Eyes on the Wild: Expert Tips for Wildlife Encounters in Our Parks


Wildlife encounters in our national parks can provide some of the most thrilling experiences for nature enthusiasts. From majestic deer grazing in the meadows to the elusive lynx prowling silently in the twilight, seeing animals in their natural habitat is an unmatched delight. This guide provides essential tips to safely and respectfully enjoy these moments.

Preparing for Wildlife Visits

Best Times to Visit

Timing is crucial when planning wildlife encounters. Dawn and dusk are often the best times to see animals active. Additionally, understanding the seasons is vital; spring might offer newborn wildlife sightings, while autumn could present the dramatic rutting season.

What to Bring

Essential gear includes binoculars for safe viewing, sturdy footwear for uneven terrains, and weather-appropriate clothing. Always carry water, a map, and a compass or GPS device. A camera with a zoom lens is also recommended for those distant shots, ensuring you keep a safe distance.

Understanding Wildlife

Common Species

Commonly encountered species include deer, foxes, and various bird species. Each park might have its specifics, so researching the local wildlife beforehand can enhance your experience.

Rare Encounters

While rare species sightings are less predictable, knowing the habitats and behaviours can increase your chances. Be prepared for the unexpected, and always maintain respect for these creatures’ space and needs.

Safety Protocols

Do’s and Don’ts

Always keep a safe distance. Feeding wildlife is a definite don’t—it alters natural behaviours and can be harmful. If you encounter a predator, stay calm, make yourself appear larger, and back away slowly without turning your back.

Handling Emergencies

Always let someone know your itinerary before venturing out. Carry a first aid kit, and know how to use it. If you find yourself in a threatening wildlife encounter, use your bear spray as instructed (if in bear country).

Ethical Wildlife Interaction

Photography Tips

Photographing wildlife requires patience and respect. Use a long lens to keep a safe distance. Never use flash as it can startle animals, potentially provoking aggression.

Leave No Trace

Preserving the natural environment ensures future visitors can enjoy similar experiences. Stick to trails, remove all trash, and avoid altering the landscape.


Experiencing wildlife in our parks can be enriching and awe-inspiring. By preparing adequately and respecting nature’s rules, you ensure these encounters remain positive for both you and the animals.


  1. What should I do if I encounter a bear? Stay calm, avoid direct eye contact, and back away slowly. Do not run or climb a tree.
  2. Is it safe to take photos of wildlife at night? It is not recommended due to the potential stress on animals and the increased risk of encounters.
  3. Can I feed birds in national parks? Feeding wildlife, including birds, is discouraged as it can alter natural behaviours.
  4. What are the penalties for not adhering to park rules? Penalties can range from fines to expulsion from the park, depending on the severity of the violation.
  5. How can I learn more about wildlife behaviour before my visit? Most parks offer educational programs or materials that provide valuable insights into local wildlife behaviours and safety.


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