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Observing wildlife in their natural habitat can be a fun, exciting, and educational experience. Pennsylvania is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities in the Eastern United States. With 480 species of wild birds and mammals, you never know what you might see! Whether you’re visiting Benezette to see our famous elk herd or trying to catch a glimpse of a secretive warbler species on a State Game Lands, there are several important tips to be aware of in order for your wildlife viewing adventure to be a safe, fun, and responsible trip. 

Info Icon.jpg Know before you go - Plan ahead and become familiar with regulations and activities happening at the location you’re headed to. Research when and where activities like hunting are occurring.  

Respect Icon.jpgBe respectful of other visitors – The best times for wildlife viewing are reliant on the season and time of day, which means you’re likely to run into other wildlife viewers from time to time. Give others space and recreate responsibly. 

Binocular Icon.jpg​View from a distance – Give wildlife plenty of space. Some places, like National Parks, have distance requirements for viewing wildlife. This is important for the animal's well-being and for your safety. To view wildlife up close without disturbing it, use a zoom lens, binoculars or a spotting scope. Help keep wildlife wild by giving them space. 

Do not disturb.jpgDo not disturb – Be respectful of wildlife always, but especially during nesting and denning seasons. Many species of wildlife are born in the spring and it’s almost certain Pennsylvanians will encounter young wildlife at one point or another. While some young animals might appear to be abandoned, usually they are not. Their mothers are likely somewhere nearby. When encountering young wildlife, the Game Commission urges Pennsylvanians not to interfere with young wildlife or remove any wild animal from its natural setting, for the protection of humans and wildlife. It is illegal to take or possess wildlife from the wild. If you encounter wildlife (small or large), do not touch. If you are concerned, reach out at 1-833-PGC-WILD to report injured, sick, or nuisance wildlife. 

DO not feed.jpgNever feed wildlife – Feeding wildlife is dangerous for wildlife and people. Sharing your food can sicken an animal, spread wildlife disease, or encourage the animal to approach humans in the future, expecting a snack. Please help us keep wildlife wild by not feeding them. 

Waste Icon.jpg​Pack it in, pack it out – Whether a snack wrapper or scraps of food, be sure to take your trash and food waste with you to dispose of at home. This is the central messaging engrained in the Leave No Trace framework. Help us keep our wild spaces clean and pick up after yourself.

Phone Icon.jpgIf you see something, say something – We understand that mistakes happen. Call the Game Commission at 1-833-PGC-WILD if you come into physical contact with wildlife. Call if you see wildlife that is sick, dead, or acting strangely, including wildlife that approaches you. And when you see people who aren’t following these guidelines, let them know how they can be a responsible wildlife viewer, and contact us if necessary. 

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Now that you know how to recreate and view wildlife safely and responsibly, here are some places in Pennsylvania where you can go catch a glimpse of some wildlife! 

Wildlife Cams

Did you know that you can see what’s happening live in the wild without leaving your home? The PGC and HDOnTap have several wildlife cameras that allow you to see wildlife up close without disturbing them. Check them out below! 


Thank you for joining us in elk viewing this season! The elk cam is located in Benezette, Pennsylvania on some of the 1.5 million acres of state game land owned and managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 


Celebrate the snow goose migration in Pennsylvania from Willow Point at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County. 

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Eagles have nested in this vicinity for at least 15 years. It is believed that when a nest collapsed about three miles away, the pair built a new nest at this location. The eagles nesting in this area have successfully reared three young most years.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission and HDOnTap have been live streaming the Hanover, PA bald eagle nest since 2015.

Responsible Wildlife Viewing 

You can help keep wildlife, yourself and habitats safe and healthy by setting a good example. Everyone is encouraged to be responsible and respectful while viewing wildlife. Read below to learn more about recreating responsibly with black bears and elk in Pennsylvania. 

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Community Science Opportunities

The Pennsylvania Game Commission - your state wildlife agency – is responsible for conserving all wild birds and mammals, and their habitats, for this and future generations. Community science is an opportunity for anyone to assist in gathering important data for scientific research. The surveys and conservation opportunities below are conducted seasonally throughout the year and help support the agency's science-based management decisions for species and habitats. We welcome all wildlife enthusiasts to participate! 

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