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Camera Traps

Life in the Squirrel Midden
by Dan Hartman

Sept. 29, 2021

     Now, the footage I've collected.
     The best sequence is of a large grizzly that appeared on the farthest midden.  She, ( I think it's a female that kicked off her cubs this spring), walked past the camera, dug for cones a bit, then began digging a bed right in the middle of my camera view.
     A few minutes of digging and she flopped down in the bed and slept.
     For the next 6 hours and 40 minutes.
     You'ld think, "so what's so special about that?"  Well, the motion sensor camera actually turned on 100 times during those 6+ hours.
     Turns out bears fidget alot.
     She constantly turned this way and that.  Sat up to stare in to the night at some passing rival.   Of course scatted a lot.  Took three dumps.  Mostly just repositioning herself.   In the end, I say she didn't actually sleep but really just dozed.
     Some other interesting shots were of a saw-whet owl, a couple clips of weasels, lots and lots of pine marten footage.  A clarks nutcracker, day after day, burying nuts in a midden.
     Then there's the bears.
     I've checked the bear traps three more times since my first story, keeping to my plan of having some one come along when I check middens deeper in the forest.
     George Bumann came along on my first time checking all 11 cameras in one excursion.  This took about 2 hours and really became a fact finding mission.
     We discovered half the cameras had been knocked around a bit, with some hanging crooked or pointed too high.  The worst one actually pointing completely oppostite of where I had aimed it.  (I found later, when I viewed the footage, elk messed with the cameras as much as bears.)
     Anyway, I had anticipated this and had brought along extra bungies.  So we moved some cameras and extra secured others.
     A week later, I once again checked the entire trapline.  This time with the help of Bob, Mike and Kathy.
     Bob, a new friend who actually drove from South Dakota with his wife to give me a hand.
     Mike and Kathy our neighbbors and good friends of Cindy and I for many years.
     We found even though the traps had been messed with the extra bungies kept the cameras hanging true.
     The small grizzly with the three cubs continues to show up on the cameras more than any others.  Problem is, I haven't actually seen all three cubs yet.  And I have a lot of clips.  So I'm starting to wander.
     The big male black bear also shows up a lot.  The big grizzly seems to come through about once a week.  A small cinnamon black made an appearance.  I also got him once last year.
     I still haven't seen the twin cubs the big grizzly kicked off last spring.
     I'll be pulling out the cameras next week and find out how the second half materialized.
     I will keep you posted.

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