The idea of this trap was to not only see what animals are using the game trail for their comings and goings, but also to answer an even more intriguing question:
What beasties cross a fenceline where there's no gaps, and the fence is tight, sturdy and made of 6 inch welded wire mesh (i.e, box wire, not barbed)?
The answer? Critters that can fly, jump, climb, tunnel, or fit through the mesh. Duh.
Camera POV: the camera was nestled in a small cedar tree pointing along the game trail towards the fenceline. Animals coming to the camera are traveling into the property and towards the house & pond. Away is towards the pasture and Forest Service land.
Results: There were 72 trigger events over 21 days. Of the 72, a full 54 of them (75%) were mule deer. Bucks, does and fawns. Seems this is a major freeway for our local high-jumping Odocoileus hemionus. Makes sense - the path is a good route for the does and fawns as they wander between the fields, while also being a fine crossing spot for the bucks as they come and go to the higher country of the Forest Service lands that they prefer.
A few of the mule deer:
Mom checking out the camera with fawn at fence
Weird-horned buck heading for fence
But the mule deer weren't the only fence crossers. Yogi the cinnamon black bear came through once as well - apparently she can climb over a sturdy fence no problem:
Yogi heading out of the property
On the smaller side, 4 more species proved that 6 inch welded wire squares are right-sized for their trespasses: a bobcat, a western gray squirrel, some California quail, and a domestic cat.
Bobcat swaggering towards the fenceline
Are you wondering how I know the bobcat squeezed through the box wire? These tracks from last Winter at this very same fenceline tell the tale:
Bobcats fit through 6 inch wire mesh (last Winter)
The gray squirrel just taunted the camera a few times:
Where's the gray squirrel?
The neighbor's domestic cat visited for a mere 12 minutes - perhaps looking for that squirrel:
Neighbor's cat coming...
Neighbor's cat going... (thanks for stopping by!)
72 camera events over 21 days:
|Misses (no visible animal)||5|
|Western Gray Squirrel||3|
What didn't show?
No cougars or coyotes. But then, they can't get through fence at this spot. Well, a mountain lion could jump or climb over if it really wanted to, but I bet they prefer to silently saunter & slink through gaps or under barbed wire. It's better for their image.
No gray foxes. Haven't seen a lot of them on the cams lately. But I'm also not sure they can squeeze through the box wire. They might not be able to - they're similar in size to a bobcat, but their body shape and flexibility is different, so maybe they can't fit.
No skunks, jackrabbits, raccoons or opossums. Perhaps this isn't a typical foraging trail for them, or they were away on vacation. The other side of the fence being a wide open pasture might freak them out a bit too - Ms. Great Horned Owl hunts these fields...
No wild turkeys. They have to fly over the welded wire fences - maybe there's not enough clearance in this spot for their casual comings & goings, and they normally cross elsewhere. Or perhaps, they were just plain elsewhere.
For the final photo foray, here's more of the cast of mule deer characters that passed through (and are practically family):
Cute even with an infrared flash
A big broad's side
Weird-horned buck demonstrating why fences don't exist for them
Buck, doe & fawns on family outing
Mange, flea-bites or a bit of a blondie?
That's a big buck