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Algoma outdoorsman develops trail cam addiction (10 photos)

Tom McClelland has captured some interesting moments, and that's what got him hooked

Tom McClelland of Sault Ste. Marie has a confession to make – he's a trail cam addict.

McClelland has been fascinated with trail cams for many years. Once he passed retirement, it became a very regular activity. "I have been setting up cameras for years. I am not a gym workout guy, the bush is my gym. It keeps me and my dogs in shape," said McClelland.

Times like the COVID-19 isolation and distancing practices of today leave him with limited contact with his three daughters and numerous friends, but ample opportunity to be out tending to his cameras. 

"On my bush walks with my dogs, it is an extremely rare occasion when we actually see another person," he said.

Triggered by movement, trail cams can be affixed to trees and set up to either capture video, stills or both.

"Battery life is dependent upon quality and type of battery, the weather and the mode you set the camera in. If you are on video, your batteries are used up faster. The same goes for colder weather. There are a number of other variables involved, of course, that impact how often the camera triggers. Eight AA alkaline batteries is about the average requirement in a camera and those will last in excess of six months. Lithium batteries are a better option throughout the winter. However, they are quite expensive," McClelland explained.

He checks his cameras every five days to one week depending on the situation.

He likes to experiment in his attempts to get some unique photos by placing his cameras at different levels for capturing different perspectives. Generally, he sets up at a waterline on either side of a beaver dam.

With an intimate knowledge of land ownership, game trails and animal travel routes, he has been able to capture his subjects curiosity and unique moments while in their natural environment. Those unique moments are his favourites.

Tom's trail cams are set up in an area east of Sault Ste. Marie between Echo Bay and Desbarats. His favourite location is dependent on the season. 

"Presently, it is a very long beaver dam. The appeal of this right now is that the dam is like a wildlife corridor, with a wide variety of both animals and waterfowl using it daily. As it warms up and summer progresses, I have a natural location that is a bear highway. Into the fall, I have several go-to locations and am seeking buck pictures and a shorter beaver dam that gets a lot of use from many species. In the winter months, the wolves that have dispersed pack up again and I seek them up travelling winter ice," said McClelland.

One of the biggest surprises Tom has encountered was to see images of himself on one of his own cameras that had captured bear images just 45 seconds earlier. Those moments of anticipation and surprise are what he enjoys.

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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