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To see a snowy owl up close is indeed a rare thing. There are two main reasons these owls are rare to sneak up on. Unlike most other owl species, snowy owls hunt mainly in the daytime. Snowy owls are highly nomadic and their movements are tied to the abundance of their primary prey species, lemmings. They are known to aggressively defend their nests and will attack those that disturb their nests. These reasons made this approach particularly challenging. I spotted this bird of prey while hunting pheasants in central South Dakota in early winter. It is either an immature bird or still changing color to adapt to recently arrived winter. My first photo was from the truck window. Then I thought I may as well try and get closer. So I would take a step, freeze..take a step...freeze. All the while, my hands were freezing as I had started my stalk without gloves. I did get to within 15 yards of this beauty. I can feel my pinky finger ache to this day when it gets cold out. But, the photo lasts a lifetime. I always kid my wedding clients to "suffer for the art" if conditions aren't ideal, for that very reason!