OPPOSUM are slow moving Bobcat are easily marsupials that fake death when Marten inhabit the northern recognized by their brown threatened by predators. They Front forests, where heavily , spotted underbelly may have as many as 16 young 2” wide timbered areas provide and a black tipped tail. Front 2” per litter and are opportunistic excellent . Marten prey Front Their diet in WI consists feeders. Opossum will eat most upon rodents, , small of , other small Tracks anything available to them , and squirrels. Because , and white-tailed deer. Hind of their small size, marten also preyed are shy and rarely seen. Even so, bobcats upon by , , and various raptor are abundant and expand their range in Hind . Hind annually. STRIPED 1-3/5” on are famous for their bad smell. While skunks are RED AND GRAY very abundant, people don’t SHORT-TAILED come in notice them until they have Hind The metabolism several color phases, Wisconsin sprayed. While their main 1-1/2” of the short-tailed but most are red, with a white tipped tail. diet consists of insects, they weasel is extreme, Hind Front will eat rodents, birds, small they must constantly Red fox prefer open and are efficient predators. search for prey and water. Despite their agricultural areas, but can be found in Front tiny size, they eat mice, other small other habitat types. are found mammals, and a few birds. that throughout WI, and prefer brush land prey on them include the long-tailed Front woody . Gray fox are also tree Hind weasel. climbers. Their diet includes rodents, 1-3/4” are very birds, insects, and wild . adaptable to their environment, whether it’s LONG-TAILED WEASEL Coyotes are one of an urban neighborhood or By weight, the Front the most studied and rural farmland. Raccoons may be the 2-1/4” talked about animals are considered nocturnal, most aggressive in the country. Coyote Front but can be active during predators. They Hind are abundant and very the day. Raccoons are not true hibernators, will prey upon adaptable to a changing but will slumber in dens for several weeks animals bigger environment. While rodents and carrion during extreme weather. than themselves, such as rabbits. Weasels Hind will cache food to eat later. The male make up most of their diet, coyotes will 3-1/4” Hind short-tailed weasel is similar in size to the Front kill and eat a domestic . 2 1/2”-3” female long-tailed weasel. GRAY Fisher are woodland are efficient Wisconsin Cooperative Trapper Education Program animals, and among the predators. They have Dept. of Natural Resources good , a well most effective predators are powerful PO Box 7921 Front developed sense of on land. They are also diggers. They have Madison, WI 53707-7921 Front smell, and sharp eyesight . The white- Front the fastest American strong front legs and 608-261-6452 2” tailed deer is the primary prey in WI, but 4-5” in trees. Fisher are long, heavy . wolves also eat beaver, , rabbits and solitary animals throughout most of the They eat rodents, such other small mammals. Wolves hunt as year. The diet includes small mammals, as gophers, ground squirrels, a pack. Average pack size in WI is 5-7 birds, insects, and berries. Fisher are one and moles. The badger is the state mammal animals. Wolves will use dens between of the few predators that readily prey on of WI and a protected species. DNR Publication . Hind Hind March and June while raising pups. Hind WM-359 4” Tracking Tips Upland Furbearers: • Study the size, shape and total pattern of the toe and Opossum Fisher BEAVER Mammal Tracks foot pads. Bobcat Beaver are best known Front The secretive ways of most mammals make them rare 3” • Look at more than one track and compare before Raccoon Canada for their lodges and sights. Tracks are like an animal’s fingerprints in the making an identification. Try to examine both front Badger Red and Gray Fox dams. An interest in wild. They’re telltale signs of what has come and gone. and hind foot tracks. Long-tailed weasel Coyote beaver and the fur Animals trails can tell how many of what kind of animals • Measure the stride between tracks. Short-tailed weasel Gray Wolf trade settled North went where, and at what speed. Biologists study tracks to • Look for tail or belly drag marks. Marten America in the 1600’s. While beaver discover how many animal species live in a given habitat. • Check for toenail marks. ( tracks are more activity provides excellent wetland habitat apt to show toenails than tracks. have Tracks and sign of these mammals are often found in and benefits many animals, it can also Track size and spacing vary with the animal’s sex, age, upland areas as well as near the waters edge. retractable claws, especially on uneven terrain, cats damage timber and agricultural lands. Hind speed, and movement as well as the softness of the soil 6 1/2” use their claws for balance). or substrate. For example, tracks found in muddy, sandy • Keep an eye out for other signs such as scat (feces), or