I like most non-human animals a lot more than I like humans. In general, whenever someone attempts to insult a human by calling them some other animal, the real insult is to the non-human animal.
This is my true passion and drives the bulk of my vacation time and weekend time. I travel locally within a fairly large radius for long weekends to find a variety of wildlife in the region. Canoing and hiking are my main ways to get views of the wildlife. I tend to find that canoing offers better viewing being both quieter and always in water, a major wildlife attractor.
If you are serious about finding wildlife, especially mammals, but even birds as well, you will likely find that they are crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk. This makes viewing easier in late fall when days are short than in late spring and early summer when days are longest.
On travel to exotic locals, I often end up guided, though of late, my wife and I have tried some travel without guides. Belize is excellent for this. With guides, I tend to find that the more experienced a guide is, the slower they go. If your guide walks quickly s/he is probably less experienced or is trying to get to a specific locale and will slow down there.
So, around home, I tend to try to emulate this. I tend to walk slowly and as quietly as my ridiculous camera pack allows. Paddling is also best done slowly and quietly. This is easier than hiking quietly, especially in an inflatable canoe. Even if you inadvertently hit the side with the paddle, in an inflatable, the sound is muted.
Anyway, feel free to ask any specific questions about wildlife viewing and I’ll do my best to answer.