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Another resource to note when landscaping is food. Where is your game's food source? If you looking for deer then you need to be sure your identifying food sources active at the time you are going to set up your hunt. In the early parts of the year corn is a major staple, along with all sorts of berries and nuts. Later in the year the bean and beet fields provide secondary food, still after that remains sapling buds in the thick of winter. These variables will play a large role in where to begin your tracking. With cover and food now identified you know two points on a map. These two points provide you with critical information. Point A and point B, you now need to look for an area of travel between these points where room for travel is squeezed into a small space. That is the place where you should position yourself, we call it a funnel.
What's in a good funnel?
- Between necessary resources (cover, water, food)
- Transitional areas where one habitat meets another (field to mature forest etc.)
- At least one un-navigatable side (river, cliff, noisy road, dense thicket, even just a steep hill, ponds, marshes, etc.)
- One or two major trails with lots of activity
- Cover available for you
Finding the trail
- What animals are passing through?
- What is the frequency of usage?
- How recent is the acidity you find?
It's a skill to know what "normal" looks like in the forest; and also noticing when something isn't.
The fine details
There is a lot to look for, scat, claw markings, bones, feathers, prints, broken twigs, browsed upon saplings, scents, etc. Getting to know and discovering the smaller details is as much an art as it is a science. It takes intentional practice and habit. In fact you need to make this a habit. When covering your area, move slower. Take it all in. Train yourself to cover all the sign you may be overlooking. After time you will start to notice the smaller signs that many would simply walk by. I was never able to spot sitting rabbits when hunting. I simply had to wait for them to break cover before snap shooting. Slowing down increased my focus and was able to guide my eyes to a smaller search area. I finally was able to spot sitting bunnies. It seems like common knowledge but keep yourself focused, make a habit of it.
More to come soon!