Shooting the interlopers


I get the feeling that I was being gently chided about my skill with a game camera on another blog recently. Be that as it may, the game camera has provided some fun diversions for us and an occasional post here on Roundrock Journal .

We’ve put the camera in quest of a different prey now. I’ve often wondered just how often we get visitors at Roundrock when we’re not there. Our encounters with neighbors on the weekends seem to happen frequently enuf to suggest (to me) that their visits are more common than our random meetings might otherwise indicate.

Why not use the game camera and point it at the road to catch snaps of two-legged, talking mammals as they pass through? This presents a bit of a challenge. Game aren’t aware of what the camera is, so they aren’t shy of it. I’ve even read that when the flash goes off at night, it doesn’t disturb them any more than a bolt of lightning would. But humans are different. I had to contrive a way to get pictures of them without their foreknowledge.

There are technical difficulties too. The camera will not catch a passing car. The moving car will trigger the camera, but by the time the shot is taken, the car is past. I’ve tried this in front of my house in suburbia. Yet people tend to interlope in our woods with their cars and trucks and ATVs.

So my plan was to aim the camera up the road so that I could get a shot of the vehicle as it is moving away from or toward the camera rather than past it. But even this was problematic. I think if an interloper saw the camera in advance, he or she might stop and turn around before a shot could be taken. I guess that would keep them away, but the point is to see who visits not who doesn’t. Thus I had to find a trunk that was fairly well hidden but that still gave a good angle to the camera. It also had to be free of scrub before it so the shot could be clear and the scrub’s movement in the wind wouldn’t trigger the shot. Finally, the trunk had to be close enuf to the road to allow the camera’s sensor to be triggered.

I found one tree just beyond the pond that might have worked, but it wasn’t ideal. Libby suggested a different approach. We could put the camera on a tree just inside our entrance, catching vehicles as they came in. If we did it right, they wouldn’t even see it as they passed through its trigger range. What you see above is what we settled on.

That tree is one of two that our road passes between just as it crosses our property line. The neighbor’s meadow is just behind it. (I hid it with some branches after I took the shot.) The road dips and turns just past this point, so I think most drivers will slow down a bit and get pictured. From the back anyway.

My thought is that the driver will not be aware of the camera upon entering, and the shot will be taken. Then, later, when the person is driving out, he or she may see the camera, but by then the deed is done.

My hope is that no one will happen to see the camera on their way out, but that’s unlikely. So my next hope is that no one will molest the camera when they see it.

My plan is to check the camera just as soon as we return to Roundrock (this coming weekend?). I expect among the first shots will be a few of me and my truck.

Missouri calendar:

  • May apple fruits ripen and fall on ground.

Today in Missouri history:

  • The Convention of 99 began meeting on this date in 1861. Initially formed to decide Missouri’s stance toward the Civil War, the Convention soon became an extra-constitutional force that established an interim government that had no legal standing but that brought Missouri through a political crisis at the start of the war.

9 Responses to “Shooting the interlopers”

  1. karl Says:

    good luck with that. i hope nothing goes wrong.

  2. cedrorum Says:

    Your thought process brings back memories of using my infra red triggers in a certain Carolina Bay. Hope you get something worth the effort. We only had a certain set of cameras taken in California when I worked with the National Park Service. On others we had people get their picture taken while sitting on their mountain bikes and looking at the contraptions we set up. We never had any stolen except that one set. Hopefully no one will take yours so you can get any pictures from it.

  3. Ed Abbey Says:

    Can you disable the flash feature?

  4. Beau Says:

    Should be interesting… I need to get a camera too. I’m trying to find out just when it is that the deer pass through snacking on our fruit trees!

  5. Carolyn Hoffman Says:

    Aren’t you afraid that if someone sees the camera they will take it??
    I hope they wouldn’t.

    Carolyn H.

  6. Pablo Says:

    Karl – If anything does go wrong, it will probably be worth a post or two.
    Cedrorum – I really think my interlopers are just curious locals and not actual troublemakers.
    Ed – Yes, I did disable it for this set up, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find I had some midnight skinny dippers.
    Beau – My camera is pretty low end, and you can tell from the quality of the pix. We just got ours as a lark. If you’re serious, you might consider going more upscale for better quality.
    Carolyn – I positioned it so they pretty much have to be paying attention to the road as they’re driving by. I don’t think they’ll see it coming in, but they may going out. If I lose it, I lose it. (I have another.)

  7. Daisy Mae Says:

    We had our deer camera out to photograph the foxes and a mighty large coyote had his photo snapped.
    Prior to that, we didn’t know we had coyote.
    See what you get.

  8. G2 Says:

    Please be sure to post the pictures.,

  9. Jenn Says:

    Um. I’m a Detroit city kid. Tell me that when the camera announces its presence, the interlopers aren’t going to destroy or steal it?

    ‘Cause if they know they are trespassing, and are underage or otherwise not supposed to be driving whatever they are driving, they are not going to let photographic evidence exist of their escapades…

    I know, ‘strangers are friends you just haven’t met,’ right? But I’m SOOO cynical, and can’t seem to shake the tendency.

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