North Woods Guides Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tracking’

Deer Tracks

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

A great way to spend a few hours learning how different animals use the terrain is to get out and follow their tracks in the snow. Just by following their tracks you can learn what they are eating this time of year, where they prefer to bed down for the day or if they are still mating. You can also find out if any predators are following them as well as get a good idea of the sex of the deer. At this time of year a single solitary set of deer tracks in shallow snow that have scuff marks between the prints will most definetly be those of a buck. Splayed track will also point toward the identification of a buck.
If you follow the tracks long enough you will eventually come across the animal and possibly get a glimpse of them running away. Pay close attention to what the tracks were doing before this happened. If there is high ground that the tracks are heading toward or they are heading for thick brush or a thick stand of evergreens means they will probably be bedded down there. If the tracks start to make an arc toward one of these areas that also will tell you that they are positioning themselve to bed down and watch their backtrail for approaching danger. Deer just don’t randomly lay down and rest there is always some prep work they use to assure they can spot danger and have some reaction time to flee the area. Animal tracking can be a fun, educational way to spend a few hours out in the woods. Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll find it a rewarding experience.

Animal Track App Screen Shots

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

 Here are a few screen shots of the MyNature Animal Track App available on the iPhone. visit us at

iPhone Animal Tracks

Friday, November 27th, 2009

So far the MyNature Animal Track app has a couple followers. Glad you all like it so much. I hope you can help us get the word out that you can now buy a great app for identifying animal tracks on the iPhone. Have them all visit us here at

Plaster Casting

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Hello again!! I was going to post some new pics but figured I would do a little writing instead. I’ve been out casting tracks the past couple weeks and thought I would share just how easy it is to make a plaster cast of a animals track as well as how to get your kids involved in something fun. How do I know kids will like it you ask?? Because if my 14 year old daughter who finds my life as mundane as watching paint dry found it interesting enough to try then I know there must be some fun involved.

Your first mission is to go down to the hardware store and pick up a box of Plaster of paris about $5 bucks for a box, that’s it, all the money you need to spend. Find yourself a nice clear track impression, you can even do the family dog or cat if you want a keepsake of their footprint.  The best place to find tracks is near water, the edge of a beaver pond, lake or stream. All animals need water so they all visit watering holes and there is usually some good mud along the shoreline where they leave nice clear track impressions.

I carry my plaster in ziploc bags, it’s easier than lugging the box around and you can seal the bag up better than the opened box so it won’t get all over the inside of your pack. Once you find a good track use your hands to scrape up some dirt or mud to build a dam completely around the track. Stay about 2 inches from the sides of the track and make the dam about 2 inches high. Smooth it all out on the sides so you have a nice smooth cast when your done.  Use another ziploc bag to get some water. Now your ready to mix, pour some water into your bag holding the plaster and nead the bag with your fingers or stir witha stick or spoon. You want the mixture the same consistency as pancake batter. Just add more water or powder if needed. Once your mixed up pour the plaster into the track impression first and then fill the surrounding dam area. Wait 15 minutes and lift your casting up, brush off all the dirt and debris that may be stuck to it. That’s it, all there is to it and now you have a pretty cool track impression.

If you wanted to get a little fancier and make a wall plaque of the track, before you mix up your plaster place a stick on the outside of your dam pointing in the same direction the tack is pointing, this is just for orientation purposes. After you pour the plaster in the dam place a paperclip or an I-hook in at an angle toward the stick. Once the plaster is hard you have a built in wall hanger. It’s a pretty fun way to spend time with your kids and get back to nature. Enjoy!!!  Happy Hiking

Winter Wildlife

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Welcome to the North Woods blog site.  I will be putting in some info this weekend on what the wildlife around here (here being the Adirondacks) have been experiencing this winter.  It hasn’t been a good one for the those that don’t hibernate and I will fill you in on that shortly.   Happy Hiking!!



So far the winter of 2008/2009 has been pretty severe in Adirondacks. The amount of snow we have had the past couple years has taken it’s toll mostly on the deer herd. I have seen deer where just about the only part visible was their head above the snow. Displacing that much snow when they move consumes alot of energy which isn’t easy to replace.  Any of the mast crops that fell last fall are buried under 3-4 feet of crusty snow with more surely to come in the next month.  Deer have been browsing heavily on evergreens which offer very little in energy and nutrition. I suspect the winter kill will be fairly high this year.  As sad as that is it’s a part of the natural cycle of life in the wild. For every deer that succcumbs to the elements there are other animals and birds that will live to see another winter. Fox, coyotes, fisher, hawks,crows and turkey vultures will leave little to waste. Usually the longer the winter the higher the mortality rate among the population as their fat reserves they stored up in the fall are almost depleted once  mid March arrives.  If we can get through this month with some warmer temperatures and some what of a thaw then they may fair better.  I certainly know I would be much happier if this winter was over.  If by chance your hiking or snowshoeing and come across a winter deer yard try not to disturb the area. The more you push the deer around the more precious energy they needlessly burn up and may not be able to replace.

Happy Hiking

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