Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.Henry David Thoreau

Why Must You Learn to Recognize Key Characteristics of The Animal You’re Hunting?

Why Must You Learn to Recognize Key Characteristics of The Animal You’re Hunting

The first step to hunting is identifying the animal you are after. You can’t go out there and hunt anything because not everything tastes good or makes a good trophy. If you want your trip to be as successful as possible, it’s important that you know what type of animal is in your area so that you’ll have the best chance at bagging one for dinner.

Why is it important to know the rules of hunting?

Hunting is a sport where rules and regulations are put in place to ensure that all hunters, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they may be, abide by the same set of standards. These guidelines help protect animals from being killed needlessly and can even save lives! 

If you’re hunting for deer then there are certain characteristics about these creatures that will dictate your shot placement and ultimately affect whether or not it ends up killing the animal outright:

  • You must never shoot at an animal without properly identifying its species first – this ensures that other non-targeted animals don’t end up getting hit instead;
  • You also have to make sure what kind of shot placement is appropriate before pulling the trigger (headshots kill immediately while the body may not be affected as much);
  • After you have made a successful kill, it is your responsibility to carefully inspect the animal and ensure that there are no further visible signs of life;
  • If you don’t follow these rules, then it is possible that the animal will suffer unnecessarily and perhaps even escape to die slowly from its injuries;

How to Recognize the Key Characteristics of the Animal You’re Hunting

1) What are 5 groups of wild animals:


Mammals have hair or fur that helps them to keep warm. They also nurse their young with milk from special glands in the female animal’s body instead of laying eggs as other animals do. 

Mammal babies drink this milk while inside the mothers’ uterus before being born as infants for live births occur among mammal species. After birth, however, some mammals such as marsupials give live birth but carry their little ones in pouches until they can be on their own.

Wild mammal species include bats, bears, deer (including moose and caribou), squirrels (and other rodents like beavers and porcupines) rabbits/hares


Reptiles are cold-blooded, scaly animals that lay eggs to reproduce. Reptiles have scales over most parts of their bodies so they can be slippery when trying to catch them in the wild by hunters for meat or fur purposes. 

Some reptile species also hibernate during colder weather so it may be difficult for humans to find some types outside in wintertime months while other predatory reptiles need warmth from sun rays that help keep them alive in colder climates too. 

However, many sea creatures such as sharks do not get much sunlight at all since water absorbs heat from above instead of reflecting it as land and air surfaces do. Reptile species include snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodilians.


Amphibians’ skin is moist and smooth like a fish’s but they also have lungs for breathing air instead of gills like most aquatic sea creatures do. 

Amphibian babies hatch from eggs outside the mothers’ bodies before becoming juvenile frogs or toads with legs so they can hop around on land in search of food. During pregnancy periods beforehand unlike mammal young ones who stay in pouches until after even though some mammals do give live birth too. Amphibian species include frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders.


Birds have feathers that help them to stay warm and they lay eggs for babies just as reptiles do too. Birds also fly instead of slithering on the ground or swimming in water as most other non-avian animals must do. 

Some bird species migrate during the winter months. So it may be hard for humans to find some types outside in colder climates at certain time periods throughout the year while others remain still all year long inside nests until their grown-up before going off by themselves. Bird species include eagles, falcons, crows, swallows, and sparrows among others


Fish have scales that help them stay slippery when trying to catch or capture them in the wild by hunters for meat or fur purposes too just as reptiles do. Some species also lay eggs while others give live birth just like amphibians. 

Some mammalian kinds may actually carry babies within different body parts besides pouches too since there are marsupials so it’s hard. Fish species include jawless fishes (hagfish), cartilage fish (sharks), ray-finned bony fishes (tuna).

2) What are the 4 basic animal characteristics that can be used for the identification of game animals:

The shape and size of the animal’s body:

  • Large animals with long legs and necks, such as deer or elks, have a large body that is not very thick; 
  • Smaller mammals like cats are smaller in size but their bodies can be much thicker than larger game animals;

Sound of the animal:

  • Some animals, like deer or elks, tend to be very timid and will run away if they hear you approaching them;
  • Other game animals are often much more aggressive when approached by hunters so it can be difficult to identify their location if they think there is a threat nearby;
  • There are also some smaller mammals that do not make any sounds at all which makes it even harder for hunters to know where these game animals may be hiding in order to avoid detection before getting close enough for an accurate shot;

Movement tracking:

  • Some animals move in a very specific pattern and will always follow that same path if they are being tracked by hunters;
  • Other game animals may seem to constantly be moving all around the area which can make it impossible for anyone who is trying to find them from a distance as well as those on foot searching through tall grass or thick brush;
  • Game animals with larger bodies such as deer and elk tend to use only one leg at a time when walking so you can often track their movement by seeing where hoof prints have been left behind after they walked over the soft ground like dirt, mud, or snow;

Daily habits and group behaviors

Most game animals only eat certain types of plants or vegetation at specific times during the day. Examples:  deer will eat clover during morning hours and switch to eating grass when the sun begins to go down.

Some animals may travel in a group of the same species and be more likely to approach hunters who are trying to track them. Examples:  If you are hunting for deer, it is more likely that they will group together when in an open area and tend to stay further apart from each other if there is a lot of brush or trees around them.

Some small game animals spend their time hiding from predators which means that it will be harder for you as a hunter to find these creatures if they have been burying themselves under leaves, grass clippings, or snow while staying very still so they cannot get noticed by anyone nearby. For example, rabbits will often go into their underground nests during the day and only come out at night to eat or drink.


How to start learning the characteristics of animals?

A great resource can be the Outdoor Life Field Guide, which provides a large amount of information on animals and plants in North America.  You can find this at most outdoor retailers or online. 

However, the best way to learn is by experience. Once you have learned some of the basics about an animal, start observing its movements and habits. This will help you greatly when hunting that specific type of game. 

What makes identifying animals accurately a challenge?

A few things should be considered: 

  • Animals are often in motion;
  • They can camouflage themselves within their environment;
  • Identifying animals with the naked eye is difficult because there aren’t many physical differences between similar species of animal (like a deer and an elk);
  • Many animals can be difficult to differentiate between genders. For example, male deer and elk both have antlers – but female ones do not;

How should legal game hunters classify an animal?

It is important to recognize the key characteristics of the animal you are hunting. For example, if it has antlers or horns then classifying them would involve knowing their measurements and patterns. If they have pouches for carrying young one needs to know that as well. 

What are some characteristics of responsible hunters?

Responsible hunters are respectful towards the animal they’re hunting. They only kill what is necessary for their own survival, and never take more than they need to survive. Hunters will also use all of an animal if it means not wasting any part of the meat or fur/feathers once it has been taken down. 

What part of the game animal is the most effective?

It depends on the species of game animal you are hunting. If you’re hunting for food or trophies, any part of an animal can be used. However, there are other reasons why certain parts might not be suitable – cost may prohibit use for example. Some hunters choose only to harvest heads or hides as showpieces while others prefer meat to trophy value so they take more than just the choice cuts from their animals.

Useful Video: Animal Behavior | Learn about innate behavior, learned behavior and more!