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Friday, February 22, 2013

A new camera trap set!

Things have been slow for me lately. Stressful too. We’re at the 6 week mark of the semester. The newness of it is gone, and we’re having exams, projects are underway, and reading is piled up nightly. That’s why I’m blogging on a Friday night! Crazy college girl here!

It’s been so cold out lately too, that I had pulled my cameras in. It’s not good for the batteries when it’s below freezing. I think they really have to work to push out the flash and capture the images, so the batteries wear down more quickly.

This is the scent lure I used:
Kishel's Weasel Lure
Today though, the temps were above freezing, and seem to be predicted to stay in the mid-high 30′s for the next few days. It’s been awhile since my cameras have stunned me with anything fantastic, so I put a little work into setting up my Cuddeback, instead of just strapping it to a tree.

This set includes 3 pieces: the camera, the bait, and the lure.

The camera is a Cuddeback Attack flash camera. I’ve set it to take an image once disturbed by heat/motion every 5 seconds. I’m not always confident that this camera performs exactly how I want it to, but that’s another story.

The bait is a netted bag full of raw chicken scraps. Last week I bought boneless chicken breasts, and while I was packing them up to freeze, I trimmed off bits of fat and a few gristly bits. Nothing like that goes to waste in THIS house, so they went into the freezer until (today) I could figure out how to use them.

Bag of chicken scraps ready to be hung from a tree branch.
And to be clear about the difference of bait vs. a lure: a bait gives the animal a reward and will encourage it to return to the spot. For example, a pile of cracked corn for deer or turkeys. Scent lure is just an enticing smell of food OR of the species you’re trying to lure in. Often anal or scent glands are harvested from traditionally trapped animals, ground up, and then used for the next round. Beaver castor can sell for more than the actual pelt, FYI.

The lure in this case is the weasel food lure that is seen above. This Kishel’s scent boasts “Not only does our Weasel Lure capture the weasel’s most intense instinct, it actually creates the illusion of a fresh kill!” I can’t really describe what it smells like, other than gross. Weasels will actively hunt for fresh meat, but will scavenge carrion too.

My target critters that I hope to see are generally: carnivores. I wouldn’t mind getting pictures of red and gray foxes, coyote, any weasels, bobcat, or even black bear.  



A fisher caught on camera trap in my backyard
Schoharie, NY
What I’m really specifically targeting though are fishers and bobcats.
 
There are specific ways to set a trap (whether it be a foot-hold or camera), to lure in specific animals.
 
Fishers are voracious eaters. They have a very high metabolism, so they must consume frequently, or at least large, high protein meals. So in the winter, when a meal is worth more to a wild animal, a food lure will hopefully work well to bring them in. Although, apparently I’ve had NO issues getting the fisher to visit my backyard!
 
Bobcats, or cats in general seem to respond to movement lures. I’ve read blogs and trapping forums that suggest hanging a big turkey feather or even a CD from a tree branch to lure the ‘cat in. If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably played with them by dangling something in front of them, and they respond well. I don’t know why it is, but cats like things like that. So this bag of chicken bits is hung about 4-5 feet off the ground from a branch extending out about 3 feet from the trunk. So hopefully nothing will have the intuition to climb up the tree, reach over, and snag the bad. As a black bear would do if you hung your camp bag up.

Notice the yellowish bait bag hanging from the tree.

I found this nice little nook to tuck my camera away, I think it camouflages really well!
 
So I dribbled a little bit of the weasel lure on the bag, dipped a stick into the bottle and stuck that in the snow, and I was on my way. I’m going to try and avoid the area as much as possible, since each time I go up the hill, I’m depositing my scent, and likely my dog’s too. This MAY deter wildlife.
 
Cross your fingers for me!


 


10 comments:

  1. Wow, that is quite some setting up, I do hope you get good photos, and set for 5 second intervals, you should get some good pics. Cheers from Jean

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  2. That fisher will love the chicken, I bet!

    Good luck.

    BTW....an old 'cat trapper once told me that visual attractants are important for kitties. The swinging bag of chicken guts may help! He suggested tying a feather to a swivel with some fishing line and hanging it to a tree. I've never tried it, but have often thought about it. I'm always too worried the feather will attract unwanted Homo sapiens.

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    1. I'm fairly confident that is no thru traffic in my backyard. Although, we did have one strange run-in with the neighbor who messed with a camera we had up. But, I'm hoping that he and anyone else will leave it alone, since it's on private property and right behind my house! Maybe when I go back up to check it I'll hang a feather too.

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  3. Yes! Bobcats are so hard for me to get on my cams. Your optimism is making me want to try even harder.

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    1. Brian- it's only happened once for me, and I wasn't really TRYING to get a 'cat. I did have a feather hanging, but you can see both the feather and the 'cat in the frame, and the 'cat's attention is not on the feather. I think it was kind of a fluke, but I got a great shot out of it!

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  4. Another helpful post. I love the different ideas you have given me for setting up game cameras.

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    1. Rick- you keep saying that, but where are your pics???!!!

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  5. I've tried feathers, without any success, but chicken scraps have worked quite well. I just put them on the ground -- scattered in front of the camera. Get lots of possums and coons of course, but fox, bobcats and coyotes too.

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    1. Thanks, Anon. What is your general location? You may have a higher density of 'cat than I do.

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  6. Neat post. I've got to get back to experimenting with baits and lures.

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