Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
January 6, 2014

Andy Whitcomb

Water and Wildlife

Water attracts not only boaters and anglers, but wildlife as well.  Among my sightings last year were an otter munching on crayfish, a family of black bears, and a fawn swimming in the Allegheny River. Experiences like this certainly make an outing memorable, whether the fish are biting or not.

Depending on your location this winter, open water may be at a premium and can concentrate wildlife.  Plus, there is generally less boating and fishing pressure on water resources during winter months.  This can mean some great wildlife viewing if you venture out. Sit quietly near water and you may get to see some of the “neighbors.” If your paths do cross, be sure to keep a respectful distance.

If you want to take wildlife pictures, protect your digital camera in a water resistant case.  During cold weather, try to keep the camera warm, perhaps inside your coat.  Try to plan ahead and make temperature transitions slowly. Sudden temperature changes fog lenses and hold moisture on sensitive electronic equipment. Additionally, cold temperatures lower battery life so carry a spare and try to keep it warm too.

This winter while I’m out ice fishing or casting in the river, I’m hoping to catch my first glimpse of an elusive fisher.

What wildlife have you seen? What would you like to see?


Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at

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