PORT ARTHUR —
Last Thursday’s Critter Cam question had a phenomenal response.
For those who did not see the outdoors page, the photo showed a mysterious eye asking what type of creature it represented.
Some readers got it, several guessed speckled trout while other guesses ranged from snake to coyote.
Replying to all of the enthusiastic e-mails got me to thinking about the eyes we see in the great outdoors and that as a photographer and videographer it has given me a unique opportunity to look into the eyes of many, many wild creatures. The following is some wild eyes I have looked into along with a few observations.
• Cape Buffalo-In my forthcoming book “Forever Wild: My journey from the wild side to the dark side and back” I detail a spooky encounter I had with a Cape Buffalo on a huge Texas ranch. The thing that sticks with me is that this thing had a blank stare that somehow seemed to cut right through me. It at once looked as if it was see nothing but then again seemed to be seeing everything. It creeped me out.
• Whitetail Buck-It might come as a surprise to some but no creature I have ever photographed or been around for that matter has a look in its eyes as intense as a whitetail buck in rut. Numerous times I have looked through the lens of a camera and seen raw determination to eliminate any competition for available does. Bucks become like machines in the rut and are actually quite dangerous to be around.
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Great White Shark-In “Jaws”, Capt. Quint the character played so brilliantly by Robert Shaw says of white sharks, “They have the blackest eyes, like a doll’s eyes.” I had the amazing opportunity to cage dive with white sharks in 2002 and had the chance to see these eyes in up close and personal fashion. “Jaws” writer Peter Benchley nailed the look of the great white’s eyes.
At one point I had a direct stare down moment with an 18-footer and still get chills thinking about it. That’s a good thing in my book by the way.
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Gray Fox-They say curiosity killed the cat but I don’t think I have ever seen anything that looked quite as curious as a little gray fox I filmed. These underrated beauties are about the size of a big house cat but their eyes show a gigantic curiosity and even sort of whimsical nature. Perhaps I project that onto them because I have observed foxes playing but the feel I got was one of deep curiosity.
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Manatee-I have had two opportunities to snorkel with manatees in Florida’s Crystal River and will never forget looking into the eyes of these gentle giants. You would think swimming alongside something that weighs 1,500 pounds would be nerve-wracking but once you look into their eyes calm comes over you. Their peaceful nature shines through.
It is easy to enter the great outdoors looking to accomplish a specific task like shooting a limit of ducks or catch some redfish for the grill. However if we hit the woods or water with an open mind and an observant eye of our own we can catch things that enhance the experience beyond perhaps even our own expectations.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 and watch him 10 a.m. Saturdays on GETV.org)