To the unskilled eye it might seem like a deep mystery, but tracking animals starts with an understanding of one thing: all ambulatory creatures have a distinctive way of moving across the earth. You can learn to recognize the signs.
Without even seeing the tail, a skilled tracker would know a raccoon passed this way.
Tracking animals becomes somewhat easier when they leave their prints in freshly fallen snow.
ILLUSTRATION: WAYNE MCLAUGHLIN
Diagram shows distinguishing features of animal gaits.