One of the benefits of being unemployed is that I can check my trail camera at 9:00 AM on a weekday when everyone whose backyard I have to walk past is at work, preventing any awkward answers to the question, “What are you doing back there?” “Oh, I’m just taking a stroll in the swamp…”
On Tuesday, July 16, I finally had a chance to get to my camera for the first time since April 13. So I headed out after gathering all of the necessary tools and clothing, including:
- Long pants due to all the thorns, mosquitoes, and poison ivy
- Long-sleeved shirt for all of the same reasons
- Hat (same reasons)
- My brand new knee-high Muck rubber boots for all the mud that I knew I’d encounter in the swamp
- Pruners to prune out all the vines and branches that have grown over the trail
- Key to unlock the camera
- SD card to swap with the one in the camera (I made sure that it was empty first in case I don’t get back there again until hunting season in October.)
- A dozen AA batteries in case the ones in the camera were dead or dangerously low
- My trip started off well enough when, still within sight of my house, a deer snorted at me and bounded off in the direction of my camera. It’s so thick in that area that I never had a prayer of actually seeing the deer.
- There were fresh coyote tracks going in both directions on the trail.
- The three streams that I have to cross to get to my camera were nearly dry, but they were muddy. I hardly needed my new rubber boots. Considering the number of recent days of light rain and the downpours accompanying the thunderstorms that we’ve had, that was surprising indeed.
- Even though I pulled this card on July 16, and there was still one bar on the battery indicator, the last video was taken on June 4. Normally when the batteries are that low, the camera won’t take nighttime videos, but it usually continues to take daytime videos. Not this time. There was plenty of fresh track in front of the camera, but no videos after June 4.
About those videos…
Why did the batteries die, even though they should last anywhere from six months to one year? At noon on June 3, it got very windy. I then got 34 videos on June 3 of wind, and the camera died at 2:30 PM on June 4. Really windy days will kill trail camera batteries every time. Here’s just one of the roughly 50 videos in which the wind was strong enough to set off the camera:
Wind videos made up the majority of the 183 videos. Here are the totals:
- 69 of Wind or Nothing
- 33 of Deer
- 25 of Raccoons
- 23 of Sounds (mostly animals walking nearby)
- 14 of Gray Squirrels
- 11 of Cottontail Rabbits
- 3 of Coyotes
- 2 of me checking the camera back in April
- 1 of Turkeys
- 1 of Canada Geese with Goslings
- 1 of Robins
I’m surprised that there were no videos of the following this time:
- Red Fox
- Gray Fox
I’ve caught videos of each of those, especially red foxes, previously. I’m also surprised that in three years, I’ve never caught a beaver on this camera. I see lots of sign of them nearby, including half a dozen roadkills every year.
Now for the reason you’ve all read this far; the videos:
Turkeys in the mud on April 14:
Raccoon Eyes at Night on April 20:
Three Coyotes in the dark on May 11:
Four bucks in velvet traveling together at 10:00 AM on May 13:
Canada geese with goslings on May 21:
A male coyote pooping in front of the camera, and a female coming by and sniffing it on May 28:
A doe sniffing the coyote poop on May 29:
Until next time,