TRR photos by Sandy Long

These tracks indicate the passage of a human and two dogs. But what is that curious arc appearing to the left of the first dog’s tracks? The human tracks are mine and the middle tracks, displaying a normal gait, were made by my dog Ziva. My new pup, Raven, has a waddling side-to-side swish. As her hind feet move forward, they swing outward, creating the crescent shape seen here. Domestic dogs provide good opportunities to hone your tracking skills.

Surviving the times

Severe weather events like the one that struck the Upper Delaware River region recently throw us suddenly out of our normal routines. Priorities shift to survival activities like securing adequate shelter, clean water and ample nourishment.

Today, finding food most likely means digging out a vehicle, navigating treacherous roadways and hoping that the grocery store still has something to sell. But in days gone by, humans had to rely on their ability to forage for plants and to find animals to survive.

Studying animal signs and honing the practice of tracking were essential skills. Hunters and wildlife photographers still rely on such practices to improve their chances for success.

For the rest of us, learning to read animal signs such as scat, digs, tunnels, trail patterns and activities like nest-building, browsing and de-barking is a fascinating educational process that raises awareness and respect for the animals that share our region.


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