A great aspect of cam trapping on private property - if I put a camera on the side of a road, it's still there when I return 2 months later.
Which is quite handy, because while the jeeps, cowboys and cattle are asleep, the wildlife are happily using the roads as if they built and own them.
But there is a downside, too. Roads tend to be open, sunny areas with mucho potential for unwanted camera triggers by stray sunbeams, waving grasses and wandering cattle.
So, to avoid these battery wasters and set spoilers, a cam trapper's natural inclination is to set the trap to only take photos at night. As I did. However, as you'll see from this series, once a cam is on night-only, you open the door to daytime mysteries.
Here's the camera on the side of the road, deeply posted into the ground by a large rock:
As you might expect with a 2 month set in a well-wild place, the camera saw lots of activity, capturing 289 photos of the local nightlife. Deer, foxes, jacks and skunks passed by commonly.
But, as seems to be a theme for this summer's Tehachapi sets, the Ursus americanus were by far the most interesting amblers.
The first to trundle down the road turned out to actually be 2 bears...
Awwwwww. But that's all we saw of them - just a near proximity fly by.
The next bear down the road was a big black that, once alerted to the camera, decided to come in for a full in-your-face inspection...
But again, no camera "adjustments." Note the white chest mark. This cam is close to where Fred Astaire Bear enjoyed the water hole. Could it be the same bear? Fur seems different to me.
Then 7 nights later, during the 7th week, the camera suddenly had a very different point of view...
And thus I found it, snapped off the post, and lying face up in the road.
So who done it? Who whacked the cam during that day while it was quietly asleep on the roadside? Was it one of the above 2 bears on an afternoon stroll? Perhaps a cow stepped on it? Definitely wasn't the foxes, jackrabbits and skunks. My hardware is too hardy for them.
I'm betting it was one of the bears. They're tricksy like that.