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Nolina Peak and a cougar Messages in this topic - RSS

tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/16/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
When I did Bighorn Canyon Peak and the guzzler six weeks ago, I set up a trailcam at the guzzler hoping to find out who was responsible for the boneyard. Well, the bones are very old so this particular cougar may not be responsible, but her relative might be. Anyway, here is the video I got including one cougar, a grey fox, and a ringtail(!?).



Here is a still:



Nolina Peak is east of the wash and rises to 3858', higher than even Sunset Mountain. There is no trail, so I went up the wash until I found a place that looked reasonable to leave the wash and would get me to a major ridge. The slopes were similar to Bighorn, but the agave got thinner near the top. The small summit boulder was obvious and the register was a glass jar inside a red can. The most recent register was placed by the Monday Maniacs, and an older register went back to the 1980s. Nolina had superior views looking out over Harper Flat toward the Vallecito Mountains. The round trip without visiting Blue Spring would probably be about 5 miles. I dropped off a steeper slope into a side canyon and eventually got back to Nolina Wash. I was relieved to see the trailcam still there and in position. I always worry about it getting picked up by another hiker or in this case dislodged by the storms. There was serious erosion over the last six weeks in Blue Spring. A lot of bones were moved and the skull was gone. My guess is it was taken because it was sitting on a rock and was too heavy for wind to have moved it. The deer carcass was also completely gone, which might be due to animal activity. I carelessly ate some cholla in Bighorn Canyon, but still had a glorious day in the desert.



Leaving the wash


Near the top


Summit


Harper Flat




Descending back down to the wash and the guzzler



edited by tekewin on 3/16/2019
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 200


3/16/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 200
Kitty!

Awesome. I have wanted to get a trailcam and leave it for shots just like that. The ringtail is cool, didn’t realize one would be out that direction. I’ve seen one in Palm canyon.

Found yet another likely lion kill last weekend.
edited by Buford on 3/16/2019
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/16/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Buford wrote:
Kitty!

Awesome. I have wanted to get a trailcam and leave it for shots just like that. The ringtail is cool, didn’t realize one would be out that direction. I’ve seen one in Palm canyon.

Found yet another likely lion kill last weekend.
edited by Buford on 3/16/2019


Lion kill bighorn or deer? The ringtail was surprising. So was NOT finding any coyotes or bighorns. All of the animals appear to come upstream from Bighorn Canyon and exit downstream.
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Buford
Buford
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3/16/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 200
The kill last weekend was a bighorn. Not fresh, kinda old. Saw some live ones too. Some cat signs in the area.

I don’t think you saw any sheep because of the time of year. Not hot enough for bighorn to need water.
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/17/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Buford wrote:
The kill last weekend was a bighorn. Not fresh, kinda old. Saw some live ones too. Some cat signs in the area.

I don’t think you saw any sheep because of the time of year. Not hot enough for bighorn to need water.



Ah, didn't think of that. I was wondering if there are more lions around Cuyamaca because of the deer than in the desert. With 300 or less sheep in the park, lions probably make a better living on deer.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138


3/18/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
Very nice! There were so many cat tracks in that area when I went-many in the Nolina wash just east of the saddle separating Bighorn Canyon. It's disheartening that someone would take the skull but doesn't surprise me. What model trail cam is that?

Are you saying the animals are travelling up Bighorn and back out the same way?
edited by Rocko1 on 3/18/2019
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/18/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:
Very nice! There were so many cat tracks in that area when I went-many in the Nolina wash just east of the saddle separating Bighorn Canyon. It's disheartening that someone would take the skull but doesn't surprise me. What model trail cam is that?

Are you saying the animals are travelling up Bighorn and back out the same way?
edited by Rocko1 on 3/18/2019


Hey Rocko1, the trailcam is a Bushnell 20MP Trophy Cam HD Low Glow (about $140 on Amazon). It has a faint red LED at night that animals notice which gets their attention and they often look at the camera. It doesn't scare them.


