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“Rush when you are in the woods, and you’ll miss most things anyway. However, anyone with an inquisitive sense of adventure will be amazed how much you can discover even in just a small area.”

For Wolfgang Schreil – alias ‘Woid Woife’ – this is no cliché. It’s his maxim. And not just since he started to appear on German children’s television.

He lives in Arberwald near Bodenmais in Bavaria, Germany. He spends a lot of time walking through the trees of the Bavarian Forest and is always finding interesting things on his adventure hikes.

It’s the animals in the woods that interest him most. He knows where the deer rut in clearings hidden deep in the forest. He knows which ponds to find snakes in: “As a child, I used to read piles of books about animals and learn all about how they behave.”

Woid Woife sees things that others don’t. Or rather, he sees things that many people have maybe lost the ability to see.

“Anyone who takes the time to get to know the woods will be rewarded with amazing experiences.”

The man who can talk to the birds

Woid Woife says he’s not sure where he got the nickname ‘wild animal whisperer’ and anyway “It’s nothing to do with magic. I’ve just been watching wildlife for years and I’m open-minded about all the animals in the woods.”

On the edge of the forest, he has an old trailer where he can watch the animals in peace. And he gets plenty of curious visitors. Pursing his lips, he produces a bird call. He’s answered by an excited twittering in the trees: “Now the birds know I’m here – and that there’s food for them.”

Despite the pouring rain, there’s plenty of action at his feeding stations. It’s almost as if all of Germany’s forest animals have come to eat at Wolfgang Schreil’s bird table.

Little did he think that one day, he would be sharing his expertise in fauna and flora with visitors from all over Europe.

Watch the video: Wildlife experience with Woid Woife (English subtitles available)

Wildlife watching and wildlife photography requires calm and patience. And the ability to wait for maybe hours on end.

5 questions for Wolfgang

How would you define happiness?

To be happy and healthy. To be able to love somebody. And to receive love in return.

Which animal would you really like to encounter in the wild?

Definitely a brown bear! And I’m sure I will see this dream come true. In the Carpathian Mountains. Why? Because, I’ve always considered bears as the most fascinating and powerful animals. Everything about them is impressive.

Has there ever been an animal or a situation in the woods where you felt afraid?

I can’t say that I have ever been afraid of an animal. I did encounter a wild boar sow with her young a few years back – I certainly trod very carefully. I was afraid once: I wanted peace and quiet and I was afraid that I would be interrupted by people. (He says with a wink.)

What should people be aware of when they are walking through the woods and want to spot wildlife?

It’s best to try not to disturb wild animals. I mean to remain quiet, to watch and wait – and to put animal welfare first. Everything else will just fall into place.

What is your motto?

I don’t really have one as such. “Mia gfoid einfach das Leben.” (I just love life).

Wildlife viewing Hanwag Yukon

Wolfgang’s favourite boot: HANWAG Yukon

“If you want to watch wildlife in the woods or do wildlife photography, then you need sturdy and good-quality footwear.” (Wolfgang Schreil)

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