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Canyon of Gold
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The Biggest-Little Rodeo
Wildlife Viewing
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Wildlife Viewing

Watchable Wildlife in Utah

ground squirrel photo
The Watchable Wildlife Program
Where to go
Viewing Hints
Outdoor Ethics
Recent Watachable Wildlife Events

This Article originally from

Historically, wildlife management in Utah has largely focused on hunted species. Sportsmen, through license fees and federal taxation on firearms and fishing tackle, have carried the burden of funding state wildlife programs in the past and this remains largely the case today. Often, these programs have benefited non-hunted species of wildlife through habitat enhancement and preservation. Direct management for appreciative uses has been a low-key effort by comparison.

Recently, public interest in wildlife-oriented activities such as photography and viewing have taken a dramatic upturn. In response to this situation, 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 alike a new opportunity to enjoy and better appreciate one of its greatest heritages-its wildlife. The Utah Wildlife Viewing Guide is the first step in this effort and will serve as the focal point for a complete Watchable Wildlife Program in the years to come. This publication may be purchased through the DWR publications department. The next step, enhancement of individual viewing sites, is just getting under way in the state. Site enhancement involves such things as interpretive signing, trail development, construction of viewing blinds or platforms, and provision of parking and restroom facilities.

An additional benefit of the Watchable Wildlife Program is to expand our understanding of the world around us. It can help us to better value diversity or to see the value of all components of our natural environment. Species that are neither hunted, viewed, nor photographed may play a critical role in the health of another species, or indeed, an entire ecosystem. By viewing wildlife in its natural habitat, perhaps we may better appreciate the importance of all elements of the biological and physical world around us.

Additional wildlife viewing opportunities may be found on the bird sightings, wildlife events and festivals and accessibility for disabled persons pages.


  • The first and last hours of daylight are generally the best times to view or photograph most species. Seasonally, spring and early summer are the best times to view many species such as songbirds, small mammals, and hoofed mammals since they are most active throughout the day during this period.
  • Be quiet. Quick movements and loud noises will normally scare wildlife. Since your car or boat is a good viewing blind, you may actually see more by remaining in the vehicle. Streams should be approached slowly and vegetation used as a screen to avoid scaring fish in shallow water. Notice how much more often you see animals when you are still than when you are moving. Whisper when you speak.
  • Use as many viewing aids as possible. Binoculars or spotting scopes are always desirable to enhance your observations. Field guides are helpful with identification and other pertinent facts. Polarized glasses help reduce glare and make fish viewing easier.
  • Be patient. 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.


  • 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.


We would like to thank the Utah Division of Wild Life Resources for allowing us to use content from their website and would encourage you to visit them at for more information on Utah's vast wildlife resources.

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