Trail Cameras North of Miramichi
By Brian Donovan
Late last fall I started putting a few trail cameras in the woods north of Miramichi to see what animals I might be able to photograph. I purchased a couple of Tasco 8 MP trail cameras for this hobby.
Female Fisher above left, and a male fisher on the right. Twelve different fishers were caught on camera in an area of 500 sq. km.
Given I have an interest in animals like American Marten and Fishers they were the initial targets. Once it became apparent that Fishers were in the area I focused on them resulting in photographing 12 different fishers in an area about 500 sq kms.
I started by setting up a bait station using a suet feeder cage. Given it was early winter, mackerel was still readily available so I used that as a bait. I wired a pole to a tree to provide a perch for the animals which also gave me a better chance at a good picture.
Once I started having success with the photos I added a 20MP camera to see if I could improve photo and video quality.
I generally set the cameras up along waterways or places where animals might be narrowed in between a waterway and adjacent landform. There were a number of places where travel lanes were very visible.
Of course, I was also wondering when the first bear would show up – April 22nd in this case. Sometimes the bear just takes the bait station with him/her. Another note for Bears is I have had four of them turn the camera 90 degrees (to improve the shot I assume).
The running poles let you position the camera very well for animals like Marten and Fisher. Ideally the cameras should be facing north so as not to have the sun shine directly into the camera. I keep the cameras about 8 feet away from the target location.
The Jays (Canada and Blue) will empty your bait station within minutes of you leaving so I line the suet cages with ¼” mesh to slow them down (does not stop them)
Battery life is very good if you are taking single pictures. I was getting 6 months or more on the Tascos with 8 AA batteries. Battery life on video can be as short as 1 -2 months
Wind is an issue – Trees that are blowing will trigger the cameras and if you are shooting video will fill the cards or drain the batteries or both.
A friend also told me to watch for ferns growing in front of your camera – it makes for a great study perhaps…
Bears are very curious – They will breathe on, lick, move your cameras, steal your bait stations, make a general mess and then leave. I was able to video two bears having a back scratch – you can see that on the videos links which I provide below.
I have put the videos on my facebook page and into a Youtube playlist. Simply open Youtube and search for “Miramichi Wildlife”. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqWdHlXO7zff2EVrh5lB3LA). You should see the best Otter video you will ever see come up first.
You never know what you will see on these cameras…
This article was first featured in the 2019 Early Fall Issue of the Giv’er Miramichi Magazine!
Giv’er Miramichi is about “What’s up, what’s new, what’s happening”. We are focused on building people up, supporting one another and celebrating our successes.