothing works and you don't know why.
The next day your apartment building neighbors say, "Oh, your colicky baby seems happy this morning." You are so exhausted you can't remember what colic means or your neighbors' names.
What am I doing wrong? Talk to me baby.
|Here the Bushnell Trophy camera catches a night-time photo of a dusky-footed woodrat. I know this camera can work.|
|And here the same Bushnell captured a passing mountain lion at a nearby location about two months earlier. The mountain lions are out there and sometimes these cameras catch them making their nightly rounds.|
|Dear Bushnell camera: here is a gray fox caught by the Reconyx camera. Surely you can work long enough to get such evidence of our nighttime predators.|
I rested my weary head on the steering wheel.
"No sir. I'm just trying to get my baby to stop crying," I said and pointed to the dark backseat.
Suddenly, I realized the baby was making sweet little cooing noises. The officer and I looked back and the baby was kicking his feet in the carseat and waving his arms at the flashing blue lights bouncing off the windshield.
|And Bushnell, here's a photo of another feline, the bobcat, taken by a camera that is nearly three years older than you, the Moultrie 100. That's old technology in the camera trap field.|
|And another predator photo taken by the second oldest working camera in my stock, the Moultrie 100. Bushnell, you can do this.|
|This is pretty much what we are going for Bushnell when I put you out in the field. This may even be the very same lion you missed but taken by the Moultrie 880 here. Let's get it together.|
Okay, I am ready for the next carcass. Bring it on.
|Testing the newly retrofitted Bushnell camera on the house variety of cats.|