If you go out in the woods today . . . be careful!

It seems there’s more to those ‘exploding game cameras’, found in Kentucky a while back, than initially met the eye.  GunsAmerica reports:

The ATF discovered nine IEDs — improvised explosive devices — in the Kentucky wilderness.

These IEDs were rigged up to game cameras across Harlan county. Three of the IEDs went off and injured passers-by but there may be more bombs yet to be found.

“Some of the trail cameras were found abandoned on paths in rural areas routinely accessed via the Dave Smith Drainage Area (Woodland Hills Subdivision, Harlan, KY) on the Little Black Mountain Spur in Harlan County,” said the ATF in an official statement. “These IEDs were designed to explode when a person inserted batteries into the trail camera.”

Not all of the bombs were built into trail cams. “Other IEDs were designed to be detonated by a tripwire leading to the trail cameras,” added the ATF. “In some instances, containers such as milk jugs, protein powder containers, or paint cans were placed nearby the explosive device. In addition, there is information that a tree stand had been placed in the woods with an explosive device attached.”

. . .

This announcement is related to the investigation and arrest of Mark Sawaf earlier this summer. Investigators found many explosives and bomb-related materials in Sawaf’s home.

Sawaf was killed in custody after attempting to take an officer’s pistol according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Charges have not been filed against the officer involved.

There’s more at the link.

We don’t know anything about Sawaf’s origins, religious beliefs (if any), criminal history, or anything else;  but he obviously went to a great deal of trouble in setting up these IED’s.  It looks as if they were deliberately designed to be tempting to passersby, so that they’d take them home with them and try to put them in working order – only to explode in their faces.  Others may have been set to protect something nearby (perhaps a marijuana plantation?), or alert other persons nearby when they exploded.

If one man can do this, others can too.  It might be encountered anywhere, not just in Kentucky.  If you find something anywhere out in Mother Nature’s realm that’s obviously been left there by someone, you might want to keep that in mind.  I certainly shall!



  1. IED's aren't that hare to create, if one should choose to do so.

    The triggers are not that difficult. Making decent, stable boomstuff is't that hard, either.

    What he has done is evil, however.

  2. Harlan county has long been known as a place to not mess around with what's not yours, or in places you don't belong. I can't speculate on Mr. Sawaf's motives; they might be only what he said. That's considerable overkill for damaged game cams, but some folks who seem normal aren't quite rational.
    He died only about 3 weeks ago. That doesn't sound like an unreasonable time for an improvised device to be effective; perhaps they're some he planted. UW-trained people could speak with more authority on that subject.
    B is right. Hell, I got a U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Manual when I was 12; long before the intarwebs, but not too hard to find in the mid-70s. Nothing in there is beyond the reach of a person of average intelligence, that being the idea behind the manual.
    –Tennessee Budd

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