|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 http://mwpubco.com.
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
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
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.
See below for a magazine review of the
Trackards and Companion Guide.
|Availability of Trackards, Companion Guide and The Next Step:
The following are known points of sale for the Trackards and Guide::
call 1-800-233-8787. Given current availability issues, this may be the best way to order.
- 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. Please note: for
several reasons none of my publications are for sale by me through the mail.
- McDonald & Woodward All three may be ordered directly from the publisher: mwpubco.com or
- Amazon usually has an intermittent supply of all three,
- Massachusetts Audubon: The Worcester and Wachusett Meadow Sanctuary in Princeton
sometimes have a supply at their visitor centers as well.
Answer to the Tracking Problem on the
The prints are those of a mink patrolling the
streamside. Minks are well adapted to water where they
hunt fish, crayfish frogs and tadpoles. On shore they
may open mussels as well as dig sandworms. Not
strictly aquatic, at other seasons they hunt on land,
using their long, thin shape to search for small rodents
in their narrow hideaways.
The clear print at the bottom of the frame is the
front foot and the ones at the top are the hind. Since
the front feet bear the weight of the animal's head, its
heaviest part, the toes of the front feet splay more than
Two features distinguish these prints from those of
gray squirrels, which are about the same size. First is
the asymmetry of the toe arrangement, with a retarded
fifth medial toe-a characteristic of most mustelids.
Secondly, the arc of the toes differs from the flat
arrangement of the central three toes of all sciurids.