So….You want to be a Wildlife Photographer

So….You want to be a Wildlife Photographer

On my recent photographic trip to Yellowstone National Park during a day of scouting I came across a sick or old Bison lying on the ground near death. Though this was going to be a tough situation, it was all part of nature, and this was going to attract predators.  I watched the bison for two long days checking in at different times of the day, never approaching it or leaving the cover of the woods.  On the second day of watching, with the bison still breathing, I left at 8:00pm or dark.  The next morning when I arrived at pre-dawn 6:00am I found NOTHING left but it’s head. No legs, ribs, backbone, nothing left in just over 10 hours of what once was a 400lb animal. Just a couple of ravens and a couple of coyotes were around.


I’m writing this blog because I made one major mistake and did not camouflage myself from human beings. This is my story and I’m sticking to it. The morning I came back and found the Bison had been eaten that night before I was noticed & approached by a “wannbe” wildlife photographer. He came out to the edge of the woods with me where I had been watching for two days and saw the carcass in the meadow. He must have run at high speed to tell all his friends & their friends too what he had found! When I returned that afternoon for a quick update check there were about seven cars in the parking area.

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I knew this was not a good sign because there had never been any cars in the parking lot the last few days I had been watching. When I slowly hiked to the edge of the woods I saw 6 or 7 people standing on the other side of the meadow with all the camera equipment you can imagine with camouflage lenses & clothing standing in one area talking. This was the scenario that played out for over 4 hours that afternoon and again the next morning at pre-dawn. The odds of so many people all in one location being successful were slim to NONE!  It’s the simple things that work best. Common sense would tell me that dividing up at different locations around the meadow would have increased everyone’s chance of a successful opportunity for an image instead of hours of standing around for nothing. You can own all the camera equipment in the world but they are ONLY tools, to produce the images, not the reason why the images are produced that way.

I could not help but laugh to myself and think when I look at these images…which were the strongest smell to all predators within miles, the stench of death or the stench of humans! Unless they were all dipped in some type of wild animal’s urine, the smell of that many humans was going to scare most predators away, not to mention the movements or chatting!

Note to SELF for future reference: Wear camouflage clothing against human detection!



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