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Best wildlife encounters?
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Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
Best wildlife encounters? on 02/24/2013 16:49:17 MST Print View

Rare bird, lynx kitten, bull moose fight?

Let's hear your cool stories and happy memories of meeting wildlife in the wild.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Best wildlife encounters on 02/24/2013 17:17:48 MST Print View

Bear: Had a black bear walk right in front of me on a trail going to Hamilton Mesa in Santa Fe's Peco Wilderness. Pretty silent, but by the time I fumbled for my camera, he had already gone down the steep slope towards Mora Flat's fishing grounds. '99

Eagle: Walking along the Verde River Trail in Arizona's Mazatzal, I looked over a cliff that was part of the US Eagle recovery program in the 70's I guess. So I'm looking down into a bend in a river and also down on a soaring eagle. '00

Fox: Walking down Baylor Canyon trail in Las Cruces, I saw something in the corner of my eye. Stopping I eventually made out a fox frozen waiting on my next move. Got a picture but you can barely make it out. '06

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Best wildlife encounters on 02/24/2013 17:31:02 MST Print View

Walking along Badger Creek trail East of Mt Hood, Goshawk thought I was too close to nest so it kept swooping down and hitting me in the head, knocked my hat off. Someone else posted a picture of head wound.

On Mt Hood a couple years ago, the next day I noticed bear tracks in snow about 50 feet from where I was sleeping, just sleeping on ground looking at stars.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Best wildlife encounters? on 02/24/2013 17:46:19 MST Print View

Alaska, July 2010.

As I stood in one spot, from right to left and out 150 yards, I counted 29 brown bears. They were all busy fishing, so they didn't care about me.


Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Best wildlife encounters on 02/24/2013 17:56:59 MST Print View

I was walking with my dog (leashed) near a large open field. I stopped to grab something out of my pack, turned around, and there was a coyote not 10 feet from us. It froze solid, just staring at me. I start flailing like a madman because the thought of a coyote pack eating my 18 pound dog is not appealing. It runs off, and I see at least half a dozen more coyotes behind some scrub brush that just keep staring at me.

Two things learned from this experience. First, I always carry some form of pepper spray with me (I have since used it on coyotes, they aren't quite as shy when they are starving). Second, I will never again lie to myself about the usefulness of my dog. He is cute, but probably the worst guard dog ever.

Matthew Black
Re: Best wildlife encounters? on 02/24/2013 18:16:39 MST Print View

My first trip to the Trinity Alps almost two years ago: two does and a fawn came near our camp and were frolicking about fifteen feet away. They seemed either totally oblivious to us or were showing off. They just danced around for about two minutes.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

wildlife on 02/24/2013 18:44:52 MST Print View




Edited by dandydan on 02/24/2013 18:49:04 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: wildlife on 02/24/2013 19:52:07 MST Print View

Just before Hole in the Wall, WCT.

He didn't hang around for very long.

Sea Lion

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: wildlife on 02/24/2013 20:12:14 MST Print View

When I was camped out in a shelter on Isle Royale in 2001, I woke at first light to discover a deer mouse scavenging through my backpack. All my food was double-bagged, so I wondered what s/he was smelling. After about a minute, out the top of the bag comes the mouse, hauling my Chapstick. It was a little heavy for him/her, as s/he had to drag it, inch by inch, by backing up across the shelter floor. I decided to give the mouse the Chapstick, as an A for effort, but when I left the shelter later that morning it was on the ground right next to the side. I had to put it into my trash bag.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: wildlife on 02/24/2013 20:16:25 MST Print View

I've been very lucy. Bears, otters, elk, deer of all sorts. All kinds of birds of prey. Saw a hawk fly by with a kitten a couple of months back.
Mountain lion tracks around my tent in the morning was memorable. Seen Borregos so close. Seals and sea lions are easy to spot up here.


Had a terribly foul stench at the Mattole trailhead.

Here's the reason. A whale carcass. The University came out and removed the jawbone to determine cause of death. Then they just leave the rest for nature to deal with. All gone after the next winter storm. Still sat out for 4 months or so. P U !

