Editor’s Note: NRCM member Bryan Wells recently sent along a video of a bobcat feeding on a frozen deer carcass. The video, captured using equipment he assembled and deployed himself, is one of many action pieces showing Maine’s fascinating wildlife doing what they do when they think no one is watching. We invited Bryan to share his experience with our members by writing a blog post about his experience and to post links to some of his work. Enjoy!
Have you ever wondered what happens in the forest when you’re not there to observe? Well, I do. In fact, I wonder so much that I have built and deployed remote sensing cameras on my forested property north of Bangor.
My wife, Pam, and I are very fortunate. We own property adjacent to Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife refuge. As a consequence, there is a lot of undeveloped property nearby and as a result, a lot of roaming wildlife.
For over 10 years, I have been building and putting into use my motion-activated cameras to see what happens in my woods. There have been times when I have deployed up to 12 cameras at once. With my nifty electronic eyes, I have recorded over 500 hours of video and have captured 23 species of Maine mammals and the voices and sounds of dozens of birds and insects.
Occasionally, I obtain a carcass. Occasionally, I use trapper’s lure. It’s all about the food in the wild. Anytime I put out bones from a deer, for example, I will always get the common predators of the Maine woods: coyote, fox, bobcat, and fisher. In addition, I often get other scavengers like bears and raccoons as well porcupine, weasel, skunk, eagles, vultures, and in one lucky winter, a pine martin. Other roamers include deer, moose, and my most frequent visitor, snowshoe hare.
What amazes both Pam and me is that, as we wander on our property, we rarely actually see any of our woods’ residents. Occasionally, we might startle a deer or moose, and a few times, we have been lucky enough to see a bobcat, but for the most part, all of these animals stay completely concealed in the forest. My wife and I find that each time we bring home new video it’s like receiving a surprise gift: the contents are unknown and always prove to be fun.
There are some challenges to using all of my homebrew cameras. It can take many hours of time to replace memory cards and batteries and to find locations to place the cameras that are reachable even during the winter. In addition, the cameras need to be serviced every 2 or 3 weeks, so deploying 8 cameras can take a lot of personal time and effort. But, to me, the results are more than worth all the time and energy needed!
In order to share my passion for observing Maine wildlife, I have created a YouTube channel where I have posted my “greatest hits” videos to share. Here are some links to this channel and some of my favorite videos:
- YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sunkhaze
- Big Moose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrw3tg6V3c
- Bobcat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIOh1pJgiVU
- Coyote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxEQgg8dvjU
- Pine Martin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQjW5-xvdH0
One of the videos I made is a montage of videos taken on my property over a two week period, where people walk by and animals walk by the same path at different time. Neither knows how close they came to meeting the other face-to-face. This fun video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NagOf19ToBk
I hope that you get as much joy out of watching these videos as I do!
-Bryan and Pam Wells, NRCM members