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Field Notebook

January 16, 2009
How to Approach Wildlife

Make eye contact, but only for a moment. Then look away. Gaze off to the side, give it a chance to get a good look at you. Glance back from the corner of your eye and see if it's still there.

That way, the animal gets to make the decision weather it wants to go any farther with you.

Most of the time you'll look back and see its hindside departing. The animal that remains is the one you are interested in.

After that, what happens is up to both of you. If you want to pull a Timothy Treadwell and nuzzle bears, well, I can't stop you. But remember, if a bear eats you the feds will come kill it. So decide first whether you want the animal dead or not.

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