Three years ago I featured Naturalist David Brown’s Trackards as the Book of February. It seems apropos that I bring attention to them again as they are my “go to” guide for tracking. Oh, I have the works of Miller, Rezendes, Elbroch, Stokes and the like on my bookshelf as you can see from the titles below. And I do refer to them frequently, but they don’t all agree on everything.
What I’ve learned is that David’s cards are accurate, easy to carry, show up well in a photograph, and provide me with enough information to make a determination about a print, track pattern, or scat. And then I can go home and check to see what the rest have to say. At the end of the day, though, it’s my observations, aided by David’s Trackards, that tell the real story.
Tracking and the Art of Seeing, Paul Rezendes
Mammal Tracks and Sign, Mark Elbroch
Field Guide to Tracking Animals in Snow, Louise R. Forrest
Guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior, Donald and Lillian Stokes
Peterson Field Guides: Animal Tracks, Olaus J. Murie and Mark Elbroch
Peterson Field Guides: Mammals, William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider
Trackards and Companion Guide to the Trackards, David Brown
Track Finder, Dorcas S. Miller
Scat and Tracks of the Northeast, James C. Halfpenny
Tracking and Reading Sign, Len McDougall
Critters of Maine, Ann McCarthy
The Tracker’s Field Guide, James C. Lowery
The SAS Guide to Tracking, Bob Carss
Lonesome Bears, Linda Jo Hunter
Bear Aware, Bill Schneider
The Hidden Life of Deer, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
The Science and Art of Tracking, Tom Brown, Jr.
National Geographic Guide: Great Mammals, Carolinda Hill
Golden Nature Guide: Mammals, Herbert S. Zim and Donald F. Hoffmeister Golden Science Guide: Zoology, R. Will Burnett, Harvey I. Fisher and Herbert S. Zim
The Raccoon Book, Katharyn Machan Aal
Raccoons (for kids), Jeff Fair
Foxes (for kids), Judy Schuler
Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer, Mary Holland
Stories in Tracks & Sign, Diane K. Gibbons
I’ve had the good fortune to spend time tracking with and learning from David and continue to do so each time I use his cards.
The prints and scat are hand drawn and life size so I can place them beside the sign to help make a determination about which mammal was on the move.
No print or scat is too small! You’ll notice that measurements are on the side–helping to determine the size of the print and the straddle (width from outside of one print to outside of other)..
David has also included the mammal’s preferred method or pattern of locomotion, which is also useful in correct identification. In this case, the fisher, a member of the weasel family, moved from a slanted bound to an alternate walking pattern.
Another handy thing–he’s made it easy to locate the particular cards by adding the mammal’s name on the edge.
These two photos are from David’s Web site.
David has found a publisher so the Trackards you purchase may look a wee bit different than mine, but the information is still there. And where I have thirteen cards because he made use of the front and back of each, the new decks contain 26 cards.
While you’re at it, take a look at his books. I have the older version of The Companion Guide to the Trackards and plan to order his newest book, The Next Step.
Trackards by David Brown: Don’t leave home without them.
2 thoughts on “Book of January: Trackards”
Leigh, you’ve been recommending them for three years — and I’ve been putting it off for that whole time! I guess it’s time to take action! Thanks for the link to his website.
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You won’t regret the plunge, Alan!
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