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Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign Paperback – March 24, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Reference; 2 Sub edition (March 24, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062735241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062735249
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A good observer of nature, walking, say, in an oak forest, may discern that some of the acorns on which he or she is treading are broken into little bits. After reading wildlife interpreter and photographer Paul Rezendes's guidebook to animal signs, that same observer will be able to tell which of those acorns have been split by human footsteps and deer hooves and which have been gnawed apart by squirrels--and by what species of squirrel. A wonderfully thorough, well-illustrated compendium, Rezendes's text covers a wide range of North American animal species, including rodents, hoofed animals, bears, raccoons, opossums, and members of the weasel, rabbit, dog, and cat families. He describes not only the signs these animals leave but also their ways of life throughout the year, and with an appropriately environmentalist purpose. "Ultimately," Rezendes writes, "tracking an animal makes us sensitive to it--a bond is formed, an intimacy develops. We begin to realize that what is happening to the animals and to the planet is actually happening to us." He's right, of course, but one need not take such a macrocosmic view of nature to take pleasure in, and learn from, this fine book. --Gregory McNamee

Review

"Better than any other field guide to tracking I've seen." -- -- Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Better than any other field guide to tracking I've seen." -- -- Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"If Thoreau's Concord neighbors led lives of quiet desperation, many people today rush through lives of frantic, noisy alienation. Paul Rezendes's book is about tracking, but also much more; it shows how to find your way home to the great web of life. For the woods walker, this book offers the key to a new kingdom." -- -- The Boston Globe

"Paul Rezendes's work reflects his commitment to living in concert with the planet and his breadth of knowledge and insight into animal tracks and sign. His book is a central resource to our environmental awareness program at Earthlands International." -- -- Larry Buell, Director, Earthlands International

"Rezendes has produced a fascinating book filled with beautiful color photographs and detailed illustrations. Hunter and hiker alike will find this book helps them to see the world of nature with a more knowing and appreciative eye." -- -- Albuquerque Tribune

"This book is a step beyond a guide to tracking. The illustrations and photographs are superb, another world beyond traditional guidebooks on the subject." -- -- Spokane Review


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This book is excellent for the beginner and expert and focuses on animal tracking.
Karl Meier
I was enthralled by this book and would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone considering getting into tracking.
akane
Rezendes provides a short informative description of the animal with a color photograph.
Erika Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 89 people found the following review helpful By William Adair on October 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Understanding elusive animals is a bit like being a detective: all you have are the clues they've left behind. As a professional ecologist, I heartily recommend "Tracking and the art of seeing" to anyone interested in the outdoors. Paul (and Paulette!) have created a marvelous contribution to both science and art. I especially appreciate Paul's emphasis on using all of your senses effectively, which is the most difficult skill to master.
Sounds like a 5 star review so far, right? Unfortunately, I feel compelled to warn those who live west of the Mississippi that Paul does not discuss some of the West's most noteworthy animals, including mule deer, bighorn sheep (he does discuss Dall sheep), pronghorn, prairie dogs, badgers, and so on. Likewise, Paul does not include domestic cattle, sheep, goats, and horses, although I've discovered that novices can often mistake these for wild ungulates.
Nevertheless, "Tracking and the art of seeing" is a wonderful example of what an outdoor reference can be: a source of both information and inspiration. It deserves an honored place on your shelf, or in your pack!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By John Hinton on February 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a truly magnificent tracking book. The book has no pseudo-spiritual dribble about tracking ants across rocks or pressure points; it is full of useful information, and it is clear that the author is as genuine of an expert naturalist as they get. He shares an incredible wealth of information on how to examine and analyze the wilderness from a microcosmic level. The photography is outstanding and the descriptions of animal signs are excellent. Being a survival instructor, I have read many fine books on tracking animals and observing their signs, but I have never read one that I learned more from than this one.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C.J. Striegel on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I own the first edition of this book, which I consider to be a wonderful resource not just for reading tracks, but to learn about the animals in general. I refer to the book quite often at work ( I work as an interpretive naturalist at a state recreation area) and bought a copy to keep at home as well. The excellent photographs alone make this book a real keeper.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Karl Meier on February 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
I do a lot of tracking, both animal and human. I have read most books on the subject in print. This book is excellent for the beginner and expert and focuses on animal tracking. Rezendez helps the tracker learn both the animals track characteristics and its living habits. If I had to recommend only one book on tracking, this would be it, hands down.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Scott Dawson on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I used this as the science text for my homeschooled 11 year old. There is a ton of information on animal habits, tracks, diet, etc..It's been a lot of fun to go on a walk in the forest to track deer or determine what kind of animal has been eating at shrubs and trees. This book covers in detail what it means to be serious about animal study. Not too many other books out there that go into the detail this one does on animal scat!!Although there are many impressive pictures, it's not just a "cute animal picture" book. The need for conservation of land and habitats is implicit with this book. This was a welcome change from the almost "anti-human" bias many books dealing with an aspect of the environment take. This is a great book to take hiking, camping, or in the field.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Paul Rezendes brings to life and makes possible the intimate experiences of wildlife interaction. This book has allowed me to track such elusive wildlife as black bear, moose, and timberwolves. As a Native American, I was pleased to read and experience the same intimate interactions with nature that my ancestors once experienced. The detailed descriptions of individual tracks and the explanations of the differences between similar tracks has proven a great assistance while on my own expeditions. This book also contains the most important element necessary for successful tracking which most fail to provide - pictures. The impressive photography clearly provides undeniable evidence of Paul Rezendes actual expertise in his field of practice. I highly recommend this book to all trackers - from novice to expert.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Erika Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book provides an excellent introduction to reading animal tracks. In the first chapter the author explains why we should try to understand the tracks around us in the forest, and what we might see. He then delves into the kinds of observations we need to make, such as trail widths and trail patterns and scat. The rest of the book is divided into chapters by animal family, including chapters for rodents, rabbits, weasels, dogs, cats, bears, and hoofed animals. There is also an extensive bibliography and index.
Each chapter is comprised of short articles about the specifics of tracking the individual animals that make up the family covered in the chapter. Rezendes provides a short informative description of the animal with a color photograph. The descriptions cover behavior, range, and diet. Rezendes also includes black and white photos of the animal's feet, both front and back. The next section of the article covers tracks and trail patterns, and it includes illustrations or diagrams, photographs, and typical trail width and stride measurements, as well as a lot of information to help you sort out this critter's tracks from all the others out there. He also includes short sections on signs, such as dens, food caches, kill sites, and scat, also with photographs or illustrations.
I purchased this book after moving out into the country because I wanted to identify the critters that visited at night leaving their tracks in the snow around our house. I found Rezendes' approach captivating and easy to understand, even as a beginner. Rezendes explains how tracks can tell us much more than just the identity of an animal- -through a careful study of tracks, you can determine how fast the animal was moving, whether it was browsing, being chased, or chasing another. This book is a highly informative reference; it's also a delightful read on a blustery winter afternoon.
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