I love to discover what forest animals lurk in the woods. They are the guardians of the trail and keep a watchful eye on those of us who borrow their woods.
I have three handy references I use to identify animals track and scat on the trail.
I keep the pamphlet in my backpack because it is a handy reference, if I need to know right away what animal is close by. This is a quick reference with minimal detail that suffices on the trail. I picked it up at our local REI.
I try to take pictures of all the animal tracks I can’t identify. Deer for me is the easiest one, so I no longer need to photograph those tracks. But other tracks stump me, until I get home and can compare the photo to the two books that are my tracking bibles.
For a detailed description of animals tracks and the animal’s behavior, Guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior by Stokes is a must. It is informative, including when animals mate, when their young are born and den information. I also love that the book has drawings and detail description of animal scat. It helped me to identify bear scat on the trail!!
However my favorite one is Animal Tracks of New England by Sheldon, Harston and Elbroch. What makes this one great for tracking? It depicts the animal’s gait, walking and running. This is a simple and handy reference but Stokes’ book provides a lot more detailed information on the behavior of the animal.
Mud and snow are great mediums for tracking footprints. Remember if you are unsure, measure the print. I use the grip of my trekking pole to help me out to determine length.
Can you guess this? Pick up a tracking book and have fun!!
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