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 appearance.

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 pack.

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 usability of every other tracking guide available. It and the companion book are published by McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company. Please see below for current availability.

See below for a magazine review of the Trackards and Companion Guide.

The Companion Guide to Trackards for North American Mammals 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.

Read a review of the Trackards and Companion Guide in Northern Woodlands magazine:

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 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.

Please see an article excerpted from The Next Step appears in a past winter issue of Northern Woodlands Magazine:

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. 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: or call 1-800-233-8787. Given current availability issues, this may be the best way to order.
  • 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 Encounters Page:

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 the hind.

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.