About Me

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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Camera trap ikebana

[the ikebana cam, aimed at a coyote latrine 
on a mowed path in the coastal scrub]

I'm paranoid about losing cameras to outlaws but lazy about camouflaging them with vegetation. 

My rationalization is that few outlaws are willing to traipse through "no man's land" where I put the cams. 

I am also certain that Fred and I leave a gamey scent trail in our wake, and no amount of self-flagellation with switches of bay or stepping in cow flops can mask it.  

It's said that 2 weeks can pass and a dog can still detect a weak human fingerprint left on a glass slide.     

But if you want a full frame picture of a coyote it's still good practice to camouflage your camera trap. 

A combination of camouflaged camera, downwind movement of air, and a coyote's mental distraction can conspire to make a good candid shot, or perhaps one at the moment of detection

So I decorated my latest coyote set like an ikebana master.  

The trail was littered with coyote scat, but one latrine was close to a thicket of coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) and blackberry.

[the coyote latrine]

I snipped sprigs of coyote bush and pulled dead grass as the redhead critiqued their placement. 

When I finished, the cam wasn't completely hidden, but most of the outline was broken. 

The finishing touch was to baste a few turds with coyote lure. 

If a yodel dog sniffs them for just a few seconds, I might get a candid portrait.    



Owlman said...

I would expect nothing less of you than to "leave a gamey scent". Thanks very much for the valuable tips on camoflaging a camera trap and good luck with coyote photo.

Stewart Macdonald said...

Hi Chris,

I've just stumbled across your great blog. Do you use any other scents apart from coyote anal gland scent? I'm about to use some camera traps down here in Australia and I'm looking for a convenient scent that will hopefully attract a variety of smallish carnivorous mammals. Have you ever used fish oil of any description?

Best regards,