Important Trail Camera Initiative, Please Read!

To all followers of Cougars of the Valley (COV):

Cougars of the Valley (COV) is preparing to launch a major new initiative to document undisputed evidence of a wild Mountain Lion population within our State. I am a volunteer field researcher (Biologist and Physician) working directly with Bo Ottmann the founder and director of this great organization. We have been in the field together trialing camera trap methods that have been successful in many regions and research projects to document big cats.

Cougars are the most elusive of all the wild cats, rarely seen even in areas where their numbers are great. Bobcats are also quite difficult to lure in front of a trail camera. Engaging methods from other research studies, we have been quite successful in our efforts. In the past four weeks, we have captured on high definition trail cameras 5 different bobcats at three camera sites.

Here is a link to a rare, up close daytime video of a large bobcat at one of our monitoring sites in Canton, CT :

I post not only for your enjoyment of seeing this majestic cat, but to also demonstrate the clarity of our high definition cameras which lend to precise identification of the animal.

We are so encouraged by our results (more video links posted below) Bo has agreed to move forward with a major coordinated trail camera effort aimed at clearly documenting our cougar population.

COV will be announcing a fund raising campaign through the web site indiegogo.com with the goal of raising enough money to equip our team of field researchers with at least 20 of these trail cameras. With our methods of visual and olfactory lures in combination with multiple camera sites, we are highly confident of success.

We truly appreciate all the support you can give to this very exciting initiative and plan to regularly share progress reports with the loyal followers of this site and on our facebook page.

Stay tuned for more details and KEEP POSTING YOUR SIGHTINGS REPORTS! We leave you with some of our recent trail camera captures…Enjoy.

Bobcat at Night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsn1YTXoYaQ&feature=plcp

Up close bobcat Simsbury: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF6KECnYpfM&feature=plcp

Curious Bear Touches our Camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLwGeDv5nWk&feature=plcp

Coyote in Day time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQgtz4ofCEM&feature=plcp

Take care, your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Dr. John Pettini

Daytime bobcat rubbing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaCmwyCXt-M&feature=plcp

15 Replies to “Important Trail Camera Initiative, Please Read!”

  1. John,
    Thanks for posting these videos, the clarity is outstanding. I now keep an HD camera in the car with me in hopes of catching wildlife on film–I didn’t have one the day I saw an alleged “mountain lion”. The animal I saw was much, much larger than the bobcat in the daytime Canton video, but I don’t know how to estimate size and weight of wildlife. I would have estimated the animal I saw at about 100 pounds.

    Using this video, could you estimate the size of this animal? Weight, length? I know its hard to judge without knowing how tall the ferns are and how big the tree trunks are. There was a bobcat at my house at least this big, when sitting it was as tall as the 30″ air conditioning unit it was sitting next to. To me this animal appears to be about the same size or larger. Any tips on estimating weight?

    A trail camera network throughout the the state would really show everyone how diverse and exciting our wildlife is in Connecticut. We should celebrate it!

    1. Susan,
      Agreed, we should all celebrate the diversity of wildlife in Connecticut as well as its abundance in such a small state.

      The rehabitation of the state by all the large mammals (prey and predator) that were once scare or non-existent due to habitat loss is both wonderous as well as an indicator of a healthy environment.

      From a scientific perspective, it would be counter intuitive to assume mountain lions are not here due to the abundance of prey,habitat, credible eye witness accounts, and an unfortunate road killed lion last year in New Milford.

      They are here, and we will demonstate it.

      Trying to document a population of mountain lions by chasing them, is usually fruitless. The best results come from well placed, baited, and carefully monitored series of trail cameras. The technology “bang for the buck”, as you can see by my cameras are astounding and eliminate the often fuzzy, and non-helpful images of the older technolgy cams. Positive, not speculative identification is made on almost all camera trips set on video.

      Weight estimate is somewhat inexact, but size-distance spatial relationships can be applied to estimate height and length with some accuracy.

      We are very motivated to move forward with the trail cam project, and will absolutly share links to our videos as we go. Will likley set up a Cougars of the Valley youtube channel to show case them from. Stay tuned everyone…it is going to be an exciting time!
      John P

  2. I would like to know more about the camera used. There is one area in Tolland I would like to post one of these cameras. What is the approximate cost and where can I get one? Are they weather proof? I would love to help with this initiative on my end of the state. I already have quite a bit of equipment, and have been looking at going further by getting into taping, but don’t know where to start.

      1. I would also like to know cost and where to get one of these cameras or something of equal quality. I spotted one that crossed in fornt of me at the end of our road a year ago no one believed me.Then about the same time this year he was in our driveway and jump the neighbors fence(now believed because a guy saw it LOL) so now I’m thinking his path next year should be somewhere in my six acres, which is loaded with deer and turkey. I don’t
        want baiting info because then thats inaccurate info and may pull the animals from their normaal routes. Thanks Sue

  3. Good stuff. Although I’m pretty sure the snow leopard is the most elusive big cat. Prob helps that they live in areas that are essentially inaccessible, like the mountains of Afghanistan. Video footage of snow leopards hunting was captured relatively recently. When you look up any of the big cats, with the exception of lions, they all say something along the lines of “one of the most elusive of all the big cats”. New england is just asking for large predators(cougars, wolves) to return with all the resources of food.

  4. Ive been a logger my whole life, I saw my first mountain lion in Meriden Connecticut when I was 5 years old, I spent quite a few years working in the north woods of Maine, I saw so many big cats up there I lost track of the count, the forest service says they don’t exist there too, I believe it would have an effect on the dieing Logging industry like the spotted owl on the west coast, it’s not hard to think the cats would be in Connecticut now, turkeys, deer,coyotes and now moose, some of there favorite foods, nice dense forestsI here, perfect habitat for them.
    I can’t imagine why the DEEP won’t admit there here, maybe afraid to cause a panic?
    all I can say is if you see one don’t blink, there a ghost of the forest, here one minute gone the next.
    consider yourself lucky if you see one because a lot of people never get to see them they are an awesome animal.

    1. Hunters in Michigan were dismissing the people seeing them there saying “we are all over the woods, never see them”. Turns out after flooding the area with game cams, they FINALLY got a picture. Further investigation showed there were over 20 in the woods where they were never being seen!! The Michigan Wildlife people did a 180 on their “they aren’t here” story and now are properly researching their presence. This is the most elusive animal on the planet. You are very lucky to see one where the population of them is small.

    2. Also contrary to what many of these state “experts” think, they are most often found in “edge” habitat, where the deer population is higher. Meaning, not in deep woods, but in areas that bound population. That’s good for the logging industry in Maine, since they are more often in the deeper north woods up there.

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