Developing Wildlife Identification Skills
Developing wildlife identification skills is a basic requirement for hunters. Knowing the key characteristics of animals will help you distinguish between similar species and between the male and female of the same species.
- Mistakes in identification can lead to:
- Illegally harvesting non-game animals or…
- Accidentally shooting a person who was mistaken for game.
- Identifying animals accurately can be difficult, but it is a skill that improves with experience. To identify game animals properly, you must learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting. These characteristics include:
- The animal’s shape, size, coloring, and any other distinguishing features
- Wildlife sign, such as tracks, scat, and calls
- The animal’s habitat and range
- What the animal eats (herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore)
- Nesting locations for birds
- Daily habits, such as following a specific routine, being nocturnal, or being solitary
- Many resources are available for learning about wildlife. Good sources are books, television shows featuring hunting and nature topics, and websites such as that of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.