Yes, the animals all appear to enter and exit from the right which is downstream in Bighorn Canyon. I was sad to find the skull gone.



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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138


3/18/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:
Very nice! There were so many cat tracks in that area when I went-many in the Nolina wash just east of the saddle separating Bighorn Canyon. It's disheartening that someone would take the skull but doesn't surprise me. What model trail cam is that?

Are you saying the animals are travelling up Bighorn and back out the same way?
edited by Rocko1 on 3/18/2019


Hey Rocko1, the trailcam is a Bushnell 20MP Trophy Cam HD Low Glow (about $140 on Amazon). It has a faint red LED at night that animals notice which gets their attention and they often look at the camera. It doesn't scare them.


Yes, the animals all appear to enter and exit from the right which is downstream in Bighorn Canyon. I was sad to find the skull gone.




Thanks-I have been looking for a decent cam. Great trip report. I imagine as the temps heat towards summer the traffic will continue to increase there. I noticed the park had a trail cam mounted to the tank-I think it was cabled or locked up somehow.
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Buford
Buford
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3/18/2019
Buford
Buford
Posts: 200
tekewin wrote:
...

I was sad to find the skull gone.




That sucks. I try not to post too many specifics in trip reports because of things like this.

According to the sheep scientists, there are more than 300 sheep in the park. I think it was ~600+. The ~200-300 is just how many get counted each year in July, and the count only covers north of the 78.

There are also plenty of deer in ABDSP for the lions to eat. The upper San Ysidros have a lot of deer and lion signs.

You are right about Cuyamaca, it is crawling with deer and turkeys.
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tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 827


3/18/2019
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 827
Great trail cam clips, Tekewin. You can see a little brown line just to the right of your route starting point. That's where I found a cache of several sheep remains a while back. Your kitty is getting around. Need to start parking my old trail cam out in the boonies again!
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/19/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Buford wrote:

That sucks. I try not to post too many specifics in trip reports because of things like this.

According to the sheep scientists, there are more than 300 sheep in the park. I think it was ~600+. The ~200-300 is just how many get counted each year in July, and the count only covers north of the 78.

There are also plenty of deer in ABDSP for the lions to eat. The upper San Ysidros have a lot of deer and lion signs.

You are right about Cuyamaca, it is crawling with deer and turkeys.



Always a tough call whether to post locations.

I found a huge cache of deer bones in a northern gully of Hellhole Flat below San Ysidro East. Would be a great place for a cam but brutal to get there. It's good to know the sheep population is much larger than the count.
edited by tekewin on 3/19/2019
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/19/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
tommy750 wrote:
Great trail cam clips, Tekewin. You can see a little brown line just to the right of your route starting point. That's where I found a cache of several sheep remains a while back. Your kitty is getting around. Need to start parking my old trail cam out in the boonies again!



Cool! I suspect desert lions have a big territory. Trailcams are fun and addicting, but often disappointing, too.

There is a great web mini-series on Lions produced by UC Davis here. They have released 4 out of 7 episodes so far on Youtube.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138


3/19/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
tommy750 wrote:
Great trail cam clips, Tekewin. You can see a little brown line just to the right of your route starting point. That's where I found a cache of several sheep remains a while back. Your kitty is getting around. Need to start parking my old trail cam out in the boonies again!



Cool! I suspect desert lions have a big territory. Trailcams are fun and addicting, but often disappointing, too.

There is a great web mini-series on Lions produced by UC Davis here. They have released 4 out of 7 episodes so far on Youtube.


