Just like the traces of other wild animals, wolf prints must be distinguished both by a hunter in search of prey and a traveler in order to protect himself from meeting a wolf pack in the forest. Without understanding the traces, the hunter may fail in the hunt, lose a ton of precious time in vain, and besides, you can find out a lot of information about the beast in the tracks: is he full or hungry, calm or alarmed, in which direction is this lone wolf moving or moving a whole flock. Of course, the understanding of the tracks comes with practice and odes of experience, but you can try to figure out if the tracks of a wolf in the snow or another animal are located along the path of prey.Greatest wolf
What does a wolf’s footprint look like in the snow
Wolf paws are very pubescent, which contributes to the fact that they leave a large mark on soft snow, and its weight makes it fall in deep snow, just like on a weak infusion. Therefore, when a large level of snow falls, the wolf’s paw prints should be sought on the paths laid by man or elk, as well as on open hills, clearings, and edges.
The footprint of an adult seasoned wolf also differs from that of a she-wolf: it is larger and more round.
In the photo you can see the wolf tracks in the snow clearly. The prints of the front legs are larger than the hind legs, because the front of the body of the predator is more powerful and heavier than the back. In this case, the pads of the forelimbs are rounded inward, and the hind limbs outward. The average paw footprint of the old wolf is 10.5 cm, width is 8 cm, and the she-wolf is 1-2 cm smaller. In younger males, the length of the print is 9.3 cm, the width is 7.2 cm. If the found print is 12 cm long and slightly larger, it can be identified as a dog, belonging to one of the larger breeds (e.g. St. Bernards, Caucasian Shepherds, Great Dane).
To correctly determine the limitation of the tracks left in the snow, practical experience is needed. The quality of the print left depends on the depth of snow, ambient temperature, lighting and other factors. To imagine how long the wolf has walked along the trail, you need to practice first hand experience: leave your prints on the snow and follow their modification after one, two, three days, and also several hours. When determining the age of passage of a predator, it is necessary to take into account various external factors affecting its appearance and structure: the degree of moisture of the snow, the depth of its layer, the size and structure of snow flakes, the presence of wind.
With quiet movement, the wolf leaves an even chain of tracks, while the hind legs come exactly in front of the track. It is difficult to determine the number of predators in a flock with a calm step by fingerprints, since they move trail into each other's trail. Their smooth formation crumbles only at bends or when overcoming any obstacles. In addition, the fact that several animals have passed can be understood by how strong the lag has remained, which breaks the edges of the pit of the print, making it larger. In this case, the notch of the track is obtained repeatedly covered with several prints, and if you look closely, you can clearly notice this. Such tracks are denser than that of a solitary predator. By these signs, it is possible to determine what the flock has passed, but of how many individuals it consisted of, it can be very difficult to understand.
The allure of this predator also affects the quality of the prints. It can be a step, then the chain of tracks is not as smooth as when trotting, the distance between steps is approximately 25 cm, or a gallop during the pursuit of prey or when avoiding the chase. At a trot, a predator is able to travel long distances, leaving a uniform line of prints, the length between steps is from 70 to 100 cm. Moving a quarry, a predator pursues prey with two-meter jumps. In this way, the beast can move very briefly, because it expires (while developing a speed of up to 85 km / h). Moving a quarry or gallop, the imprints of all four paws remain on the snow, while the hind legs are placed in front of the front.
How do the wolf tracks in the snow look: photos, differences from other animalsWolf tracks in the snow photo
The wolf has five toes on its forepaws and four on its hind legs. Often the wolf’s footprint is confused with the imprint of a large dog. This is logical, because both of these animals belong to the same biological family. The wolf leaves an imprint larger than that of a dog. This indicator is somewhat controversial, because there are such breeds of dogs, the growth and size of which reaches the size of a calf.
Nevertheless, wolf tracks can be distinguished from canine ones by the shape of the print and its location:
- The wolf’s paw leaves an imprint that is more “laid out” than the dog’s. The fingers are pressed to the foot, and the dog they are somewhat distributed.
- Wolf claws on the foot are directed inward. In a dog - out.
- The wolf always has an even chain of tracks, which lies in a straight line and stretches uniformly. The step is wider than the canine with the same distance between the tracks.
In order to accurately determine who exactly left the mark, experienced hunters place a match to the tip of the lateral and middle fingers, thus measuring the distance between them. In addition, if there is no certainty whether it is dog prints or wolf prints, to gently look at the presence of human footprints nearby, as a rule, dogs do not go far from their hunter hosts.
Often, in deep or loose snow, it is very difficult to identify wolf prints. This is due to the fact that on such snow the wolf moves in leaps, and its prints can be confused with the prints of roe deer or lynx. The situation is aggravated if there is a boar trail nearby, along which wolves can move without leaving traces. To determine the number of wolves and their movement on such snow, it is necessary to distinguish between track tracks and hopping. When traveling on loose and deep snow, the track of a single wolf can be confused with a lynx. To exclude the likelihood of error, in this case you need to walk along a trail of about three hundred meters. In this case, the ownership of the prints should already become clear: the wolf trail is characterized by purposefulness and straightforwardness of the course, the width of steps is 35-40 cm (in the case of a lynx, the width is 10-15 cm), and the path width is much smaller than that of a lynx. The prints are dense, clear, oblong. The density of the print can be felt by removing the mitten. On the jumps, one can distinguish the wolf and roe deer tracks as follows:
- A stable jump length of 150 cm. The length of roe deer jumps from 100 to 300 cm.
- Unlike a wolf footprint, a roe deer jump is characterized by a retardation of one forelimb, which is clearly visible in the snow.
- The shape of the imprint of a wolf's jump is close to oval, in roe deer it resembles an inverted drop.
- When the trajectory of movement changes, the wolf makes a smooth arc, while roe deer always sharply changes the direction of movement.
To gain the necessary experience, you need to constantly memorize, photograph, analyze the traces of animals in order to navigate on the spot.