We have seen the folks that walk up to elk, bison, bears, and other critters. Their ignorance is confirmed when they get a horn up their butt. Wild animals are not zoo animals. These accidents are the result of too many Disney movies and animal cartoon characters that talk and sing and bake cookies in a tree. Wild animals are called “WILD” for a reason. They are not trained, they eat meat, and don’t like to be pestered by nosey humans.
Fall is a great time to watch wildlife in the wild. It is also hunting season. Before you venture into nature consider wearing Hunters Orange, so you are easily visible to other hunters. The orange /camo pattern is a good choice and will still allow you to not be seen by the color-blind critters.
Animal behaviors in the Fall season are based upon 2 things. They are competing for mates during the Rut, or they are heavily feeding to build up energy reserves for the upcoming long Winter. Animals are also used to being around animals, not humans. You are in their living room; they are not guests in yours.
When watching WILDlife, here are some tips to consider.
Travel in a group and not alone. Bells and noise are good ideas.
Carry bear spray or a weapon powerful enough to deal with the Wildlife you are viewing.
Never run away or toward a critter. They will think you are a threat or dinner
Maintain a clean camp that does not attract wildlife.
Keep your dogs under control and close.
Morning and evening are the most likely times to see predators. Visibility is low and wildlife could get wilder. It is easier to surprise a critter.
If an animal threatens you, make yourself look big and stand your ground. Be ready with the bear spray or firearm. Spray the face of the critter if you have too. The spray will get you too. If you can, back away slowly.
Avoid any roadkill or carcasses. Predators are often nearby.
Viewing from afar is fine. Use quality spotting scopes and binoculars to enjoy the view. Photography is a wonderful way to tag trophies for the wall.
In the parks, understand that big critters are used to tourists until they are not. Respect their personal space and they will respect yours. No picture is worth dying over.
Enjoy Big Sky Country safely!