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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:27 am 
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Sooo....rained in and bogged down in a gorge for the whole day and nothing better to do with my time so figured I'd see if I could come up with a new thread idea... I think it is safe to say most of us here love wildlife and wildlife photography. That being said we share a lot of amazing pictures and the odd story here and there. I figured it would be cool reading to hear some more of the unique stories which surround certain photographs we have taken which may be funny, exciting, sad... you get the idea.

There might even be an exciting story while out in the wild which you may feel like sharing where you didnt capture a picture so lets hear from you all if you have one.

I know in the past I have posted several pictures which had really unique stories which I didnt bother sharing but which some of you may have found enjoyable so let me start with one... just a story as I dint capture a picture of the event and even if I had I dont have access to it out here anyways :)

Once while driving through Jasper I came across at least 10 cars pulled over on the side of the road. Now I dont know what it is like in other countries but here in Canada if you are driving through a national park and you see cars pulled over chances are extremely high someone has spotted some form of wildlife and this was no exception....

Call me demented but half the fun out of these encounters for me is knowing there is a good chance someone is going to do something dumb because they have no clue about that specific animal and this was exactly the case on this day....

Having pulled over it wasn't long til I saw a small black bear walking along the side of the road minding its own business. looking around fast I realized that the treeline it was following was gradually getting closer and closer to the road bringing the bear closer and closer to the ppl gathered. 4 adventurous souls had left their car and were out leaning against their car and watching as the bear got closer and closer to them. It seemed to be 2 sets of boyfriends and girlfriends. As the bear approached them and was getting closer to them due to the trees getting closer to the road you could see the bear was getting more and more agitated. His walking slowed down and his ears went back as he glanced more and more towards the ppl... you just knew it was going to happen and sure enough it did just as it was beside the 2 couples...

It all happened in seconds.... the bear made a threatening lunge towards the 4 but stopped as they many times do after a few steps with a growl. In the second this took place the 2 guys jumped the hood of their car and got into the vehicle leaving the girls outside to fend for themselves.... at this point I am already smiling... again.. only a second or 2 have now passed. The bear now growls again and shakes its head but doesnt move forward but one of the guys leans over in the car... the girls still outside .. and locks the passenger door!!!!

A few seconds later.. litterally this all took place within 10 seconds.. the bear desides it has proved its point and now moves on....

The reason this whole process was so funny for me and not really serious at any point was the bear's behavior as well as the fact that 3 guys from other vehicles were waving their arms moving towards the girls fast as they seen what the other 2 guys had done... there was no way the bear was actually going to attack as you seen the whole thing unfold in front of you... but I guess there is always that slight chance even in a situation like this... total there were around 15 ppl standing within 20 meters of the 2 girls when this whole thing unfolded.

Well.... the girls turn around and totally loose it on the guys... by now I am loosing it LMAO inside my car... big mistake as they seen me and one proceeded to walk up to my car asking me what I thought was so funny.. At this point I knew to shut up so all I said was "your boyfriends". She looks at me and says our ex-boyfriends you mean.. I started to snicker again....

Anyways.. it really was funny as hell watching this play out in front of me.... I'm sure at the end of it the guys wished they would have taken their chances with the bear instead of what they did.

Wish I had a pic but....

anyways.. anyone got any pics with a really unusual story to go with it? please share.. I love reading about this kind of stuff.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:34 pm 
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I do love reading wildlife encounter stories. Particularly of the hilarious kind. I have more wildlife stories than I can count, but this was the first one that came to mind, a "one that got away" tale. If this thread takes off I'm sure I'll have a few others to contribute. :)

Several years ago I was working in the mountains in Colorado, doing a study on forest management practices and their effects on populations of rodents, particularly tree squirrels. A major aspect of the study involved live-trapping squirrels. I had ~100 live-traps spread out across 24 ha, and every morning before daybreak I'd go out and open and bait the traps.

I was working by myself that summer, which is dangerous and not something I typically like to do, but funds for the project were so low I couldn't afford to hire a research assistant.

I'd been working different areas for a little over a month, and was then in a location that had undergone heavy thinning of trees. As a result, the area was nearly devoid of tree squirrels. Live-trapping without catching anything is tedious at best. At worst, it's horrendously boring!

These were my pre-DSLR days, where I typically carried a Sony DSC-W50 round in my field pack.

I was out one morning walking the trap lines baiting and opening traps. I'd been running behind, so I'd dropped my pack at the outset and was carrying just the bait so I could jog the lines and get all the traps open before the sun was fully up. I was about halfway through, going along nicely. I stopped and bent down to bait and open a trap, and when I stood and looked up the hill to where my next trap was positioned, I caught a glimpse of movement to my right.

Judging by its size I thought it initially to be a coyote, but as it moved in front of me, I was stuck dumb with shock. It wasn't a coyote at all-- it was a cat! I edged forward as the feline broke though the grass into the area in front of me. It was a male, no doubt, passing less than 20 m away. I was downwind and wasn't moving, so he didn't see me.

As he passed I mentally ran through the "which cat?" checklist in my head. Long legs, huge feet, well-defined facial ruff, ear tufts greater than 1", tip of tail completely black, no obvious banding or spotting on legs. Was it possible? Really? I kept blinking and running over the list again and again. It couldn't be, could it?

But it was- Canadian Lynx, a species that had been extirpated from Colorado since the early part of the twentieth century. An incredibly rare sighting, one of only fifty or so lynx in Colorado at the time.

As he moved on I followed him as silently as possible, watching as he marked his territory, scent-rubbed some young aspen, playfully crouched low in the grass, terrorized some ground squirrels. I patted all of the pockets on my pants, wistfully hoping that somehow I'd transferred the camera to a pocket, but with no hope. It was in my pack, which was at least a mile away. This became particularly upsetting when he stepped into a patch of early sunlight and stood regally, stock-still, while I kicked myself for missing a perfect shot.

I followed him as long as I could before he picked up speed and took off in earnest, and I had to return to trapping. I later contacted the fish and wildlife department, wondering if I was out of my mind thinking it was a lynx. It wasn't great habitat for a lynx. The guy informed me that it was likely an offspring of one of their earlier releases that had made its way south and east, and that there had been sightings of lynx in that area before, and it stranger places, too.

He then proceeded to say that, had I gotten a clear enough picture for the department to confirm it was a lynx, I could have gone along with them to trap and collar him. :shock: :x

It is to date one of the neatest wildlife sightings I've ever had. From that day I always carried the camera in my pocket, with the result that the camera took a serious beating that summer and I never saw anything as cool.

I started my DSLR search in earnest after meeting up with the lynx. You might say that the lynx was the main reason I have my camera today. I rarely carry my K200 in the field, because it can't compete with the 30+ lbs of field gear that I have to carry, and I still haven't found a good way to hike miles each day in rough terrain with both the field gear and the camera. Some day, I'm demanding a pack-horse. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:59 am 
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Cool stories guys.
I know I've got one here somewhere...it's late tho.... :roll:

I'll be back!!

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