About the Study Guide

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Whatever you’re hunting, a basic understanding of an animal’s characteristics will help you develop an effective strategy for identifying and tracking it.

Animals can be identified by four basic characteristics.

Birds over marshland

Distinctive Markings: The black cheek patch on male pronghorns; the “flags” of the white-tailed deer; the face pattern on a gray fox; the green head on a mallard drake; the red, white, and blue on the head of a male turkey

Sounds: The drumming of grouse; the familiar honk of the goose; the gobble of a strutting “tom”; the grunt of the deer; the howl of the coyote

Movement: The strut of a tom turkey; the fast or slow wing beats of some waterfowl; the zigzag in-flight pattern of the common snipe when flushed

Group Behavior: Flock patterns, such as the familiar “V” shape of certain migratory birds; various types of herd behavior

Further study will help you learn other ways to identify and understand your quarry, including signs the animal leaves, camouflage capability, and behavior.