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Old Jan 12, 2008, 7:09 PM   #1
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"This is a thread of wildlife tips and not a discussion of the gear that was used, because following these tips can yield good wildlife images with most any camera brand."

Bad Weather Bald Eagle Stalk Tips

The last few years I have been asked how I go about getting some of my photos. I decided when I have time and the stalk might be interesting to someone I would share what I do and why I did what I did. I am not trying to tell anybody what to do but maybe some of what I am doing will help some else get a extra keeper or two.

As you can see from the 1st photo not a nice day weather wise. Fog, snow flurries & about 2 degrees F. When I found him I checked the wind first then looked for the best route to get closer. I decided to come in from the left using the trees for cover and yet I would be far enough away that the noise I would make walking in crunch snow should be far enough away and the wind would not give me away. I believe sound travels a very long ways with the wind.



When I got to the tree by the X I took a look and saw he was looking the wrong way for the photo I wanted. Since wildlife normally are not as active in bad weather I figured I would take one quick burst and then back off. That way at least I would have a close up photo even though he was facing the wrong way.



I backed off the same way I came in about 30 yards and knelt down so I could still see him and used my crow call. It took two calls to get him to look the right direction. I waited about 5 minutes and slowly worked my way back to the X mark and fired of a couple of bursts. I then went back the same way so I would not frighten him. When I got back to the camera wagon I thanked him and left.



This is what I wanted and considering the conditions I am going to keep it.



Bottom Line IMHO: By using the weather, wind and the terrain to my advantage I was able to get a photo of him. By backing off and using a call I was able to get the photo I wanted.


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Old Jan 13, 2008, 11:05 AM   #2
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That's interesting - if you are faced with a choice between being downwind and having trees for cover, I guess the cover is more important with eagles? I don't think I'd even see it in the distance, much less be able to figure out how to get closer without spooking it.
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 11:50 AM   #3
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mtngal wrote:
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That's interesting - if you are faced with a choice between being downwind and having trees for cover, I guess the cover is more important with eagles? I don't think I'd even see it in the distance, much less be able to figure out how to get closer without spooking it.
Harriet

Something that Roger seldom mentions in his posts, and that I sometimes tend to forget, is that he spends a condiderable amount of time glassing for wildlife with binoculars & or a spotting scope, before stalking to get into position with a camera..

I too, was curious as to an eagles' ability to smell a human creating a scent pattern on the ground, while perched high up in a tree..

I wonder if Roger feels that approaching birds perched high up in trees from downwind is a critical part of the stalk; or whether it is just an ingrained habit in one who has been hunting for as long as he has..

Roger

Nice first post regarding wildlife stalking..

Bruce
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 12:10 PM   #4
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mtngal wrote:
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That's interesting - if you are faced with a choice between being downwind and having trees for cover, I guess the cover is more important with eagles? I don't think I'd even see it in the distance, much less be able to figure out how to get closer without spooking it.
Hi mtngal, I think the photo is a little misleading. Looking at the eagle is North so I approached the Eagle from the West but I was South of the Eagle so the wind didn't carry my scent towards him. If the wind had been going in a noth East direction I would of tried to find a different route. Also from what I have seen they either don't smell or not very good if they do.

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Old Jan 13, 2008, 12:16 PM   #5
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baltochef920 wrote:
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mtngal wrote:
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That's interesting - if you are faced with a choice between being downwind and having trees for cover, I guess the cover is more important with eagles? I don't think I'd even see it in the distance, much less be able to figure out how to get closer without spooking it.
Harriet

Something that Roger seldom mentions in his posts, and that I sometimes tend to forget, is that he spends a condiderable amount of time glassing for wildlife with binoculars & or a spotting scope, before stalking to get into position with a camera..

I too, was curious as to an eagles' ability to smell a human creating a scent pattern on the ground, while perched high up in a tree..

I wonder if Roger feels that approaching birds perched high up in trees from downwind is a critical part of the stalk; or whether it is just an ingrained habit in one who has been hunting for as long as he has..

Roger

Nice first post regarding wildlife stalking..

Bruce
YUP!!! Bruce you are correct. I would guess at least 60% or more of the photos I get when there is snow on the ground and 80% or more the rest of the time. I found the animal or bird using my binoculare or spotting scope. For me it is the best way not to waste time cuz if I know they are there I am not wasting time trying to find something.

I don't think Eagles smell or at least if they do it is not very good. Just my opinion from what I have seen.

Downwind??? I think the photo is a little misleading. Looking at the eagle is North so I approached the Eagle from the West but I was South of the Eagle so the wind didn't carry my scent towards him. If the wind had been going in a noth East direction I would of tried to find a different route cuz the wind would carry my sound in the crusty snow towards him.


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