Humans have field dressed game animals since that first caveman...
Whether you're hunting for sport, taking a day hike, or simply trying to be aware of your surroundings, it's useful to know how to track and recognize the wildlife in your vicinity. From a self-defense standpoint, it's helpful to be able to see early warning signs of predatory or dangerous animals, and if you're living off the land, spotting tracks could put food on your table.
One way to spot wild animals is through looking for tracks. Depending on soil composition and moisture, you may be able to spot them quite easily, especially in the mud near bodies of water. You just have to know what to look for. This infographic from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will give you a good head start.
However, there's more to finding animals than just tracks. You can also keep an eye out for another sign they leave behind: scat or fecal matter.
Finally, here are a few additional animal feeding signs you can keep an eye out for as you venture into the outdoors.
Animal tracking isn't as easy as it sounds, but it's certainly possible if you stay aware and alert. Many native cultures have been using this type of information for centuries to hunt game and feed their families, and it's no less useful to survivalists today.