Checking Trail Cameras with Landen

Hiking buddy Landen

Landen giving me a crazy look while we were out checking trail cameras.


Cottontail rabbit

One of the Cottontail Rabbits we saw on our trip up the mountian.


Selfie of Landen and me while checking trail cameras

Here's a selfie of Landen and me during our hike to check the trail cameras.


Four leaf clovers

Who says it's hard to find four leaf clovers?


Back out in August to check the trail cameras. This time with my son Landen.

At our first camera we found the handy work of a black bear. The homemade NiMh external battery pack was destroyed with batteries on the ground and the camera was ripped from the tree. I'm going to get more of Browning's full metal security boxes to place the cameras in where I have problems with bears.

Upon checking the cameras there was once again far more bears on cameras than elk. Where have the elk gone? :(

Landen and I had a nice hike. It was great to get some one on one time with him. He's a fun kid. He liked to make funny faces every time I'd pull out the camera. He was a trooper and hiked all over the place with me looking for different possible locations for placing trail cameras.

We were hoping to find a bunch of elk on the cameras but alas they just are still a little far and few this year. There is a lot of feed on the mountain this summer so apparently the elk just haven't felt the need to frequent this area very much.

Unfortunately from a hunting perspective I can't just move and hunt where the elk are as most of the mountain is locked up in a CWMU so I have to try and catch the "scraps" that might fall from the table, so to speak. This spot requires that the elk come to me because it is backed in so close to the CWMU. I really don't have much of an option other than to hope they come out of the iron curtain.

We have been seeing a lot more cottontail rabbits this year and this trip out was no exception. We were able to get one to pause long enough to snap a few pics of the critter.

Landen driving montero


I let Landen take the wheel of my old Montero for the trip back down the mountain. He did a wonderful job especially for his first time driving and only being eleven years old, although he is 5'10" and 175 lbs. Good job Landen!





Bears and More Bears on Trail Camera

Browning Strike Force BTC-5HD trail camera bear attack

Here is how I found my Strike Force BTC-5HD trail camera. The bears had ripped my 12 Volt AA NiMh external battery pack off the tree and twisted the BTC-5HD camera around the tree. The latch door was open and luckily the bears didn't rip the door off. I might need to lock the latch to prevent the door from coming open.


KB checking trail cameras

My hiking buddy KB helping me check my trail cameras.


Selfie of KB and me while checking trail cameras

Here's a selfie of KB and me during our hike to check the trail cameras.


Rock squirrel

This rock squirrel was checking me out during the hike up the mountain.


Back out checking the trail cameras in July has turned up a great deal of black bears. Unfortunately I have only one elk on the cameras while compared to last year during this same time period in 2014 when there was a lot of elk traffic in the area. I'm starting to question archery hunting the area this year. Maybe I'll hunt elk with my muzzleloader this year. Hmm...

As you can see from the videos on this page the bears are back to working on trying to rip my trail cameras off the trees. So far they haven't been successful in doing so with my BTC-7FHD and BTC-5HD cameras. The reinforced mounting brackets on the newer Browning trail cameras have been great, especially the metal bracket on the Recon Force BTC-7FHD cameras.

Bears and elk have the best noses and if you have watched many of my trail camera video clips you can see how quickly they can find my cameras with their noses. I might need to try spraying them down with a scent killer when I set them up and see if that helps keep them from messing with them.

Another thing I have noticed this year is that I am getting Mountain Lions on the cameras from time to time. Maybe the lions have been scaring off the elk? I doubt it.

Checking Trail Cameras - Using a Motorized Pack Wheel

Pack Wheel 20 inch wheel with Electric Motor

This is my XL 26 inch wheeled Pack Wheel frame with a 20 inch wheel and e-bike motor kit installed.


Motorized Hiking Cart loaded with roswheel panniers

Roswheel panniers loaded up with 45 pounds in each side.


Single stitched seem ripped out

I really like these panniers however when the large buckle snapped open upon hitting a bump it caused the single stitched sidewall to rip. I have since replaced the buckles and used my leather awl to stitch around the sidewalls to reinforce the poorly sewn single stitching.


Browning trail camera lock box.

After getting a couple trail cameras stolen this past winter I decided to try out the Browning lock boxes watching a trail that is most likely to have other people traveling.

To lock up the box and cable it to the tree I used a Master Lock 1317DSPT Cable Lock. I did have to trim off about a quarter inch of rubber on the lock arm to get it to thread through the lock box enough to lock the pad lock.


Redbreated Nuthatch

I found some Redbreasted Nuthatches bringing in bugs to feed their young. Looks like they like to catch spiders for food.


Redbreated Nuthatch

Redbreated Nuthatch at the entrance of it's nest cavity.


