If you are a newbie to hunting, you might be shared many useful wildlife identification skills before you start the first hunting game. Then, put such valuable information down right away. It might be helpful someday so that you can shoot adequately and even protect yourself from wildlife dangers. So, why must you learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting?

Why Must You Learn to Recognize Key Characteristics of The Animal You’re Hunting?

A hunting game is way-fun yet dangerous at the same time. Not only might you be posed at risk by wildlife animals or invisible traps in the wood, but you can also threaten others, both people and aminals, if you shoot wrong.

Say, can you tell deer, elk, caribou, and moose apart?

For that reason, learning to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting is a standard requirement for any hunters. Then, you are supposed to be able to distinguish members of a family and even between the female and male.

Only when you understand what you plan to target can you develop an effective hunting strategy and get a successful season.

Mistakes in wildlife identification might end up:

  • Illegal harvesting for non-game animals, along with severe fines.
  • Accidents of shooting innocent people or animals.
  • Slow response to dangers when you underestimate the wildlife.

What Are Key Characteristics of Animals in The Wood?

In brief, you can rely on some features to identify one animal from others, including:

  • The shape and size;
  • Distinctive markings, for example, the horns, furs, tails, etc.;
  • The sound (calls or howls.)
  • Movement trackings;
  • Daily habits and group behaviors;

The shape and size

Wildlife is categorized into 5 groups: large mammals, small mammals; waterfowl and wetland birds; upland birds; and birds of prey.

Ideally, you should recognize an animal just by looking at their shape and some distinctive markings. For example, a whitetail is often reddish-brown to tan in its color with the underside-white tail. The male whitetail has antlers with tines grown from it, whereas the female whitetail does not have antlers.

Those who belong to the same family are harder to distinguish. The adult whitetail deer is often mistaken for the fawn. Then, take notes that fawns’ body is usually short and square like a “briefcase,” while that of the whitetail is rectangular-shaped like a “suitcase.”


Interestingly enough, calls or howls of animals can tell you many things about what you are enter-counting.

When you hear a howling in the wood, there are two cases: you must find a shelf because there is a wolf nearby, or it is just the coyote’s howling. The two sounds are much similar until you learn some identification skills.

Howls of a coyote are often high-pitched with short bursts that fall and rise, along with occasional yips and yaps. Meanwhile, a wolf howl is more protracted and even includes barks and growls.

Movement tracking

Also, take a look at the pawns and footprint on the ground. It is an excellent start to uncover the kinds of species.

As shown in the chart above, deer prints have two toe impressions sitting alongside each other, which looks like an upside-down heart. Specific members of the deer family have the footprints different in size.

Meanwhile, minks and otters have splayed and star-shape prints. Even claw marks are visible. However, the otter track patterns are more webbed and more extensive – up to 1 ½ inch wide.

Besides the prints and claws, you can also keep track of the animals’ burrows, droppings, or territorial markings.

Daily habits and group behaviors

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Suppose that you are serious about hunting, ready to spend more time investigating the wildlife’s daily habits and behaviors. This will bring you many interesting facts to answer the question, “why must you learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting?”

Some daily habits are daily food, a specific routine, the habit of being solitary, or nocturnal. The group’s social behaviors include all flock patterns. In particular, what to consider is how the animal acts from blinking, eating, running, jumping, walking, flying, vocalizing, huddling, etc.

How to Start Learning Characteristics of Animals?

We recommend you buy a wildlife glossary, better if it is published by a reliable hunting agency in your hunting area.

With the books or the law documents, you can first update yourself on the hunting safety and requirement to make sure that you know what to target on the game. Secondly, the glossary often features categories of all common animals with detailed images and explanations.

Nonetheless, the best way to learn about the animals’ key characteristics is through the hunting game. When you meet the animals twice and more, then you can have some wildlife identification skills for the next hunting plans.

Wrapping Up

Why must you learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting? – Now, you already know the reasons. If you have some useful techniques or know some, please share it with our readers in the comment section. Thank you!

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