Wildlife Viewing

Canada & Alaska

1. Learn about the wildlife. Know if the wildlife you hope to see is active during the day or throughout the evening. Know the habitat in which the wildlife thrives. Know the seasonal habits of the wildlife. Know what the wildlife eats.

2. Learn about the place. Research the ecosystems of the region you plan to visit. What food sources are in the locale? What wildlife species are native to this area? Is water available?

3. Be in the right place at the right time. Based on your knowledge of the wildlife and the place, plan your wildlife viewing trip to coincide with wildlife, not necessarily human behavior. Many animals are most active in early morning and early evening hours - times we humans may sleep-in or eat out.

4. If possible, make several trips. Most wildlife migrate or move through areas. Your chance of spotting wildlife increases with the number of visits you make.

5. Practice safe wildlife viewing techniques. Many species of wildlife are dangerous. Learn safe wildlife viewing distances from park rangers and recommended wildlife viewing literature.

6. Bring the right gear/equipment. Spotting scopes are excellent tools for wildlife viewing. With a scope, you can get a great view of an animal at a safe distance. Telephoto lenses are essential for wildlife photography. Professional photographers use 400mm lenses and up for wildlife photography. If you have a shorter lens or a point-and-shoot camera, be creative. You can get some great photos of wildlife in incredibly scenic backgrounds. Do not place yourself in jeopardy by approaching animals too closely to get a better view or photograph.

7. Ask park rangers and other visitors for information on recent sightings. Wildlife often live in or return to specific areas. Park rangers and other visitors may be excellent sources of information regarding recent wildlife activity.

8. Look for signs. Animal tracks, trails and scat provide good clues as to what types of wildlife have been in an area.

9. Use a blind. Fortunately, most wild animals are not habituated to human presence. An animal is likely to flee if it sees a human walking near it. The same animal may continue its normal activity in the presence of cars and well-designed wildlife viewing blinds.

10. Enjoy the adventure. As with many things in life, attitude is everything. No matter where you go, no matter what you see, enjoy the time you spend in the great outdoors.

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