Animal tracking in the snow

I just had the most superb animal tracking day of my life. As some of you may know, one of my favorite hobbies is animal tracking – going off into the woods, and following animal tracks around to see what they’ve been up to.

I was planning to go for a regular walk, but as I strolled down my driveway I saw some opossum, fox, and then bear tracks. And poof! My plans for the day instantly changed. There was nothing I wanted to do more than follow bear tracks. The next five hours were spent blissfully and aimlessly following tracks through the woods.

I have never before seen such a wide variety of tracks in one single day. Throughout the day I saw opossum, skunk, raccoon, fox, coyote, bobcat (a rare treat!), deer, a variety of rodent tracks, cottontail rabbit, and the imprint of a birds wing as it went after a tasty rodent morsel. There were also bear tracks everywhere! I’ve never seen so many!

As I followed one bear trail, it was evident from the tracks that the bear came to a favored scratching post, because you could see from the tracks that the bear backed up to the tree and was having a good old scratch. The tree that the bear was scratching on is what I call a ‘bear whammy’ tree. Years of bears have been scratching on this tree and reaching up and biting the bark. There were years of bite marks on this one little tree.

Opossum and bobcat tracks
Opossum tracks (left) and bobcat tracks (right)

As I continued on this same bear’s trail, I passed an area where the bear had obviously laid down. The snow was depressed in a beary-shape, and there were bear hairs in the snow. A little further on this same trail, I came to a place where there had been a dead deer. You could see that the bear hauled what was left of the carcass away as you could see the bear prints, and the imprint of something being dragged through the snow. Holy moly! That’s when I decided I should stop following THAT bear! I didn’t want to challenge him to his evening meal 😊!

As I started heading home, I passed an area where there were lots of opossum tracks in the snow and upon following I found two dens. I wonder if anyone was home? What a truly awesome, spectacular, stunning, and fabulous story the forest had to tell today!!!!!

Every good wish,

Jennifer O’Hagan RH(AHG)