Course Outline

Developing wildlife identification skills is a basic requirement for hunters. Knowing the key characteristics of animals will help you distinguish between similar species and between the male and female of the same species.

  • Mistakes in identification can lead to:
    • Illegally harvesting non-game animals or…
    • Accidentally shooting a person who was mistaken for game.
  • Identifying animals accurately can be difficult, but it is a skill that improves with experience. To identify game animals properly, you must learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal you’re hunting. These characteristics include:
    • The animal’s shape, size, coloring, and any other distinguishing features
    • Wildlife sign, such as tracks, scat, and calls
    • The animal’s habitat and range
    • What the animal eats (herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore)
    • Nesting locations for birds
    • Daily habits, such as following a specific routine, being nocturnal, or being solitary
  • Many resources are available for learning about wildlife. Good sources are books, television shows that feature hunting and nature topics, and websites, such as that of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
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