One skill that may be overlooked before a hunt is the skill of tracking game wildlife. The following tips will get you started tracking wildlife in their environment. It is still an art form that will require much diligence and patience to master.
It is first wise to determine the age of any track you find. It is good to know the last time it rained in the are in order to determine the age of a track based on its water content. If it still holds water it is new, if it is brittle but detailed it is of medium life and will lead down a long path. If it is eroded during windy weather it could be young but most likely old. If it hasn’t rained in a while the new track will have a short but detailed imprint and may appear eroded and old tracks may be invisible. Tracks with broken but green vegetation in them are new.
Rodents will typically be near softer materials since they must gnaw them quickly and get away from predators such as yourself. They gnaw these soft materials to gather materials for their nests so if you see tracks near soft materials and gnaw marks you are nearer to the nest. The imprints look like tiny handprints.
If looking for deer you’ll see tracks that mimic upside down heart shapes split in half. They will be near brush that looks like it is ripped rather than chopped or cut. You may also see scraped trees from antlers.
If it is a wild hog or peccary the tracks will be broader and the brush nearby will not be roughly foraged, but cleaner cut.
Goats and sheep will leave similar foraging evidence but their tracks will have a well defined dewclaw, or “heel”.
The best way to track rabbits is actually not by their tracks themselves but by their scat. Scat is feces. Rabbits leave very recognizable scat; the above is a replica. Then comes the patience. Rabbits are creatures of habit so they will feed at the same times daily. That’s when you can spot them, but don’t kill immediately-find out where they live.
Animals will outsmart you and learn where you are before you find them. That’s why it’s always wise to freeze or stop tracking for a while, but when. The best time to freeze is when you are probably in the sight of the animal, if you can see it from far it can see you. Freeze. If it doesn’t recognize your scent it may come closer and give you a better shot. It may be a good time to start slowly raising your weapon, seconds between seconds slowly.
Firstly never eat or smoke while Tracking Game Wildlife. If you’re eating you shouldn’t be hunting anyways. Smoking ruins your sense of smell too, and good hunters are those who can detect scents themselves. In order to mask your human scents keep your hunting clothes outside, they will smell like the game’s environment. To attract the game, or at least keep them from scenting any threat you should mask yourself with female estrous or urine. If a male is in the rut he will approach, if not he will not feel threatened at least as you are just a harmless doe.
By exploring those basic concepts and techniques you will be able to start tracking animals. A good practice is to pick one animal you know is nearby and study it, study its behavior and find its tracks to its habitat. Always respect the animal you hunt and use everything you take from it.