Cougar Trap – The Results
October 15, 2010
There seems to be this idea that to get great photographs you need to travel to the ends of the earth. Every once in a while though, something comes up right in your back yard. That’s what happened to me right here in Colorado about a week ago. I get a text message from my brother with an attached photo of a half eaten cow elk that he’d found hiking just a few miles from our house. In this area, the most likely culprit is a cougar. As quickly as I could, I got my gear together, and hiked back up there with my brother to set up a camera trap. Camera traps are an interesting tool, they allow you to put the camera in places where you would never be able to get a shot in any normal circumstance, then you leave it for a week, or a month, and come back and see what you’ve got. We set up the camera, and began the two hour hike out of the woods in the dark. Not fifteen minutes from where I’d parked the car, my headlamp illuminated two sets of green eyes reflecting back at me. Maybe I should have set up the trap right there. A week later, it was time to go collect the trap and see what we’d caught. I couldn’t wait any longer, and by now the elk would be less than appetizing to the cougar. This time we did the whole hike in the dark, and let me tell you, hiking into that field at 9:00pm in the dark to a cougar’s food source is a little eery. Right away I checked the camera to see what I’d gotten. Alas the cougar had managed to drag the kill most of the way out of the frame, and I only had half a cougar in my photo. The lens was iced over from a fall storm, and the image, though interesting isn’t something I’ll be sending in to National Geographic. The lesson learned though, is that maybe I should be working a little harder in my own back yard. I did after all get a photograph of one of the more elusive creatures to grace the Colorado highlands.