If there is one recommendation in research that I try to live by and encourage others to do so also is “be prepared”. The Boy Scouts of America certainly picked an appropriate motto. Although I have not necessarily recorded anything significant I have tried to learn by my mistakes, have the correct gear and hopefully keep myself alert for opportunities to record when they are presented.
In doing wildlife research I feel that the two most important pieces of equipment are some type of camera or camcorder and a audio recorder. There are many new digital camcorders on the market and prices continue to drop. For doing a remote video setup I happen to like the Sony analog because it has 4 hours on long play and the aperture can be opened up to allow in more light. For audio recorder recommendations please see my soundrecording page.
I have had some successes and many failures in my quest to be ready. In March of 2005 I happened to be fortunate enough to get a digital still picture of a bobcat.
I was walking along a pond when Belle, my Karelian Bear Dog, assumed a point position. I saw some motion in the grass at about 300 yards distance. I immediately started clicking pictures. I did not know at the time what it was, I thought perhaps coyote until I downloaded the pictures on my computer. Even in the corn stubble the bobcat was still very well camouflaged.
On the 29th of August 2006 I had a cougar cross the road in front of my pickup at 7 a.m. in broad daylight. Was I prepared, no. If I had my camcorder running, sitting on the dash I would have perhaps recorded an excellent sequence. I had stopped the vehicle to allow my dog to greet the farmers dog that always comes out to say hello. When I looked back up the road the big cat was crossing the road only 50 feet in front of me. Since then I keep my camcorder running on the dash when I get within a mile of my research area.
I try to do 10 hr remote audio recording every night. My audio recordings can be found at:
Doing remote video setup I have taken video’s of deer, possum, coyote, bobcat, fox, squirrel, rabbit. Of course using night vision the pictures are never as good as daytime. Some of these can be found at:
I think the future is bright for researchers getting new recordings. Prices have plummeted for both audio and video equipment. Almost everyone can now afford to have at least some type of recording gear. And whatever you do, always keep your recorders running while in the field.