If you’re serious about wildlife photography, then it’s helpful to learn a little about animal tracking. Knowing where an animal typically hangs out or walks around can significantly increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time.
Learning how to accurately track animals can be a long process, but here are a few simple ways to get started:
#1 – Start with some intro books
Books are always a great starting point for learning something new, since you can learn at your own pace. If you’re in North America, I can personally recommend two great intro books:
- Tracking and the Art of Seeing by Paul Rezendes
- A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America by James Halfpenny.
Another book that looks good is Mammal Tracks & Sign: A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch (I haven’t read this one yet, but it seems to be recommended by a lot of experts).
Once you’ve finished reading one of these more general books, then you can move on to books or research papers written about specific animals you’re interested in photographing. Anything you learn about an animal’s habits or behavior can ultimately help you track that animal.
#2 – Use smartphone apps for reference
If you have a smartphone, then you probably already know there’s an app for just about everything. And, luckily that includes animal tracking 🙂
For iPhone, I can personally recommend MyNature Animal Tracks. It’s well organized and includes a ton of different animals.
#3 – Look for workshops in your area
Another great way to get started with animal tracking is to learn from an expert.
Do some Google searches to see if there’s anyone in your area that offers workshops, and if possible do some background research on the person to make sure they’re really an expert.
Sometimes you can also find animal tracking workshops offered at a local nature center.
What did I miss?
If you know of another great way to get started with animal tracking, then please share it with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks! 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.