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.
- 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 wild call of the sandhill crane, the familiar honk of the goose, the gobble of a strutting “tom,” the grunt of the deer, the howl of the coyote
- Movement: The bounce of mule deer, 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.