Trail cams reveal the wildlife lurking in the woods — and we want to share yours
By John Holyoke, Bangor Daily News Outdoors Editor
Years ago, when I first heard about trail cameras, digital photographic technology was still new, and my brother-in-law — a handy sort of guy who can build nearly anything out of nearly nothing — was explaining how he was cobbling together his own cameras, building weatherproof boxes, and strapping to trees in order to keep tabs on his local deer herd.
Manufacturers had begun producing those cameras, of course, but they were a bit pricey, and my brother-in-law figured he could save some cash and get some cool photos of the bucks he hoped to cross paths with.
And he did. He ended up with a photo album full of big buck photos, as well as pics of turkeys, coyotes and random squirrels.
Now, a couple decades later, trail cameras cost less, do more and are a super-cool way to find out what kind of critters are roaming around on your back 40. In addition, they’re a good way to find out if unwelcome human intruders are sneaking around where they don’t belong.
I’ve always loved checking out my friends’ trail camera photos, and know others feel the same way. After years of kicking the idea around, I’m happy to let you know that the BDN wants to share your trail cam artwork with our readers.
I know, I know. You’re reluctant to send us your trail cam photos or video footage because that’ll be like admitting to your game hog buddy that there is, in fact, a 14-point buck visiting your tree stand every morning. Or that there’s a 500-pound bear that they might way to target next year.
Or heck, maybe you’re just reluctant to let anybody in your town know just how many deer are lurking just around the corner.
We understand. We’d be nervous, too. And if it makes you feel any better (which it should), just this once we’re willing to leave a few of the details out. Tell me your first name. Tell me what county you live in. Send in a photo or two, or a video. Give us a little bit of description or share some thoughts, if you’d like.
We’ll take it from there, and look forward to sharing some of the best submissions with our readers.
Before you go out and start strapping game cameras to all the trees in town, we’d caution you to brush up on the legality of trail camera installation. Specifically, you’re not allowed to put a camera on someone else’s land without their written permission. And your camera must be labeled with your name and contact information.
Of course, trail cameras aren’t all good. In fact, if you stop to think about it, the potential presence of a camera strapped to every tree is a bit creepy. And on those occasions when nature’s call can’t be ignored and I have to take care of some bathroom business while I’m hunting, I always do so nervously, even after taking a good look around for someone else’s trail cam. There are good ways of becoming a viral sensation on the internet, and there are bad ways.
Becoming globally famous as Trail Cam Peeing Guy? Well, that would be very, very bad.
And to be clear, we aren’t looking for that kind of footage.
But if you’ve got photos of bucks or bull moose fighting, or coyotes skulking, or bears feeding, we want to hear from you. Heck, scampering squirrels are pretty cool, too.
You can reach me by email at the address below. I look forward to sharing your efforts with our readers in the weeks ahead.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke. His first book, “Evergreens,” a collection of his favorite BDN columns and features, is published by Islandport Press and is available wherever books are sold.