When you get a group of kids who catch your excitement for tracking, it is magic!
One of the groups I had today really got into the stories and finds on the trails...even to the point of getting down and sniffing red fox urine!
For those of you who don't know, red fox urine is very skunky - if it is really fresh, the smell is quite strong, as in dead-skunk-in-the-road strong. If you have an active red fox den nearby, you will likely smell it long before you see it.
And right now it is breeding season for red foxes, so scent marking is going on all around. It's very exciting.
Y'see, tracking is more than just looking at footprints. It's looking at how the animal moves, figuring out what it was doing, trying to get inside the animal's mind. It's looking for scat, for browse, for hair (we found fox hair on the trail!!!), for scratches, for kill sites. It's detective work at its finest - CSI eat your heart out.