Not seeing animals when you are in the outdoors? Try the piece of advice I offered to three moose hunters from Oregon last September: “Shut the HECK up!” (Or something to that effect). The fact is that noisy humans don’t see a lot of wildlife. Whether you are hunting, fishing, paddling or walking, the sight of a wild animal adds to the wilderness experience. So if you want to maximize animal sightings you have to learn to be quiet. Especially when you are on or near a waterway where noise travels with exponential ease.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot from my First Nation’s friends who make their living in the wilderness. One of the most profound lessons is the art of being quiet. Too many of us make a lot of unnecessary noise. We also talk too much. Human generated noise is totally out of place in the wilderness and animals literally head for the hills at the first sound of it.
If you want to see more animals on your next outdoor adventure. Try extinguishing, or at least limiting, noise. The list of human noises that alert wildlife to your presence includes, but is not limited to, the following: burping, farting, snorting, wheezing, coughing, sniffling, whistling, and of course talking, yelling, laughing and giggling; jingling keys, tools, change, bells and whistles; various clunking and clankings; all electronic communication device noises (need I list them?); beeps from camera flashes, timers, focus indicators, and so on; banging paddles or anchors on aluminum boats – and the list goes on.
By now you should be getting my drift. Being quiet takes practice.So next time you’re in the woods work on your being quiet skills. It will take some time, but eventually you will catch on. You never know, you might also end up with a quiet spirit – and that’s what a holiday in the wilderness is all about!
Scott Earl Smith