Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who's Tracks Are These?

Who do these tracks belong to? This is a question I can answer very well. Some are animal tracks, but most of these tracks belong to humans who have ventured off the walking trails. Just by looking at them for a second or two a good everyday adventure like me can figure out this little mystery with relative ease.

I can tell by their patterns that the people who left these tracks in the snow were playing a little treasure hunting game called geocaching. And almost all of them were unsuccessful finding their little treasure. You might wonder how I know they failed in their quest. I didn't see the people; only their tracks. Those tracks revealed it all to me.

You see, I know where the treasure is, and it's because I'm a better tracker than these others are. The people that hid the treasure did a good job hiding it, but there are little signs that reveal the location. I followed those signs, but none of these other people did. They'll never find it. None of their snowy tracks go near the prize, but I can see their search patterns. I'll never tell. Secrets are fun.

And what about these tracks above? More geocachers looking for their prize? Nope! This busy looking trail is actually a deer trail. Every one of those tracks belongs to a white-tailed deer. This park is full of these beautiful creatures, but they hide just as well as any hidden treasure. And finding them is every bit as fun.

I can find these treasures too, but I haven't in quite some time now. Deer mostly come out in the open at only certain times of the day. I haven't been able to come out at the right time. When I do, these deer will actually come and find me. Using the right body language helps make them more confident around me. That can be good, but also bad at times.

Most people think a deer would run away at the sight of a human, but they run towards me at times. Sometimes they even try to scare me away with an implied threat. A small adjustment in my posture usually stops them short. Check my archives for proof of my bragging. Do a search for "deer" above and to the right if you like. You'll find it all there.

This picture above is a closeup of one of the deer tracks from the above trail in the melty snow. Yup, I said "melty." You'll never find that one in the dictionary. Don't worry, I didn't either. I know many of you know a deer track when you see one, but for those of you who don't, go out and look for tracks that look like these. Now you know. Snow works best, but mud will do.

That's it for this very old-style post of mine. I used to write 'em like this back before anyone was reading. They just weren't quite so long winded. Next time I'll bring you my first animal of the year. Can you guess what it might be? I've told only one of you, a person who I met on the nature trail a few days ago.

I'll be back in a couple of days to bring you a wonderful sign of spring.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!


  1. Although I'd never heard of geocaching I was eager to learn about it. This kind of bridges the two worlds of electronics and nature loving. Anything that get's people into the outdoors is great with me. Wondering if they ever have the geocaching a natural "discovery" like a cave, or den, or even a deer trail?

    Great post, and even greater to have you back!

  2. @Bill -
    Yup, they have figured out how to use gadgets the right way, to take them back to nature. The first link in my post explains it all. Actually some of the geocaching solutions or end-places are a tour of a natural feature of some kind. At one of my local parks the prize is a description sign that sits in front of a vernal pond.

  3. I've had deer huff and puff at me when I've caught them in the garden. In the woods they flee from my faithful scaredy-cat of a dog.

    Your deer trail looks like a side road compared to the highways they create on their way from my 'backyard' where they bed down to the free lunch counter in the corn fields near by :)

  4. @WiseAcre -
    You got it exactly right. This deer trail is just a side road for them. A few thought this was a good shortcut this time. There are deer tracks all through this place.

  5. It's a shame none of the humans found the treasure...I wonder if you will easily be able to pick up the fact they have been searching once the snow is all gone.

    That is a wonderful deer's nice to find such signs so you know the animals are still there even though you haven't seen them.

    So the snow is melting...I'm curious to know which animal you've spotted.....guess I will just have to wait to find out...maybe it's one coming out of hibernation...with the snow starting to melt it's a possibility!!?!?!?!

  6. @allotment4you -
    I'll be able to know if anyone has been searching, but it'll be a bit harder and I'll have to look a little closer.

    My animal is one I mentioned just recently in your comments section. Anyone else who wants to know early can go over to your site and search.

  7. maybe some day I'll come across a deer while out walking but not likely. Mostly I just see them when I'm driving. Can't wait to see what your first animal of the year is

  8. Geo fun , you can tell a lot from those tracks.I have a good post about tracking I may share soon.

  9. That's pretty funny that they can't find the cache. I'm not ready for signs of spring. It's only Feb!

  10. @Ann -
    Sometimes it just depends on where you walk and the time of day to see deer. Watch for their tracks and you'll get to see them.

  11. @Out On The Prairie -
    The tracks were pretty obvious because I know the place so well. I'm looking forward to your post.

  12. @Sharkbytes -
    Yeah, I've been getting a good laugh out of it. It took me a while to find it too though. I don't know if I'm ready for winter to be over with yet either, but these last two seasons have been kind of lost for me anyway. At least all of the snow will help areas that are supposed to be extra wet in the spring.

  13. You look so terrific from your post. And you seemed to be as busy and active as others, included the deer out in the wild.

    I smell your sweat.

  14. My human has always wanted to try geocaching - she knows there are several caches not far from our house! I'm not sure what's stopping her. She always finds us cats when we are trying to hide, so I'm sure she would be good at it.

  15. I checked out the geocaching site and was surprised that a few landmarks near me where listed. I wouldn't need a GPS to find them.
    We hare having 70 degree weather. Hard to believe it is only February. Brrr....It still looks cold in Michigan.

  16. That sounds like fun--I'll have to read more about it.

    I found a ton of opossum tracks in my yard this winter. They have a little path that they take all the time--around the perimeter of my garden and leading to the birdfeeder and pond. There were tons of little feet marks everywhere--looks like they were around a LOT this winter.

    Snow is gone now and so are those little footprints. :(

  17. I was this close to becoming a geocacher. At that time, I was looking for a reason to be outdoors, a "mission." Geocaching sounded like a lot of fun. But Gail and I have found our niche in birding and simple hiking.
    Whatever calls us, it sure is nice to enjoy the great outdoors!

  18. @Rainfield -
    I am feeling a little better right now. It will still take me some time to get back to my old self, but I hope it won't be long now.

  19. @Sparkle -
    Your human should definitely try a bit of geocaching. She would love it, and it would give you and the other cats a little rest from having to watch over her.

  20. @Jean -
    A GPS is helpful for geocaching related things, but it's not always necessary. I sometimes just scan the map on the site for interesting places to visit. I can find directions right from there. It warmed up really well here in Michigan for about a week, but we just got another covering of snow last night. One more month til spring.

  21. @Lin -
    The best thing about snow is being able to see where all the little critters have been. Possums are a main type of animal I've been wanting to see. I saw one once years before I actively explored nature. He was a big one that was hissing at my dog. If only I had a camera back then...

  22. @Ferd -
    I'm mostly like you. I am mostly into just simple hiking and taking pictures of animals and scenery. But geocaching is a fun side adventure for me sometimes. And it really does give somebody a good mission to get out into nature. I agree with you, whatever calls us, nature is the main thing.