Know Your Quarry
To be a successful hunter, you need to educate yourself about the game you are hunting. One way to learn about your quarry is to understand its specific characteristics. Animals can be identified by four basic characteristics: markings, sounds, movement, and group behavior.
Markings: the distinctive colors or patterns found on the body of the animal. For example, a male mallard duck (drake) has a teal-colored head, and the female mallard duck (hen) has a light brown–colored head. A male lion has a mane, and the female does not. It is important for you to be able to clearly distinguish your prey, not only by male and female, but also by species, to ensure you are not hunting out of season or hunting an endangered animal.
Sounds: you are probably very familiar with the sounds of a cardinal or a woodpecker. Their distinct calls and sounds alert you to their proximity. Knowing the sounds of your prey will help you track them.
Movement: does your prey leap or burrow when startled? Does it fly straight upward, or start low and then gain altitude? Knowing what to expect from your prey will help you to be ready when you aim your weapon.
Group behavior: you have probably seen geese fly in a V-formation. Understanding group behavior like this will help you place yourself in an optimal position when hunting.
Although these basic characteristics are the most important, studying other animal traits, such as migratory and feeding patterns, animal prints, animal droppings, behavior, and how your quarry protects itself from natural predators will only increase your chance of a successful hunt.