The practice of tracking may focus on, but is not limited to, the patterns and systems of the local animal life and ecology. Trackers must be able to recognize and follow animals through their tracks, signs, and trails, also known as spoor. Spoor may include tracks, scat, feathers, kills, scratching posts, trails, drag marks, sounds, scents, marking posts, the behavior of other animals, habitat cues, and any other clues about the identity and whereabouts of the quarry.
The skilled tracker is able to discern these clues, recreate what transpired on the landscape, and make predictions about the quarry. The tracker may attempt to predict the current location of the quarry and follow the quarry's spoor to that location, in an activity known as trailing.
Prehistoric hunters used tracking principally to gather food. Even in historic times, tracking has been traditionally practiced by the majority of tribal people all across the world.
Good resource with sketches and other info on tracks.
How To Track An Animal
You may be hunting, or simply tracking the animal for fun, but animal tracking is a time-honored tradition dating back to our ancestors in the caves. Hopefully, this will not be a life-and-death situation for you, but tracking animals can be a great way to pass time in the wild.
Do your homework. What animal are you tracking? What danger might it pose to you? What kind of signs does it leave? What are its sharpest senses?
Mask yourself. If the animal has an excellent sense of smell, you may want to consider rolling around in pine or spruce or other smelly local scents. If its best sense is hearing, then avoid patches of leaves or sticks lying around.
Check for signs or the animal you're tracking. Broken branches, scat and paw prints are come of the more common sights. Don't overlook anything.
Breathe through the nose. Even simple measures can prevent detection.
Try to find out where it's headed. Perhaps it is eager for a drink, so waterholes or ponds are some of the best places to look.
Find a good place to see and not be seen once you've tracked the animal to it's destination.
If you see the animal, then you've finished tracking.
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Track an Animal. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.