May 22, 2012, 9:49 AM EDT
I often push my luck when it comes to hunting to the point that I probably ought to be a little more careful about my methods.
By watching animals, I learn from them. How they move, how they react, how they use their surroundings as camouflage, how they keep distance, and what behavior they accept from other animals of the same or opposing specie. For instance, take zebra; they’ll pay attention to the warning signs of fellow zebra, wildebeest or impala. They’ll also watch an approaching lion and make sure that there is enough distance between them and the predator. Now direct your attention to the predator; the lion keeps his focus on his objective –the water… but out of the corner of his eye, he’s watching for the weaknesses in the herd.
I tried something similar in Tanzania while we ate lunch for a few hours at a watering hole. A dozen painted dogs wallowed in the water, but always kept an eye on us to make sure we weren’t a threat. I had the wise idea to approach JUST to see how close I could get… with eyes lowered and shoulders slumped, I whimpered like a puppy. Guttural ‘woofs’, along with deliberate advances and retractions, still allowed me to close 100 yards in about 20 minutes. When I got to about 20 yards shouts from my professional hunter (begging me to quit aggravating the dogs) made me realize that I was pushing my luck with a dangerous predator.
But I learned that if I walk with a destination or objective in mind, refrain from making eye contact with the animal(s), and pretend I don’t care about them, often times they’ll stay put because I seemingly pose no threat.
What do you think? Am I clever or stupid?
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