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Utah's wild animals

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The Watchable Wildlife Program

Providing opportunities to see, photograph and enjoy Utah's wildlife

Because of public interest in photography, viewing and other wildlife-oriented activities, federal and state land and wildlife management agencies in Utah have formed a partnership with conservation organizations. This effort, known as the Watchable Wildlife Program, provides Utah's citizens and visitors a new opportunity to enjoy and appreciate one of its greatest heritages — its wildlife.

The Watchable Wildlife Program expands our understanding of the world around us. Viewing wildlife in its natural habitat can help us value diversity and see the benefits of all components of our natural environment. Species that aren't hunted, viewed or photographed may play a critical role in the health of another species, or even an entire ecosystem.

See the wildlife calendar, peregrine falcon and festivals and accessibility for disabled persons pages for wildlife viewing opportunities in the state.

Viewing hints

  • photo
    Bald eagle chicks
    Timing is everything. Generally, the first and last hours of daylight are the best times to view or photograph most species. Seasonally, spring and early summer are the best times to view many species including songbirds, small mammals and hoofed mammals.
  • Be quiet. Quick movements and loud noises can scare wildlife. Use your car or boat as a viewing blind. Sometimes, you may actually see more by remaining inside the vehicle. Approach streams slowly and use vegetation as a screen to avoid scaring fish in shallow water. Notice how often you see animals when you're still rather than when you're moving. Whisper when you speak.
  • Use viewing aids. Binoculars or spotting scopes are ideal for watching wildlife. Use field guides for help with species identification and other facts. Wearing polarized glasses helps reduce glare and makes fish viewing much easier.
  • Practice patience. Wait quietly for animals to enter or return to an area. Give yourself enough time to allow animals to move within your view. Patience is usually rewarded with a more complete wildlife experience.
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Mountain goat

Outdoor ethics

Honor the rights of private landowners. Gain permission of private landowners before entering their property.

Honor wildlife's requirement of free movement. Feeding, touching or otherwise harassing wildlife is inappropriate. Young wild animals that appear to be alone have not been abandoned; allow them to find their own way.

Honor the rights of others to enjoy their viewing experience. Loud noises, quick movements or extraordinary behavior that might scare wildlife is inappropriate. Wait your turn or seek another viewing opportunity.

Honor your own right to enjoy the outdoors in the future. Leave wildlife habitat in better condition than you found it. Pick up litter that you might encounter at a viewing site and dispose of it properly.

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