wet substrate look bigger compared to tracks found urination marks, hairs, and clipping or gnawing Managing Furbearers on dry earth. This is due to the animal’s toes spreading Muskrat are like beaver Front marks on nearby vegetation. An area of land can support only a certain number of 1 1/2” outward as the foot exerts downward pressure on slippery in many ways. They live • Watch for behavioral clues each kind of animal. The maximum number it can support substrates. in dens along streams, or • Mammals aren’t the only track-makers. Especially all year round is called the “carrying capacity.” The build lodges in wetlands. near pond edges, watch for tracks of birds, , carrying capacity reaches a low point in late winter, when Some animal tracks are confusing. Consider track size, They are rodents, so their and even insects. food is the most scarce. In the long run, the only way animal weight, habitat type, and what animals you know to increase wildlife is to increase or improve the habitat incisors grow constantly. to be in the area when determining what species left the available for it. They eat mostly (such as cattail and track. Don’t forget about domestic cats and dogs leave bulrush), but occasionally items such as tracks too! What are Furbearers? Most species produce a “surplus” population each year. , and . Hind The simplest definition of furbearers is that they are 3” That is, they have more young than the habitat can support animals whose fur combines a dense undercoat or hair To record what you see, keep a track photo album or year round. The surplus population is killed by predators, called “underfur”, and longer “guard hairs” on top during sketch book. For your records, keep a field book of by disease, or by starvation. Surplus wildlife cannot be the winter. The fur is attractive, warm and weatherproof. Mink have a rich, brown information on the locations, habitat, condition of the soil saved from year to year, like adding to a bank. coat with just a white or snow, and any other note-worthy field observations All furbearers are mammals, but not all mammals are spot or two under the Those species currently classified as endangered cannot furbearers. This brochure describes 16 furbearer species chin. Females are about Making plaster casts is a good way to build a track study legally be hunted or trapped. This classification works to Front found in Wisconsin. Some are mammals that have half as large as males. Mink prefer habitat set. Plaster of Paris powder can be stored and toted in recover their population levels. ~1” an annual and/or season. Others are that includes water, where prey like small small containers with tight-fitting lids. In the field, mix it protected species. Big mammals, such as , elk, fish, crawfish, frogs, rodents, and with water or snow. Make a batter that pours easily yet is Regulated hunting and trapping provides for the removal deer, mountain , and are NOT described here, are available a bit sluggish. Spraying snow tracks with aerosol wax or a of some of the surplus for human benefit and utilization. even though their fur is useful These large animals are fine water mist can seal it with a thin layer to prevent the Harvesting furbearers does not change the total number of plaster from pouring through fine holes in the track. In all hunted primarily for meat, not fur. Hind animals that will survive throughout the year. Destruction, 1 3/4” seasons, fill the entire track, pouring the piaster at close loss and change in habitat are the prime influence on For the purpose of this brochure, we grouped furbearer range to avoid disruption. To remove the cast, simply animal populations and abundance of each species, not RIVER based where their tracks are more likely to be found: Otter are the largest loosen the hardened plaster with a knife. You may want to man’s use of these renewable resources. Keeping track of semi-aquatic and upland. member of the weasel rinse the cast lightly with water to wash away any soil. the animals that are harvested by man also helps biologists family. Prime habitat is monitor the size and health of the animal population. a clean stream or river If you think you’re onto something rare, please report Semi-aquatic Furbearers: abundant with trout and the unusual observation to your local wildlife manager. If That is why the state regulates hunting and trapping. Front Beaver other fish, as well as areas inhabited by 2 1/2 - 3” possible, send along a plaster cast, photograph or sketch. Tracks and sign of these mammals are Before you do any hunting or trapping, check the state Muskrat beaver. Their torpedo shaped bodies work Consult field guides on mammals for additional tracks and often found in wetland areas or near a regulations for that species. information about mammals. Mink water source...lakes, ponds, and streams. well for sliding on snow and ice. They River Otter often slide over the snow when they travel in winter. Hind