MILWAUKEE -- The Marinette County game trail had deer tracks on it. That was clear. But what other animals frequented the pine and oak woodlot? And at what time of day?
The wood duck house in Racine County had a half-dozen eggs inside. Would they hatch or be destroyed by a predator? And if they survived, how many downy ducklings would follow the hen out the opening?
Residents of western Wisconsin had seen a large, wild cat. Eyewitness reports varied, though, from a bobcat to a cougar. How could the animal's identity be confirmed?
In each case, the answer was provided by one of the most popular products in the Wisconsin outdoors -- the trail camera.
"You likely have the largest, unofficial network of wildlife documentation in the world in Wisconsin," said James Halfpenny, a wildlife expert, consultant and author from Gardiner, Mont. "If there's an animal moving through the state, odds are good it will be captured on a trail camera."