Black bears are smart and curious animals. They seem to always instinctively know when something is wrong or out of place in the forest. That's why humans need to be cautious with anything they leave in the forest. Because if a bear finds it, odds are he's going to take a bite out of it and at least see if it's edible. Such is the case with trail cameras. Hunters in bear country can no doubt sympathize with the struggles of keeping their cameras bear proof. They just seem to have a penchant for finding and destroying them. In this video from the Voyageurs Wolf Project, an ongoing wolf research effort taking place in the Voyageurs Ecosystem in Minnesota, the researchers placed a remote camera on a beaver dam hoping to catch more wolf activity.
The camera was set up in September and wasn't checked until January rolled around. When they came back, the researchers realized camera was destroyed. The video playback revealed the culprit. A large, fat black bear wanders into the frame before walking right up to the camera. You can hear his hot breath as he sniffs the camera and ultimately starts to pull it down. The last thing the camera sees is the ground before the video runs out and the camera is destroyed after the fact.
In case you were wondering, the Voyageurs Project's Instagram notes the group uses Browning Spec Ops Cameras for this work. The researchers deploy a multitude of cameras in the area year-round to monitor the habits of the wolf packs. They also use radio collars to monitor their movements and inspect kill sites to see what the wolves are feeding on. Obviously, putting that many cameras in the wilderness results in lots of extra captures of other animals.
The sharing of all that footage has made the project's social media channels quite popular. The video's description mentions that they lose cameras to bears every single year.
"A real bummer but that's how it goes!" The video's description reads. "Not the first cameras we have had destroyed by bears and certainly won't be the last."