My Next post

Hey everyone! Hope things are going well and y’all are having fun reading my blog!

I am VERY sorry, but I had an unexpected change of plans and I will not be able to post Saturday as I hoped. I won’t make any promises as to when I will post next, but I will try to post it¬†next week.

In the meantime, here’s a poll ūüėÄ

Tracking + Lot’s of Photos #2

What’s up everyone? I know some of you would like to see some more tracks, so I’ve got em. I won’t be posting tomorrow or Thursday, but I will hopefully post Saturday. Figured I could get one more post in before the weekend. So here is the unexpected second part of “Tracking”

Tracking is a lot more than just finding tracks and following them. It’s finding tracks, looking for all you can to know what the animal’s purpose is for traveling there, following the tracks, and learning more about the animal and it’s habits. To find the animal you need to know it’s purpose for traveling. But if you want to find an animal with it’s feet still in the tracks, it takes more than just tracking.

You may see a deer from time to time driving on the road or a trail, but have you ever seen one from only 15 feet away? In that 15 foot distance, you can see the shiny, fine coat of hair that the deer has, you can see it’s piercing eyes, and just about every other detail you could want. I can only speak from experience, not from what I’ve heard, about these topics. I’ve had that experience, and that is why I can say that you can see the tiny speck of dirt on that deer’s shoulder.

If you want to do this, it requires an even greater level of commitment than what tracking does. Tracking is tough.

Trailing, now that is even harder.

While tracking involves following tracks, old or new, for a limited amount of time, trailing involves a couple hours of searching for a fresh track, typically no more than 12 hours old, and following it for anywhere from 30 mins to 8 hours until you see the animal standing there. This also involves, if possible, stalking up on the animal unnoticed and watching it and learning about it for as long as possible, and even touching it once you’ve watched it for awhile. This requires far more than just the skill of tracking. You also need to know how to stalk, walk without making a sound, and keep the animal from noticing your scent, while being camouflouged.

I will not talk about trailing much, as enough is already said, and I have not practiced trailing yet. I, at the moment, only do tracking. Now knowing about trailing, you might have you some reason to learn these skills. If you have practiced them for awhile, you will eventually be able to touch a deer. My uncle is the one who got me into being a naturalist, and he has touched a living deer before. He said it was an experience like no other, but then again, he has been practicing this stuff for over 8 years and he is a skilled tracker.

Now that I’ve raised your awareness about trailing and tracking, I can begin the post knowing you will want to read it ūüôā So here we go!

The tracks of a

I do not have a clue what track this is. There’s not enough of it, but it looks like a burrower, ground hog or mole maybe?

This is a track of

This is a track of umm, I am not sure. Any ideas anyone? ūüėõ

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A coyote track.

A track.

After looking it up in my field guide, I have come to the conclusion that this is probably a fox squirrel. SO TINY!!

A nice big jumbled up mess of opossum tracks.

A nice big, jumbled up mess of raccoon tracks.

So that’s my follow up to my previous¬†post. Hope y’all liked it! From here on out, I will not be posting as frequently due to time schedules, so expect a 3+ day wait before my next post. If you guys would rather not check my site every day manually, you can always follow this blog and recieve an email every time I post. Remember that I am always open to questions, so don’t be scared to comment. As a preview of my next post, I will be posting about primitive shelters and, hopefully, show you guys just how effective they are. Like always,

Keep calm and keep tracking!

Tracking + Lot’s of Photos!

Hey guys and girls! Today’s post is about tracking wildlife, such as deer, coyote, dog, or rabbit. First off, let me tell you something while we’re on a clean slate. Tracking is very fun and exhilirating!! Think about knowing what an animal likes to eat, where it lives, and it’s daily habits. You could know him like a brother or sister. Let me also tell you, tracking is hard work!! It does not come easy, and as another naturalist has told me “It takes 1-4 years of tracking every day before it will come extremely easy.” And as I have learned, as you track more, the only way you can keep learning and getting better is by pushing your limits. You go from tracking in mud or sand, to dirt or dry ground. While tracking on harder surfaces you will also be learning and memorizing habits of animals you track, such as where they like to sleep, what they eat, if they travel on open ground, if they stick to trails, if they skirt along the edges of brush, and lots of other stuff. You will¬†also be learning more about animals you don’t know much about, such as minks, opossums, mice (yes, you can even track¬†mice!), and lots of other animals.

