The Old Man grows fond of his trail camera
OK, OK, true confession: I am a grumpy old man, slow to embrace the latest and greatest in outdoors gear and technology. But I am starting to grow fond of a trail camera.
My kids, all-in in the Great Technology and Gadget Era, thought it was just the thing for The Old Man on his 70th birthday. They just shake their heads at my 53-pound “barebow” recurve, single-shot rifles, 30- and 40-year-old fishing rods and low-tech reels, the 40-year-old backpacks. Pops needed a trailcam.
I was grateful for their lovingly given gift. But I had my doubts. I patrol my creek bottom regularly, year-round, have done so for decades. I can read signs, tracks, smell scents at times. I have crept up on quietly browsing deer in green-overgrown summers, a couple of times getting within 15 or 20 yards before rousting them.
Nonetheless, I strapped the rig to an eight-inch walnut tree in a grassy meadow patch, along one of two major wildlife thoroughfares, and waited.
Then, when that trailcam showed me a daylight photograph of two hen wild turkeys, I had to admit, it got my attention. I have been waiting for 20 years for the birds to work their way along various creeks and drainages to my own little creek bottom, about eight miles from where they first were stocked. The trailcam told me the good news, which heretofore had escaped me.
The kids and grandkids love getting a photo or two from me of the latest and greatest show on earth … or my creek bottom, anyway. So far, the camera has captured the turkeys, deer (does and a young buck), red foxes, coyotes, cottontail rabbits, raccoons, a skunk, a mink, red squirrels, and fox squirrels. Nightime and daytime, the camera clicks on faithfully. And daily it takes shots of The Old Man stumping along with his old Remington .22 bolt-action single-shot, en route to switching out the SD card in the camera. Only when northeaster-driven snows have filled the lens has it clammed up.
All in all, the trailcam is a pretty neat gadget – a supplement to good fieldcraft only, in my book, not a substitute. Which is something none of us should ignore. It is good entertainment.