UKSN Bushcraft Basics: Tracking Wildlife

UKSN Bushcraft Basics: Tracking Wildlife

Tracking wildlife is an exciting and educational activity that can deepen your connection to the natural world. By observing and interpreting animal tracks, signs, and behaviour, you can gain insights into their habits and movements.

Here are some tips to get started with wildlife tracking:

Identifying Tracks:
Learn to recognise and identify different animal tracks. Pay attention to the shape, size, and arrangement of the tracks, as well as the presence of claw marks or other distinctive features. Field guides or online resources can help you in this process.

Track Interpretation:
Understand the meaning behind different track patterns and behaviour. For example, the spacing and depth of tracks can indicate an animal's speed, while the presence of scat, fur, or feathers nearby can provide additional clues about its diet and habitat.

Tracking Tools:
Equip yourself with essential tracking tools, such as a field notebook, measuring tape, and a camera. Use the notebook to document your observations, sketch tracks, and record other relevant details. Measure the track size accurately to aid in identification and comparison.

Track Traps and Stations:
Set up track traps or stations in areas where you suspect wildlife activity. These can include sandboxes, muddy areas, or shallow pans filled with a tracking medium like sand or clay. Check these traps regularly to see if any animals have left their tracks behind.

Behavioural Sign Tracking:
Apart from tracks, look for other signs of wildlife activity, such as feeding areas, nests, burrows, scratch marks on trees, or rubs on vegetation. These signs can provide valuable insights into an animal's behaviour and territory.

Respect Wildlife:
Remember to practice ethical wildlife tracking. Minimise your impact on their habitats and observe from a distance, avoiding unnecessary disturbance. Leave the natural environment as you found it, respecting the balance of nature.
By becoming skilled in wildlife tracking, you can develop a deeper understanding of the ecosystems around you and appreciate the interconnectedness of all living creatures. Share your tracking experiences, photos, and any interesting findings with the UKSN community and inspire others to explore the wilderness through tracking! 
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