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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tracking with some "Help" from Maggie

 

deer track in snow

When Maggie and I went out for our morning walk it was a different world from yesterday's wind and blowing snow and biting cold. The sun was shining! And something had made two parallel tracks across my back yard. Now if you live in the NE United States, you probably don't even have to go look to tell me what made those.
deer track in snow

The tracks converged in one of my flower beds, and came out the other side looking like one track. OK, so there were two animals walking side by side, and then they got in line one behind the other. Do you know what it is yet? I went to try to find an impression, even though the snow was deep.

When the snow is this deep it's usually really hard to find a good footprint way down at the bottom of the trail. This was the first one I found. I was going to follow the track and find a better one, but Maggie had designs on that track and she put her nose into it and walked right along it for so far that I wasn't willing to go try to find a better print (leg is better, but snowshoeing makes it ache). If you roll over the picture with your mouse, I've tried to help you see what is deep in that trail.
deer track in snow

Yes, it's a whitetail deer. Now let's back up and I'll show you some good tracks from a few days ago when there was only a little snow. This one is probably a doe. It's not too large. I REALLY need to put a little ruler in my pocket to put down beside these pictures. I'll try to remember to do that. So, what do you look for in deer prints? That V shape. It's pretty simple! The deer is moving in the direction that the V points, just like an arrow. Now there is just one little curve to throw at you.
deer track in snow

Sometimes you will see the two marks of the dewclaws. This deer was moving right to left (just ignore that twig ahead of the track), but behind the track, see the two dimples? Deer have dewclaws, those little extra toes that seem like they are on the ankle. Both does and bucks will leave dewclaw marks in soft surfaces, but given the size of this track (sorry, I WILL put a ruler in my pocket), and the fact that the surface wasn't very soft, I think this was a buck.

So from now on, when you see those V's on my blog, your first thought will be... whitetail deer. Of course other species of deer, elk, etc will have very similar tracks. But we don't have other choices in the wild right here.

Tomorrow, I have a big announcement to make. Well, not that big! Come back and find out.



See Down By the Creek for deer tracks in mud

10 comments:

SJ said...

nice snowy pics...cant wait for the announcement

A smile from SJ =)

Ann said...

how interesting. I didn't know that deer had dew claws.

rainfield61 said...

You are back with your track analysis after last winter.

Secondary Roads said...

Those tracks are very familiar around here too. I'm awaiting your announcement with anticipation.

Ratty said...

It was fun following along with your detective work. Because I've been studying deer and their tracks for awhile now too, I knew what the tracks were early on. Your progression in the post to a good solid print is excellent. I like the clues you give along the way.

VanillaSeven said...

That's an awesome track you got Sharkie :)

JOE TODD said...

Haven't really had any snow in my part of Ohio yet. Actually the other day temp was in the 50's but real windy. Made it down to Tar Hollow State Park and walked a little on the North Country Trail.

WillOaks Studio said...

When I see those tracks in my yard, I just know that some of my shrubs have been "pruned!" Anticipation.....

Sharkbytes said...

Thanks SJ- Announcement is posted

Ann- Yes, they do! I thought I had a picture of an old deer leg so show, but couldn't find it.

rainfield- yes, most everyone said they really liked it, and I do too, so why not?

Chuck- yeah, you probably have more than you need, same as we do.

Thanks, Ratty- I was copying your style!

Vanilla- Well, if I can't find a deer track around here, I must be blind. We'll see if I can get as many different ones this year as last.

Joe- How great! You probably don't get too much snow, right? Want to do a guest post on the NCT News blog?

Karen- yeah, pruned is right! So far they aren't that hungry since we just started the winter thing.

Donna Thacker said...

Your blog is wonderful. Love the pictures. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog...my Widows Web.

I will be back to read more.

www.mywidowsweb.blogspot.com

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