Caught on camera: Wisconsin's heritage of trail cameras - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Caught on camera: Wisconsin's heritage of trail cameras

De Pere (WAOW) - Some incredible images of animals roaming the wilderness around the world have been captured using trail cameras.

But the concept of placing specialized cameras in nature to scout for animals originated from the idea of a Park Falls, Wis. man.

"I think the animals can see the cameras," Mark Cuddeback told Newsline 9. "They'll look at them because they're different, or perhaps they smell the cameras. And their curiosity gets the best of them," he continued.

Cuddeback is a hunter and inventor who attended what is today Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. His work as early as 1984 makes him a a pioneer in the industry of trail camera technology.

But his concept didn't originate out of original success. In fact it came in the midst of a less-than-successful hunting trip in the Northwoods.

"I realized if I had some kind of device that would scout for me I would become a better hunter. Well in 1984 such a device didn't exist, so I made my own," Cuddeback said.

Five years of work produced Cuddeback's first trail camera he dubbed the Deer Finder.

"Myself and the early pioneers of scouting back in the 1980s and 1990s really changed the nature of hunting to where now cameras are the first or second largest category in the hunting accessory business," Cuddeback said.

Trail camera photos are shared globally for the remarkably candid images they are able to snap when nobody else is looking. Included in Cuddeback's online collection of favorite trail camera photos include shots of coyotes seemingly singing in unison, shots of deer jumping simultaneously, and large eagles entangled over a deer body.

"Trigger speed is important because when an animal's walking past a camera, it's moving pretty fast," Cuddeback said.

A fact he attributes to a growing trend in the industry of using trail cameras to keep tabs on rarely seen species of animals across the planet.

Cuddeback cameras have snapped photos of large, dangerous flightless birds called Cassowaries in Australia, majestic Chamois in European mountains and several images of hungry African lions in the middle of eating.

Cuddeback says his company, based in De Pere south of Green Bay employs 20 people. It's in it's 25th year of operation, Cuddeback says he thinks his company continues improving the technology of the industry that by many accords, revolutionized hunting practices.

The Wisconsin business was the first in the field to engineer a 360-degree, rotating ice fishing camera controlled by remote control.

"So a fisherman can look all around in all direction versus the prior generation cameras, they're all stationary and can only point in one direction," Cuddeback said.

And whether it's photos of exotic foreign creatures or candid shots of commonplace critters, Cuddeback trail cameras have earned a reputation in the business, and caught sights we would not have seen without them.

For a look at Cuddeback trail camera photos from around the globe follow this link.

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