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Wildlife Watching Tips

Doe and fawns 512 X 219To enhance your experience on the refuge, try these helpful suggestions.

  • Observe from the sidelines.  Leave “abandoned” young animals alone.  A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.
  • Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sights and sounds.  Often you will hear more than you see.
  • Look for animal sign.  Tracks, scat, and feathers left behind often tell interesting stories.
  • Teach children quiet observation.  Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration, and your children will be more likely to observe wildlife.
  • Keep your distance from any wildlife.
  • Watch where animals are most likely to show up - drinking sites, trail intersections, perches, ledges and overlooks to open areas.
  • Bring the right tools.  To get close-up views, use binoculars, spotting scope or camera zoom lens.
  • Use field guides and checklists to identify animal species and to learn where you are most likely to see them.
  • Watch at dawn and dusk, when most wildlife species are active enough to view.
  • Do not feed animals.  Let them eat their natural foods.  Your handouts could hurt their digestive systems, make them dependent on future handouts - or even kill them.
  • Be patient.  Don’t expect to see everything right away.
  • Give nests a wide berth.  You could frighten the parents away and leave eggs or young animals exposed to predators.
Page Photo Credits — Mule deer doe with two fawns-photo by refuge remote camera/USFWS, Gunnison's prairie dogs/Jeremy Stein ©, All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Sep 20, 2012
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