Survival Tactics: Identify Animals Tracks in the Forest

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Survival Tactics: Identify Animals Tracks in the Forest

Survival Tactics: Identify Animals Tracks in the Forest from erwlas

Survival Tactics: Identify Animals Tracks in the Forest

Survival Tactics: Identify Animals Tracks in the Forest from erwlas

When in the wilderness, and your predetermined supplies are running low, you may need to venture out and go hunting.  Whether hunting big or small game, you will need to track them.  The ability to identify animals’ tracks in the forest is a well misunderstood survival tactic.

If you find yourself in a dense forest, and you are just learning to track… or you are converting over from other landscapes, one of the first things you will notice is the insane lack of hoof or footprints.  You simply cannot count on the ability to find tracks in the forest.  Larger game such as deer, elk, etc will leave deep tracks that you may find if the ground hasn’t been covered due to rain and wind, and fallen leaves, but what about small game, like squirrels and rabbits that will leave almost no tracks on dense leaves.

I have watched a rabbit hop across my path, gone over where I saw the rabbit and found nothing that would tell me that it was just there.  Not far from that spot, I saw rabbit pellets (feces) and there was a fairly worn small path.  I could assume that the path was beaten down by the guys and that they would probably be there again.  At that point, I probably could have set a few snares for passive rabbit hunting while I use my time for other active methods.

So what are some of the other “tracks” more officially and more accurately called “signs” that we should follow:

  • POOP- Everything poops, learning what kinds of scat that the animals leave, and where they typically leave it is a large part of tracking in the forest.  Does the animal leave pellets, large clumps, etc.  Why would it leave the feces there?
  • Trails or Paths of Travel- As I mentioned before, Not far from the rabbit was a path.  That is a common travel path, and I will likely find them again along the path.  I could follow it as well to see where it leads.  Paths in or under the brush will usually be straight and there will be little or no vegetation.  The size and location will tell you a lot about the size and habits of the animal.
  • Signs of Dinner- What do they eat?  Do you see eaten vegetation or carcasses left from the animal?  How high is the clipped leaves?
  • Marking their locations- Animals hide by nature, but they leave signals to others of their species as a warning for territory, or as an advertisement of their location.
  • Shelters, Dens, Rest Areas- Everyone rests and sleeps.  The Placement of dens, perches, nests, or laying areas are usually positioned in reference to their other activities.  Close or far away is usually based on the animal and their tendencies.

So when hunting in the forest, you will actually want to step back, see the big picture, and see where the signs lead you.

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