Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
Smile, deer, you're on candid camera.
Alan Funt and the hidden camera TV show of that name are both long gone but the spirit of surprise snapshots lives on in the Northland via trail cameras.
Mike Rust of Marine General both sells and uses them.
"We pick up everything from deer to bear and all kinds of wildlife." said Rust.
Around here, deer are the most popular posers for trail cams.
Shoot long enough, though, and unusual critters come along.
Dick Bronson has been taking nature photos via trail cam for a couple of years now.
"Porcupine in Hartley Nature Center, bobcat over there, grey fox climbing trees. Really? Yeah!" said Bronson.
"I've taken a shot with trail cams before and I usually end up with either eye balls or just tines of antlers. According to Dick and Mike, my problem may be I'm mounting the camera too high." said reporter Dave Anderson near his trail cam.
"You have to remember that deer are shorter than we are so you have to mount it three feet off the ground." said Bronson
Bronson used to deer hunt but doesn't anymore because his wife doesn't like venison.
His trail cams allow him to see deer without having to shoot anything but a picture.
"I still enjoy getting into the woods and watching the deer and other animals out there." said Bronson.
Other animals captured by Bronson's lens include coyotes.
Other photographers in the Northland occasionally catch big animals like cougars.
So far, though, neither Branson nor Rust have photographed the biggest critter alleged to be in the woods.
"No, no Bigfoot!" said Rust.
At Hartley Nature Center in Duluth for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.
Dick Branson says if a trail camera photographer shoots on public property, they should have a security case for their equipment.
That will prevent the camera from disappearing down the trail.
He also urges photographers to have land owners' permission if shooting on private property.