Raccoon adventure

As an outdoor photographer, you’ll likely experience moments you’ll never forget. I’d like to share with you one of my more recent adventures with a raccoon.

Over the past couple of years raccoon sightings appear to be up in the Kamloops area with sightings in Dallas, Valleyview, Ord Road and Kamloops Lake. Could they be one of our future pests, or an environmental concern? Only time will tell.

Depending on how you feel about racoons, these appealing or appalling creatures are known for their black facial markings making them look like they’re wearing little masks. Raccoons are greyish in colour with alternating black and brown rings on their tails.

I decided to do a little research and asked Paul Williams, Animal Care Supervisor at the British Columbia Wildlife Park to share some of his knowledge on raccoons in our area.

Paul informed me that raccoons have never been in the Interior of the province historically. Their range only went as far east as Hope and as far west as the Rockies. Through Paul’s own research conversing with local Ministry of Environment biologists, he found the raccoons’ expansion into this area is not natural. Raccoons may have arrived in our neck of the woods due to people who owned them as pets and on commercial vehicles where they have accidentally hitched a ride.

On one of my recent photography outings, I spotted a raccoon at Cooney Bay near Kamloops Lake. My raccoon adventure out at the lake was quite an ordeal. While looking to photograph birds, the curious creature came out of the woods to investigate my presence. I must admit, I was thrilled to see it and took quite a few photographs until I got a little concerned about its growing confidence. It found my truck and decided it was something fun to climb and with one of my windows down, I knew I had to get over there and start up the engine to perhaps frighten away the little climber.

Well, starting up the engine worked, but now the raccoon was heading over to my camera and tripod that was carelessly left behind. It started to lean on and chew my tripod legs. I watched in horror as my gear was swaying back and forth! What in the world was I thinking leaving thousands of dollars worth of camera gear in the hands of a raccoon?
Strangely enough, I was able to get the little guy’s attention by dragging a stick along the sand. For some reason the raccoon found this amusing and followed me down to the lake before it disappeared into the bushes from where it came.

All in all it was a morning to remember and I learned not to venture too far from my camera gear!

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