By Mark Kenyon
I’d just been gone on vacation for 10 days and now here I sat at my desk, knowing I had to get some serious work done. But I just couldn’t. Something was gnawing at me from the inside out. I wanted to know. I had to know. I needed to know. What was on my trail cameras?
So after several hours staring at a computer screen, punching aimlessly at keys and seeing a despairingly small number of words appearing on the white blank page, I finally gave in to my animal desires, I slammed the laptop shut, grabbed a pile of empty SD cards and headed out the door.
An hour later, drenched in sweat and covered in mosquito bites, I returned back into the slightly cooler, yet still un-airconditioned comfort of home, the job nearly done, but the questions still unanswered. What was on my trail cameras?
As I placed the card in the slot on the side of my computer my fingers began to twitch as I tapped my toe impatiently waiting for the SD card to register within the damned slow internal workings of my Macbook. My brow furrowed, new beads of sweat had formed on my back, and I shivered as one rolled down my spine and bled into my t-shirt. How much longer could it possibly take. Good Lord – what was on my trail cameras!?
I may not know much, but I’m quite confident in this. I’m not the only one who gets to feeling this way when it comes to trailcams. They are one of a hunter’s greatest tools, but maybe, also one of our greatest downfalls. Quite simply, trail cameras make us crazy.
You wait weeks and weeks just dreaming of what might have walked in front of your cameras, and then when you find out, no matter what the result – you go bat-$hit crazy.
No pictures of shooters on your camera? You go crazy, wallow in despair, and worry about what could be wrong. On the other hand, lets say you get a picture of a giant buck on camera. Immediately, you scream SUCCESS! And then, you still go crazy. Dreaming of this big buck at night, neglecting important family duties like taking out the trash, going to work, or flushing the toilet. Any way you slice it, trail cameras get into our brains and make us do some crazy stuff.
I’m thinking you can probably relate to these kinds of feelings, and awareness is the first step to solving any problem. So with that said, today I wanted to share with you seven grave dangers of trail cameras. This is my public service announcement to all of you fellow whitetail addicts. So read on and take heed.
1. See all paragraphs above
2. In search of a better, smaller, faster, sharper, clearer, more impressively marketed trail camera we will spend small fortunes, sacrifice several paychecks and maybe even a body part or two to purchase a new unit. In fact, in many cases we’ll spend more on a new trail camera to photograph deer than we will spend on a new digital camera to take photos of our family! It’s not just how much one camera costs though, how about the number of cameras we buy? If you have one that’s great, but wouldn’t two be better? And then once you have two on that property and realize how great that is, wouldn’t it be nice to have one on your other property? Or maybe two? Before you know it you’ve got duffle bags full of batteries, 17 bungie straps and two 20 lb rubbermaid totes full of cameras. You smile to yourself, thank goodness you spent the extra money to get the new ultralight versions.
3. SD card envy. Ever heard of it? You might not know the name, but you most certainly will recognize the symptoms. It goes something like this. You’ve spent all summer checking trail cameras and finding them full of nothing but photos of spike-horns, because of that you’ve tossed countless SD cards into the trash after you stomp on them with your rubber boots. During one of these stomp sessions, just as you shut the lid on the trash can and your heart-beat has returned to normal, you hear a slight buzz and your phone vibrates on the table. It’s a text. A photo text in fact. And your jackass friend in Iowa has shared another trail camera picture with you from his hunting property. The buck’s got 10 quickly growing velvet covered points, thick main beams, and a 24 inch spread. Your jaw hits the floor. And then you read the caption your friend included. “Decent. Maybe needs another year.” You stomp on your phone with your rubber boots.
4. We all know that one of the most important “laws” of hunting big bucks is that they hate human presence, pressure, sign, scent, etc. Because of this, we strictly self-regulate our visits into whitetail paradise. No walks with the dog through the woods. No jaunts across the property with friends. No talking, no laughing, no sneezing, no farting. No unnecessary trips into your hunting property. Ever. Except, maybe you’ve got friends coming in from out-of-state, and you’d really like to show them some big buck pics. Better check your cameras. Or maybe you had a bad day at work. Better check your cameras. You just really, really, really want to know if “The Dump Truck Buck” is still in the area. Better check your cameras. Yea, you said you were going to wait two weeks before checking them next, but it’s a Wednesday, and Wednesdays are tough. Better check your camera. The barometer is falling and your knees are starting to hurt. Better check your cameras. Your boss wore a blue shirt today. Better check your camera.
5. Chronic phone display-aphilia. I’m sure you’ve experienced this one. It’s Friday evening and you’re grilling some burgers on the back deck with a few buddies. The topic turns to deer (from which it rarely turns back), and soon someone says “Oh man, I gotta show you this one.” A phone comes out of his pocket, he taps a few buttons and a trail camera photo soon appears on the screen. Everyone crowds around and admires. Moments later you hear a rustling next to you and notice your other buddy struggling with his hand seemingly down his pants, you get concerned, but then with a burst of excitement his hand with phone in-tow comes bursting forth out of the too-tight pocket. “That’s a good buck, but check this one out.” More clicking and then the phone circles the group. Now your phone comes out, swipe, swipe, tap. “Look at this guy!” An hour later your wives emerge from inside, margaritas in hand, expecting meat to be grilled and dinner to be ready. On the deck they see seven grown men in a tight circle, everyone has their phone out, the only words they can hear, “well look at mine!”
6. It was a hell of a week. On Monday you found out that vacation time for the coming year would be slashed by 15%. The annual expense and financial strategy report was due on Thursday, and Wednesday night you were up til 2:00 AM making sure everything was just right. And then on Friday, as you were about to leave for the weekend, your boss called you in for an emergency meeting. Through it all, for five full week days, you kept telling yourself to just hold on. Everything would be better soon. You could make it through this. Why? Because this weekend, it would happen. Your designated trail camera checking day was this Saturday, and if you could just make it til then, everything be ok. Oh the anticipation. Thankfully you survive the work week and Saturday morning you grab your gear and take off into the woods. As you near the camera location, you beam with excitement, all your worries washed away with the sweet taste of hope. Everything would be better soon. Finally there it is, the small black box is firmly attached to the tree, your corn and mineral has been fully consumed, and sign is everywhere. Yes! Thousands of pictures, huge velvet antlers, new hit-list bucks – everything you’ve dreamed of and more is just ahead. Expense and financial strategy reports have never been so far out of your mind. Then you open the camera, flip the menu on and nothing happens. The batteries are dead. No. This can’t be true. Please no. They must have just died recently, right? You pull the SD card out, slam it into your digital camera, and power it on. What little sign of life you’d maintained through the week’s rat race is waning. The display comes to life. 0 photos taken.
7. It’s date night. You and the wife are going to grab dinner, open a bottle of merlot, and kick back with a nice romantic movie. But first, “honey, just give me 10 minutes to check this SD card. I’m almost done.” Click, click, click, click. You cycle through each image, full of hope, anticipation, lust. As one should be on any good date night. 45 minutes later you hear the door slam, a car ignition, and your wife peels out of the driveway. Probably going to her sisters house. Looks like there’s time for SD card number two!
Have any others to add? Lets hear em!