Tracks will forever be interesting to me as every set tells a story that I want to read.
Growing up on a ranch is where I learned to read tracks. Most the time it was cows I was after. We had cattle so wild I’ve seen deer and elk want to be around people more than these cattle did.
The ranch being in the rough, remote dry dirt country of southeast Arizona forced anyone who was going to chase down these cattle figure out where they were and what calves they had to track, and track well.
Many times I would track these cows for a mile or two and once they saw me they were off to parts unknown. You had to figure out when you thought you were getting close before they saw you so you could get a good look at them. I think today how I use those skills.
Going out into the woods I listen and watch for animals so I have the opportunity to see them before they see us. There are times where we smell elk when we are close. I tell my customers on wildlife tours to keep their voices down and we may have a great sighting.
Its always special when the animals come out and don’t see you for awhile and go about their daily business of feeding, playing and calling to each other. Most of these sightings stem from tracks that guides have been watching for everyday and every short walk we take. After a few years we learn where animals like to be during spring calving and fall breeding which allows us to forecast what’s happening at different times of the year. Watching for sign tells us a story. It’s a story of what the animal is eating or if the animal is marking territory.
TRACKS FROM A YOUNG GRIZZLY BOAR
While on a tour of Grand Teton National Park we spotted the grizzly tracks above in the spring snow. After following them for about a mile we started to top out a ridge where we could see for miles. That’s when we saw a young boar probably no older than 4 years old cruising through the sage in the Jackson Lake area.
We could see every now and again where he would stop and dig for ground squirrels, pocket gophers, or voles- a nice spring time snack for a hungry grizzly. These tracks will always be made and erased by the snow, wind or rain only to be made again. Hopefully as time goes on more and more of us will stop and take the time to read them.
– Adam Lackner, BrushBuck Wildlife Tours