Well, not really chasing them, coz they will outrun you any time; and more importantly coz they are very shy animals who get alarmed at the slightest possible movement. The picture above is what you will picture if you try to get close to them without hiding yourself, and then even before you realise, they would sprint out of your bounds. Imagine moving about towards them slowly and cautiously; taking adequate cover, and with your big lenses in your hands ( nothing less than 400 mm will do; as I discovered first hand myself ! Perhaps the Tamron 150-600 is one of the best bets inside jungles ).
Welcome to Jayamangali folks; home to the blackbucks and to other varieties of deer; as also few leopards and jackals. I didn’t know about the latter inmate; until one of my other trip-mates witnessed an attempt-to-kill by them; and boy how those deers sprang up as they took flight. The attempt had proven futile, but afforded quite some excitement and photographic opportunities for us. I was, however, wandering about in the other part of the forest while all this action was taking place; and had to content myself with a few butterfly shots !
It’s not much of a jungle but a huge grassland, where you can see quite some blackbuck activity if you arrive early in the morning ( we were not that fortunate though, and had to make do with a few random sightings and vanishing acts ! ). As I said, I had to content myself with a few butterfly shots and flower images. It was awesome weather, though, what with dark grey clouds above us; It did rain a bit during intervals. People with rain gear for themselves and for their cameras were better off than me I’m sure.
What else, the place is a one-day trip to-and-fro Bangalore, and it’s the closest that you can get to unrestrained wildlife ( Bannerghatta national park is a much popular option closer to the city, but it’s mostly like a pretty huge zoo; at least where the safari takes you ).
There are multiple routes to this reserve, and I found the one going through Yelahanka-Dodaballapur road a much better option as compared to the approach from Tumkur Road that we took in the morning. You will have to spend more time on the village-like roads if you’re on the latter route, though they are not that bad.
Caution: Don’t expect to see much apart from the blackbucks, though herders in the area do see leopards at times. Be careful and don’t forget to mingle in the environment with jungle-ready attire. Most importantly, go in a group with a few experienced people to guide you around and who know the ways of those animals. There’s a lake near the entrance where you can site quietly and wait for animals to come by for water. You might get lucky !
There are 2 entrance gates, and from what I saw, I don’t think we had entered through the main gate ( though it was a bit shorter route I think ). I am assuming the main entrance will have options for food and stay ( at night ! ), coz I’m planning another trip soon. But it’s all forest department accommodation I’m sure, and probably needs bookings in advance.
Will let you guys know once I come back from the next trip, hopefully with a few blackbuck pics in tow. Till then, enjoy few more pics that I could click on my first trip to the reserve !