Friday, October 15, 2021

4000 Miles Hiked In The " Quabbin Woods"

 


As I write this article and reflect on experiences close to the 4000 mile marker hiking the Quabbin Woods. The last two weeks have seen a first time blunder and last weekend a bear approached me in the twilight of dawn. Both will be most memorable in this hiking journey

Several weeks ago, while bushwhacking I was starting to overheat so I stopped took my vest then rolled it up and stuffed it in the large open pocket on the outside of my pack. The corner of this pocket is where my bear spray is stored. Sometime while bushwhacking the plastic wedge that prevents the plunger on the bear spray from be pushed fell out. While stuffing my vest into the pocket it triggered the bear spray. Luckily it was pointed away from me. Unfortunately,  when it sprayed it ricocheted off the tree in front of me just catching the corner of one eye and my lips. My exposure was minimal , all I can say is OMG , that was uncomfortable. The worst part was yet to come. When I arrived home, I immediately flushed my eye out,  some of the spray made it into my eye. All I can say is LESSON LEARNED !!!

Last Sunday I hit the trail at the twilight of dawn. You could just make out the silhouette of trees. I was walking a road that leads to deep woods, hoping  to catch a bull moose on the move. Wouldn’t you know it, a bear steps out into the road ,looks away from me , then turns and starts walking towards me. It took a few seconds before the bear  looked up and realized I was there , then it disappeared. Of course, who would have ever figured something like this would happen. First time in ten years I’ve ever thought about pulling out bear spray ( which I had none of)

 Jim

Sunday, October 10, 2021

 



I find it remarkable the amount of sows with cubs that have show up in the relatively small area. The sow with four yearlings from last week appeared to be just passing through. Probably a corner of her home range that overlaps.

The sow that typically rules this area dispersed her yearlings late spring. I’m thinking that possibly with her being cub-less, is reason for all the centralized bear activity. Next summer when she is wandering her home range with cubs will tell the story.

I still haven’t quite got the picture of a sow with cubs crossing a beaver dam that I’m hoping to get. Lots of close pics though…. I changed the settings on most of the Browning TC’s to burst picture mode in a last ditch effort to capture a pic before the bears den for the year.

A review of all my bear videos for 2021 would suggest that I should consider placing camera traps on each end of the dam next year. Bear butts were the norm with getting several bears moving towards the trail cameras.

No doubt the 4000 miles hiked in the “Quabbin Woods” will be reached this month. Eighteen miles to go…… I’m excited about this mile marker. Not sure where this hiking quest goes from here.

Jim


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Moose & Bears On The Move!

 



Wow ! Last weekend bears were really on the move. Camera traps videoed one sow with three COY ( cubs of the year) had crossed five different beaver dams over a two week period. That’s a first for me. Reviewing SD cards from last weekend also showed I missed a sow with four cubs. This is the first time seeing this family of four. It will be interesting to see if camera traps captured video this week of them.

Moose are in rut. Cameras picked up two different bulls during the evening hours. One was respectable Hoping to get a nice day time pic/vid of an impressive bull moose.

I’m closing in on the 4000 mile marker hiking the Quabbin woods. Hope to hit that milestone in October.

Friday, September 24, 2021

'Unplugged'

 





 Unplugged” for two weeks”

My apologies for no blog articles the last two weeks. My wife and I were on vacation (camping), we left all the electronics home !

We returned last Friday, I was able to hike last  weekend  to check trail cameras. A sow with three cubs were videoed in two different beaver swamps . One camera trap did capture footage of three rambunctious cubs during the day. This is my best cub video to date

Enjoy

Jim

Friday, August 27, 2021

Bear Trio Still In Area

 

This sow has two COY ( cubs of year) in tow. This is most likely the same sow that crossed a beaver  dam about a mile away in early June.  I moved several trail cameras to the back waters of this beaver pond in hopes of videoing bears. One hour after the sow and cubs were caught on trail camera a single bear followed in the exact same path.

Yesterday hiking to change out SD cards I had a bear step out a short distance in front of me. What a look of surprise on its face. I probably had the same look. lol

Certainly no shortage of water in Massachusetts with the record rain in July and tropical storm Henri. In my hiking yesterday I  tried to set a camera trap where a big bull was videoed last fall. Water levels prevented me from reaching that same area. I hope to relocate a number of camera traps prior to the early fall moose rut.


Jim





Saturday, August 21, 2021

Scramble To Beat Hurricane Henri

 


It was a scramble this morning hiking to trail cameras. With Hurricane Henri forecast predicting three to six inches of rain in Central Massachusetts tomorrow, I had trail cameras that needed to be raised or removed before the rains. It was HOT & HUMID with humidity at 94%. I didn’t hike very far before becoming soaked. Animal activity has really slowed down the last several weeks. I attribute it to the heat.

The coyote above is a video grab from a camera that was checked this morning. It’s one of the better coyote’s pic/video to date.

Jim

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Beavers Hard At Work

 



Over the last several weeks I’ve located three separate areas with beaver construction going on.

_ First is a beaver (pic above-video grab) re-building a bank lodge. Several weeks ago bushwhacking along a swamp that I haven’t visited in a while, rounding a cove and there on the bank, fresh beaver cuts laying on top of the old lodge.  I just happen to have a trail camera in my pack!

_ Second opportunity was located while bushwhacking a new area and came open several freshly dropped hemlock trees (3”to4”diameter). I put a camera spying the fresh cuts and a check a week later had some decent beaver video footage. Unfortunately it’s all at night...

_ Third opportunity is a remote beaver pond with two beavers re-establishing the pond. They have built up the beaver dam, which has raised the water level, they are now constructing a new lodge. I made a tripod out of pine branches and set a trail camera up pointing at it from the shore. The lodge is about twenty yards from the camera. A check this morning showed additional branches and vegetation on top of the lodge. I couldn’t wait to view the SD card. Unfortunately nothing on the card. Positioning the camera was somewhat of a guess. Well that didn’t work out to well!

Jim