Bitteroot and MPG Tracking With Casey

By Jordan Nigh

The tracking field trip taught me more about the close, very detailed expression of tracking and how it is a prolonged process. Casey said it took him years to be a specialist of tracking, and being 100 percent accurate is the main goal. However, you can never be completely sure what was going through the animals head. Casey teaches tracker specialist “want to bees” and says it is a very competitive to gain recognition. Casey was a figure of confidence to me and spoke great language about human history’s relation to tracking, and how it is in our DNA to scout animals as prey and look for signs. He made me really expand my ming about tracking and how animals share the slightest characteristic to their tracks.

Photo 1: Shows the frost in the morning, freezing the ground and plant life to a still, until the warm sun comes out. The frost showed different signs of tracking because of the hard ground, so you couldn’t tell if footprints were from yesterday or 3 days ago. The frost also had me curious about how the animals handle the bitter cold weather, and what their behavior is like during the night. The morning was a great way to start the day focusing on animal tracks and signs in a colder environment.

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Photo 2: I really like this photo because of the tranquility of the waves and green algae streaming underneath the water. The group was hopping over a stream to the main river where we went to the beach to look at more animal signs. The stream caught the eye and I wanted to look at some vegetation in the area surrounding animal habitat.

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Photo 3: Here we are as a group scouting the tracks for animal behavior during that time. We looked at the direction of the tracks, if the animal was walking or running, and what king of animal was it. Casey went through a series of steps to come to a track, and inspect its motions and footprint type, then predict what the animal is. Casey said he can come up to a footprint and know what the animal is in about 5 seconds. The group had a harder time with footprints and indicating what animal they were, and what they were doing. Like for me, I tried to look at what was a beaver track and I had no idea what it was. Casey then explained the beaver footprint’s behavior and how signs can show what the beaver was doing. This photo was fun because it capitulates us right in the action of Casey’s teaching.

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Photo 4: Another cool picture looking at the vegetation of the Bitteroot River. The coral-looking tips are very interesting in contract with the green algae. This upward down picture is just another artistic expression of the vegetation life.

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Photo 5: Another just artsy picture of Isabel in the high yellow grass where we bushwhacked through to get back to the car. This was near the end of the day after tracking, but then we found and talked about animal skeletons that were on the ground.

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