|David Brown's Wildlife Services
12 Hotel Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Tel: 978 544 8175
|Mt. Eisenhower 1974. Warm as
toast despite appearances.
Trackards for North American Mammals
by David Brown
Solution to the problem on the Encounters page:
Twenty-six card sides present the tracks and
sign of over 30 wild animals that range across
much of the United States and Canada.
Each image was produced from photographs
or casts of the tracks and sign of actual
free-ranging wild animals. They are printed,
life-size, on waterproof, synthetic material that
is impervious to water, mud or snow. This
allows the cards to be placed on the ground
next to found tracks for comparison of size
The card deck is ring-bound and measures
6X9", large enough to accommodate the
largest tracks but small enough to carry in a
large jacket pocket or pack.
The cards have images of tracks and a scat
as well as a trails section that shows typical
gait patterns and measurements that
contribute to identification in the field.
Field tested for over a decade, the Trackards
are unmatched in accuracy, usefulness and
field usability. The system of identification they
represent is much more likely to result in a
successful identification than any other
tracking guide on the market.
Trackards for North American Mammals, published by McDonald & Woodward, is now available
for purchase. It may be ordered from the publisher, from any bookstore or from Amazon. For a limited
time the publisher's site is offering a 30% introductory discount if the cards are ordered directly from
them at the same time as the Companion Guide described below. Please see the publisher's website
for further information and to order: http://mwpubco.com.
The Companion Guide to Trackards for North
The Companion Guide provides over 200 pages of
additional information including detailed measurements of
track size, gait appearance, preferred habitats and other
sign typical of each species. Ways to distinguish similar
tracks and sign of different animals are included. This is all
original work representing 26 years of tracking experience
by the author. The book is sized the same as the Trackards
so that both may easily be carried in the field. Together
they represent an identification system that insures
success. For a limited time the publisher is offering the
Companion Guide at a 30% introductory discount. If the
Trackards are ordered at the same time, the discount
applies to the cards as well. To order see McDonald &
Woodward Publishing Co. at http://mwpubco.com.
How to Stay Warm Outdoors in the Winter
Designed for people who plan to spend time outdoors away from heated shelter
for extended periods, this 10-page handout provides a dense concentration of
advice on how to stay comfortable and out of danger.
In the handout are covered:
- The physics of cold.
- Your body's reactions to cold.
- Clothing and equipment, with a review of products on the market at the
moment. This section alone may save you a great deal of money.
- Instinctive tactics of wild animals that live through the winter with no more
external heat sources than the sun, itself.
Cost of the handout is $8. Please use a Quabbin Trails registration blank to order.
There are a half-dozen members of the vole genus in
this area of Massachusetts. The most common in wooded
habitats are the woodland vole and the red-backed vole.
All voles spend most of winter tunneling at the base of the
snowpack, feeding on rootlets and the tender bark of
shrubs. However, if something obstructs their sub-nivean
movement, like a rock or snow melt that has frozen, they
must travel over the surface for as short a distance as
possible before descending into the protective snow. In
this case a vole that has surfaced has cleverly arranged
its route to pass along and under a fallen limb where the
little animal is relatively safe, at least from avian predators.
Normally voles in their tunnels use a flat scurrying gait
that permits them to move around where there is little
overhead room. However, this vole on the surface has encountered "deep" snow, which for a vole is only a few
centimeters. Its reaction is to employ a hop-bounding gait with a high arc-of-stride to vault over the intervening
snow. Each two-track pattern is actually composed of first the front feet landing side-by-side, followed by the
hind overlaying the front. The front feet pre-pack the soft snow for the benefit of the hind, providing the more
powerful hind limbs with a firm platform from which to vault into the next bound.