How to Track Animal Movement In the Woods

How to Track Animal Movement In the Woods


Animal tracking is an art that has been there for many years but has almost been forgotten in the modern world. It is an age-old tradition that was used by traditional inhabitants to hunt down animals for their daily food. Similar to many other activities, tracking requires years of practice and dedication to properly hone the skills. However, almost everyone can learn how to track animals in the woods, by learning the basic signs and skills.

Begin at home

Track Animal Movement In the WoodsIn order to know how to track deers, foxes and other locally occurring animals, the first thing is to understand what is involved in this ancient craft. Real tracking is not as entertaining as the videos which are displayed on most of the movie channels and television sets. An experienced tracker does not speak much but instead makes full use of their senses to understand the nature of the landscape and pick out any tracks on site. Tracking is an excellent way to learn about animals especially mammals that are mostly nocturnal.

Reading the signs

Track Animal Movement In the WoodsWhen tracking the main aim should be to locate, understand and follow the trails left behind by the animals as they move through the woods or landscape. There are some places where clear footprints have been left behind that can help identify the species of the animal and in better cases even its age and sex. A footprint is also enough to record the speed and gait of the animal.

Read the tracks

A trail can be equated to music. Its tempo and rhythm can tell a lot about the state of mind of the animal. For example, a footprint with fine details can help to determine how fresh or tire the animal being followed is. A track should not only provide the footprint of the animal but should also provide an image of the animal that created it. To be able to be effective in this, it is good to watch as many videos of wild animals as possible. A closer look should be done. It is good to observe how a deer moves it legs and hips and how it responds to the objects around it. Animals moving through landscapes encounter different objects along the way which might include steep slopes, ditches, or fallen branches.


For effective tracking of animals in the wood, interpreting any droppings found should be a vital skill for every tracker. The shape of the dropping, the texture, and the color the location and the smell should be considered. On top of that it is good to consider how these features might have changed over time and why the faeces were deposited there. Through practice, it is possible to determine the sex and age of a deer. Faeces contain a lot of information which might not be spotted by an untrained eye.

Inner calm

Tracking is an activity that does not require jumping around. It requires a lot of concentration and inner calm. It requires a meditative state of mind to stick together the various clues found in the woods or wilderness. An inner calm will also help to notice any dangerous animals such as lions and leopards that might be approaching and take the necessary steps.

Tracking tips

Track Animal Movement In the WoodsThe tracks of animals can appear almost everywhere in the woods. Here are some few pointers to look out for when out there in the woods.

– Deer couches: these are depressions that are observed in the leaf litter on the floor of the forest. The show where a deer has been resting or has slept. They are mostly found under trees in locations that give the deer a nice view of the surrounding woodland. If it has deer hair, then there are high chances that the deers are moulting and ready for winter.

– Fox scats: fox prefer anthills, molehills; grass tussocks and any feature that is slightly raised in the landscape should be searched for fox droppings. The color of the droppings indicates their diet.

– Wild boar wallows: wild boar numbers are slowly increasing. Two outstanding features to observe are disturbed areas in the ground and muddy wallows where the animals might have buried their food.


Tracking animals is an activity that requires a life time commitment. It requires determination coupled with patience and the ability to make out signs where there seem to be none. It also helps to sharpen the senses since it requires deep concentration.

How to Track Wolves with a Trail Camera?

How to Track Wolves with a Trail Camera?


Wolves are animal species which change their homes considerably due to prey species distribution, seasonal changes, human activities, and snow conditions. They can travel very many miles in one night. Young wolves tend to disperse for many miles before they can establish a local and stable home. Wolves that are non-resident normally pass through an area and never come back. Due to the above features, it can become very challenging to establish a specific location where wolves have settled. The presence of a wolf in a certain location in the past does not guarantee the return of the animal.

Wolves prefer gated roads and lightly travelled paths same as established game trails. They also undertake numerous scents marking along these trails. Therefore, trails and roads make good locations for setting up trail cameras. Wolves that belong to a certain pack will have their patterns more predictable during early summer or winter since they stick to a den. With their exceptional sense of smell and excellent vision, they can be drawn to camera locations or slowed down when travelling so that proper photos can be taken.

Trail camera location

Wolves tend to select locations that have middle low elevations and rolling topography instead of high topography. These are prime locations where trail cameras can be set up with high chances of capturing the wolves. They prefer these locations due to the presence of their primary preys such as elks and deers. As indicated earlier, wolves tend to follow human trails, roads, game trails, wetlands, and along ridgelines while travelling to their home range. They also leave behind recognizable scats and tracks along these routes.

Use of attractants

Taking a RV on a Hunting Trip, What to Keep In MindThere are a variety of attractants that can be used to bring wolves closer to the camera or have them pause as they move along the field of view of the camera. These include trapper lures and scent lures. Bait, such as the carcass of a deer can be used also. Wolves are intelligent animals and they quickly find out about potential baits that have been laid by human beings. Therefore, it is good to ensure that the baits do not have human scents since they will tend to avoid them. if possible, fresh carcasses should be used since they tend to have a strong scent.

Trail cameras can be set up at the location where the carcass has been spotted. The carcass can also be moved to another location where there is a possibility of capturing better photos. The camera should be set as far away as possible from the carcass to ensure that it captures the entire carcass or to capture a wolf that is approaching the carcass. The trail camera can also be tested to make sure that it is near the carcass in a way that any movement of the carcass will automatically trigger the trail camera.

Apart from a carcass, other areas that attract wolves include refuse sites, bone yards and hunter camps. These are places where trail cameras and traps can be set up for efficient tracking of wolves.

Rendezvous sites

When there is pup rearing, the activities of wolves are significantly limited since they return to their dens. With some good expertise, these sites can also be identified. Wolves prefer to set their dens in areas that are secluded and a short distance from water sources. Wet meadows are also habitat features that can be used to predict the rendezvous sites. These are also some areas where trail cameras can be set up.

Trail camera tips

Taking a RV on a Hunting Trip, What to Keep In Mind– The trail camera should be set as close as possible to the wolf tracks and trails. However, it is good to check the instructions from the manufacturer about optimal distances since trail cameras differ in make and model. The recommended range for most trail cameras is about 10-20 feet from the target. The camera should be placed either facing northwards or southwards to avoid the direct glare of the sun when facing the east-west direction.

– Leave the camera unattended for up to 12 days to clear any human scent in the air. The wolves will feel secure enough to resume activity in the area. As much as it might be tempting, checking the camera too many times will fill the area with scent and scare the wolves away.


Trail cameras are a good way to identify the location of wolves and track them. With the combination of different methods and techniques, it is possible to capture good photos. However, it is good to set up the camera in the right way.