The Art of Creative Bushcraft

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Tricks for Getting Closer to Wildlife

Haliaeetus leucocephalus (bald eagle) landing ...
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I’m going to assume you’re like me, that when you get out into the woods there are those times when you’d really like to get a close up look at wildlife. Some of us like birds (like the bald eagle I saw close up the other day while kayaking) or mammals or reptiles; that close up encounter can be exhilarating!

Not to mention, it makes a huge impression on the kids, if they can be quiet long enough to actually sneak up on anything, but you already know about the quiet part.

I wanted to mention this great article I ran across talking about factors in being noticed or not, by the wild animals around you. It’s not your typical 400 word blog post either, this thing has several chapters worth of info. It’s worth the time to skim the chapter headings and read bits ad pieces of it, whatever might interest you.

The article is named How Game Animals See & Smell. This is a commercial site, but it’s still good info.

Did you know that clothing is made with Ultraviolet brighteners? Did you know Deer and Birds, for instance, see really well in the Ultraviolet range, a lot better than you and I do?

The article makes a GREAT point here:

Hunting and woodsman camo clothing is marketed to US, based on what we, as humans, see. I had not thought of this before, but the article points out,

“It is a fact that deer do not see the world as we see it. But some people would rather you believe that the color or pattern of camouflage they make has the same appearance to a deer that it has to a human. How many pages of ads have asked “How many hunter’s do you see?” What “you see” makes absolutely no difference at all.”

In fact, I later found out, that if your camo is made with UV brighteners, or if you use laudry soap with UV brighteners, TO WILDLIFE, you look like one of those glow sticks the kids play with on the 4th of July, camo or not! Check out this chart.

Human sight vs. Deer sight

Did you know that? I didn’t, and I was surprised!

Granted, this article is promoting a product to help you with this problem you didn’t know you had. But it’s worth considering, don’t you think? In fact this summer I may have to adjust my clothing habits and see how it works out. If you have any experience or knowledge about this, let me know in the comments, I’d love to know more.

The article talks about other factors too, such as smell, which we’re all familiar with. If you already have a smell abatement system that works for you, keep using it. Otherwise check out the article.

Again I am not interested in promoting a product, I just thought this was something we all should know about, something that may just give us an edge in spotting that ever elusive wildlife.

This addresses the common issues with approaching wildlife, to see or to hunt, and that is the senses.

Walk and move quietly, or better yet, not at all. Let them come to you sometimes.

Smell. Be upwind to the animal, and if you’re stationary, be upwind from the direction the animal is most likely to come from. Spotting game trails ahead of time helps determine this. Deer often hang out in grassy groves also, so stay upwind from these clearings also.

Sight. This is the real point of this post. Consider this UV stuff. If it’s true, some of us are sticking out like a roman candle!

Check it out and see what you think, I hope it brings some value to you.  How Game Animals See & Smell

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