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Track the Tracks this Winter

Dec 12, 2011

As the weather turns colder, there always seems to be that instinct for many of us to hibernate inside where it is warm and sheltered.  However, winter is a wonderful time to get outdoors and to channel your secret inner desires to become a detective, especially on a bright and sunny day with a fresh blanket of snow.  This blank canvas provides the best opportunity to sharpen your wildlife identification skills and to enjoy the great outdoors.

Red Fox Tracks

 red fox prints

Each animal has a different gait, or manner in which they move, which will help narrow down the type of animal you are tracking.  For instance, a rabbit or other rodent tends to hop while a fox or coyote track will appear more in a straight line.  The next step is to identify the animals straddle (distance between prints) and their strides (distance between steps) which will help determine the size of the animal you are tracking.  In ideal conditions you should be able to measure the length and size of the print, count the toes, and check to see if there are any claw marks.  Finding a perfect print is quite rare, so learning to track an animal takes time and practice.  There are a lot of resources online that you can consult. 

White Tailed Deer 

White Tail Deer Tracks



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