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Horse Sense and Survival Tour Ahead

HARKERS ISLAND – An opportunity to see the Shackleford Banks wild horses in their own habitat is Aug. 24 during the next Cape Lookout National Seashore Horse Sense and Survival tour.

Cape Lookout National Seashore offers the opportunity to see the wild horses that roam Shackleford Banks Photo: Ashita Gona

The tour, held monthly, is with the seashore’s resource manager, Dr. Sue Stuska, and will leave from the Harkers Island Visitor Center at 7:45 a.m. Participants will return to the Harkers Island dock at 12:15 p.m.

“Dr. Stuska’s intimate knowledge of the horses makes for an exciting and enlightening glimpse into the relationships, behavior, and survival of these wild animals,” according to the seashore. “Participants will gain an appreciation of all that can be gleaned while watching from a distance. They will understand how to determine an appropriate position and distance for watching that doesn’t affect the horses’ natural behaviors.”

Participants will ride the ferry from Harkers Island to the soundside shore of East Shackleford Banks. Once off the ferry, they will walk a moderate-level trek off the beaten path to find horses and settle down to watch the wild animals from afar.

“This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to witness and begin to understand the wild horses,” said Superintendent Jeff West. “The Shackleford horses are truly a unique aspect of what makes Cape Lookout National Seashore a special place.”

Organizers recommend participants be prepared to climb dunes, walk through brush, slog through ankle-deep mud and wade through deeper salt water. Organizers require attendees to wear shoes that protect your feet and stay on in the mud and recommend bringing water, snacks, bug repellent, sunscreen, sun hat, binoculars and camera with a telephoto lens in a daypack or shoulder bag.

Space on the tours is limited and reservations are required. The program is free and the ferry cost is $17 for adults and $10 for ages 11 and under.

For reservations  call the park at 252-728-2250, ext. 0. For more information on the tour, including meeting places, times, and ferry costs, visit the seashore’s website.

Additional Horse Sense and Survival Tours

  • Sept. 28, departing Harkers Island for the East End of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 7:45 a.m. and returns by 12:15 p.m.
  • Oct. 26, departing Harkers Island for the East End of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8:45 a.m. and returns by 1:15 p.m.
  • Nov. 9, departing Beaufort Information Center for the West End of Shackleford Banks. Meets at 8:30 a.m. and returns by 1:00 p.m.
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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.