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Traces, traces, traces …

Sometimes you return home, not only without any booty, but with a clean gun, and your mood is very good. This may be the day after the powders dropped in time. It happens that you can’t even haul out the hare, but you’ll see all sorts of tracks.

For example, in one year, winter began in November. Snow fell, it froze. If you want to, you don’t want to, but those animals that do not hibernate in the winter had to immediately start “telling” about their life on clear, snowy “pages”. And they told a lot.

On the eve of the hunter (no one else) walked across the field, and during the night a vole made a way out of his deep snow track and adapted it for his toilet. Okay, one, otherwise almost every third track, the snowy inhabitants would be “converted” for their needs.

From these “visiting cards” it is immediately evident that there are many mice and field voles to winter. True, you immediately find that their ranks suffer great damage every day. The fox does not need to take a shuttle for a long time, looking for rare voles. She walked at night almost in a straight line, and on the trail of her, one after another, characteristic pit digs came across. Only a drop of blood can remind of its successful catch.

If the signs of fox hunting can be found by going along the chain of its traces, then you come across a hole made by a buzzard by chance. After all, he only snatches the animal out of the snow and immediately rises again into the air, leaving only weak sickle-shaped imprints of the wings. But, in contrast to the fox, which with plenty of food there is no need to mock during the day, you see flying buzzards constantly. Not flying further south, they confirm that the year is unusually mouse.

It is difficult to find traces of partridges, who, having fed on winter crops, fly away to rest in the weeds, where there is food and shelter. Hares are also drawn to winter. Sometimes you see that at one place both partridges and a rodent were fed.

Perhaps hares will always inherit more than other animals. Or is it because it seems so that they most attract the eye of the hunter. You will not immediately understand the confusion of his long night journey. Therefore, you find another time only an empty bed, and its owner has already rushed away from trouble. It was made in accordance with all the rules: under the “roof” of dried grass, with the “exit” in the direction of the wind.

They inherited animals and birds, “told” – read the hunter. You are good at snow certificate – you will not be left without prey. And if you can’t shoot, it’s not a problem either. After all, we read even boring books just for the soul. The same is the most interesting thing to read.

The ability to read footprints, and not only in snow, sand or soft mud, but everywhere, is necessary for a hunter, at least “by syllables”, with hesitation. If you are in the forest a couple of times a month, it is difficult to claim solid knowledge. But in order to still be able to be a little able, you need to constantly train: carefully watch everything around and remember. And you’re lucky, there’s nothing to go through with a good ranger, there’s nothing to stand on ceremony; Such connoisseurs of the forest and its inhabitants, such as Dersu Uzala, Ulukitkan, Indian Kuneb and others, are immortalized by writers and travelers – Arsenyev, Fedoseyev, Seton-Thompson. These forest inhabitants, by the almost invisible changes that remained after the beast, determined his appearance, the gender where he went, and even the quality of his skin.

From a scientific point of view, the experience of many trackers and their own was summarized by the famous scientist A. Formozov, who wrote the most interesting book “Tracker’s Companion” – a manual not only for biologists, but also for everyone who lives and works in nature.

We learn from the book that many interesting life features of rare secretive animals became known only through careful and competent study of their traces. It has long been known from hunter-hunters about the audacity and power of a wolverine, which can defeat a beast much larger than itself. Zoologist F. Shaposhnikov confirmed this by following the trail of a predator.

“Wolverine caught a capricorn on a steep rocky slope of the river bank and jumped the beast on its back. Capricorn with a rider on his back in huge leaps descended to the river. About 1.5 km he rode with his burden in deep meter snow, falling into unfrozen wormwood. If the capricorn fell into the water, the wolverine jumped from it and again had time to jump onto its back when the animal climbed out onto the ice … finally the exhausted capricorn fell into the wormwood and could not get out. “Wolverine pulled the prey onto the ice, bit it into pieces and hid the meat in various places.”

This is only a small example of the restoration of an extraordinary event, just by prints on the snow. In the wake of the tracks, it was established that the lynx at the same wolverine “walks among the workers”: the latter follows the lynx’s footsteps and takes its prey. The snow shows what kind of hunting area the predator has, where he watches over his prey, where he hides the prey. For example, a mink drags and hides fish everywhere if it is lucky to find a set net, and an ermine, incapable of such “hard work”, at the same time drags a fish from the mink’s pantries.

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