Even though the Pack Wheel with a 250W motorized 29er wheel worked pretty darn well a couple weeks ago I wanted to test other sizes of wheels with the motor to see the difference in torque and speed that the motor would provide. This time out checking my trail cameras I was also testing some a little different style of panniers made by Roswheel on my Pack Wheel.

I acquired some spokes and a 20 inch rim and relaced the motorized hub on this small wheel. I placed the wheel on my Pack Wheel that I normally have a 26 inch wheel on. The 20 inch wheel lowered the overall height of the Pack Wheel by 3 inches which is well within the height window to still be comfortable to operate.

I traveled the same game trails that I did a couple weeks prior with the 29 inch Pack Wheel with motor. This time out I had 45 pounds on each side of the Pack Wheel. I quickly noticed considerably more power from this motor and wheel size combination. As long as I wasn't going over larger obstacles the power the motor provided was great. However it didn't take long for me to realize how much I love my 26 and 29 inch wheels on the Pack Wheel. A 20 inch wheel just doesn't roll over obstacles like the bigger wheels do. Even with the motor the 20 inch wheel just didn't like to go over the dead fall trees that I normally can bump right over with the 26 and 29 inch wheels.

I did find that the 20 wheel still liked to go a little faster that I liked to hike but all in all it wasn't too bad considering that it had more power. With the Pack Wheel loaded down it did slow down the speed and had pretty darn good assisting power to help on the really steep inclines.

I was hoping that there would be enough power to push the wheel up against a large rock or dead fall tree and be able to lower my arms, rocking the weight off the wheel onto my arms and while pushing the wheel against the obstacle use the motor to "rock crawl" over the obstacle. However there just wasn't enough power to do this with the 90 pounds of weight I had in the panniers. If I only had 50 pounds or so in the panniers it may have had the power.

Now in the small wheel's defense I was hauling 90 lbs in the panniers on the Pack Wheel and going up game trails. I wasn't on a well groomed hiking trails. In both test runs the motor on both the 29 and the 20 inch wheel did greatly assist in helping me haul gear up the mountain.

At one point I tried to bump the wheel over a tree like I do with the 26 and 29er wheels and the wheel just stopped hard against it causing one of the buckles on the panniers to snap unloose and the 45 lbs of weight in that side of the panniers caused the single stitched sidewall to rip out the stitching right down the seem. Oops!

After this trip I replaced the two large buckles on the Roswheel panniers with stronger buckles that won't accidentally come unsnapped. I also took my leather awl and stitched down the sides where the weight of the load likes to stress the stitching. I really like these panniers with the reinforcements in place and they should be fine for future trips out. It's too bad Roswheel only single stitches around the sidewalls with a really lightweight thread. The panniers design is really nice and works really well with the Pack Wheel. They just skimped a little on the buckles and stitching.

I think I will try this same motor with a 24 or 26 inch wheel on the Pack Wheel. I also think a more powerful 500W motor that was lower geared might be the best solution. I'll keep playing around. For now the motor does work well and assist a lot in hauling heavy loads up the mountain I just want to keep tinkering with it to find the best motorized solution.

At my forth camera I quickly realized the bears were in the area. The camera and NiMh external battery pack were ripped off the tree. Sure enough the footage shows just a glimpse of the bear just before he rips the camera off the tree. Dang bears!

I just picked up a couple Browning Lock Boxes to secure cameras in areas where I think they might get stolen however I'm also thinking these boxes would be great for keeping bears from busting up my trail cameras. Hmm...

Here's some of the footage from the trail cameras from checking them this time out. There's a few young bull elk in the area however overall there are fewer elk in the area compared to the past two years. In fact I have no sign of the elk on the cameras moving down into the canyon where they would frequent from time to time in the past. Hopefully they start to move in to the area on occasion especially the last of August and first of September so that I have at least a little chance of getting an elk with my bow. These videos were taken on new 2015 Browning Trail Cameras, a Strike Force BTC-5HD and Recon Force BTC-7FHD cameras.

Mountain Lion on BTC-5HD trail Camera

Mountain Lion on BTC-5HD trail Camera

Looks like there's a Mountain Lion hanging around the area.


The Lion was back on the same trail a few days later.


Green Tailed Towhee nest

One horned Mule Deer in velvet

A Green Tailed Towhee nest I found. They must just be starting to lay eggs with only one egg in the nest.


Not sure if I have ever seen a mule deer in velvet with only a single antler.


Roswheel panniers on 29er Pack Wheel

Top view of the Roswheel panniers on the Pack Wheel

The Roswheel panniers look pretty slick on this 29er Pack Wheel.


Top view of the Roswheel panniers on a 29er Pack Wheel.




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