If you think once the snow falls that your hiking days are over – think again! Hiking in Speculator is great no matter what the season, and there are a few benefits to trekking through the woods on a snowy day that you might not have even considered. You won’t have to deal with the black flies and mosquitos, both pests that can make hiking during the warmer months a bit bothersome. Another benefit? Checking out the animal tracks and discovering which Adirondack critters are sharing the winter woods with you!
Learn more about some of the animal tracks you might spot in the Adirondack woods.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation provides a wealth of information for anyone wishing to go out in search of animal tracks. Here are a few hints they shared for knowing what type of animal made the snowy footprints you’re seeing:
- Bobcat: Look for rounded footprints with four toes on both the back and front feet. There are also three lobes on the sole of the foot. You won’t see claw marks – cats’ claws retract into their feet when they walk.
- Coyote & Fox: Similar to cats, four toes show on both the front and back feet. Dog prints only have one lobe on their pad, however, and their claws are visible. The print left by a coyote or fox is less round that that of a cat.
- Weasel: There are many members of the weasel family, including minks, skunks, martens, fishers, otters and of course, weasels. There are five toes on the front and back, and claw marks are generally visible. Tracks vary greatly depending on the type of weasel.
- Rabbit: You might spy the tracks of a snowshoe hare or cottontail rabbit on your journey through the Speculator trails. There are four distinct toes on the back and front feet, and tracks tend to make a very recognizable “Y” pattern.
- Rodent: You might be surprised to learn that aside from rats, mice and voles, squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats and beavers are also members of the rodent family. Like the weasel family, tracks very greatly depending on the animal. There are four toes on the front, five on the back, and claws are sometimes visible.
- Deer: In the deer family, you’ll find the white-tailed deer and moose. Deer tracks are heart-shaped with a line running down the center, and moose tracks are the same, except much, much larger.
- Raccoon, Possum & Bear: All three of these animals have five toes on front and back feet. Raccoon prints look extremely human – like small human handprints. Possum prints are similar, with a wide area between the “thumb” and the rest of the paw. Bear tracks are also very human-appearing, looking much like a wider, shorter footprint.
Before you head out on the trail looking for animal tracks, stop at Charlie Johns.
At Charlie Johns, we can help you find everything you need before you visit the hiking trails around Speculator. We have all the grocery items you need, as well as a huge selection of beverages in our Beer Cave. We even have a wide variety of outdoor goods, so you can be sure that you’ll be ready to hit the trail – and make some tracks of your own.