Outdoors Journal: Tracking animals in the snow

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2011 - 11:22 PM

For every creature seen or heard, at least a hundred pass by unobserved. Only when we see tracks in the snow do we begin to realize all of the activity going on around us.

For more than 25 winters, starting in 1970, it was my privilege to be the Hopkins School District naturalist and have the opportunity to take hundreds of classroom groups animal tracking each winter. Mostly we hiked the trails at Lowry Nature Center, located in Carver Park near Victoria. On these excursions looking for signs of deer was always a favorite, and we would often find deer tracks and beds in the snow. Fox tracks also created much excitement among the students, as did raccoon tracks that we could count on seeing during warm winter spells. Tracks for both red and gray squirrels often led to and from the bases of trees, and eastern cottonwood rabbit tracks were almost always quite numerous. Mouse and shrew tunnels and tracks, and the footprints of ring-necked pheasants and small birds, were also eagerly recorded by the students on their data sheets.

If you would like to experience the sense of discovery, the day after a light dusting of snow is a good time to track wildlife. Wet snow best preserves details of tracks. Look on sidewalks and driveways, paths in parks, or beneath bird feeders for prints of squirrels, mice and deer.

JIM GILBERT

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close