Essential Hunting Tips: Tracking

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As any good hunter knows, the learning process never ends. There are always new strategies to try to make yourself a safer and more responsible hunter. Over the years, hunters have done a good job of sharing their experiences and successes. Last week I discussed some great hunting strategies to help you have a more effective hunt. This week I would like to share some essential tracking tips. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Six Essential Hunting Tips For Tracking:

1) How To Follow A Blood Trail

To properly follow a blood trail, you are going to need to move quietly as you track. Be on the lookout for quarry, which may be bedded just ahead of you. If you are out with other hunters, it is important that you all communicate with hand signals. Make sure that you are all familiar with the hand signals you will be using beforehand. Every time you see a spot of blood, mark it with a piece of toilet paper or flagging; please remember to remove these later.

2) Do Not Give Up

As any seasoned hunter knows, many times the blood trail that you followed a long way will peter out to absolutely nothing. That is not a good sign because it means the animal is still going strong. However, this does not mean that the animal was not already fatally wounded. You should not give up on your blood trail. Keep searching the area for tiny spots of blood; get on your hands and knees, if necessary, to try and find a sign.

3) Look Up For Blood

When you are tracking a wounded animal, do not focus only on the ground for signs of blood. You should also be actively looking for traces of blood higher up on the sides of trees, on grass heaps, and on stems of a bush. Sometimes we become so focused in on traces of blood on the forest floor that we completely miss vital clues off the ground.

4) Call The Spot

If you drop an animal at a long distance, especially in a brushy area where it is more difficult to see the land, remember to make a mental note of where the animal stood at the shot. It is extremely important to find the precise area so that you can pick up the blood trail easily and track down the animal as fast as possible.

5) Beware Of The Instant Drop

An animal that drops at the shot is actually more likely to run off than an animal that does not go down and instead runs some distance before falling. An animal that falls immediately may only be doing so because of shock. Once it recovers from the shock it will begin running. If you see an animal drop instantly, stay put and be prepared for a quick follow-up shot.

6) No Eye Pokes

If you watch hunting shows, you will often see hosts walk up to a fallen animal and prod it with the firearm muzzle to make sure that it’s dead. You should avoid this course of action at all costs. The last thing you want to do is poke the animal and have it leap up when you are so close that you cannot take action. Instead, you should toss a stone or branch in its direction and look for a reaction. If the animals eyes are closed, it is probably still alive. If there are any signs of life, shoot it in the throat under the chin to administer a humane coup de grâce and not waste meat.