HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 10 - WILDLIFE


If you’re tracking your game animal, you need to know what prints to be looking for in the dirt or snow. The tracks of each of the following game animals will have a unique shape and gait. So, choose your game animal from the list and learn up!

Galloping Gait Animals: Fishers, wolverines, weasels, ferrets, minks and martens.

  • Track Appearance: The front and back feet are both boxed-shaped, and the back feet are longer than the front feet.
  • Gait Pattern: The rear feet (longer ones) swing around the front feet. 

Hopping Gait Animals: Squirrels and chipmunks.

  • Track Appearance: All four feet will leave a star-shaped print.
  • Gait Pattern: These guys take full bounds and keep their front feet and back feet side by side with every hop. The back feet land ahead of the front feet. 

Half-Bound Gait Animals: Rabbits and hares.  

  • Track Appearance: These feet are rounded near the front (by the toes) and oblong toward the back.
  • Gait Pattern: The back feet will always appear side-by-side and the front feet will always be staggered. The back feet land ahead of the front feet. The tracks appear in the following pattern:


Ambling Gait Animals: Badgers, skunks, raccoons and bears.

  • Track Appearance: This track looks a little like a human print but the toes will look boxed off, the top edges will look fuzzy and there will be dot-like claw marks across the top. So, if you think you’re in Sasquatch turf, it’s probably just a bear track that you’ve come across. Either way, you should probably watch your back.
  • Gait Pattern: These are wide-bodied animals that move their feet from the same side of their body simultaneously so the front and back feet will usually appear side-by-side. Think of it as 4-footed a waddle. The tracks appear in the above pattern:

Side-Trotter Gait Animals: Deer, canines and big cats.

  • Track Appearance: Deer tracks are heart-shaped, canine tracks are egg-shaped and cat paws are circle-shaped.
  • Gait Pattern: These guys move the opposites sides of their body simultaneously. Front right with rear left and vice versa. This looks like a steady, straight line of tracks. The rear feet fall into or near the impressions left by the front feet.  The tracks appear in the above pattern:


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