About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the South Dakota Bowhunter Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Online Course Completion Certificate.

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One of the most critical steps in preparation is educating yourself about the game you're hunting. Understanding your quarry will increase your success and add to the enjoyment of the experience. A prepared bowhunter will study the quarry and learn about the animal's habits, food preferences, habitat and other characteristics. Knowledge of the animal's anatomy will provide an aiming point in the vital area.

Knowing game sign is also critical. Game sign provides clues that help you locate game. Sight, hearing, smell, and touch all come into play when reading game sign.

Know your quarry

Visual Signs

  • Tracks
  • Scrapes or rubs made by head, antlers, or hooves
  • Scat (droppings)
  • Terrain that may shelter or attract animals
  • Trampled vegetation
  • Hair or feathers
  • Trails
  • Browse (roughly torn twigs, buds, or leaf endings)

Auditory Signs

  • Bleating or calling signs
  • Calls from other animals, such as deer snorts

Scent Signs

  • Musk or rut odors
  • Urine

Feel Signs

  • Checking the freshness of tracks or other visual signs