Out On The Trails
Top 10 Viewing Techniques

Below are suggestions to make your wildlife viewing efforts in the field more rewarding and enjoyable.

Remember, the goal of wildlife viewing is to observe animals without disturbing them or their habitats.

1. Study wildlife identification on your own before going out into the field. Learn about the most abundant species in the area, focusing on their physical markings and common behaviors. Even just familiarizing yourself with the sections of your identification book will be an enormous help in the field as you try to find information while keeping track of an animal on the move.

2.  Develop your wildlife viewing techniques: scan bushes, trees and shrubs for subtle movement; cup your hands around your ears to help amplify sound.

3.   Find wildlife with your eyes first, then focus in with your binoculars. Look for nearby landmarks and objects to help direct others to your sighting.

4.   Look for wildlife signs. Scat, tracks, whitewash, and buck rubs are just a few of the signs that tell you wildlife is nearby.

5.   Wear clothing that will match your surroundings. Earth tones and drab colors work best and help you blend into the background, except during hunting season, when bright colors are advisable. The trail guides contain  more information on hunting.

6.   Your vehicle makes an excellent wildlife blind. Animals are often used to vehicles and will pass close by. Turn off your engine and sit quietly. Wildlife may come to you.

7.   Most animals have very strong senses of sight, sound and smell. Move slowly and quietly to avoid attracting their attention.

8.   An upright human figure stands out in the landscape. To disguise your shape, try crouching down. 

9.   Animals may be startled by staring human eyes. Try wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shade and hide your eyes.

10.   Watching and listening are the two keys to identifying wildlife warning signals. Animals communicate distress in many, often subtle, ways. Learning these signals is important for your safety and the animal’s welfare.