Maine Wolf Coalition’s First Trail Camera Field Season a Success

MWC recently completed a successful first field season with its wolf trail cameras, despite the fact that our most expensive camera was stolen and we didn’t photograph any canids.  We did photograph numerous moose, several bears, a deer and two vultures.

Cameras were set up in three locations; a secret location in the western mountains (the owners do not want the location made known), Roxanne Quimby’s lands (the future national park) east of Baxter State Park, and The Nature Conservancy’s lands in the St. John River headwaters.  We want to thank all of the landowners for the generous use of their property for this purpose.  We hope that in the future, other landowners in Maine will come to recognize the importance of wolves and other predators in the ecosystem and will learn the truth that the presence of wolves will not negatively impact the use of their property.

Our first field season was very much a learning process.  We attempted to attract wolves at each of our three sites by putting up a scent post, spraying it with wolf urine, and applying a commercially available scent bait used by trappers to attract coyotes.  The thought behind the wolf urine was that it might attract other wolves and cause them to mark their scent.  It appears as though it may have acted as a wolf/coyote repellent as not a single canid was photographed.  In 2012, we will try again with and without wolf urine and we’ll also again try to secure one more carcasses of road killed deer to use as bait.

Our most expensive camera was set up on The Nature Conservancy land in an isolated location near Baker Lake.  I went up to retrieve the camera in September, after the first week of moose hunting.  As I was driving in to the location, I met two bird hunters who told me that a moose hunting party had the stayed in the area that week and had left the day before.  The camera was located on an overgrown tote road that someone would only find if they got out of their vehicle and walked up the road.  While we don’t know if the moose hunters took the camera, it appears likely given its isolated location and their presence in the immediate vicinity.  Next year, any of our cameras that are on lands open to moose hunting will be retrieved before the hunting season begins.

One of the most interesting experiences was having a bear chew and break off a portion of one of the signs that we affixed to the camera post.  The bear not only chewed the sign but twisted the post around so it was facing in the opposite direction, giving us several hundred photos of raspberry bushes.  The bear in these photos may have been photographed in the act.  This was the only bear photographed during the day.  All others were observed at night.

We are appealing to wolf advocates to make a donation to help replace the camera that was stolen.  The message that we want to send is that for every wolf camera that is stolen, we intend to replace one with two.  Stealing the cameras will do nothing to harm the wolves or wolf recovery and will only serve to increase our resolve to locate wolves in the Maine woods in order that they might get the protection to which they are legally entitled.  Stay tuned for 2012!

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