A lot of time when your picking your way through the woods the only evidence you find of an animals presence may just be the sign they left. Animal sign can be anything from a pile of cone scales, rubbed trees, scratchings on the ground to scat as well as countless other markings left behind. I had a moment of brain freeze the other day on one of my outings when I came across 30 to 40 small piles of animal scat left around the base of a tree. Maybe it’s age catching up with me because for several short minutes I stood there looking for tracks as to whose scat this was, totally bewildered. It’s not that I didn’t know who left it or who’s scat it was after all I have seen this 100′s of times but for the life of me I couldn’t remember. I regained my composure and put the pieces of all the clues together, no tracks around, fresh and older scat in the same spot which meant the animal frequents here often and a large branch overhead. Yes, it was a Turkey roost I had found. No tracks around meant what ever was visiting here flew in and perched on the overhead branch, the shape of the scat some in the tell tale “J” shape and the size of the piles were all pointing to Turkey.
I went on my way content in knowing that the onset of Alzheimer’s has started……..wait….. what was I writing about? Oh yeah, Turkeys!! So I went on my way thinking there are probably a lot of people that come across sign like this and may not have a clue as to what animal left it. If you take a few minutes and study the area and the clues left you can usually narrow it down to 1 or 2 animals. You don’t always need a track to identify an animal if you know the sign they leave and looking for animal sign can be just as rewarding as looking for the tracks they leave. The next time I have brain freeze I won’t get frustrated I’ll take it for what it is, a chance to discover things all over again.