Before you rule out tracking as some useless, dumb, boring, impossible, crazy person thing :), read this post. I will do my best to show you what tracking is like and just how fun it is! If ANYBODY wants to learn more about tracking or something I didn’t mention, just comment. I will respond.

Now, on to the trail!

One of the¬†things to do while tracking is to imagine the animal right in front of you standing in the tracks. It may sound stupid and crazy, but if you can do that, it will help you so much in the long term! If you’re wondering why a branch is clipped off a tree and there’s a deer track beneath it, then think like the animal.¬†I’m standing here in the middle my trail¬†and I’m hungry. Hmm, there’s some dandelions and wild onions or,¬†OOH!!!! TWIGS!!!¬†Yes, deer love to chew on twigs. It’s a main food source, especially in the winter. Now you know several things about this animal! You know this is a deer trail and that deer chew on this type of tree (go identify the tree later). This could also mean that nearby this trail is a bedding spot, that there could be a source of water somewhere nearby, and that there is adequate food here. Just with finding a deer print, a trail, and a chewed twig, you already you know a lot about the deer’s life. That deer is no longer this mystical, mysterious, invisible being in the woods.

One of the most helpful things for tracking are field guides. Field guides give you insight and decades of research, all in the palm of your hand. My personal favorite, Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species, by Mark Elbroch, is definitely the one I recommend you getting if you live in North America.

Several whitetail deer tracks I found in some mud by the creek.

Several whitetail deer tracks I found in some mud by the creek.

Here's two deer tracks. If you notice, the hind(back) foot stepped on the front track. This is called a direct register.

Here’s two whitetail deer tracks. If you notice, the hind(back) foot stepped on the front track. This is called a direct register. Sorry for the blur.

Deer are plentiful in many parts of North America, and if you can find a creek or stream, four-wheeler trails, or anywhere that has some mud, you are almost sure to see deer tracks. In the process of finding these locations and searching them, you will probably find other tracks.

A track in extremely soft dirt. I believe this is coyote or Gray Fox, but I'm leaning toward Gray Fox by the size of the track.

A track in extremely soft dirt. I believe this is coyote or Gray Fox, but I’m leaning toward Gray Fox by the size of the track. Should’ve remembered to bring something to scale.

I believe these are Eastern Cottontail tracks in mud. They're pretty small though. I couldn't clearly find the last track to show y'all, but the rabbit tends to make a y shape when hopping.

I believe these are Eastern Cottontail tracks in mud. They’re pretty small though. Look for the funny shaped trianglular shapes in the mud. I couldn’t find the last track to clearly show you guys,¬†but the rabbit tends to make a y shape when hopping.

And for the final picture, tracks in mud.

And for the final picture (again, sorry for the blur). I can’t tell for sure because I haven’t dealt with tracks like these that much, but I believe this is either raccoon, striped, or hooded skunk. The top left one is the front track, bottom right is the hind track. This looks more like raccoon but it is still a possibility of being a skunk track.

So as you can see, tracking can be quite interesting! Please don’t judge or disregard tracking because I couldn’t positively identify these tracks. I am pretty new at this too, and from November to January hardly ever had time to track. So I have only been tracking, realisticly, about 3 months. As I keep tracking, I will be able to provide better results, but like I’ve said before, this is a time-consuming and demanding practice.

I hope you guys and girls like the post, and I hope this alone encourages y’all to go into the woods more.

For my next post, I will continue on tracking. I still have many pictures taken of good quality tracks that are clearly recognizeable. I will also tell a little more about tracking that I didn’t say today. And finally, to close, all I have to say is…

Keep calm and track on!

My Woods!

I was out in the woods exploring and I thought I should “show” you what they’re like. It’s always a lot of fun out there :).

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One section of my woods. It puzzles me why so many pines fell.

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My creek.

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A popular animal drinking spot. I also tend to find a lot of tiny frogs here.

It seems to literally rain leaves. The forest floor is covered with them.

It seems to literally rain leaves. The forest floor is covered with them.

The Dead Marshes.

I used to call this the Dead Marshes. Grass is beginning to grow so it looks like I gotta find a new name for it ūüėČ

The thorns that literally try to rip you into shreds.

The thorns that literally try to rip you into shreds..

So that's my woods!

So that’s my woods!

So that’s my woods! I figured if I’m gonna be posting about things in my woods, I should at least give you a general idea of what they’re like. I will post a follow up to this post in the next couple of days. There’s gonna be lots of tracks and I’ll explain to you as much as I can about them! I hope you like my blog so far, and I’ll keep on posting!

Keep calm and keep tracking!