Fundamentals of Wildlife Tracking Field Course
Have you ever walked down a path, seen a track in the mud, and thought to yourself, "What animal is that? Where was it going? Why was it here?" If so, then this field course is for you! Whether you are a wildlife biologist, a ranch owner, a naturalist, or just a lay person interested in learning more about the environment around you, the knowledge you gain from this hands on experience will greatly increase your awareness of what is happening on the land. Additionally, you will walk away with a much greater understanding of animal habits and behaviors.
Fundamentals of Wildlife Tracking
January - December
Experience & Activity Level:
Knowledge of local mammals
is helpful but not required.
Determined by group size,
number of days, location
TBD (all are certified by
This course will cover the fundamentals of how to find and identify animal tracks in wilderness areas, rangelands, farms, public parks, and even your back yard. It will focus primarily on medium-to-large sized mammals, but will also cover a few bird species and even some reptiles and amphibians. In particular, it will teach attendees how to recognize/differentiate well defined tracks of the following groups of large animals:
- ungulates (deer, antelope, hogs, bovines)
- canines (coyotes, foxes, wolves, dogs)
- cats (small and large felines, domestic and wild)
The format will be a combination of presentation of tracking principles and instruction in the field looking for tracks (approx. 40/60 mix). Class size is typically up to a maximum of 15 participants per instructor to ensure everyone has a quality experience (can be scaled up with additional instructors). The main subjects/activities that will be covered during the course are as follows:
1. Principles of tracking and primary/secondary perception
2. How/where to find tracks and types of substrate
3. Track morphology
4. Tracks of common mammals and birds
5. Aging tracks and sign
6. Animal gaits/behaviors and trailing
7. Other animal sign like scat, beds, rubs, browse, etc
Upon completion of the course individuals will be able to go out into the field and put into practice what they have learned, with the ability to identify the species covered in the class for well-defined tracks (with a reasonable degree of accuracy). With a little more practice, they will be able to recognize the signs of animals that pass through or either permanently reside on their landscape and be able to state, with a high degree of confidence, answers to answer the following questions:
- Who is on this piece of land?
- When are they here?
- What behaviors are they engaged in?
- Where are they residing or moving to?