The Press Room
How Thomas Also Uses His Motion-Sensor Cameras
Editor’s Note: Mark Thomas, vice president of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), an organization that Mossy Oak has supported since its inception, is both a registered forester and a registered wildlife biologist. Thomas consults for the timber and the wildlife industries and constantly evaluates and improves properties for hunting. One of the key tools he uses in his daily work is motion-sensor cameras, often having as many as 50 cameras on one piece of property doing various surveys. This week we’ve talked with Thomas about what he’s doing with his motion-sensor cameras and how cameras can help Mossy Oak Properties’ folk improve their lands.
Question: How else are you using your motion-sensor cameras on lands?
Thomas: I use the cameras too when I’m using a new logger I’ve never worked with before. I put the camera a short distance in the woods along the road that the logger uses going into the woods and hauling timber out of the woods. The camera records every load of logs he takes out of these woods, and I compare the number of loads the logger tells me he takes out of the woods with the number of loads I’ve photographed him taking out of the woods. I make sure that the number of tickets that I have from the mill jive with the number of loads of lumber I’ve seen the logger take out. I use cameras to photograph gates, especially if one of the properties I manage is having problems with vandalism. I can see who’s vandalizing the gates, who’s gone into the property, who’s come off the property, and when they’ve gone in and come out. To catch poachers, I’ll set up a dummy camera that oftentimes the poacher will find. Then I’ll hide two or three cameras around the dummy camera. When the flash goes off, there are four flashes at one time, and more than likely, he won’t see one or two of the flashes. Or, I’ll use an infrared flash so that the poacher can’t see it.
Too, I’ll use the motion-sensor camera for property surveillance. If I have a piece of property with a cabin on it, I’ll set up the camera so it will photograph anybody who enters or leaves the cabin. Often I’ll set them up on sides of roads where I can see who’s passing by my property. Any place you want to have silent surveillance and photographic evidence, use the cameras.
Question: Mark, are you shooting digital or print film camera?
Thomas: I’m still using print film for two reasons: print cameras are much-less expensive than the digital cameras, and when you’re buying 50-100 cameras at a time, cost is a major consideration. Also, when I’m doing a deer census, I have to delineate out the number of unique bucks and does in that census. To determine how many unique animals the camera is actually photographing, you have to be able to put the pictures on the table and look at them. I can’t do that on a computer screen. There’s much-less eyestrain when you’re looking at actual photos than when you’re trying to compare thumbnails on a computer screen. I also believe that the quality of prints you get from a digital camera is much better than the quality of prints you get from a printer. I can take the prints with me, look at these prints and study them when I’m on an airplane. For my work, I just believe that the print cameras at this time offer a better option than the digital cameras do.