One of the rewards for sitting in a 120-degree blind for the late afternoon hours is what you can see at a waterhole. My last blog showed a Boone & Crockett whitetail buck, tattered velvet hanging from antlers in bloody strips, pausing for a drink. The next afternoon, I was fortunate to see a coyote visit the same waterhole several times, obviously enjoying the “cool” water (probably hotter than 90 degree surface temperature.) The coyote swam, stood neck-deep while drinking, and generally romped around the pond edge three times in a couple of hours.
I never get tired of watching wildlife at ease, even when conditions are harsh for photography. In fact, that’s sometimes when things are best – super cold, when animals must feed in daylight; super hot, when animals must stop frequently to water; heavy snow, when waterfowl hunker down on favorite marshes – you get the idea. Some of those sightings make unforgettable memories that I wouldn’t trade. Many of them were uncomfortable, or even painful, to film. Like the time I lay prone all afternoon in front of a swift fox den, accumulating welts from biting flies. Or the time I endured stinging ants for fifteen minutes as I filmed coyote pups playing near their den. Countless times when hundreds of chigger bites (THE WORST!!!) resulted from a foray into the grasslands. Hypothermia from sitting waist-deep in freezing water for hours (in chest waders) while filming diving ducks in an icy pool.
But it’s worth it when you see close-up the details of wild ways. And a camera makes it even better, when you can share those special moments.
These days, I rarely have the time to spend hours in a blind watching wildlife. But between running here and there across the state, filming all kinds of subjects for Kansas Outdoors Today, my best hours are those spent in some remote, quiet place where animals are at home. And shots like these on a hot coyote make it all worthwhile.