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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A codger's kit

A faithful reader requested a post about my kit -- he was curious about the baggage I haul around in order to set the cameras, and the musical background to the hammer and pipe. (Go ahead and click it!)

The redhead took this picture of me a couple days ago when I got home. I had just gathered two cameras that had been out for over a month -- both had bear pictures, including (soto voce) some very intimate movies of a bathing she-bear. For those of you who are old enough to have read Frank Norris's "Octopus", they remind me of Annixter's Peeping Tom venture when his wife-to-be took her ablutions in the creek. (I think you'll like the paparazzi intrusiveness of the film, provided I can figure out how to edit the footage and post it.)

This should also give you an idea of the kit needed to set two camera traps.

To the left:
two cameras in Pelican cases (one camou, one black with cable for attachment)
two metal posts for staking cams (I can't always find a tree in the right place)
two "bear protectors" disarmed with wine corks (another good reason to drink wine)

Middle column of tiles
Pruning shears (long and short) and folding saw for "landscaping" trails and sets,
pipe and hammer (for alerting the bears that I am coming--this is carried in my back pocket, and can used to accompany oneself singing the Happy Wanderer),
Swiss army knife (for cutting rope and as a size reference for photos of scat etc.)
Cree crooked knife (for stripping branches when you need to make a post, stake, or walking stick)
Tool roll with screwdriver, nut drivers, and ratchet wrenches (for attaching hardware)

To the right:
water bottle (filled with iced Gatorade in summer)
surveyors tape (for trail marking)
Miranda's Jim River beaver scent (a scent lure)
Plastic container of hardware (for tacking bait and jury rigging)
string and nylon cord
rope ratchet (for attaching cams to trees when using the cord)
Off Clean Feel (contains Picaridin, less mutagenic than than DEET)
Furfindr with chain
two-way radio (to call the boss in case of emergency)
Rechargeable batteries and memory sticks (for cameras already out there)
notebook and pencils (if I am feeling poetic)
GPS for marking locations and recording tracks

I always carry an "Alpenstock" of California bay, and sometimes take a camera along. I gave up on carrying a multimeter -- when in doubt, replace batteries.

Thanks for the suggestion, Nigel.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this, Chris. The picture of all your stuff on the floor reminded me instantly of my favorite book as a teenager in the 70s, Colin Fletcher's _New Complete Walker_! Total nostalgia moment!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very informative post.

Intrigued by your "bear protectors". You mention them in an older post (4/10/06) and show a picture, but I could not quite figure how they were built and from what. Were the spikes welded?
Do you still use your "dollar tree" alarm?

Thanks again,

Owlman said...

That looks like "everything but the kitchen sink". You are a well prepared Ole Codger for sure. Thank's for the very informative blog.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks again, Nigel.
Ojb--I posted a pdf on building the bear protector on Pixcontroller Forums, Trail camera discussions. I use sheet metal screws and 3/4" angle iron. The locking device works like a charm, and takes a few seconds to remove. I am not using the security alarms any longer, mainly cuz the batteries cost so much, and the Dollar Store doesn't stock them with batteries any longer.
Owlman--did you decide on a cam yet?

Anonymous said...

So, how many bottles of vino do you have to drink to be protected from bears? Cuz, you know, I really should be more concerned with bear safety.

John Mikes
Weekend Shooter

Camera Trap Codger said...

Ya sure, the answer to that question is: enough that you wouldn't feel any pain should Bruin decide to get physical with you, but not so much that you can't find your way home afterwards.

Owlman said...

That would be about a liter for me. lol

Mr. Smiley said...

And not a Killing Bottle in sight!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Re: pdf for the bear protector. Well done ...


Jace Stansbury said...

Nice post Codger. Another reader read my mind when he asked about your kit. Found a nice spot this past week for my camera and I'm hoping on getting it set up in a week or so.