Remote Camera Monitoring and Timber Harvests

Through remote camera monitoring efforts the Land Department hopes to better understand how wild animals respond to forest and habitat management. Camera survey stations work year round to collect information about how wildlife use county lands. Monitoring occurs prior to forest harvest events and continues as the stand regenerates over time. Insights from the data will be used to inform management decisions and are shared with local natural resource agencies. In some cases our survey data contributes to ongoing research efforts of our collaborating organizations including the Natural Resources Research Institute, Minnesota DNR wildlife division, and Fond du Lac Natural Resources Department. If you are interested in following these cameras as they snap photos of wildlife on county land, visit the Land Department’s Facebook page.

Mother and CubA black bear sow and cub in Twin Lakes Township

Deer FawnA white tail deer doe and fawn in Clear Creek Township

Research with the University of Minnesota

The Carlton County Land Department has teamed up with the Natural Resource Research Institute to study carnivore populations in northeastern Minnesota. Remote camera survey stations are set up each winter and baited with road-killed deer meat. The stations monitor the site for 6-8 weeks at a time and capture photos of wildlife that scavenge the remains. Each species of animal is recorded and the data can yield insights to population estimates and geographic distributions. Of particular interest is the Fisher (Martes pennanti) a medium-sized predator in the weasel family, whose population is estimated to have declined by roughly 50% in the last 20 years in Northeastern Minnesota. Fishers will seek protection, rest, and raise young in tree cavities, in trunks that average 20" in diameter at breast height. A general lack of candidate denning trees and their cavities (due in part to the logging of older upland forests) has likely contributed to the decline. A research effort is underway involving the installation of artificial den boxes (an insulated plywood box hung up in a tree) to provide fishers for more options for denning. A total of three fisher nest boxes have been installed on county land and will be monitored during the breeding and birthing season (February through May). At each site, passive data loggers will compare air temperatures inside and just outside of the den box. A glue strip on the ceiling of the box opening will collect hair samples from female fishers when they enter and exit the boxes (for genetic analysis). If scat is present, it will be collected for dietary analysis.  


Fisher Nest Box Sm-2053An artificial denning box installed for use by fisher

04130381A female fisher investigates the denning box

American Marten

A Marten (Martes Americana) at a carnivore survey station


A Fisher (Martes pennanti) at a carnivore survey station