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Under Water, Over Land
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Old November 20th, 2017, 03:25 AM   #1
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Stalking

Anyone feel like sharing what techniques they've found effective in stalking small skittish animals and birds?

I come from down wind wherever possible, and move very slowly, pausing often and avoiding looking directly at my target, but still they often take off before I'm close enough for good footage.

I've always worn drab colours, but haven't bothered with camouflage so far. I know the animals know you're there anyway so I'm not sure camouflage would make any difference.

It was suggested to me to wear fine fly mesh over my eyes so the animals can't see that I'm looking at them and that makes sense. I'll try that soon.

Also, has anyone had success with these types of things?:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1349772-REG/lenscoat_lclh2m5_lenshide_lightweight_realtree_max.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

I have no idea if they would be at all effective, but I can see they might be awkward to use.

I'm trying to convince myself I can get usable footage with a camera that only has a 500mm (35mm equiv) lens. That's the main thing holding me back from buying a UX180 at the moment.
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Last edited by Michael Warren; November 20th, 2017 at 04:15 AM.
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Old November 20th, 2017, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: Stalking

After years of wildlife and small bird shooting, I've given up on stalking these subjects. Instead, I wait them out by finding a spot they are likely to appear, setting up my gear and waiting. Sometimes this means waiting several hours, but I find the small critters less skittish and more natural when they come to me. Of course that means that I am sometimes "skunked" but I've developed patience and a small degree of fatalism.

I've used everything from 300mm to 1200 mm equivalents to gather images and bigger is usually better but if you are sitting still, 500mm should work. I don't think about hand-held shooting as that's too likely to spook the small critters. Besides a tripod, I also set up with a small comfortable stool to reduce the urge to move around. I've tried various kinds of hides but find them unnecessary if you just stay still and then move very, very slowly when you start to shoot.

This waiting out method requires study and recons to find the best places to set up.

I wear varying degrees of camo but that's more an affectation than anything else. It's keeping still that let's me get close enough
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Old November 20th, 2017, 10:43 AM   #3
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Re: Stalking

Thanks for your reply Conrad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrad Obregon View Post
This waiting out method requires study and recons to find the best places to set up.
That's where I don't feel confident. I've been to some of the same locations dozens of times and haven't been able to discern a pattern for where I'm more likely for see animals, particularly birds. It seems to be totally random.

There was one exception to that. One place where there was only a single source of water for a great distance. In that location I could guarantee animals of all sorts at the water hole every day, but in my local area both water and food are plentiful, so animals don't seem to be attracted to particular locations.

Perhaps I'm just not trying hard enough.
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Old November 24th, 2017, 08:35 PM   #4
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Re: Stalking

Hi Mike,
I have to agree with what Conrad has said, but also add to that, the need to pick a subject and study up on its behaviour. If you can pick one or two subjects you know to be in an area you want to shoot in, you can find out what their food sources are, times of the day they are most active etc. etc. Armed with that knowledge, finding a spot to wait them out will be easier. The benefit of this is that not only will you increase the likelyhood of getting footage of your subject, but the footage you get will likely be good behavioural footage.
Being able to spot signs left behind is a good way of knowing where to find them. Not sure if there are any animal tracking courses where you live, but that type of course can really open up your senses to things you may normally miss.
As for camo clothing, personally I wear it, but think that camouflaging your scent and minimizing movement is probably more important, at least with mammals.
If you find a very active spot where animals come frequently, it could be a good idea to set up a tent type of blind and leave it there. Try to get to the blind well before your subjects are active and likely to come to the spot, and you should have success.
I hope this helps,
Bryce
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Old November 24th, 2017, 10:32 PM   #5
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Re: Stalking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Warren View Post
pausing often and avoiding looking directly at my target
I also avoid making eye contact, looking down at the ground as much as possible. Even if the animal has no idea what a human is, they all seem to know when something with a face is looking at them - and they don't like it. I also try to never move directly towards an animal when I want to get closer. I zig zag and tack in towards them indirectly so I'm not moving right at them. Stopping frequently, of course to lessen the feeling that I am stalking them. BTW, these same techniques work for humans as well!
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Old November 25th, 2017, 11:30 AM   #6
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Re: Stalking

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I also avoid making eye contact, looking down at the ground as much as possible... BTW, these same techniques work for humans as well!
Doug's next release, "How to Pick Up Skittish Fat Women" A no-nonsense field guide for middle-aged, balding men.

Chapter 1: My Gear List. Pith helmet, safari jacket, Sony video camera (set to full manual).


Sorry Douglas, couldn't resist!

Last edited by Mark Watson; November 26th, 2017 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Fix the book title, per Doug's request (under duress!)
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Old November 25th, 2017, 01:25 PM   #7
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Re: Stalking

My only complaint is that you forgot "fat" in the title! :-)
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Old November 26th, 2017, 05:35 AM   #8
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Re: Stalking

Doug, I've addressed your sole complaint. Ummmm.... yeah, well, I gotta go now!
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Old November 26th, 2017, 07:28 AM   #9
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Re: Stalking

Oh no!!! I don't want to pickup fat women. The title should be . . .

"How to Pick Up Skittish Women" A no-nonsense field guide for middle-aged, fat, balding men.

Now this thread has officially gone of the rails and burned.
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Old November 26th, 2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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Re: Stalking

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Now this thread has officially gone of the rails and burned.
It's just started to become interesting. :)
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Old November 26th, 2017, 06:28 PM   #11
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Re: Stalking

No edit button now, so can't change that title, guess it will have to stay that way. I would add to the gear list; Tranquilizer gun with extra darts.

Chapter 2: Protection - I don't use any. And by protection, I'm talking about lens covers, of course! People that need lens covers have weak character. I have no problem lens swapping with absolutely no protection even while in the deep bush.


(yes, I have too much spare time on my hands currently)
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Old November 27th, 2017, 12:59 AM   #12
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Re: Stalking

And don't forget the condom.
















On the shotgun mic of course.
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