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Crossing Paths with Wildlife: What's Your Story?

So far this hiking season I've encountered deer (doesn't everybody?), bighorn sheep (very cool, but they took off before I could dig out my camera), foxes (ditto), a couple of indignant horny toads, wild turkeys (in Zion National Park, off all places) and, hoo-doggie, a rattler. 

Wild turkeyThe rattlesnake (also seen in Zion) had no interest in my buddy and me during our meeting on an off-trail route, and after sounding off, it headed off in the opposite direction.  Interesting to see; happy that our encounter ended uneventfully.

So, all you Jack Hanna types, what's been your most interesting wildlife encounter in the outdoors this year?  What's your most memorable meeting with wildlife all time?

Posted on at 4:46 PM

Tagged: national parks, rattlesnake, turkeys, wildlife and zion

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whirlygirl

I live on the coast of NC. One day when I was driving my dad's truck on a dirt road through the woods a crane picked up and started flying right next to me. It was such a beautiful sight. Our speed was matched and we moved together through the trees for about a minute. Incredible.

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catgroya

Hiking through the grand Teton national park in Wyoming, We came across 4 moose, 2 bull and 2 cow. When we spotted the first bull and we were fairly close, as my friend was taking pictures another one strutted out of the little grove they were in. At this point we decided to head up hill just a bit because it seemed like they were coming closer to us. Then they wondered off into the forest. Then, day three as we were hiking though a large area of berry bushes we spotted rustling bushes. We thought bear right away and started making tons of noise to scare it. About 30 seconds later we saw the black bear scurry away. I was hoping to see a moose on this hike...... The Teton's are over achievers when it comes to stunning wildlife and nature.

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yvr for now

The rarest wildlife I've ever seen was a gila monster. A friend and I were hiking in SW Utah and we almost stepped on it accidentally! Even though we had no idea that they spend 90% of their life underground (some Rangers in the area have never even seen one!), we were nonetheless fascinated so we took quite a few photos and video clips. After learning more about them I wanted to promote their well-being so I put together a video of the encounter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6VsIheZbZc
Yes, they can hurt a human badly, but, as a ranger told us, you have to basically stick your finger in its mouth for it to bite. They are beautiful!

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PedalGirl

Well my first encounter with wildlife just came YESTERDAY! And the more I have told my story, the more I have learned (as you noted in your blog) that apparently everyone sees deer!! Well, for me, it was an adventure! I live in Sacramento, and on the weekends do my long bike rides on the bike trail. I have only been riding for a couple of months...and for as long as I've been riding, there is this "ONE SCARY HILL" that I have always been convinced I couldn't get up! (I ride a single-speed, coaster breaks, beach cruiser.) So whenever I have reached this hill...I get off my bike, and walk the bike up the hill...get back on, and continue on my way.

Well yesterday...I did the very same thing...I reached the start of the hill...got off of my bike...and right when I did that I see some movement in my periphereal vision. I'm assuming maybe its a person coming from the grassy/tree area...so I look...and I'm staring at TWO deers just ten feet away from me!!! Granted they were probably as afraid of me as I was of them...but at that very moment, I had in my head that they were two big moose with huge antlers who were going to charge me! So I said "OH (EXPLETIVE!)"...and I jumped on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could up that darned hill!!!!! In hindsight, this was all quite amusing...as when I thought about it, the deer were just beautiful and about as timid as Bambi...but at that given moment, all I can say is they sure did provide the impetus I needed to pedal my big ol' cruiser bike up that hill!!!

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PowerK

We live 30 minutes from Zion, so wild turkey sightings aren't rare. (They, along with deer, are always hanging out with the horses at nearby Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.) However we didn't even need to head out to "the wilderness" to encounter a mountain lion. Apparently when you live on the edge of wilderness they come to you. A young one peeked into our backyard as we let the dogs out for a break one evening. Our yells of surprise were enough to scare it away, but yikes!

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rutabaga

Last month I went on a 2 week road trip to a bunch of different national parks and it was amazing and full of wildlife sightings! Bison, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, otters, prairie dogs, snakes, wild horses, and bears!!!! I have to say watching the sheep headbutt each other from a safe distance was pretty darn cool!

photos can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/106102573039352800929/RoadtripOfStuff2011

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snowshredder

While mountain biking up in the Cascade mountains near Leavenworth WA, I was bombing down an old logging road and as I came around corner I saw a sow black bear and her two cubs in the middle of the trail. The momma bear and one cub headed one direction and the other cub kind of froze. I split the difference and shot between them. Needless to say I didn't stop but I did glance back after I was a ways down the trail and they were all together again. Took a while for my heart rate to get back to normal.

