How to Be Respectful of Wildlife

How to Be Respectful of Wildlife
Viewing animals and being able to impact them as little as possible is one of the keys to being respectful of wildlife. There are a number of things that hunters, anglers, hikers and campers can do to make sure that they show wild animals the greatest consideration while still being able to enjoy nature. This includes giving wildlife plenty of space when it is encountered, staying on established trails, not littering, controlling pets, and hunting and fishing in a responsible manner.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Avoid feeding the animals. Feeding wildlife can have the opposite effect intended. Instead of helping an animal you may be inadvertently causing it problems by making it dependent on people for food and making it less fearful of humans than it should be. The result can be death for animals that lose their wariness and wind up in inhabited areas where they can be killed by vehicles or pets.
Step 2
Watch from a distance. There is no need to get up and close and personal with wildlife. This can result in your being potentially injured and/or the animal being spooked and hurt. Young can be abandoned in these cases and left on their own. Use binoculars or a camera's telephoto lens to remain at a safe distance and still be able to see animals clearly.
Step 3
Pick up after yourself and others when out in the wild. Do not ever litter and clean up any that you may come across. Garbage left in the wild can cause distress to many different species. Water birds for example can become tangled in plastic or fishing line.
Step 4
Keep your dogs and cats inside. Wandering dogs are capable of having run-ins with all sorts of wildlife and even the most harmless looking house cats that are allowed to roam kill countless songbirds as well as field mice, moles, voles and shrews. If you are out in the woods with a pet, make sure it is on a leash rather than risk it going after whatever it may encounter in the woods.
Step 5
Practice catch and release if you are an angler. If you are going to keep fish to eat, then make sure they are legal-sized and never exceed the limit. Release fish quickly and handle them as little as possible. Report any poaching activity to the proper authorities in your state. Hunt in an ethical manner. Only take a shot when the target is certain and clear. Follow all wounded animals until you can find them. Follow your state's legal guidelines when it comes to such things as bag limits and open seasons.
Step 6
Don't touch wild animals. If you come across a young or baby animal in the woods, you should realize that its mother is probably close by. If you are convinced that an animal may be in trouble then contact your local game warden. By staying on trails that have been blazed specifically for hikers, you will avoid disturbing the wildlife in a region. Leave nests and animals alone if you stumble across them.

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