One of the biggest considerations when approaching a big game animal, be it a deer, an elk, a moose, or any of the others, is the animals attitude. Some animals should not be approached by anyone at anytime. Animals, like people, have personalities. Some are aggressive, nervous or plain mean. Others are sweet and innocent. By closely watching the animal you can get a general idea of the animals personality.
Most animals will warn you when you are getting too close for their comfort. This can be by grunts, as a moose will usually do. By moving its weight from one foot to the other, often making full or half circles in a small area, the animal is most likely nervous or scared. Some, mainly deer, will freeze and tense their muscles. This is fear, moving closer will usually result in the animal running off, or even charging without further warning.
A good animal to approach is one who will watch you, then go back to eating or normal behavior. As you
inch closer it should not show signs of nervousness or fear. If an animal is lying down it is at a comfortable level with you, this is the best time to approach. Once the animal stands, watch it closely for the above signs.
Wild animals that will let you approach are not common. Especially in areas where hunting and high traffic are located the animals will be more protective. In refuges and management areas or areas where hunting is not permitted you have a better chance of finding approachable animals.
Once you have singled out an animal to try and approach you have to not act like a human. Humans are, by nature and design, a predator. Most animals will run when a person approaches, even the larger moose, unless cornered. Walking squatted down, or even on your hands and knees, will make you look smaller and less threatening.
The clothes you wear will also make a difference in how you look to the animals. If possible dress in earth tones, not camouflage. Camouflage gives a sneaking feeling, much like a predator sneaking up on prey. Animals respond to movement. Both quick movement and very slow movements are a threat to the animal. Many people trying to approach an animal will move very slowly. In the animal kingdom this is considered stalking prey. Your best bet is to try and match you speed with the speed of the animal you are approaching. This can easily be judged by watching the animal.
Your next biggest consideration is your eyes. AVOID EYE CONTACT. This is very, very important. Again, direct eye contact is a predatory move. Predators, like mountain lions will stare at their prey, usually, in close proximity, this will cause the animal to freeze. When the prey is frozen, they predator will pounce. This gives the predator a second or so jump on the animal.
When approaching never go towards the animal in a straight line. Make a zigzag path in the animal's direction. This side to side motion will appear more like a grazing animal than a predator.
Stop often and mimic the animal you are approaching. If it is feeding you can pluck the same grass or bush the animal is eating. Though it may not seem like it to you, the animal can hear you plucking the grass and brush. Repeat this as needed until the animal stops watching you and goes back to normal behavior. This is my personal favorite technique for many animals. If you can make it appear you are grazing then you are not a threat.
As mentioned, some animals will be harder, if not impossible, to approach. Your and the animals safety should be the first and foremost consideration. If you are too nervous or scared when approaching you should reconsider.
Disclaimer: Approaching any wild animals is a dangerous task, to both you and the animal. Any information contained in this article is solely based on the experience of the photographer, Brandon Batie, and does not ensure any results or safety. Brandon Batie can not be held responsible by anyone reading this article, or using the techniques contain within it, for any harm coming to the reader or any animals.
My Outdoor Eyes Photography Blog|
Pretty Blue Chicory Wildflowers At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
Bright blue Chicory wildflowers are blooming all over Fort Hill on Cape Cod. Their intense blue color makes them easy to spot on the sides of the trails or in the fields. Chicory grows on a stiff stalk and has numerous 1 and 1/2″ stemless flower heads with fringed petals. These bloom for only one … Continue reading Pretty Blue Chicory Wildflowers At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
Little Wood Satyr Butterfly At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
I saw this Little Wood Satyr butterfly at Fort Hill on Cape Cod. I had never seen one before. It was right off the trail leading out to Cutting Rock. The Little Wood Satyr is light brown in color with two yellow-rimmed black eyespots on both sides of its forewings. The hindwing has two spots. The … Continue reading Little Wood Satyr Butterfly At Fort Hill On Cape Cod
Crowded, Windy Day At Coast Guard Beach On Cape Cod
Yesterday was my favorite kind of day at the beach… windy and cloudy with big, roaring waves! It was a glorious day at Coast Guard Beach, part of the National Seashore, in Eastham. So I went for a long walk on the beach. It was crowded with vacationers all with their hoodies on as they … Continue reading Crowded, Windy Day At Coast Guard Beach On Cape Cod
Spotted Wintergreen Wildflowers At Our Home On Cape Cod
We have a lot of Spotted Wintergreen wildflowers growing right near our home here on Cape Cod. They are such an interesting wildflower. You can see in the second photograph the little bud on the left and the flower starting to bloom on the right. When it is fully bloomed, it flips over and you … Continue reading Spotted Wintergreen Wildflowers At Our Home On Cape Cod
Eastern Kingbird At Our Bird Bath On Cape Cod
What a treat it was to see this Eastern Kingbird at our bird bath her on Cape Cod. We saw our first eastern Kingbird about a month ago at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. We had never seen one before. So now to see one in our own backyard is really cool! The Eastern Kingbird … Continue reading Eastern Kingbird At Our Bird Bath On Cape Cod
The Yuccas Are Blooming And Hardy Here On Cape Cod
The Yuccas are absolutely stunning this year on Cape Cod. I wonder if it’s because of all the moisture that we’ve had. I saw this “pastoral scene” with the luscious Yuccas on one of my early morning bike rides around to the different beaches. It’s amazing what you can see when you’re not worried about … Continue reading The Yuccas Are Blooming And Hardy Here On Cape Cod