If you want to photograph animals up close or stalk them, it’s important to follow certain key rules that will increase your chance of getting as close as possible. But do you know what these rules are?
We’re going to introduce the 5 essentials for becoming a wildlife observing ace
1°) USE THE WIND
The first essential point for successfully stalking your quarry is to use the wind properly. As you know, animals’ sense of smell is much stronger than ours and it helps them to spot intruders very easily.
The wind, therefore, shouldn’t be coming from behind you.
There are various simple ways of figuring out where the wind is coming from, which we’ve listed here:
– Talc wind checker: The idea is to disperse a small cloud of talc into the air and watch as the wind catches it.
– Ready made wind checkers can prove quite costly and difficult to get hold of so you might want to make one at home using a balloon, the neck of a plastic bottle with holes pierced in the cap and, of course, some talc.
– Bin bag strings: tie them onto a piece of wood or stick to show you which way the wind is blowing.
This list is far from exhaustive, but by simply observing your surroundings, the trees and leaves etc., you will get an excellent idea of the wind direction.
2°) FOLLOW THE EDGES
For added camouflage, stick to the edges of the paths so that you will be able to hide yourself quickly in the vegetation if you spot an animal. Indeed, it will be harder for an animal to distinguish a tall shape when it is next to vegetation than in an open space.
By sticking to the edge of a wood, you will also be able to hear if any animals enter the forest.
It’s the same for hides. You will be able to use the topography to disguise yourself behind a fallen tree, a pile of branches or even a hedge.
3°) READ THE TRACK
It is vital to observe your surroundings for this type of hunting. Following tracks and markings will bring up your chances of catching sight of some animal.
Once you’ve spotted these tracks, you need to know if they are fresh.
To date a track you will need to take into account the weather conditions over the last few days. It’s easy to recognise older tracks if it has rained because the raindrops will have started to wash them away.
Track cycle Solognac
Certain elements will give you a clue that it is a fresher track.
For example, splashes of water, water on dry ground as a result of something walking through a puddle, wet mud on a tree: these signs clearly indicate that an animal was here recently.
4°) CHECK THE MOON
You will generally come across animals at dawn and dusk, but you can also find them throughout the day since deer need to eat between 6 and 12 times per day.
However, remember to look at the moon while wildlife viewing. A study has shown that animals behave differently depending on the moon.
At new moon: During this period, animals are plunged into almost total darkness at night which restricts them to feed in the early hours of the morning. They will become active again at the end of the day just before sunset.
During the first quarter: Like with the new moon, animals are active at the first light of day, but less active at the end of the afternoon.
At full moon: Despite the fact that some people think this is the best time to spot more animals because it is light for longer, studies have shown that at this time animals come out in the middle of the night to feed.
During the last quarter: Since the moon rises very late, animals are active until just before daybreak. Their second peak of activity will be in the middle of the afternoon. During the last quarter, therefore, you can spot them in the middle / at the end of the day
5°) BE DISCREET
Stalking is a question of patience and silence. Nowadays there are silent clothes that will mask the sound of any rubbing. To be even quieter, wear clothing made from brushed fabrics such as fleece or wool. In addition, the more close-fitting your clothing, the less it will rub.