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David Brown
David Brown's Wildlife Services
12 Hotel Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Tel: 978 544 8175
Trackards for North American Mammals
by David Brown
Twenty-six card sides present the tracks and
sign of over 30 wild animals that range across
much of the United States and Canada.

Accurate.  Each image was produced directly
from photographs or casts of  the tracks and
sign of live, free-ranging wild animals.

Life-size. The images are printed, life-size for
direct comparison with found sign.

Waterproof. The cards are made of
waterproof, synthetic material that is
impervious to water, mud or snow. This allows
the cards to be placed on the ground next to
found sign for comparison of size and

Transportable.The card deck is ring-bound
and measures 6X9", large enough to
accommodate the largest tracks but small
enough to carry in a large jacket pocket or

Packed with information. The cards have
images of tracks and a scat as well as a trails
section that shows typical gait patterns and
measurements that contribute to identification
in the field.

Field-tested for over a decade, the Trackards
are unmatched in accuracy, usefulness and
field usability. The system of identification they
represent is much more likely to result in a
successful identification than any other
tracking guide available.
Trackards for North American Mammals
improves on the accuracy and field useability
of every other tracking guide available. It and
the companion book are published by
McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company.
Please see below for current availability.
The Companion Guide to Trackards for North American
by David Brown
The Companion Guide provides 245 pages of additional information
including detailed measurements of track size, gait appearance,
preferred habitats and other sign typical of each species. Ways to
distinguish similar tracks and sign of different animals are included.
This is all original work representing 26 years of tracking experience
by the author. The book is sized like the Trackards so that both may
easily be carried in the field. Together they represent an identification
system that insures success. Available at select nature bookstores or
directly from the publisher at
Note. All the publications on this page will be available for purchase at
Quabbin Trails programs with a 10% discount plus a savings in
postage and packaging.
The Next Step: Interpreting Animal Tracks, Trails
and Sign
By David Brown  

While the Trackards for North American Mammals and its
Companion Guide deal mostly with identification of wildlife
tracks and sign,
The Next Step takes the tracking process one
step further, into interpreting the found evidence of a wild
animal’s passage. “Eco-tracking” asks the questions: What
was the animal doing, and why was it here?” Through the
interpretive process the tracker can take the still image
provided by his identification and put it in motion in the mind’s
eye, effectively recreating the event. In this way he can “see”
the animal moving in its habitat and speculate on the
connection between the two.

The first chapter shows how to find the sign in the first place.
Subsequent chapters describe how to read the track patterns
an animal leaves behind in order to determine its gait, in this
way putting the animal in motion. A lengthy chapter then deals
with the author’s notes, drawn from 30 years of experience as
an “eco-tracker,” on many common species of mammals found
widely across North America, A later chapters deals with
tracking tips for finding and analyzing wildlife sign. Finally the

Bcat w/card  Photo D. Brown
reader is invited to try his own hand at a dozen or so identification and interpretation problems, each with a
photograph and background information about the problem’s context. An appendix provides the author's
solutions and describes recommended preparations for tracking, including clothing and equipment, land
navigation, emergency shelter and recording animal sign for later evaluation.

The Next Step is packed with 558 pages of useful information and is completely illustrated with over 200
photographs, diagrams and drawings.
Read a review of the Trackards and Companion Guide in
Northern Woodlands magazine:
See below for a magazine review of the
Trackards and Companion Guide.
An article exerpted from The Next Step appears in a past winter issue of Northern Woodlands
: Please see:
Availability of Trackards, Companion Guide and The Next Step:
The following are known points of sale for the Trackards and Guide::
  • David Brown's Wildlife Services: All three are offered for sale at  programs. Quabbin Trails
    participants may purchase them at a 10% discount plus a savings in shipping.
  • McDonald & Woodward  All three may be ordered directly from the publisher:
  • Amazon usually has an intermittent supply of all three,
  • Massachusetts Audubon: The Audubon Shop at Drumlin farm carries all three items. Broad Meadow
    Brook Sanctuary in Worcester and Wachusett Meadow Sanctuary in Princeton also have a supply at
    their visitor centers.
  • Acorn Naturalist is currently carrying The Next Step in its catalogue of educational materials.

Answer to the Tracking Problem on the
Encounters Page:
      This photo shows the reason beavers prefer to
build a free-standing lodge in the middle of a pond.
Note the coyote trails and the digging on the side of the
lodge. With the coming of cold weather, the fresh
mudding on the piled branches freezes solid, creating a
mostly impregnable fortress. The beavers within only
have to exit the lodge under the ice, nip off a branch
from the cache and drag it back into their warm cave,
leaving predators frustrated above.
      In ponds where there is no shallow area in the
middle upon which to site the lodge, beavers can dig
out a tunnel on the bank and cover it, too, with mudded
branches. In swift moving streams, on the other hand,
the beavers may not build a covering at all, but exit the
tunnel below the waterline and move up and down the
river, treating it as a linear habitat.