Edited by kthompson on 02/25/2013 15:42:17 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Best wildlife encounters? on 02/24/2013 20:36:54 MST Print View

The kids and I are the hot tub, on our deck. It is the first week of May, when the cow moose chase off last year's calf as they prepare to calf again. The yearlings, who have never been alone, wander around for a few days in sort of a "Will you be my friend?" mode. A yearling is browsing and coming closer. My 9 year old asks if he can pet the moose. Normally, I'd say, "Hell no!" but it is that first week of May, it is the only moose around, no mama moose to be seen. It is approaching us and can leave at anytime. He puts his nose near the hot rub and sniffs the water. My son reaches out and pets his nose a few times. The moose sits down 15 feet away and chews his cud for another 20 minutes. My wife gets home, gets her camera and documents the family in the hot tub with the moose 15 feet away, laying on the lawn.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Best wildlife encounters? Daddy! Chickens! on 02/24/2013 21:08:17 MST Print View

My daughter was having several girls over for a sleep over so I knew the best thing I could do was to take my then seven year old son camping to keep him out of their hair.

We take off for the Snake River with our kayak, fishing rods, and tent. Once we arrive at our campsite, I immediately started setting up the tent. Not even a minute into the set up I hear my elated son scream "DADDY! LOOK AT THE CHICKENS!" I turned around and saw some of the biggest wild turkeys I've ever seen. Not that turkeys are uncommon (just uncommon in areas where you can hunt for them) but seeing them through the eyes of a seven year old was a precious memory for me.

Next photo was on our way home from Banff. Not a wilderness encounter necessarily but I thought it was a pretty cool picture


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
UL Creatures/ Best wildlife encounters? on 02/24/2013 21:13:49 MST Print View


UL creatures pretty much covers this genre.

Edited by Creachen on 02/24/2013 21:17:41 MST.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Re: Best wildlife encounters - Fall hike and beady little eyes watching us. on 02/24/2013 21:39:02 MST Print View

2012: Wife and did a fall overnight in November. Hiked in after work in the dark, just a couple of miles northwest of Golden. Brisk cool night. A few reflectors on trees marking a trail could be seen nearby. Then we notice the reflections in our minimalist headlights seemed to be more than reflectors. Turns out there were a about a dozen deer bedded down not 25 yards away. The beady eyes watched us pitch the tent and eat dinner. They were up at dawn and traveled right through our camp site, oblivious and not caring we were there. Didn't seemed they we bother them much, but I'm sure there we other beady eyes watching.

2010: Mountain biking in Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver with a couple of my kids. Three bighorn sheep had come down to the road to visit all those passing by. This is a very busy road, closed to cars and dogs, but full of bikes and day hikers every weekend. They would walk right up and nuzzle your hand until you would pet them. Everyone was good about not feeding them (as posted on signs), so I think they were just wanting some attention.

Edited by Gallen1119 on 02/24/2013 21:49:08 MST.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Wildlife encounters on 02/24/2013 23:26:09 MST Print View

Seeing a wolf in Yellowstone was cool.

The bear I saw in Glacier was a treat. At the time I thought it was a brownish black bear but my visual memory is may have been a smallish griz.

A bridge on a rails to trails path that ravens had made a nest in.

First time I saw a beaver, walking along the tracks by my house as a kid.

The morning I was in a treestand, and a flock of turkeys spooked the deer I was watching, then a black bear spooked the turkeys.

Paddling on the Des Moines River and saw my first western bluebird.

First pika and marmot on my first hike in CO.

Watching fish while diving never gets old...

Really I am just fascinated by wildlife. I will sit or stand for minutes or hours watching if I get the chance.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Best Wildlife Encounters on 02/25/2013 11:36:01 MST Print View

Waking up on a beach early one morning on the far north coast of CA to multiple Elk eating the dune grass right outside the tent.

Getting woken up while sleeping on the back deck of my boat while anchored off a remote stretch of coastline by a CA sea lion that's jumped up onto the boat and is sitting on my feet with me trapped inside my bivy.

Sharing remote beaches in central CA with huge Elephant Seals. Seeing Orca and numerous other whales cruise the Santa Barbara Channel on our way to/from Channel Islands National Park.

Marauding wild pigs raiding the campsites in the middle of the night in the Channel Islands National Park. Lots of fearless Island foxes and spotted skunks (indigenous to the Channel Islands) wandering around in the years since the pigs were eradicated.

Crazy wildlife everywhere while camping my way around Australia for 4 months... Wombats and duck-billed platypus in the Blue Mountains; Guana lizards on Whitsunday Island; Hissing Blue Crawfish in Lamington National Park, Koala Bears hanging in the trees in Noosa National Park, wallabies stealing food right off your lap; giant fruit bats hanging from Eucalyptus overhead hissing at you...

