Really Good Video & Written Instruction On How To Hunt/Track Mammals & Other Different Animals
In order to be a successful hunter and put meat on the table, it takes certain skill set. For instance, one must be proficient with firearms, also, one must also possess a certain level of patience, especially when sitting in a deer blind, or sitting up in a tree-stand. But one skill must also be, the ability to track animals. Beneath the video I will place some written instruction on just how to do just that.
The following block of instruction comes to us courtesy of WikiHow:
Tracking animals is the art of interpreting signs like footprints, natural paths and nibbled plants to discover who has recently been foraging, hunting or resting in a certain area. Animal tracking is a useful skill to know if you want to hunt or photograph animals, or if you’re simply interested in learning more about the creatures with whom you share a habitat. If you want to know how to track bears, birds, rabbits, deer, mice, foxes and more, see Step 1.1
Examine a footprint. It’s exciting to discover a footprint in the mud or snow, a tell-tale sign that another creature has recently crossed the same path you’re taking. Every animal has a distinct print, and if you know what to look for, you’ll be able to tell what type of animal might be nearby. When you look at a footprint, pay attention to these factors:
- The size of the print. Right off the bat, you should be able to tell whether the print was likely left by a fox, bear, cat or mouse by the size of the print.
- The number of toes. This is a basic feature of footprints that can be very revealing, since different animals have different numbers of toes in their prints. For example, felines like bobcats and cougars have 4 toes on each foot, while weasels and skunks have five.
- Whether or not nail prints are visible. Feline prints don’t show the nails, but prints left by wolves, raccoons and bears show long claw marks.
- Whether the print shows an opposable toe (or thumb). Creatures that can climb trees, like raccoons and opossums, have an opposable digit that enables them to grip the tree as they climb.
- Whether the front and back prints are the same size. Dogs, cats, foxes, bears and many other creatures have front and back feet that are exactly the same size. If you see prints that show tiny front feet and large back feet, they were probably left by a rabbit or hare.
- Whether the prints were left by a hoofed animal. The print of a deer, moose, elk or another hoofed animals is quite distinct from that left by an animal with paws.
Examine the track pattern. The next step is to look at where the footprints fall and try to identify a pattern. You can determine an animal’s gait by interpreting the track pattern. Since different animal families have different gaits, examining the track pattern can help you figure out what type of animal tracks you’re seeing. You can also use the track pattern to predict where the animal may have gone. Here are the most common track patterns:
- Diagonal walker pattern. Diagonal walkers, including felines, canines, and hoofed animals, lift the front and hind legs on opposite sides at the same time. They leave behind staggered tracks. Imagine the way a horse walks or trots and the prints he leaves behind.
- Pacer pattern. Wide-bodied animals like bears, beavers, opossums and raccoons lift the front and hind legs on the same side of the body at the same time.
- Bounder pattern. Weasels, ferrets and badgers hop so that their front feet land first and their back feet land next. The prints from their back feet will usually be just behind their front prints.
- Galloper pattern. Rabbits and hares gallop when they move. They jump so that their front feet land first and their back feet land in front and to the side of where the front feet landed. Since they have long back feet, their prints tend to look like a “U.”
- Hoppers vs. walkers. Bird track patterns tend to fall into two categories: hoppers and walkers. Birds that hop have prints that land adjacent to each other. Birds that walk have offset prints, like those a human makes. Note that hopping birds generally live and feed in trees or in the air, and walking birds generally live closer to the ground and feed on ground-dwelling insects or animals.
Look for other track signs to identify the animal. There are many other clues that can help you narrow down exactly which type of animal you’re tracking. Examine the prints and track pattern carefully and check for extra details like the following:
- How the prints register. Do the back prints fall directly on top of the front prints, making it look as though there is just one set of prints? If so, you’re probably tracking a feline or a fox. Do the front and back prints fall in different places, so that you can see all four prints? Canines, weasels, raccoons and bears don’t have directly registered walks.
- A tail print. You might see a line running through the tracks that indicates the animal’s tail swept the ground. A side-sweeping tail print might indicate you’re seeing reptile prints.
Check your findings against a field guide. If you’re serious about tracking, go to the library or bookstore and pick up a field guide to the animals that live in your area. Take note of all the clues you gathered about the particular print and track pattern, and see if it matches up with an animal listed in your book. As you learn more about how to distinguish between the different animal families and individual species, you’ll eventually be able to identify animals without a guide. For a quick reference, use this table to help you identify common backyard animals.
Animal Tracks Identification Animal Family Footprint Features Track Pattern Felines (house cat, bobcat, lynx, cougar) Rounded print with 4 toes; no visible claws Diagonal walkers with direct register Canines (dog, fox, wolf, coyote) Rounded print with 4 toes and visible claw marks Diagonal walkers; only fox has direct register Weasel family (weasels, minks, skunks, otters, badgers) 5 toes with visible claw marks Bounders (with the exception of wide-bodied animals like skunks) Raccoons, opossums and bears 5 toes with visible claw marks; flat, human-like feet; some have opposable digits for climbing Pacers Rodents (mice, squirrels, rats, voles, chipmunks, porcupines, gophers, beavers) 4 toes on the front prints and 5 toes on the rear prints (with the exception of beavers, which have 5 and 5) Bounders and gallopers Rabbits and hares 4 toes on each print; back feet are twice the size of front feet Gallopers Hoofed animals (deer, moose, elk) Cloven hooves on each foot Diagonal walkers Birds 3 toes; birds of prey have strong back claw; water birds have webbed feet Tree and air-feeding birds hop; ground-feeding birds are diagonal walkers
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