Brooks Range
Grizzly along the Denali Highway Rafting the Gulkana National Wild River Native woman drying salmon on racks ATV rider on trails near Glennallen Surveyor
BLM>Alaska>Programs>Recreation>Guidelines, Information, Safety>How to Watch Wildlife in Alaska
Print Page

How to Watch Wildlife in Alaska

Man watches wildlife through binoculars
Use proper equipment and viewing techniques

Since wildife density is typically low in Alaska, you can increase your chances of spotting animals by using quality binoculars to check out a large expanse of terrain from a good vantage point. If you find something interesting, get out a good spotting scope and tripod; this will allow the animal to remain undistrubed as you view its natural behavior pattern.

Don't hurry

As you travel, stop at points that offer views of quality habitats such as rivers, ponds, or lakes. The more time you take, the greater your chances for observing wildlife that would otherwise be missed. Better yet, set up a base camp to spend a few days in a given area.

Keep your distance

Birdwatchers, photographers, artists, tourists--anyone--can harm wildlife unintentionally by getting too close. Most wild animals react with alarm when approached by humans on foot or in vehicles. Such reactions are stressful and cause the animal to use energy that is needed for other activities. Repeated disturbances may cause animals, including birds, to avoid an area even if the area provides the best food or cover.

Blend in

Wear muted colors and sit quietly. Avoid using scented soaps or perfumes.

Leave pets at home

Having a dog around is a sure way to scare animals away, or, attract an animal you wish to avoid. If you must bring your pet on the trip, it should remain on a leash in camp.

Photographing wildlife with a telephoto lens and tripod 

Using a telephoto lens and a tripod is the only realistic way to get a good closeup photo.

Learn more

For added enjoyment, learn how to recognize animals by their tracks, droppings, and vocalizations.

Carry field guides

There are many guides available for birds, large and small mammals, and animal tracks. They can be purchased at most bookstores.