May 08, 2009
Bear-Proof Trail Cams
By Scott Bestul
My friend Greg Brush is a whitetail fanatic from Soldotna, Alaska. Obviously, the Kenai Peninsula is a touch out of whitetail range so Greg—a noted and full-time fishing guide—has to use other forms of hunting to hold him over until fall, when he makes an annual bowhunting trip to the Midwest. One of these distractions is spring black bear hunting, which soon opens.
There are some big and beautiful black bears in Greg’s neighborhood. Then there are the other neighbors: Even bigger, and definitely more intimidating, brown bears. Baiting is the preferred (and only legitimate) tactic here, and brown bears are as drawn to Greg’s baits as the blacks he can legally pursue. Of course the brownies present a whole different set of problems not normally encountered by bear hunters. Browns are more likely to be aggressive toward people, forcing Greg to always go doubly-armed (a bow for the blacks, serious firepower for the others) and always with a partner.
There are other considerations, like trail cameras. Black bears are notorious for messing with trail cameras, but browns will (in Greg’s words) “eat them like bubble gum.” This forced my friend to construct his “punk rock trail cam box” in an attempt to thwart curious bears from including his camera on the menu. This thing is a welded, lag-bolted steel box festooned with nasty spikes designed to intimidate a curious brownie. Will this heavy metal device keep bears at bay? Stay tuned for updates!