Community, Wildlife

I carry a gun

I carry a gun when I go for walks.  Occasionally I see an article about carrying an everyday pistol – yet these folks might as well be in a different world.  I don’t need the pistol to protect myself – I have two small dogs that are at some level of risk when we run across coyote or cougar.  Come to think of it, the last encounter was when Kiki decided to protect me from 2 grizzlies – they ran for about 80 yards, and then one must have realized that there wasn’t much dignity in 2 grizzlies being chased by a 7-year-old Pomeranian. 

The nice lady who handles problem bears for FWAP explained the advantages of bear spray to me.  I even kind of agree that my aging, overweight Pomeranian has an awesome ability to make a stressful grizzly encounter worse.  That said, bear spray is short range – 7 to 10 yards sticks in my mind.  My little companions can range 50 yards from me, and they have already encountered coyotes, a cougar, and an eagle that regarded them as prey.  I’ve had a wolf kill a fawn within 150 yards of the house.  They’ve all been beyond the range of bear spray, and they have all backed off at my confident approach.  Still, at 71, that confidence is enhanced by the pistol on my hip.

Robert Ruark penned the phrase, “Use enough gun.”  I believe – but it is inconvenient to carry enough gun for a pair of grizzlies everywhere I walk . . . and there are only a few moments of my life spent in grizzly encounters.  Coyotes are more common, as are cats – and over a half-century ago, Paul Totten explained that a 22 is adequate for cougar.  Even a 45 feels small when you’re looking at the real bear, and politely asking, “Please Mr. Bear, you go your way and I’ll go mine.  Neither one of us wants trouble, OK?”  So far the conversation has been effective every time.

So I carry a small, inadequate HK4.  It can protect my small dogs from the common predators, and, if worse comes down to worst, I think I’d feel more competent concentrating on my sights and trigger than praying. 

Patches' Pieces, Wildlife

The Not So Perfect Game Camera

Now days, I take more wildlife photos with my game camera than with my digital camera. At 4 am on a cold wintry morning my game camera is awake, I am not. What is the perfect game camera?  The camera that takes the photos you want or need. It is the camera that is reliable, consistent, and inexpensive. Do you want a camera for surveillance with the occasional acceptable wildlife photo to show friends?  Or do you want great photos the majority of the time for wildlife photography? Does the camera record video? If so, for how long?

Since all roads lead to Rome, I have a game camera on my driveway. I use my camera for surveillance. I have seen feral cats, stray dogs, foxes, coyotes, skunks, racoons, turkeys, deer, mountain lions, and bears.  Also included would be bicycles, UPS trucks, and errant hunters.

Grizzly Bears! The pictures on the game camera alerted us to the possibility they were in the neighborhood. These ladies walked down the driveway before they walked into the yard.

Since bears are on the move and are in the general area, I am checking my camera daily for the presence of bears.  Our lack of fruit has resulted in few bear sightings this fall. Trophy hunters are looking for the presence of antlers on deer. We have no regular sightings of antlers. A coyote has been hunting in the area.  A feral cat carried a squirrel past the camera. Does are ever present.

A beautiful coyote poses for the camera.

While my old single lens reflex camera was serviceable for over 20 years, the life of a game camera is short.  Game cameras are expected to perform in all types of weather. Amazingly they do take pictures in temperatures from 20 below to 100 degrees above and in rain or snow. Wildlife have damaged more of my cameras than adverse weather.  A plastic camera with an electronic circuit board is no match for a careless deer.

A coyote stops  on the driveway at night. Nighttime photos are difficult. Common is the lack of clear detail.

-Patches