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What to Keep In Mind While Trailing the Deer

Aug 17, 2007
A hunter might have difficulties to track back once the trailed deer enter the networks of tracks already there. This is when your ability to distinguish the difference in the appearance of different tracks. And there are no rules to distinguish them because different factors need to be considered like temperature, humidity etc. affects the freshness of the tracks. Experienced trackers are often able to see the difference in tracks one hour old, but most of us are not that good.

When a deer runs to a place where feeding deer have left a network of tracks, the trailing hunter is apt to have a slow and difficult task in following his deer into untraveled territory. To be sure, he is following the freshest of the tracks, but it is sometimes next to impossible to know which track is the freshest. There isn't much a tracker can do about this except to acquire the ability to distinguish the difference in the appearance of tracks of different ages.

Here again there is no rule to follow because so many different factors must be considered. Temperature and humidity affect the apparent freshness of tracks in mud and on bare ground, yet it is usually possible to tell the difference between today's track and one that is twenty-four hours old. Freezing and thawing will age tracks that are made in snow so that, as a rule, it is easier to detect the fresher of two tracks at that time than when the ground is bare. Experienced trackers are often able to see the difference in tracks one hour old, but most of us are not that good.

Besides freshness there is a distinction in the appearance of different deer tracks to aid us in following an individual. Each deer's hoof has minor imperfections that set it apart from any other. However, these differences are so small and the hoof impressions so imperfect that we cannot use them to identify any certain deer, but must depend on a track's size and shape for identification. Few hunters will confuse the track of a two-hundred-pound buck with that of a fifty-pound fawn, yet all things are possible in the woods. I have seen men following sheep, cow and even hog tracks with the expectation of overtaking a deer. These men have a lot to learn before calling themselves deer hunters.

No good tracker will mistake a buck's track for that of a doe if he is able to see clear, plain impressions of the feet. The toes on a buck's front feet are more blunt and rounded than those of a doe. It is not always possible for the hunter to see the tracks of these front feet because deer walk in such a manner that the back feet are placed on the impressions of the front feet, obliterating the latter. In young deer, this is almost always true, but as the deer ages, the back feet do not always cover the entire track and the shape of the toes may be seen just ahead of the impressions of the back feet. When deer run or bound in their characteristic manner, the tracks of the back feet do not cover the tracks of the front feet, but the tracks are usually so distorted that their exact shape cannot be determined. The clearest and most distinct tracks will be found where a deer has been feeding, just treading around. Often clear impressions of four feet will be found at these places.

All things are possible in the thick woods so it is not that easy to identify the fresh tracks one from the old ones no matter how experienced you may be in hunting. Some men following sheep cow and even hog tracks with the expectation of overtaking a deer. These men have a lot to learn before calling themselves deer hunters.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.1-scuba-diving-gear.com/ , http://www.goodcampfun.info/ , http://www.mycampfuntips.info/
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