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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Building Nest Structures, Feeders, and Photo Blinds
for North Dakota Wildlife

Wildlife Viewing and Photography Blinds

Wildlife Viewing and Photography Blinds

Viewing or photographing wildlife is made easier if you are stationary and let the wildlife come to you. It is easy to attest to that if you've ever fed birds in your back yard at a feeding station. The same approach should be used if you travel out-of-doors to view or photograph wildlife. The fact is that wildlife subjects are just that--wild, and normally won't allow you to approach closely. A little more time will be required to construct, place, and maintain a blind, but the time involved will be far less than the time spent in frustrating pursuit of wary wildlife.

There are as many types and shapes of blinds as there are inventive minds who build them. The main point is that the blind be large enough to make you comfortable, made of dark canvas so light cannot penetrate, and allow your shadow to be seen, made sturdy and anchored to the ground to prevent it from blowing away, and placed in the correct habitat and camouflaged to maximize your chances of seeing wildlife.

Choosing the correct habitat to place the blind is easier and more effective if you know your subjects' habitat and characteristics. Viewing deer, for instance, would require that a blind is placed near a food source where the deer is feeding in the evening, or on a trail that leads from where it feeds to a bedding area where it rets during the day. Another possibility would be a blind near a trail of rubbed trees where a buck frequents in the fall or an area where deer congregate to winter. Every species of wildlife act relatively the same from day to day or season to season and a pattern can usually be established if you do your research.

Other useful tips that may enhance your success include pre-positioning a blind for some time before you plan to use it. Time for the wildlife to get used to the presence of the blind is important. The blind should also be positioned so that the prevailing winds blow from the subject to your blind and not toward the wildlife. Birds are not of concern with this issue. Movement within the blind should be minimal and loud talking prohibited. Bringing a stool or short chair will make the stay more comfortable as patience is often a virtue when sitting in a blind.

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