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davebda

I enjoy constant contacts with wildlife. I manage a wildlife habitat restoration project in California. I am in contact with the wildlife on every trip to the project. Contacts with deer and antelope are common. We also routinely see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles Coyotes, ground squirrels and chipmunks. We occasionally see bears and bobcats. Our work on the habitat is not only beneficial for the wildlife, it is also beneficial for my volunteers and me. We improve the habitat and the animals gather to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

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rutabaga

Last month I went on a 2 week road trip to a bunch of different national parks and it was amazing and full of wildlife sightings! Bison, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, otters, prairie dogs, snakes, wild horses, and bears!!!! I have to say watching the sheep headbutt each other from a safe distance was pretty darn cool!

photos can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/106102573039352800929/RoadtripOfStuff2011

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marksfam

I kayak the Etowah River in northwestern Georgia on a regular basis, and keep my eyes peeled for the nesting pair of Bald Eagles that I have seen in the same area twice now. One of the last times I was out in the evening and watched a family of river otters playing on a log beside me. I love the evening paddle!!!

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Recurve Rebel

I was hiking a trail in Fahnestock State park last week when i heard the brush next to the trail shake . I spotted a 3 foot garter snake ...no big deal . As he was slithering away a bullfrog tried to eat it ! The fight lasted about 10 seconds and as expected the snake was fine, the bullfrog not so much. It does'nt have to be a bald eagle or a wolverine to be amazing. KEEP IT WILD

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africaflyboy

My favorite wildlife story happened back in 1998. I was in Botswana in southern Africa. I was with a team headed for some free time in Victoria Falls. We camped for a night just before crossing the border into Zimbabwe. About midnight I woke up to the campfire watch guys talking excitedly. (We took shifts keeping the fire going to keep animals out of the camp.) The watch was excited because we could hear something big crashing through the brush around the camp. I listened from my sleeping bag under the stars as the thing walked all the way around the camp in the brush and then back to the path beyond out camp. In the morning I took a look around and found 2.5ft diameter elephant footprints in the dust. The craziest part was that in all the crashing in the brush, I never heard those huge footfalls, only the brush breaking as the elephant passed by.

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Terry Tyson

While hiking in the central coast of California near San Luis Obispo, I encountered a cougar and her cub. Late afternoon this spring I set out for a short 4 mile RT hike at Montaña De Oro State Park. Rounding a turn, I scared up dozens of rabbits who scatterd across the trail in front of me, causing me to skip a heart beat or two. A few hundred yards later, it happened again which did not provoke the same reaction until I saw what they were actually running from.

Approximately 12 feet in front of me, I saw a cougar cub dart across the trail in pursuit of the rabbits. It took a few seconds to register what animal I had just seen. When it did occur to me, I thought it best to leave the area quickly. Just as I was about to turn back, momma cougar galloped 12 feet in front of me.

Just as she crossed, she stopped and looked at me. She had a still-kicking rabbit in her jaws. I was close enough to see her nostrils flaring as she caught her breath from the chase. I froze and was about to wave my arms, scream and yell to get her to move on when she merely turned in the direction of her cub and the dozens of tasty rabbits in the brush.

It was decided that my hike was finished for the afternoon.

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Jersey Hiker

After a ton of time in the woods of the East Coast, as well as west coast backpacking trips to Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone/Tetons, and Idaho's Sawtooth, I finally got to see a bear in the wild in Kings Canyon National Park. It was my wife's first trip longer than two nights, and she managed to have two encounters, while the rest of the group only had one. Our first night out, my wife went off to use a pit toilet at a campsite, and as she rounded a corner in the path to it, there was a black bear just sitting next to the toilet. I was back down the path a bit, and couldn't see, it, only my wife slowly backing up... then it turned and ran off, and she turned around and had the biggest grin on her face. Two days later, we came upon a little bear cub that was foraging 15 yards from us. I snapped a really quick photo, and we headed away from it down the trail, since we were a little nervous we had no idea where mom was... it was surprising how shaggy the little guy was... his fur was longer that I would have expected with tips that were almost blonde. A really cool highlight of the trip.

