Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Little Brown Book
As far as I know, most camera trappers don't keep notes.
You don't need to keep notes if you camera trap on a small scale or occasionally, if you know your trapping area intimately, or if you have a photographic memory.
None of these apply to me.
I keep notes in a little brown moleskin book, because I'm a compulsive notetaker. It saves me time trying to remember details.
I try to keep the notes basic.
CAMERA SET: This is a GPS location number.
CAMERA: This is the camera's ID (I use an alphabetic letter, A - Z for each cam).
DATE SET: The day I set the camera.
LOCATION: This includes details (e.g., deer trail, log crossing stream, boulder) and general information (Gillis Canyon, 3 miles E of windmill on county road 631, San Luis Obispo County, CA).
GPS: Latitude and longitude calculated by the GPS, usually after it has taken an average from 100 - 200 readings).
ALTITUDE: As estimated by the GPS.
LURE: If I use a scent lure, like castoreum, here's where I record it.
DATE CHECKED: The date I check the cam, change the memory stick and replace batteries. Several dates may be recorded consecutively, if I leave the camera at the set.
DATE CLOSED: The date I pull the camera or move it to a new location.
If there are other details I want to remember, I jot them down.
When I check the camera and find pictures, I replace the memory stick and upload the photos on my computer.
Then I look at each photo on full screen, and record the photo number, animal IDs, and date and time of every picture on a large tablet. Each sheet is identified with the number of the camera trap set and the cam ID.
After I summarize the information in an Excel spreadsheet I file the sheet in a folder .
I only keep the best or most interesting photos. The rest go to the computer's trash can and are erased.