5 Simple Ways to Read a Game Trail – Tip for Survivalist
Finding food when living off the grid is not as hard as it may sound
Survivalist in a wilderness situation will find that their survival gear only last at most 7 days.
This means that if you are planning to live off the grid that you will have to find your own food.
Where you could just go about collecting berries and nuts and such, more than likely you will want to have a bit of meat in your belly at some point or another.
You may know how to hunt, but do you know how to find the game trail?
5 Simple ways to read a game trail
1) Woodland tracks
The best way to find a game trail in the woods is to look for a place that has thick vegetation and berries or nuts.
Once you find this area, step lightly and look around for visible tracks. Most commonly, you will come across deer, rabbit, raccoon, and squirrel tracks.
Deer tracks will have a split hoof shape and are pretty easy to spot. Keep in mind that the latter part of the track is at the back of the foot.
This will let you know the direction in which the animal was going.
Follow the tracks to see the game trail. You need to note that you do not want to stay on the game trail for too long.
You have a scent and do not want to tarnish your possible food supply.
Tracks which look like a giant footprint with claws at the end is a bear, you should stay away from that.
If you see a wide toed dog print that is a coyote, narrow-toed with NO claw marks is a cougar.
It would be wise for any survivalist to have a survival guide which states the animals as well as shows their tracks for the geographical region which you are in.
Keep in mind that some areas are more prone to certain predator animals during certain seasons.
Part of your survival training should be gaining a knowledge of the wildlife in the area.
2) Look for worn down grass
If you are in an area which is not frequently traveled, look for definitive partings in the grass. Keep in mind that the displacement of the grass will show you how big or small the game is.
For example: If you have a rabbit then the grass will appear to have a tunnel-like trail cut through the tall grass.
There may be a path worn down, but it will not be more than a few inches in width.
However, if you have a full adult wild boar, the trail will be thick and the ground will have deep overturned dirt.
3) Look for the broken sticks and twigs
I know that it may sound a bit like a movie, but the technique actually helps you to determine a game trail.
Look for any thick brush which shows signs of twigs broken or leaves stripped from a tree. If you find a group of bushes which has leaves at the top and stripped leaves at the bottom, the odds are that you have found the feeding spot of a wild animal.
It is important that you do not go touching and messing around with the trail.
Just observe and take note of where you need to hunt.
4) Look for tree scrapings and rut marks
A game, especially deer, marks their trails. Bucks sharpen their antlers on the trees and there will be a very distinctive mark on the tree from where the antlers have been brushed back and forth.
You can also look for any areas around a tree where an animal has turned over the soil or rutted in the area.
Pay special attention to any areas which have freshly turned soil as these will have the highest probability of providing you with a game.
5) Look at the banks of your rivers and streams
If you are in an area which is close to a river or a stream, then look for slide marks on the bank.
Beavers, otters, and other animals which stay primarily in the water generally lay on their bellies and use the bank as a sort of slip and slide into the water.
It is very important to note the type of slide mark. Snakes will have a trail that bends and curves, beavers will have a wide, slick, and muddy path near a beaver dam (so if you don’t see a dam, then it is not a beaver).
Image source: https://www.travelblog.org/Photos/6530784
The most important thing to look for in bank slide marks is for footprints. If you find a print that looks like a raccoon with a slide mark in the middle, leave it alone. That is an alligator and you probably do not have the survival skills to take it on.
These are but a few of the ways in which you can find a game trail. You need to evaluate your hunting skills to determine the best methodology for capturing and killing your game.
Obviously, you don’t want to go toe to toe with a bear or try to strangle an alligator, but at the same time, you do not want to spend days tracking a doe without having a bow or a snare to capture and kill the game.
The game which will be the easiest to capture will be squirrels and rabbits. Usually, you can use either a simple snare trap, or you can use a sharpened stick (spear) method.
Ensure that your sharp knife and ax is in your gear so you can clean your game once you made the kill.
Remember that when you do make your kill that you want to take the animal OFF your game trail.
Do not gut and skin it there.
The more you use one game trail the less you will have to move to find new sources of food.