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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 that feature hunting and nature topics, and websites, such as that of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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