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One of the most critical steps in preparation is educating yourself about the game you’re hunting. Understanding your quarry will increase your success and add to the enjoyment of the experience. A prepared hunter will study the quarry and learn about the animal’s habits, food preferences, habitat, and other characteristics. Knowledge of the animal’s anatomy will provide an aiming point in the vital area.

Knowing game sign is also critical. Game sign provides clues that help you locate game. Sight, hearing, smell, and touch all come into play when reading game sign.

Visual Signs

  • Tracks
  • Scrapes or rubs made by head, antlers, or hooves
  • Scat (droppings)
  • Terrain that may shelter or attract animals
  • Trampled vegetation
  • Hair or feathers
  • Trails
  • Browse (roughly torn twigs, buds, or leaf endings)

Auditory Signs

  • Bleating or calling signs
  • Sounds from other animals, such as deer snorting or moose fighting
  • Noise from cracking brush

Scent Signs

  • Musk or rut odors
  • Urine

Feel Signs

  • Checking the freshness of tracks or other visual signs
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