March 31, 2012

March Drought and the Considerate Thief

A mule deer doe sniffs a scout camera.
March came in like a lamb and leaves like a thirsty lamb. Not a drop of rain or snow—no, take that back, it did rain once for thirty seconds.

Spring beauty
We are seeing some wild flowers thanks to the winter snow. Spring beauty (Claytonia) popped up on schedule a couple of weeks ago.

With the ground dry, I put up a few scout cameras. This picture of the doe was unusual only in that deer normally ignore a camera, but this one seems to have decided to give it a look and sniff, back on the 14th.

There is another place near home where a large concrete culvert runs under the state highway. It is more like a tunnel, really—rectangular in cross-section and tall enough to walk through upright.

I was curious to see if deer, turkeys, or other wildlife used it as a crossing. I thought that I could up a camera near the culvert and then remove it before turkey season, which begins April 14th. The camera went up on March 12th, and on the 23rd, M. and I walked up there to check it.

The camera's display showed 17 images collected. Something about the camera was different though, but my hay fever-slowed brain did not register it that at first.

At home, I opened the camera case to remove the SD (memory) card. But there was no SD card. And it was not that I had forgotten to insert one, because there were no images in the camera's built-in memory either.

About then it occurred to me that that particular camera had been covered with camouflage tape. Now all of the tape was gone but for a small strip on the bottom.

Obviously someone had pulled off the tape looking for a way to open the camera—not really necessary. Then he (?) had removed the card. Was he
(a) Afraid that someone would see his picture?
(b) Interested to see for himself what wildlife images might be on the card?
(c) Just sending an "I don't like cameras" message?
But at least the camera itself was undamaged, and for that I am grateful. SD cards are cheap on eBay.

No comments: