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Tracking Animals for Photography: Monitor

Updated: Jul 6, 2023


The above photo is of a Grey Fox taken by a game camera near a seasonal spring in my research area.


Now that you know what lives and grows in your Research area it's time to get out there and find them. Depending on the area you picked, you want to select a few spots that have a good view of your area. This would allow you to set up a chair and your tripod to scout the area. Get into a routine of patrolling your area randomly looking for new wildlife signs and then sitting for a period to try and catch a glimpse of anything.


A great asset in wildlife monitoring is a Game Camera. The Game Cameras can range in price from $40 to $240. Even the cheaper versions still have the same features as the more expensive ones, like; Night Vision, Still Photos, and Video. They just tend to have a lower resolution for photos and video than the others. Placing the Game Cameras around your area can help you catch a glimpse of those nocturnal animals and help you narrow down the active game trails.


You may end up spending a great deal of time monitoring your area and when nature calls try not to relieve yourself in your monitor area. This can discourage animals from coming around.


Tip: The best time to explore for animals and signs of animals is after a good rain. The soft soil and mud make for great tracks. In my case, rain also exposes new fossils.



Personal Progress:



My routine is to approach my area from a new game trail each time then set up at the closest monitor location for about an hour and log all my findings. Then I will check all the game cameras en route to my second monitor location and then set up for another hour and log all my findings.


Both my monitoring spots are on a ridge that allows me to see up and down two canyons. The southern spot is mostly downwind to conceal my scent. From this spot, I can see over 10 game trails and a water source. But most importantly it's in the shade of an old oak tree. My northern spot has the best view of over 20 game trails, but it's in direct sunlight and upwind. I tend to use this one early in the morning.


With a combination of my logs and the game cameras, I can now narrow down the trails that have active wildlife. This now allows me to have a better chance of getting good photos on future visits.


Gear:

  • Vortex Recon Optix 8x32 Monocular

  • Nikon Z7 II

  • Nikon Z 70-200mm Lens

  • Nikon Z 105mm Macro Lens

  • Shimoda Designs Action X30 Pack

  • Peak Designs Travel Tripod

  • MountainSmith Trekker FX Lite Trekking Pole with Manfrotto RC2 Head

  • Helinox Chair One

  • Game Camera(s)


Subscribe Now to follow my progress and get some Tips & Tricks for your wildlife photo outing.



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