Nice. I agree with the cams being disappointing at times. Every time I car camp in AB with my brother he brings his older game cam. We have gotten nothing except moths. I keep telling him it's broken.. I think it's his snoring keeping any and all animals away from the cam.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 763


3/20/2019
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 763
Great photos and trip report Iron Hiker. The cougar notwithstanding (!) you're very lucky to get a ringtail on camera. Important data point. If you have an iNaturalist account or want to start one, post those trail cam records on there. Bummer about the bighorn skull.... too many lurkers on the internet looking for easy finds. I'm more and more generic (and less frequent) in my posts these days. smile

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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/20/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
ziphius wrote:
Great photos and trip report Iron Hiker. The cougar notwithstanding (!) you're very lucky to get a ringtail on camera. Important data point. If you have an iNaturalist account or want to start one, post those trail cam records on there. Bummer about the bighorn skull.... too many lurkers on the internet looking for easy finds. I'm more and more generic (and less frequent) in my posts these days. smile



Out of a couple thousand hours of trailcam video, this is the only ringtail. I had only heard rumors of these beasts before. I wish there was more of it.

Will check out iNaturalist, thanks.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 464


3/20/2019
rockhopper
rockhopper
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Thanks for the trail camp placement. Great work. I've seen a lot of nice Cat tracks in the wet sand gulley bottoms. Glad I am zipped up in my tent at night!
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/20/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
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rockhopper wrote:
Thanks for the trail camp placement. Great work. I've seen a lot of nice Cat tracks in the wet sand gulley bottoms. Glad I am zipped up in my tent at night!



When the wife and I backpacked near here a few months ago she woke me up at 2am saying there was something sniffing the tent. I said it's probably a mouse and fell back asleep. I showed her this video and she said 'See! It was a Mountain Lion!' smile
edited by Rocko1 on 3/20/2019
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tekewin
tekewin
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3/20/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:

When the wife and I backpacked near here a few months ago she woke me up at 2am saying there was something sniffing the tent. I said it's probably a mouse and fell back asleep. I showed her this video and she said 'See! It was a Mountain Lion!' smile
edited by Rocko1 on 3/20/2019


It could absolutely have been that lion trying to figure out if you were food! The timing of her patrol would line up pretty well with your trip, plus all the big prints you found on the way out. Exciting times.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/20/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:

When the wife and I backpacked near here a few months ago she woke me up at 2am saying there was something sniffing the tent. I said it's probably a mouse and fell back asleep. I showed her this video and she said 'See! It was a Mountain Lion!' smile
edited by Rocko1 on 3/20/2019


It could absolutely have been that lion trying to figure out if you were food! The timing of her patrol would line up pretty well with your trip, plus all the big prints you found on the way out. Exciting times.



What would you guesstimate the size/weight of that cat you captured?
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tekewin
tekewin
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3/20/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:

What would you guesstimate the size/weight of that cat you captured?



Well, my wild guesstimate would be 130 pounds +- 10 and a little over 6 feet long with tail. I would also guess female based on the lack of scarring on her face, but the only way to know for sure is to look under the tail. Males have a black spot there in addition to other goods.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:

What would you guesstimate the size/weight of that cat you captured?



Well, my wild guesstimate would be 130 pounds +- 10 and a little over 6 feet long with tail. I would also guess female based on the lack of scarring on her face, but the only way to know for sure is to look under the tail. Males have a black spot there in addition to other goods.



Thanks. Do you mind telling me what settings you use on your trail cam?
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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3/26/2019
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Sweet tekewin..! Very nice, thanks for sharing that. Wondering what hotter, summer months will bring.

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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3/26/2019
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Rocko1 wrote:
Thanks. Do you mind telling me what settings you use on your trail cam?

I know with my trail cam I struggle to decide on using burst mode photos or video, I am gonna have to buy a second camera just to be able to use both. What settings exactly are you thinking of? There usually aren't a whole lot of choices other than burst amount and timing/number of photos.

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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
dsefcik wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:
Thanks. Do you mind telling me what settings you use on your trail cam?

I know with my trail cam I struggle to decide on using burst mode photos or video, I am gonna have to buy a second camera just to be able to use both. What settings exactly are you thinking of? There usually aren't a whole lot of choices other than burst amount and timing/number of photos.

