Vexing proposition: trail cameras and curious bears
Every summer I forget one thing about putting trail cameras up in bear country, which is that eventually a curious Yogi is going to check out my digital scouter. Sometimes they are courteous enough to just give it a sniff and move on, but most of the time they take a more annoying interest.
This has happened to me twice this summer, and it can make for disappointing card pulls. While I’ve been thinking that for a few weeks my cameras are capturing images of all the whitetail comings and goings, they’ve actually been pointed straight down at the ground to pick up the occasional rabbit hopping through or maybe some weeds blowing in the wind.
In areas with low bear populations, this isn’t much of an issue but where the density is decent, it’s almost a given. This means that wiping down cameras with scent-eliminating wipes after you set them is a good idea. I’ve also started to leave the trail camera mounts at home opting instead to use the provided strap to really cinch them down.
Mounts are amazing for hanging cameras high and angling them down, which provides better angles for images and keeps the cameras out of the eyeline of passing deer. But they are also very easy for a bear to get a paw on and pull down. This move seems like an enjoyable thing for all bears, but particularly to the 2-year olds who still posses a cub’s playfulness. They also occasionally take test bite on cameras and have the uncanny ability to pass an eye tooth right through the lens or the sensor, leaving you with an expensive paper weight.
This is inevitable in bear country, but we can avoid some of it if you try to keep your scent (and the scent of your breakfast) off your camera, then strap it down tight. If that doesn’t work, it’s probably best to pony up for a lock-box, which keeps all but the most dedicated thieves and Yogis at bay.