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Author Topic: Approaching wildlife  (Read 7316 times)
Jonathan Wienke
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« on: August 26, 2003, 02:41:52 PM »
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That varies widely from species to species and region to region. Last week I was able to get within 15 feet of a flock of wild turkeys. They were in a small wooded area near a public park on the edge of Aberdeen, South Dakota. They were accustomed to the presence of humans and probably had never been hunted. Other places, if you get within 50 meters they will run away because they have been hunted and have learned to equate humans with danger. The same principles apply to other species.
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jdlevy
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2003, 09:32:23 PM »
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For your information, Yellowstone National Park guidlines are that you remain 50 yds away from all wildlife and 100 yds away from bears.

At  times, some animals just appear fairly close, and in those situations you can take advantage of that, but I would be cautious about trying to exploit that too much.

I have a few pix from Yellowstone and Glacier that were taken within the guidlines.

David
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d2frette
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2003, 09:03:45 AM »
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I heard about one person kicking a bison to get it to stand up, and getting gored to death.
True or not, sounds like a Darwin award.  Not a smart thing to kick any animal, yet alone a bison.  

Sometimes, though, you can get a lot closer to an animal in an urban setting.  I've gotten to within 3 feet of a Great Blue Herron, and followed other GBH's around as they fish.  I've seen more deer here at work at 20 feet away than I have in the wild all my life from 50 feet away.

Keep in mind, most animals do not hurt humans unless provoked, startled, interrupted, or protecting their young.  Because you can't learn the behaivor of a tenth of the wildlife you'll come across, you'll be best off using common sense.  If they have young, respect them a little more.  If they don't see/smell/hear you, that's great for your pictures, but be forewarned.  

Keep a safe distance from elk and moose, who will commonly choose to attack since they travel in herds.  Deer typically will run away.  I don't know much about bison or bear behaviors - is it brown bears that are more aggressive than black bears?  Larger bears can behead you with a claw.

Foxes, coyotes, and wolves will typically run away.  Wolves are portrayed as vicious, but if you see one you'll be fine.  A pack, be more cautious of.

Most smaller animals (beavers, raccoons, ...) will typically run away, too.  However, raccoons are vicious fighters, so don't push it if you see one!  

I hope this was somewhat helpful.  Sounds like an awesome trip!

- Dave
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David M. Frette.  
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Mark Ward
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2003, 07:42:39 AM »
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There are notices on one of the beaches on the South coast of Britain about not approaching birds. Not because they're a danger to you, but because they've maybe just migrated or are en-route and need to feed. If we approach and scare them off (and presumably if loads of people did) it interrupts their feeding and stresses them.

I don't know how serious a problem this is, but it made me think. There's probably a happy medium, but I guess long lenses are the best solution!
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chema
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2003, 04:35:52 AM »
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I´ve been a rifle and bow hunter most of my life, but just started to be a camera hunter.
Next October 3rd I will fly to South Africa and Zimbabwe for 2 or 3 weeks and hunt with my Canon 1Ds, getting really close to dangerous animals as rhino, elephant, buffalo and if possible leopard and lion, but this last two are very difficult during the day.
Of course it will be in open hunting areas, no parks or farms, and always with a profesional hunter with a rifle.
If anybody is interested I will post some pictures.
Sorry for my english.
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lexvo
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2003, 12:46:49 PM »
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I will be traveling in West-Canada in september. Chances are great that I will have opportunities to see wildlife.

Does anyone have expierence on how close you can go still being save? Of course I don't want to disturb the animals.

I'm specially interested in expierence from others.

Thanks in advance.
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Lex van Oorspronk
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2003, 05:43:43 PM »
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Wild animals are very dangerous and should always be approached with caution.  Animals like Bison may allow you to approach very close quite easily.  However, Bison kill or injure more tourists each year than grizzly bears.  The time of year makes a big difference also.  Females with young can be very dangerous.  Males in rut are dangerous.  If you get between a male and female in breeding season, watch out.

Photographing birds can be harmful to the subject.  I've seen many photographers get too close to nests, just to get a better shot.  The scent of the photographer will lead predators right to the nest.

Hone your skills at local parks and zoos.  Learn about your subject, if it's birds, join a bird club and learn form the better birders how to safely approach nests etc.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2003, 06:21:18 AM »
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Unless you know a lot about animal behaviour I would stay as far away as possible.  Use a long lens.

Some animals in protected areas don't have a lot of fear of people, which means you can get close enough for them to hurt you.  I heard about one person kicking a bison to get it to stand up, and getting gored to death.
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lexvo
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2003, 10:19:10 AM »
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Thanks for your replies guys!

I expect to see some elk, bears and other animals in West-Canada. I have a 300/4 IS plus 1.4x extender, so I think I don't need to approach these animals too close  Smiley
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Lex van Oorspronk
Howard Smith
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2003, 02:34:38 PM »
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Try letting the wild life approach you.  Anticipate where they will be, sit quietly but not hidden and let them get as close as they feel comfortable.

Using this technique, I have been approached by moose and bison to within a few feet - closer than I really fely compfortable with.  While sitting against a tree, a bull moose walked to about 10 feet.  He was well aware I was there.  We kept looking at each other as he walked by.  He was never menacing and I just stayed put.  I photographed until he got closer than the minimum focus distance of my lens.  He kept on walking until he was gone.

I sat in the back of my pick up truck while a group of bison walked past.  They grunted and snorted, but just kept walking by.  It was quite an experience.

I have had grizzly bears walk within 50 feet (no food to attract them).  They were simply going from where they were to where they wanted go and I was near their path.  The bears were very aware I was present but not a threat.

My thought is that most animals will avoid you if they feel threatened.  By letting them come to me and not vise versa, the comfort level of at least the animal is not exceeded and should not result in a bad experience.  I realize this may not be fool proof but it seems much safer than walking toward the animals (invading their space).
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2003, 02:40:05 PM »
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One other thing.  A Ranger in the Tetons told me that if you see an old bison all alone in a meadow, it is probably because he wants to be alone.  Let him be alone.
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d2frette
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2003, 08:51:54 AM »
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Sorry for my english.
No need to be sorry for speaking English.  We appreciate English!

Pictures are always welcome.  Maybe you could keep a journal each day so you can recount some good stories!
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David M. Frette.  
Programming, Photography, Carpentry.
http://www.frettefamily.com (currently unavailable)
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