Montana Outdoors

January 28, 2015

Camouflage

Filed under: Animals, Cottontail rabbit, Winter — Tags: , — montucky @ 12:37 am

When I wander through the back country of western Montana, the roadless areas and the wilderness, I nearly always dress in full camouflage because I prefer to blend in with the natural surroundings and also because I find that it disturbs the native wildlife much less and often gives me the chance to be very close to them. However, here is an example of a real expert at camouflage and his life depends on the success of his strategy.

Cottontail's home

There is a cottontail rabbit in the above photo. His outline can be dimly seen just below the middle and to the left of center, a place where I frequently see him on my daily walks. He is so confident of his camouflage and his protected sitting place that he will usually just stay put while I walk to within 15 feet, even when my dog is with me. At the time of this photo he had his back turned to me (not his best side), but in the following photo taken a couple of hours earlier from the same exact spot (using all of the zoom my little camera could muster) he was watching me.

Cottontail

I have to admit that as good as my camo is, it pales in comparison to his!

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25 Comments »

  1. You’re right about the camouflage, Terry.
    Love the close-up shot of the bunny behind the sticks. Now that is an image I might not have seen myself, but or…maybe I would. Its surprising how your eyes and ears adjust to the slightest sounds & movement when you get used to walking with a camera. I see birds in thick foliage that I never would have noticed before I bought the DSLR. My ears are even tuned to the slightest rustle in the undergrowth as long as there are no other walkers or people talking nearby.

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    Comment by Vicki — January 28, 2015 @ 1:21 am

    • I’ve found that I look at the world a lot closer since I have been taking pictures. A sense for animals though has come from a long history of hunting, and my father taught me well when I was quite young. It develops into what might be considered a separate sense and a very important one for wilderness travel because some of the wildlife there might be a bit dangerous.

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      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 1:55 am

  2. Yes! I think I see him! It took me five minutes though! What great photos! I shall test it out on Colin to see if he’s any quicker! (He is uncanny at spotting snipe and woodcock!)

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — January 28, 2015 @ 3:46 am

    • I love to see the wild critters in their hiding places. Often they are surprising.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

  3. Hehehe, blending in.

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    Comment by bentehaarstad — January 28, 2015 @ 4:57 am

    • One of the pictures I took of the rabbit torned out to be a picture of a nearby rock and not the cottontail at all!

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      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:36 pm

  4. It took me a long time to find the rabbit in the first picture even though you told me the area it was in! A nice puzzle photograph for us. 🙂 I also try to dress in dull colours on walks here for the same reasons.

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    Comment by Jane — January 28, 2015 @ 5:18 am

    • That’s a refreshing part of being in the back country. One morning when I was on a hunt I noticed a coyote coming toward me on the same trail that I was on. I didn’t move anything but my eyes and he came right up to me, stepped over the toe of my boot and went on his way down the trail even though he appeared nervous because he could smell me.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

  5. I’m afraid I’m a failure. I can’t see him in the first photo. Excellent camouflage for sure.

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    Comment by wordsfromanneli — January 28, 2015 @ 5:58 am

    • I too have missed many animals. I think the most difficult are the javelina that are found in the southern deserts. You can see them at a distance for a second and then they completely disappear. The deserve to be called the “ghosts of the desert”.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

  6. A rabbit’s life must be a tough one, always having to watch for hawks overhead and wolves on the ground. This one learned well though!

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    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — January 28, 2015 @ 7:12 am

    • Exactly. This little guy will live a long life as long as he uses the brush like that and he seems inclined too. I saw in the snow that he does venture out at night though and I saw bobcat tracks that passed right by his thicket a week ago.

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      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

  7. Wow, I really had to look for him in that first shot. He’s an expert at camo but awfully cute.

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    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — January 28, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  8. That’s amazing. I even got out my magnifying glass, and I still only think I see him in the first photo. The second photo is a gem. It certainly makes clear why he would be so unclear, crouched down in that tangle. It makes me wonder how many creatures have seen me on my walks, while I missed them completely.

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    Comment by shoreacres — January 28, 2015 @ 8:28 am

    • I suspect that on most of my hikes there is at least one set of eyes on me at all times. I often hear movements in the brush along the trails and usually I can tell from the sound what creature is making it. Some will let me pass, then follow for a ways out of sheer curiosity. I’ve also watched game animals who were watching other hunters who passed they without noticing. I got a kick out of that.

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      Comment by montucky — January 28, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

  9. Real camouflage!

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    Comment by Sartenada — January 29, 2015 @ 12:40 am

    • I think that’s why they are such a successful species!

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      Comment by montucky — January 29, 2015 @ 10:34 am

  10. Hi Montucky, Wow! I did not see that bunny at all. Nicely done. Have a fantastic weekend!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — January 30, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    • When there is a fresh snow over night, we can know that there are rabbits around, but when there is no snow we may not even know they are around. The University of Utah recently completed a study on the use of natural foods by bison versus cattle in an area where they compete for food. To their surprise they found that the native jackrabbits actually ate more of the available food than the bison.

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      Comment by montucky — January 30, 2015 @ 10:43 am

  11. I never could spot him in the first photo…excellent camo. I’ve seen plenty of the little cottontail rabbits here on the fringes and deep into the desert, but I saw a couple of desert jackrabbits for the first time a few weekends ago…they were almost as large as a medium-sized dog!

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    Comment by seekraz — January 30, 2015 @ 8:52 pm

    • Yes, I remember the jacks were huge! Have you run into javelina yet? They are my favorite desert animal, and the hardest to see at times.

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      Comment by montucky — January 30, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

      • No…haven’t seen any javelina out there yet, but my older son saw some walking through the neighborhood a few months ago. 🙂

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        Comment by seekraz — January 30, 2015 @ 9:38 pm

  12. What a cutie! I always feel sorry for the cottontails, they seem to be prey for so many other animals that they must never be able to relax. This one looks pretty bunkered in, though, so I hope he is able to catch some shuteye now and then. That’s amazing about the coyote stepping over your toe.

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    Comment by Candace — January 31, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

    • I feel sorry for them too. They do best in extremely brushy places like this one, especially where there are a lot of thorny plants… catclaw does nicely.

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      Comment by montucky — January 31, 2015 @ 6:08 pm


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