Category Archives: game cam
The motion-triggered, infrared trail cam which the Scotts baited with a couple of venison rib cages really brought video pay dirt this month: coyote, bobcat, raccoons, opossum…
and a very hungry fisher (or possibly two different fishers — can anyone tell?).
March has been an active month for wildlife — especially after dark. The woodcock returned, and I heard a saw-whet owl calling, too, along with another creature of unknown identity. I captured it all on my portable digital recorder and included it as the first part of a podcast episode I called Creatures of the Night:
Another great game cam moment from Troy and Paula. We’ve had fishers on the mountain for at least seven years now — here’s Marcia’s column about the first sightings — but this is the first video footage (there was one blurry still photo from another game cam earlier this year). The fisher seems simultaneously frightened and fascinated by the swinging deer carcasses that the Scotts used as bait.
Fishers, of course, had been extirpated from the state for over a hundred years, and were reintroduced by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1994. Wildlife biologist Tom Serfass, who consulted on the reintroduction, told our Audubon chapter at a program last spring that Blair County fishers were more likely to be from a southern population started by a smaller reintroduction effort in West Virginia a decade earlier.
The West Virginia reintroduction project came to halt due to public concern about fishers carrying off children, something they have never been known to do. The Pennsylvania program, by contrast, was hugely popular, possibly in part because the PGC did a better job in selling it to the public in advance, saying that fishers would help keep the porcupines under control, and thus protect trees. In fact, we did find several porcupine carcasses the winter and spring after our first fisher sighting… but we do still have plenty of porcupines. We are more anxious to see them kill off the feral housecats, which are continually restocked here by barn cats in Sinking Valley. Between the fishers, the coyotes and the great-horned owls, it’s a wonder any cats survive at all, but one or two always do.
Troy and Paula say their next goal is to get footage of a bobcat or a coyote. But who knows — someday maybe they’ll get a cougar on film, too!
Starting late last summer, some of the hunters on the property have been using game cams to better track deer and other wildlife. Game cams are motion-triggered, sturdy, outdoor cameras increasingly popular among outdoors enthusiasts, and sometimes scientists, too. Troy and Paula Scott, Jeff Scott, and Troy Scott Jr. have all been involved in this project, but Paula has been the most persistent. A few days ago, her efforts were rewarded in a big way when a game cam she positioned near a bobcat scat and baited with venison caught a full-grown bobcat in the act at 7:36 AM, 1/21/10.
Another hunter had already seen a bobcat from his tree stand during deer season in December, and we’d seen other sign of it, as mentioned, so this wasn’t a huge surprise, just really nice to document. Another game cam capture from January 18 was a little more surprising because it showed that at least one gray fox is still resident on the mountain. After a rabies epidemic swept through two summers ago, we had our doubts.
We don’t permit any predator hunting or trapping on the property, so the game cams offer a neat way for the hunters to pursue this kind of quarry without harming it — and help document wildlife populations in the process. We’re grateful to Paula and the others for taking the initiative. It also seemed as if they were especially persistent in their deer hunting this year in part because they had a pretty good idea from the cameras of how many bucks and does were present — important knowledge on a year when deer numbers were down generally.
One game cam snapped some cute photos of a black bear cub back on September 15. Here’s the best of them: