Presumably every nature TV host has had that one early experience with nature that ends up shaping their career – the thrill of first glimpsing a rare species perhaps, or interacting with a wild animal for the first time. For Casey Anderson, host of National Geographic's 'America the Wild' and Kinect Nat Geo TV (an eight-episode series of interactive shows for the Xbox 360), it was a little more intense. While working at one of his first jobs at a Montana wildlife preserve, Anderson tried to intervene in a fight between wolves. He was then attacked by the entire pack, but was able to narrowly escape thanks to thick coveralls. "I'm standing there in what are now Carhartt Daisy Dukes, and I had to get right back on the horse," he recalls. "Now I look back and realize I had done everything wrong. This was my dream job and I nearly got killed." Thankfully, Anderson is still alive and well and able to tell us what to do when you bump into a mountain lion, why playing dead can get you killed, and why you should never try to win a shootout with a bear. Launch Gallery >>
Do your research.
It should go without saying that you shouldn't just wander off into the hinterlands without a basic amount of prep work. Yet we've all gawked at YouTube videos of people doing it anyway. Anderson suggests taking a bit of time to get a feel for the terrain via maps (which you should also carry), and also know what potentially threatening animals are native to the area, and possible hot spots you should avoid. Anderson is quick to point out, though, that being fearful is bad for everyone involved. "Because we've sensationalized these animals, most people walk out into their world with fear, and that is your worst enemy," he says. "You need to understand where you're going, what the dangers are, and then take the precautions to avoid them. Blindly walking into these animals' world without having any understanding of them is disrespectful – and you're kind of asking for trouble." Today preparation is easier than ever, with every national park and likely every state park having a website listing all the info you'd need before heading in.
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