Know the Game Being Hunted
Of all the steps of preparation, educating yourself about the game you are hunting is one of the most critical. You might need to determine the sex of game birds on sight, quickly recognize protected species, or know the difference between similar species such as white-tailed deer and mule deer.
Animals can be identified by four basic characteristics.
- Distinctive Markings: The beard on a turkey; the raised tail (“flag”) of the white-tailed deer; the face pattern on a gray fox; the green head on a mallard drake; the red, white, and blue of a male turkey (“tom”)
- Sounds: The quacking of the mallard hen; the familiar honk of the goose; the gobble of a strutting “tom”; the grunt of the deer; the howl of the coyote
- Movement: 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