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Animal tracking

Learning to Track: A Beginner Hunter’s Guide

When you first start hunting, tracking is one of the biggest challenges. While tracking may seem easy at first glance, there are many details that go into interpreting what you see in front of you. Even experienced hunters sometimes have difficulty with this process as some game tracks are very subtle. Luckily, we have some great tips that can help you get started tracking!

tracking foot prints

Tracking is an important skill for any hunter. This allows you to accurately track your prey and predict where it will go next based on its last location and the direction it went. The more time you spend hunting, the easier it becomes to read tracks as you recognize familiar patterns from previous experience, but this isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Here are some tips to help beginners learn to track:

What you need for tracking

Before you start tracking, you need a few things.

  • A hunting weapon:

Even if you’re tracking small game like rabbits with a bow, a weapon is essential. This allows you to hunt down the game as soon as you find it and protect yourself if larger animals come at you.

  • Binoculars:

If you’re tracking birds or small mammals, binoculars can help you identify them. However, if you’re tracking larger mammals like deer or elk, you’ll need to get closer to the tracks, so binoculars aren’t a good choice.

  • A map:

A map of the area you intend to hunt is always a good idea, especially if you intend to track larger animals.

Know your prey

Knowing your prey is important when learning to track. Knowing what species of animal you are trying to track is important, as different animals leave different tracks. There are many online guides detailing the tracks of some of the most common animal species. It’s also important to know what time of year you’re tracking, as different animals have different migration patterns and feeding habits depending on the season.

If you know what time of day your prey is most active, you can predict where it will move next. Thus, deer are usually most active at dawn and dusk, while rodents are most active at night.

These are just a few examples and there are many other considerations that affect tracking, but this should give you an idea of ​​what it takes to understand your prey.

identify trail

Identifying the track is an important part of tracking. Based on the type of track you come across, you can determine what species of animal left the track. Certain species, such as deer and coyotes, are very common and their tracks are easy to identify. Other types, such as B. the northern bobcat are not as common and their tracks can be more difficult to identify.

A good method of identification when reading tracks is to note the surrounding terrain where the track is found. Tracks can be affected by the terrain in which they are found and can provide valuable information about the animal’s behaviour.

The general shape of the track can give an indication of the size of the animal. Higher tracks are usually made by smaller animals like rabbits, while shorter tracks are usually made by larger animals like bears. The depth of the track can provide information about the weight of the animal. Wider tracks tend to be from lighter animals, while tracks closer to the ground tend to be from heavier animals.

The number of tracks is useful for figuring out the number of animals that have passed. A single animal’s tracks form a single line when they go straight ahead. The tracks of several animals form parallel lines when walking straight ahead. The distance between the tracks can tell something about the speed of the animal. Even tracks that are next to each other are usually laid by animals that run at different speeds.

The environment around the track provides information about the behaviour of the animal. For example, muddy tracks are often made by animals that walk, while tracks on the dry ground are often made by animals that walk.


When learning to track, it is important to take your time. A hasty approach leads to inaccurate conclusions. Instead, take the time to examine the ground for any marks or imprints. If you take your time and follow the tips in this article, you can become better at tracking in no time.



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