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25 Days of Harvest

Whitebark Pine Middens
by Dan Hartman

Sept. 1, 2021

     Last year I placed three camera traps on two squirrel middens and was amazed at the amount of wildlife that appeared on my cameras.

     Now unknown to me, I had placed the cameras a full week ahead of the arrival of the bears, which worked perfectly.  You see, when the bears did show up, my scent was no longer on the cameras.  Meaning the wildlife wasn't attracted to the cameras and so left them alone.  This gave me over 1400 movie clips by the time I checked them on September 10th.  Unfortunately, when I reset the cameras for the last two weeks, the bears picked up my scent and destroyed all the cameras in the first few hours.

     I attempted to duplicate my timing again this year.  Placing ten cameras on six middens on August 22nd.  My plan was to once again wait until September 10th to pull the cards.

     However, I had the occasion to add another camera to a midden on Sunday.  When Cindy and I got to the midden, we found it turned cockeyed.  We checked a second midden and found it also turned sideways.

    We pulled the cards and took them back to the cabin.  I was shocked at the number of videos on the cards.  Over 250 on three cameras in six days.  We found the bears had arrived early.

     A large black bear in particular was really drawn to the cameras.  Messing up two of them.  Surprisingly, a herd of elk turned the other camera.

     I have to assume the other seven cameras which are set farther into the woods are also compromised.  So later this week I'll check all the cameras with an assist from a good friend.

     Now to the many images.  We of course got many clips of the black bear, which I believe is one I've caught on my cameras over the last three years.  Also several clips of the grizzly and three cubs I filmed last year.

     Of course lots of hard working squirrels, but also chipmonks, snowshoe hares, mice, songbirds and elk.

     Now the cool stuff.  We got half a dozen clips of martens.  One showed two  martens traveling together.  Also a quick shot of a long tailed weasel.

     The strangest clip we watched was of a clarks nutcracker who returned to the same midden over and over to bury pine nuts.  (Not a good hiding place!)

     I would expect simular shots on the other seven cameras.  And the bear activity should really increase over the next three weeks.


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