2015-07-08 / Here's the Scoop / Columns

Here's the Scoop: July 8, 2015

Looking for The Truth

It was the “Call of the Wild” when I opened the “Truth Cam” I received for my birthday. More commonly known as a “game camera,” this little device is primarily meant to record wildlife activities that take place outdoors, usually at night.

For avid hunters, these cameras can provide inspiration and knowledge of the presence of big bucks and other prized game. That’s not my goal with the Truth Cam.

Sure, I’ll enjoy seeing a nice buck enjoying some birdseed at our feeder, but I’m more interested in other types of creatures who visit after dark. We have regular surveillance equipment for personal security — and that has recorded some very interesting footage lately — but the Truth Cam is primarily geared toward tracing the nocturnal activities of wildlife that happens to stroll (or waddle) into the camera’s path.

Because we live in a woods-turned-yard, there’s no shortage of wildlife a short distance away from the house. We see plenty of these animals, but many others arrive at odd hours, leaving only strange footprints or more squishy traces of their visit. The Truth Cam is designed to answer questions about these nighttime visitors. My wife is hoping that it will stop me from frequently asking, “What the heck kind of turd is this?” after I take a stroll around the yard. That alone would make the investment worthwhile.

Setting me straight

I’ll admit, I was a bit slow to recognize the benefits that the Truth Cam offers. Sensing my confusion when I opened the gift, my wife offered some assistance.

“Because you’re nosey.”

Ah, now I understood.

Once I realized that the Truth Cam was a perfect fit for me, I quickly became obsessed. A short time later, we had the camera rigged up outside. Now, all we had to do was wait. And wait. Then, we waited some more.

My morning monitoring of the Truth Cam has now become more important than my first cup of coffee. This was serious. I think I may have mentioned that there was some waiting involved?

When we first unwrapped the Truth Cam, it took a bit of experimentation to make sure it was working properly and to determine that the settings were correct. During this time, we got a lot of unflattering close-ups of me. I rapidly deleted these photos, but have since replaced them with a ton of similar shots showing me staring intently into the Truth Cam, making sure it’s functioning properly. It is. Well, except for the lack of actual “game” shots.

Making adjustments

It took me a few days (and several dozen more unintentional selfies) to figure out that the Truth Cam was mounted too high — unless a giraffe strolled past. So, we made a height adjustment and also moved the apparatus to a location that seemed better suited to animal travels. Still nothing — except more “I’m checking to see if the camera is working” photos of myself.

This called for stepping up my game. Our game? Anyhow, one night, I casually asked my wife if she wanted me to dispose of the chicken leftovers from dinner. She was pleased with my eagerness to help — until she figured out that the chicken pieces were carefully placed a short distance in front of the Truth Cam. I explained that I didn’t plan to make a habit of “baiting” wildlife, but merely wanted to catch a few glimpses of the elusive wildlife that visits under cover of darkness. And that’s the Truth. — Brian Sweeney

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