In NZ, Kea (giant alpine parrots) getting into anything left unattended (packs, shoes, etc), even for a moment.

Countless black bear, bobcat, coyote sightings in my local backcountry. Hearing a nearby mountain lion crying in the middle of the night; makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re "Best wildlife encounters?" on 02/25/2013 12:45:58 MST Print View

I had a black bear pop his head out of the grass in the meadow next to the trail- he was about 20' away.

I saw a Grizzly running hell bent for leather across a mountain side- the mosquitoes were really bad that day and suspect it was running to get away from them. I do the same thing some times.

I've been just feet away from a Mountain Goat family with kids at the top of a mountain. That was pretty neat.

Dall sheep- often encounter these on hikes. They don't stay exclusively in the mountains- they will often come to low ground to forage for food. I've hiked above them on one occasion on a mountain hike, and had them come down to the lowlands for me 3 times so far.

Too many moose encounters to count. Some more in the vein of terrifying than "best" but always memorable. Perhaps the most memorable was a week after hunting season I was out and counted over 50 moose in 1 square mile. A bull moose with his harem of 7-8 ladies, a few bull moose standing around wishing, another bull with his harem, and on and on.

Had a very confused lone Caribou walk practically up to me while I was sitting one day. When it realized what I was, it made a quick beeline in the opposite direction.

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 02/25/2013 12:47:13 MST.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Almost trampled. on 02/25/2013 12:49:19 MST Print View

I was cowboy camping in Ansel Adams Wilderness, my friend was already sleeping tucked into his bag with a bug net on his head (essentially trapped and blind) and as I was just about to get into my sleeping bag, when I began to hear the fairly aggressive sound of bushes shaking and twigs breaking, followed by the heavy beat of hooves or pads coming our way. I began yelling "yah, yah, go away bear" while waving my arms around, and a moment later a bunch of shapes came busting through the darkness right towards us, and I just managed to turn a small group of mule dear before they could take a shortcut through our camp and over my buddy.

My friend scrambled to get free of this death sack and turned to try and see what the hell was happening just as the deer vanished back into the shrubbery that they materialized out of a moment before. This being his first backpacking trip, and hearing me screaming the word "bear" he was of course full of questions and concerns. So, I of course lied to him while getting inside my sleeping bag claiming, "I didn't know for sure, probably just a bear".

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
Best wildlife encounters on 02/25/2013 17:11:25 MST Print View

Doesn't seem right to start a story thread and not contribute. My problem (and blessing!) is deciding what to tell. Solo off-trail walking in remote parts of eastern Canada means lots of these experiences, for sure. I'd ramble on and bore you all to tears.

So I'll pick a species: white-tailed deer (moose, caribou, bear, fox, lynx, hawk, owl and whale stories will just have to wait).

1) Camped under alder bushes and had just settled into the sleeping bag when a deer walked up and started eating the very bush I was under. Kee-runch! Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. GLURK! Kee-runch... Nifty at first, irritating 20 minutes later, hilarious a few minutes after that. Damn noisy neighbours, I gotta get some sleep here!

2) Made many trips to an area with a small pond, open grassy field on one side, woods on the other. I'd get up in the dark, make coffee, and hide in the bushes before first light. Foxes, herons, otters, osprey, muskrat, hummingbirds, etc. etc. And deer. One morning at dawn I watched a doe nurse a tiny spotted fawn. Aww. Months later, same spot, likely the same deer, but it was weaning time! Little one went bouncing up to mom and she reared up and smacked him/her upside the head. Poor little thing shook it off and ate a tree instead. Tough love out there.

Great stories so far, more please!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Best wildlife encounters? on 02/25/2013 18:00:04 MST Print View

I was on a trail in Yosemite National Park, just walking along and minding my own business. Suddenly I saw a doe deer fifty feet off to my right, so I pulled my camera with long lens and started clicking away. The doe just stood there, even though she saw me, and that seemed odd. Then I looked more closely and saw some smaller legs underneath. Her newborn spotted fawn was getting milk. Then the doe walked away, and the little fawn was still standing there with milk running down from its mouth. It stared at me for a few seconds and then walked off looking for its mother. Awww.