Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 49

Making tracks work for your hunt is a step beyond just seeing them. True, finding and identifying wildlife sign is always a fun part of being outdoors, especially when you can share that skill and discovery with youngsters or those new to the experience of being in the “wild.” But as a hunter, reading sign is critical to knowing what to hunt, where, when and even how. We talk about buck rubs and scrapes, deer beds, squirrel leaf nests and turkey dusting spots, but a lot of what we find of wildlife’s presence is its tracks. For three seasons of the year, the best medium for making track impressions is mud. Not just any mud but, rather, dirt wet enough to be compressed and take the shape of the animal’s hoof, paw or clawed foot, but not so wet that that it oozes and collapses back in on itself. Anyone who made mud pies as a youngster knows something about the consistency. Damp sand can also take a track impression, but if the sand dries out and there’s wind, the imprint erodes away grain by grain. If you’ve spent time at a beach you know about that, as well. The fourth season of the year, we have snow for making tracks. Those who aren’t hunters look out at a snow-clad, frosty landscape or at all that cold, white stuff coming down and say, “You mean you’re going out in that? Whatever for?” At least part of the answer is, “Because there will be tracks.” Old snow is a maze of wildlife tracks,
AUGUST  2012 

which is good news and bad news. Where the snowless land gave hints of the presence of game, the snowcloaked land shouts it. The smart hunter — and I try to be one — not only sees in the days’ old snow that the game being sought lives there, but looks at how the tracks relate to terrain and vegetation features, and plans hunt stratBob Steiner egies accordingly. From their tracks and trails in the snow, I’ve learned that deer like to travel just beyond the lip of a slope and skirt the edge of evergreens, for example. Even when it’s snowing heavily, tracks are important to a hunter; maybe even more important than when it’s not snowing. Fall turkey hunters who can get off work quickly when a sticking snow starts are wise to do so. Instead of having to gauge how old the scratching is in the leaves, if the hunter cuts tracks of a flock now, when it’s still snowing, he must be close. He’ll try to catch up or circle around and flush them, then try to call the birds back. His odds are very good. Bear hunters, too, watch expectantly for a track-making snowfall. Indeed, any bear season without snow just doesn’t feel “right.” As a squirrel hunter, the square pattern of tracks in snow below my feet keeps my spirits up as I watch the treetops. Even rabbit hunters and pheasant and grouse hunters’ hearts beat faster when they see fresh-looking tracks disappearing into the tall grass or brush. It doesn’t take much snow to make a track. Just a dusting will do. On the same piece of timber company ground on which I saw the turkey tracks in the mud this spring, several years ago I was hunting the second week of deer season with a DMAP permit. It was the last day that the several of us were able to hunt there, so we took what we were given as far as weather and conditions underfoot.
49



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012
History of the Whitetail
Contents
Decisions, Decisions
Hiking the Elk Range
Young Gun 2
Pennsylvania’s “Wildest” Places
Out of the Fog
Looking Forward To
European Skull Mounts
You Never Know
Just Gittin’ Started
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - History of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Decisions, Decisions
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Hiking the Elk Range
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Young Gun 2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Pennsylvania’s “Wildest” Places
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Out of the Fog
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Looking Forward To
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - European Skull Mounts
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - You Never Know
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Just Gittin’ Started
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2012 - Cover4
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