Realizing who's the outdoors photography expert
Regular readers may have noticed during a large part of my spare time, I am preoccupied with hunting. My wife enjoys most aspects of the outdoors but does not really care for the hunting part. If she is going to hunt at all, she prefers it to be ...
Regular readers may have noticed during a large part of my spare time, I am preoccupied with hunting.
My wife enjoys most aspects of the outdoors but does not really care for the hunting part. If she is going to hunt at all, she prefers it to be with a camera.
This can be a good thing. As she walks the woods looking for a great shot of an owl, she may spook a deer my way. (Before I get a call from the enforcement division of the Department of Natural Resources, let me assure you, I have never asked my wife to drive deer for me while bow hunting. This would not only be illegal, it is rude to have someone drive deer when they do not know they are doing it.)
With my wife's appreciation of wildlife photography in mind, I bought her a new digital trail camera. This is a camera that senses movement and takes pictures of whatever may be in front of it. She was thrilled to death, or at least looked sincere enough that I did not feel guilty for buying a camera for scouting deer and counting it as a present for my wife. It is a better present than the .357 magnum revolver a friend bought for his wife for her protection. He was lucky she did not use it on him.
With fresh batteries and an empty memory card, we headed for the farm. The major discussion was proper placement to get the most and best wildlife pictures. My wife had several ideas, but being the wildlife expert I am, I knew just where the most traffic would be from the widest variety of animals. I convinced her to put her new camera on a tree just off a deer trail on the far side of the lake. It is not a convenient place to get to, but I knew deer and turkey regularly used the path.
A week later, we checked the camera. It had two pictures. I had expected 30, 40, perhaps 100 pictures, but was rather disappointed by the counter showing only two. We hurried home to download the pictures onto the computer to see the trophies we had captured.
The first picture was of a raccoon that happened to pass by and the other was of two dogs wandering through the neighborhood. This was not going well. Apparently, my hunting skills do not translate smoothly into photography skills.
During the second trip to the farm, with the camera, my wife again gave her opinion on where we should place it. I decided to let her choose where to put the camera, just to show her, proper placement is not as easy as one would think. She chose a clearing in a small group of trees with only a few tracks in the area. The location did have easy access so the camera would be easy to move when we got no pictures.
Two days later, we happened to be in the area, so I thought we should stop by and check the camera on the off chance there was a picture on it. To my amazement, there had been 27 pictures taken. I pulled the memory card and took it home. I had to know what could possibly have gone in front of the camera so often in less than 48 hours. There must have been a branch blowing in the breeze setting off the motion detector. Perhaps a large group of turkeys were parading by twice each day.
I was wrong on both counts. Deer -- large and small, bucks and does -- had posed for the camera during all hours of the day and night. If I want to get any serious deer scouting done, and she has such good luck picking a spot for the camera, it will be better if she picks the next location. After all, it is her trail camera.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.