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Trail camera enhances hunting experience

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Trail camera enhances hunting experience

Hunting enthusiast Wayne Daniels was able to capture this scene surrounding an eight-point buck with a digital trail camera.

Photo by WAYNE DANIELS/


POSTED September 9, 2010 2:17 a.m.
I’m sorry about not having a column in last month’s paper. I had rotator-cuff surgery for the second time, on the same shoulder … after injuring it again.

The doctor assures me that it will stay repaired this time as long as I don’t hunt, fish, or do lawn work. I told my wife we needed to get a high-schooler to do the lawn, but I completely forgot to mention the rest of the restrictions to her.

Oh well... All jokes aside, I can’t stress too much the importance of keeping in shape year round.

As most of you know, I traded my Bowtech Admiral for a Matthews DXT and was really looking forward to bow season this year. We’ve had some cool weather recently with snow in the higher elevations and elk bugling has been reported.

Had I kept both shoulders in shape and been careful about re-injuring one or both, I would be out there now as bow season starts Sept. 4. I did get out a week ago with a friend and set up a trail camera to check the game traffic. We checked the camera on the first and found numerous deer had been in the area, including some nice bucks.

On the 5th, DJ Hagen, a neighbor and hunting partner, and I will be in the blind well before sunup, with DJ doing the shooting and me helping to do the spotting. We found using the patterns picked up by the trail-cam that the heaviest game traffic was just after sunup and a little before sundown.

The trail-cam I use is a ROGUE, model number STC-I504IR, made by STEALTH CAM.

The camera captures both daytime color and night black and white using infrared technology and is equipped with 32MB of built in flash memory, plus an expandable media card slot capable of accepting up to a 2GB SD card that is sold separately.

I purchased my camera through Sportsman’s Guide, and I am more than pleased with the performance and the price was very reasonable. The picture in today’s column is a buck that was picked up on the trail-cam.

Another reason I was looking forward to this season was my new binoculars. Over the years I had made do with whatever binoculars I had on hand and decided this year to invest in a decent pair.

In the long run, it will pay off. There are several things to consider when purchasing binoculars and since I am not married to “Miss Got-Rocks” price was definitely a factor.

After checking out Nikon and several other brands, I decided on a Vortex Fury, 10x42, and in selecting the power, I considered two things, field of view and depth. With an 8x42, you have a wider field of view, which you would need if you are hunting heavily-forested land. But with the 10x42, I got the narrower field of view, but greater depth.

Since Montana is mostly open prairie, I opted for the greater distance over the field of view. With the objective lens a “42” it gives me enough light-gathering ability for low-light conditions and the price was more than reasonable.

For those of you planning to hunt in Montana this year, and were hoping to do some wolf hunting too, you’ll need to rethink your plans.

Earth Justice, an animal rights group, petitioned Judge Malloy in Missoula, Mont. to stop the hunting of wolves in Montana and Idaho again.

They reasoned that it was illegal for the U.S. Department of Fish and Game to remove wolves from the endangered species list in those states, while maintaining them on the list in Wyoming. Fish and Game’s decision to remove the wolves from the list in Montana and Idaho, but not Wyoming was based on the fact that if, and when, that was done, Wyoming’s intention was to list the wolf as a “predator” to be shot on sight.

Last month, Judge Malloy sided with Earth Justice and Defenders of Wildlife, putting an end to the hopes of hunters of being able to hunt wolves; at least for the present. Judge Malloy also stopped wolf hunting two years ago, when animal rights groups convinced him that there was not enough evidence of inter-pack breeding to create a larger gene pool.

Then last year, in 2009, Montana and Idaho Fish and Game were able to convince Judge Malloy that there were sufficient numbers of both male and female wolves leaving and joining other packs to widen the gene pool, thereby allowing hunters the opportunity to take 74 wolves in Montana last year.

The latest shot fired by Montana and Idaho was a petition to the USFG to allow the states to have a conservation hunt beginning this fall.

In an article by Matthew Brown, Associated Press, in the Great Falls Tribune, he says “State officials said the hunts were justified because the wolf population has exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ — the number of wolves that are biologically sustainable.

Ron Aashein, with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, said the state hopes to convince federal officials that hunting would actually benefit wolves. He said wolf numbers are now at risk of crashing in some areas as they deplete elk herds.

Officials also said the hunts would help curb increasingly frequent wolf attacks on livestock …”

To contact Wayne Daniels, e-mail wdgonefishing@aol.com.

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