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Obewon

We were on the AT in the Smokies. 10 miles into a 12 miler in the rain. Stopped for a rest and my partner jumps up "there is a bear on my back". We jumped up and were on the trail and the bear had pushed his pack twice..we hollered and made noise but the bear did not go away..actually came up over the ridge and was about 10 feet or less from us..finally started throwing rocks and one hit him he ran away back over the ridge..he was not aggresssive, almost looked at us like what are you guys doing..?we hiked on and never saw him again...he was a fine looking bear though...

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Marty W

I was deer hunting, one weekend, in Tenn. It was bow season and the temps were hot. After hunting about 4 hours I decided to go back to camp and wait around till evening and cooler temps. Easing thru the woods I spotted a doe and 2 fawns. The doe had already spotted me. And no I wouldn't even think of shooting a doe with fawns. But I stopped and watched as the doe tried to get her fawns away from me. They must have been curious because after a few minutes the fawns were at me. I held out my hand and both of them licked it. All the while mama was tearing up the woods behind me. I guess she was trying to get the young ones away from me. After about 5 minutes I petted one on the head and they turned and walked away.

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CanyonCliffs

We were on a quick overnight hike in the Pine Valley Wilderness of the Dixie National Forest; just about to bed down for the night. While enjoying the quiet peace of the early May twilight, my brother motioned silence and directed me towards the wolf that had just entered the meadow. Even though we were maybe 20 yards away, this majestic creature was indifferent to our presence as he approached the stream for a drink. He tolerated our presence for some time before disappearing into the shrub.

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djlevin

I have had many encounters over the years. Numerous run-ins with black bears. Several more distant encounters with grizzly/browns. A mountain lion once. A bobcat once. Wolves and wolf pups - once. Deer, elk, antelope, big horn sheep, mountain goat, reindeer, caribou, but unfortunately not a moose yet :-). Marmot, pica, ground squirrels, possum, raccoon, porcupine and skunk. Many bald eagles, and different hawks and falcons, wild turkey, roadrunners, but most amazing was a nesting pair of golden eagles - AWESOME! Stepped on a few diamondback rattlers, a gila black and a green mojave rattlesnake (beautiful) and a gila monster (creepy). Humpback and gray whales, dolphin, orca, seals and sea and river otter all off the bow of a sea kayak. All sightings in the wild from expeditions in U.S., Canada and Alaska.

It seems strange to look back on 30 years of outdoor adventures. I hope my age and health will allow me to continue. I was careful and aware of my surroundings in every situation and never once felt seriously in danger. Somehow, it always felt like I was in the right place, rather than being - out of place.

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dancequeen79

It's funny you should ask, since my most memorable encounter just happened over the weekend. I volunteered at the University where I work to help with picking fruit off of our orange trees to donate the fruit to local food banks. The weather was warm and overcast and looked like it could possibly drizzle as it had the other day. I had been picking for about 15 minutes on a tree when I felt some drizzle come down. I thought, oh must be raining. I looked up and noticed the drizzle coming from a specific location in the tree and I thought maybe an orange was losing it's juice. Upon closer inspection I was staring right at the underside of a squirrel behind graciously peeing down on me. He was perfectly still as if he was hiding from me, but wanted to scare me away by peeing on me; or perhaps maybe I scared him so hard I made him "pee his pants."

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Timkin

SIXTH SENSE
Once I was sitting reading a book on Maui. Two friends sat across from me. I in shorts without looking at my leg under my book, feeling something of small weight on my leg, handed my book to my friend saying would u please remove the scorpion from my leg. Is I slowly handed them the book. Peering down my sixth sense was right it was a scorpion. My friends knew what to do.

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Timkin

TEL AVIV BUS STOP
A sunny day. I sat at the bus stop. Waiting. Suddenly I flew up into the air screeching. Something had come down out of the sky into my lap and as I felt it scurrying with my hands I cupped them and felt something hard and soft fly off my hands. I stood stiff. Looking around there was a fledgling from its nest. The man to my left had his hand on his hip gun while the one to my right was laughing while I followed suit.

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walkup family

As very committed country folk, we see dozens of deer every week. We always run across your basics; raccoon, possum, hawks, various snakes, coyotes, owls, armadillo, numerous birds and other unexpected vermins. What continues to surprise my husband and I is the humbling awe we still fall into every time we ecounter any of these lovely works of nature. From each deer rut to every last cricket, we are grateful to live in the heart of America. For more vacation suggestions and stories of the great outdoors, please visit nwexcitingweb.com

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