Some of the cams I see let you choose the time in between pictures taken when motion is activated. Also, picture and video combo, 1, 2, 3 picture bursts, etc. I didn't know which settings would yield best chances.
edited by Rocko1 on 3/26/2019
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/26/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:

Thanks. Do you mind telling me what settings you use on your trail cam?


No problem. I experimented with photos only, then photo/video hybrid, but now I always set it to record video at 720p, up to 30 seconds at a time. Less chance of missing something and each clip will stop before that if motion stops. Unless something is moving fast, I can usually extract nice stills from the video. Many animals are nocturnal or Description but the camera takes pretty nice color video during the day.
edited by tekewin on 3/26/2019
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:

Thanks. Do you mind telling me what settings you use on your trail cam?


No problem. I experimented with photos only, then photo/video hybrid, but now I always set it to record video at 720p, up to 30 seconds at a time. Less chance of missing something and each clip will stop before that if motion stops. Unless something is moving fast, I can usually extract nice stills from the video. Many animals are nocturnal or Description but the camera takes pretty nice color video during the day.

edited by tekewin on 3/26/2019



Very nice! That is a well fed bear. How long was that camera in place?

Makes sense on the video settings. Thanks for the info.
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tekewin
tekewin
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3/26/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:

Very nice! That is a well fed bear. How long was that camera in place?

Makes sense on the video settings. Thanks for the info.


I usually leave cameras out 6-12 weeks. I think that time was about 8 weeks.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:

Very nice! That is a well fed bear. How long was that camera in place?

Makes sense on the video settings. Thanks for the info.


I usually leave cameras out 6-12 weeks. I think that time was about 8 weeks.

Got it. Do you have to choose a place that is pretty far away from trails so that it won't get stolen? Also, do you use a small tripod or just put it on a rock and brace it with other rocks?
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158


3/26/2019
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 158
Rocko1 wrote:

Got it. Do you have to choose a place that is pretty far away from trails so that it won't get stolen? Also, do you use a small tripod or just put it on a rock and brace it with other rocks?


Cameras are safer off trail, but the trick is to find an area where you expect animal traffic. I've had my cameras spotted often, but left alone (so far). I know other people who've had their cameras stolen. Watering holes are good because everything needs water.

I don't use a tripod, it comes with a strap and I just strap it to a rock/tree, sometimes supported with other rocks. When I first started, I mounted it too high and missed most of the action that happens close to the ground. I try to keep it no higher than 3' and often lower, depending on the area. Professional photographers build custom DSLR rigs with expensive gear. I am just a hobbyist.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 464


3/26/2019
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 464
Thanks for your efforts. Nice to see the wild life out and about while I am sleeping in my tent. This year should be beneficial to all wildlife due to the much needed precipitation.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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3/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 138
tekewin wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:

Got it. Do you have to choose a place that is pretty far away from trails so that it won't get stolen? Also, do you use a small tripod or just put it on a rock and brace it with other rocks?


Cameras are safer off trail, but the trick is to find an area where you expect animal traffic. I've had my cameras spotted often, but left alone (so far). I know other people who've had their cameras stolen. Watering holes are good because everything needs water.

I don't use a tripod, it comes with a strap and I just strap it to a rock/tree, sometimes supported with other rocks. When I first started, I mounted it too high and missed most of the action that happens close to the ground. I try to keep it no higher than 3' and often lower, depending on the area. Professional photographers build custom DSLR rigs with expensive gear. I am just a hobbyist.



Good info, thanks.

rockhopper wrote:
Thanks for your efforts. Nice to see the wild life out and about while I am sleeping in my tent. This year should be beneficial to all wildlife due to the much needed precipitation.



I agree. I was out in Cuyamaca Sunday and was blown away at the amount of run off water flowing in the area. I usually get excited to see a trickle but the Sweetwater River was uncrossable and the streams feeding it near Arroyo Seco campground were numerous and flowing very nice.

edited by Rocko1 on 3/26/2019
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