6

I'm living near the black forest and one of my favorite animals are lynxes. Since 2014 the lynx-population in the black forest is growing. Still they are quite seldom and of course shy. Nevertheless I want to try my luck and stalk one.

What should I take into account when trying?

  • 4
    Nothing stalks a lynx. They're either trapped, or shot from very long distances. Your best bet of catching sight of one is to locate a den (by following tracks), then set up a camera in a blind downwind and lay in wait for a long time. – ShemSeger Feb 21 '17 at 16:35
  • 3
    I think that lynxes would be the ones doing the stalking, whether it be of people or animals. – Ken Graham Feb 21 '17 at 19:12
8

I have to be honest with you here: I don't think you will be successful in observing any wild Lynx. That is unless you are willing to commit a lot of time and quite potentially a fair bit of money into specialised equipment.

  • Lynx are just extremely shy animals. They will hear you a mile off and will avoid you if possible. They also have very keen smell, so just waiting around for them to wander by is not that easy.
  • Lynx live a solitary live, and as (rather) big predators they need a large area which they'll roam in order to hunt for food. A resulting fact is that the Lynx population is very sparse, so even if they weren't shy it would require a fair bit of luck to actually encounter one.
  • Lynx are forest animals, you will only very rarely see one in the open - thus requiring you to be quite close to have a chance at spotting them (no fancy mega-zoom lenses :/).
  • Last but not least, as cats they are often active at night or at dusk/dawn - and their night vision is a lot better than yours.

Just as an anecdote of how hard it can be: I once read an article about people who set up photo-traps to try and capture wild Lynx. Once they had spotted a suitable place for a camera from afar, they changed into special overalls before actually approaching the place - just to try to avoid leaving any kind of strange smells that could put off the cats.

If you're really dedicated:

  • I'd say your best bet would be to talk to local game keepers or wardens (or if you're lucky some biologists). They might already be in the business of observing and monitoring the local Lynx population. Might be that they would let you tag along, or they could at least tell you a lot about the local animals, their habitats, routes, behaviour, ...
  • Scout for Lynx trails or droppings, and set up an automated camera trap. Even better would be to find a fresh Lynx kill - the cats will likely return to it to feed again.
  • A mother with cubs will find/create a sort of nest or den to shelter her young. I don't suggest you try to approach one - for their sake and yours. You'll likely never find one anyway, but the vicinity of such a place could be a decent spot to set up photo traps.
  • If you are very very patient you could maybe even hunker down near a good spot and try to spot some Lynx yourself. But you'll likely need night-vision equipment and a lot of patience... Animal photographers sometimes spend weeks without seeing any animals. (I'd only think about ever trying this if you've found a fresh kill by a Lynx, otherwise the chances of one returning before your patiences runs out is near zero.)
1

The first step in stalking a predator is to learn everything about the animal you can using the various resources available to you including people, books, movies, and the internet.

The second step is to spend some time in their habitat. The more time you spend there the better you are able to apply the knowledge you just learned.

A couple good method's for putting a stalk on any animal is to find high ground for easy observation. Grab some optics and watch cutouts in the timber and natural routes a Lynx might use. If the Black Forest does not provide observation posts, then you can follow signs (tracks, poop, fresh kills).

Learn to identify a Lynx sign versus all the other critters in the Black Forest woods. Once you can do that, learn to age the sign. Once you have a 2-4 hour old sign, follow it. There is plenty of information on tracking animals available but the idea is to look for tracks with fresh poop, fresh kills, or minor weathering, those tend to be the freshest.

If that is not interesting you could try and call them in using various predator calls. You could use trained dogs to trail them. By pure chance, you could cross paths with one.

The most valuable resource is people in the area with first hand knowledge. If you can get someone to help you through the learning curve I have no doubt you could spot a Lynx on your first few tries. Stay optimistic, most animals prefer to avoid humans, so a little care while wondering goes a long way. Either way it sounds very exciting and worthwhile, be safe and good luck.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.