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The Wild(Life) Side of Jeeping

The Wild(life) Side of Jeeping - Episode 2

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So while out wheeling in your XK you are thinking, "How am I going to keep an eye on the road, run the wipers to take the mud on the windshield, keep my passengers happy, and still see the wildlife that is all around me?" What you need are simple things to look for that will help you spot a wide variety of whatever wildlife happens to be around.

Episode 2 - Pick out the parts

Most wildlife likes to hide. In my personal experience, the more challenging it is to find the wildlife, the more rewarding the experience of observing it is. While I love to sit on my front porch and watch the wild turkeys stroll by as if they own they place (how do they know when turkey season is over??), I get much more personal satisfaction out of going into the wilds and finding wildlife in it's wildest forms.

One of the most common things people do wrong when attempting to view wildife is envisioning that they are going to see the entire animal. While that is not unheard of, if those are the only animals you see, you will most likely be missing the majority of what was there for your viewing pleasure.

Deer, to use an example most of us have nearby, have many "parts" which commonly lead to their discovery. Ears are one of the main giveaways leading to detection. A common tactic for deer to use to elude detection is to freeze, especially if their body is hidden. Unlike many other animals who operate under the "If I can't see you, you can't see me" premise, most deer have a naturally curious streak. While they want to hide, they also want to see you and what you are doing. The most common example of this combination is a deer hiding it's body behind a bush or tree, and sticking it's neck out above or beside the bush to peer at you. Deer, like horses, cows and other large animals, are plagued by flies and flying insects. A deer may be hiding it's body, holding its head perfectly still in the manner of a world-record holding staring contest winner, but a deer rarely goes more than 10-15 seconds without twitching its ears. That small movement can really stand out if there isn't much wind blowing the bruch or trees.

Using that same example, the "rabbit ears" shape of a deer's ears can be very distinctive also. Two large "V" shaped objects sticking out of the top of a bush definitely should be examined a little closer. This is a shape that rarely occurs in nature and so training you eye to look for these "parts" can make spotting easier.

There are many keys to finding "parts", such as color, contrast, movement, or even shade suddenly blocking sunlight. This is but a brief list that can change from area to area and animal to animal. In the wilds, anything that seems slightly out of place may be, and maybe what you are seeing is just "part" of all that is actually out there.

Some of the best things in life are not not found on a map; they can only be found while Wandering.
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