If you encountered animal tracks while hiking, and not in your campsite when you heard the rustling, you might also want to know when it was made. To figure out when a track was made, and how fast the animal was moving, these are some great basic guidelines: 1) If the track is in soft soil and well defined, it was made since it last rained. 2) If the edges are soft and less defined, it has rained since the track was made. 3) If there is debris or snow over the track, you can guess based on the weather if it was made before or after a certain time. 4) In general, the further apart tracks are, the faster they were moving. You have to have some knowledge of the animal and its gait to estimate more specifically than this, but it is a good general rule. While looking for speed and time, also pay attention to patterns! If there is just one trail of prints moving away from you, chances are it left the area, but if they seem to circle all over the place, you may be in an animal's favorite hangout! And depending on the animal, this could be a very, very bad thing! In Alberta, if you see cow moose tracks leading into heavy thicket (especially in the Spring!) you don't want to go in there: chances are, she has a young on and she will be ready to charge at its defense! Knowing the behaviors of the locate animals in the areas you wish to hike is essential for being able to identify behavior based on tracks to help keep yourself safe, so make sure to read up before heading out for any longer hikes!