Saturday, July 26, 2008


It never fails: A watched pot never boils. A watched yard never teems.

All summer the beach in front and the yard in back of the Writer's Lair has been Grand Central for deer, bear, skunk, squirrels, goldfinches, gulls, geese and cedar waxwings, among other Upper Michigan wildlife species. The deer and bear show up mostly in the dark, however. We can tell because of the tracks they leave.

So I bought (from Cabela's, the big sportsman's outfitter) a digital "game camera" to strap to a tree and capture night-riding creatures.

The Bushnell Trail Sentry is a cool little device, especially for only $99, plus a few more bucks for four D-cell alkaline batteries and a SD card to store the photos on. It takes 4-megapixel photos that are remarkably sharp and detailed although a little flat, but they can be perked up with Photoshop on the computer.

Using it is simplicity itself. One opens it up, turns it on, enters a password (you wouldn't want strange hikers messing with it) and tells it to take either still photos or 14-second-long videos. If a warm-blooded animal walks through the arc of the infrared sensor, the camera will wake up and take a photo (with built-in flash at night) every 30 seconds.

I've had it on a tree pointing at the Writer's Lair for the last three nights, but not one wild animal has deigned to pass by, even though we've left up the previously violated bird feeder to attract hungry critters.

All I have to show for my efforts are photos of a big yellow dog (Hogan) going out to pee and a fat white man (me) watching to see if the camera is working. It is, but . . .


Meanwhile, there are some daytime wildlife shots at my other blog.


  1. I found your blog late last night and began reading until I could barely see straight. I woke up this morning and began reading again. My eyes are so blurry I have to saddle up right in front of my monitor. I told my wife about your blog and your books and she already knows about you and has read your work. I can't wait to read your stories. I think it will be cool to read stories about the U.P. and the Ontonagon area. I'm so excited.

  2. Well, thanks! It's always nice to kow that somebody likes my books. I hope you aren't disappointed.