Hunters use animal track identification to identify specific animals and their age, size, sex, weight and movement patterns. This helps them track and find the animals they hunt. Hunters can also use other signs such as hair, chews, food scraps, scratches, scat and rub to identify and track animals.
A variety of factors can help hunters determine an animal's species based on its tracks. These include claw or hoof patterns, stride patterns, pad marks, fur or webbing marks, number of toes and foot or hoof shape. Factors such as weather, the surface material, animal size, animal weight and animal age can influence the appearance of tracks. Hunters can carry field guides to help them compare and identify different types of tracks.
Tracks can not only help hunters identify animals, but can also help them tell where the animals are going, what they were doing when they made the tracks, their sex and their size.
Hunters should also pay attention to other kinds of markings and tracks in the area. Clipped or torn vegetation is a sign that an animal has been feeding in the area. Animals also frequently leave scat along their trails to relieve waste from their bodies and mark their territories. Scat can also help identify animals, as it indicates what they feed on and whether or not they are territorial. Many animals rub up against logs, trees or boulders. This tends to leave polished areas on surfaces or other signs such as fur. Animals may also chew, gnaw or scratch objects and plants in their environment.