Trail camera holds a surprise in Pennsylvania

Digital Camera

I’ve never owned a trail camera until this year. Close hunting buddies have had them for a long time, and I often looked at the photos their tree-hugging devices held. But I never purchased one myself, not seeing any real need.

The cameras were basically used to view the deer numbers and overall buck quality in areas which they hunted, and since I hunt the same areas, I never really saw a reason to buy one.

The past year of archery and gun seasons changed my perspective on trail cams.

I was privileged to see a buck of a lifetime in a different area I hunt. He surprised me on a windy day as the rut began, an afternoon when I was only out to check scrapes after the sun dipped behind the local mountains, not expecting to see anything wild moving in such robust blowing air.

I certainly wasn’t climbing a tree in such conditions, and instead chose a spot to sit on the ground and watch a field edge. As I nestled into a spot, I laid my bow a good four feet away. As I was fiddling with a scattered leaves surrounding me, I looked up to see the biggest racked buck I’ve ever come upon while hunting. This magnificent animal was looking directly at me, along the field edge I would be watching.

Somehow, by sheer luck, I had dropped my camera into my coat pocket before I left my truck. Luckier still, the deer allowed me to grab the camera and snap a shot of his standing, and another as he leaped back into the woods from where he had emerged.

As far as I know, no one bagged this deer in any of the past seasons, hence my reason to purchase a single trail camera and place it near the spot where I sat that day, in the hope he’ll appear once again and I‘ll have proof of his survival.

After spending considerable time learning how to operate the gadget — the struggle of an aged man, undereducated in modern technology — I have it placed now where I wanted.

I hung it in mid July, and pulled the scandisk it held while replacing it with another about three weeks ago. The photo count was in the hundreds. A lone doe, doe with fawns, groups of does and a lot of different bucks were on the disk. Only two bucks were actually legal, a five and a six pointer, both small racks. The rest were spikes, three points, and Ys. Entertaining to look at, but not the “Big fella.”

What did grab my attention were the photo’s of a coyote (see above). He passed the camera twice on the same day. Once in the darkness of morning, and again in the darkness of night, a good 13 hour span of his treks.

I’ve never seen a coyote in this area before. Lots of foxes, both red and gray. Occasional stray house cats, and even a stray mink, but never a coyote.

Just shows something I’ve never known, which makes the camera worth the money.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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