Skill #8 Age a track
When an animal takes a step, it disturbs particles of earth, sand, or snow. These upended and scattered bits give a fresh track a feathered, textured appearance that settles with time; older tracks may be distinct, but they will look smoother. On damp ground, the edges of a track will begin to dry after an hour or so, changing their color. In snow, fresh tracks retain soft edges until the snow sets up, also in about an hour. You can sometimes age tracks on dry ground by seeing how much debris has fallen or blown into them, or on snow by examining distortion caused by the sun. For the inexperienced, one trick of the track is to make an imprint with your boot before dawn. When you step outside the tent to hunt a couple of hours later, make a second print alongside the first. Note the differences. Any track you cut that looks comparably fresh is worth following.