Can You Match the Hunting Prey to Its Habitat?

By: John Miller

Ringneck pheasant

Pheasants are drawn to crops like corn and soybeans. You'll find them scurrying through fields an in brush nearby. On sunny winter days, you may find them basking in the sun's rays for warmth.

Turkey

Wild turkeys in North America love a combination of forest and grassland. Trees are critical to turkeys because they roost high in the branches at night, far from the claws of predators.

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer are adaptable, but they really thrive in a mixture of fields, forests and pastureland. They need adequate food sources for their big appetites and plenty of water, too.

Polar bear

Found only in the Arctic, polar bears roam ice edges looking for open water. These are the places that the bears' favorite prey -- like seals -- surface for air.

Canada goose

Canada geese are waterfowl, so they prefer lakes and marshes for feeding, breeding and nesting. Savvy hunters often build blinds in marshes to conceal their presence.

Mule deer

Common to the Western United States, mule deer are found in agricultural areas and in the mountains. They can survive in scrubland and also higher up on the sides of rocky mountains, too.

Mallard duck

Mallard duck are a type of waterfowl that loves marshes and bogs. But as any city dweller can attest, these common ducks are right at home in city parks, too. Note to self: Don't hunt ducks in city parks unless you want to get arrested.

Elk

There are around 1 million elk in the U.S. and Canada. They can survive in many locations but they especially thrive in mountain forests.

Bobwhite quail

Bobwhite quail are a tough species, and they are right home in grasslands. They really like grassy spots near fields that are full of food.

African lion

Most African lions live in sub-Saharan areas of this continent. They prefer sparse woods and open grasslands, and they roam a territory of around 100 square miles.

Moose

The moose is a fan of dense forests and swampy bogs. And they despise heat, so they're mostly found in cooler climates.

Black bear

Black bears make their homes in dense forests, which are often at their thickest near mountainous areas. They need a lot of vegetation and fruits in order to survive.

Wild boar

Wild boars are found in a lot of ecosystems, but their populations really take off in deciduous forests. The denser the forests, the better.

Pronghorn antelope

Pronghorn antelope use their keen eyesight and speed to evade predators. In open grasslands and deserts, they can see potential predators coming from a long way off and then run away.

Grizzly bear

Grizzly bears are found in a variety of habitats, from open plains to forests. They are ominvores and they congregate in areas with ample supplies of berries, vegetation and fish.

Cougar

Cougars are also called mountain lions, and they are incredibly adaptable, making their home in swamps and mountains alike. Sometimes they even wander into cities.

Bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep rely on their climbing ability to dodge predators. They spend much of their time roaming mountain slopes and alpine meadows.

Gray wolf

The gray wolf is best suited to forests and mountains, where it can track and attack prey, but you'll find some in desert environments, too. They are crafty … and wise enough to avoid humans.

Raccoon

Raccoons, as you already know, can survive in city sewers and dumpsters if they have to. But they evolved to survive mostly in forested areas, where they can make dens in hollow trees.

Squirrel

There are a lot of species of squirrels, and they are robust creatures. They make their homes everywhere except very cold polar regions and dry deserts.

Caribou

Caribou travel in massive herds across the treeless tundra of the north. Adult animals can weigh around 400 pounds.

Mourning dove

The mourning dove is a widespread animal that really prefers grasslands and sparse woods. They do not like swamps and thick forests.

Mountain goat

Mountain goats are among nature's best climbers. They scramble up rocky mountain slopes, sometimes up to 10,000 feet high, just hanging out and avoiding predators and people.

Snipe

Snipe hunting is sometimes treated as a practical joke, as if the birds don't really exist. But they do exist -- they're found mostly in wet areas like marshes or grasslands near lakes.

Ruffed grouse

The ruffed grouse prefers a mix of forests and mountainous areas. In the western U.S., a lot of them display very little fear of humans and thus aren't much of a challenge to hunt.

African buffalo

African buffalo are particularly fond of swamp areas and floodplains, but they'll roam into sparse forests, too. They love dense cover, one reason they can be difficult to hunt.

Bobcat

Bobcats are like raccoons -- they can survive nearly anywhere. But because they're nocturnal and extremely elusive, they are very hard targets. Many people live their whole lives without spotting a bobcat.

American bison

The American bison has been eliminated from much of its range. But left to their own devices, they do very well in open grasslands where they can forage all day.

Prairie chicken

As the name implies, the prairie chicken does best in open grasslands. But as cropland tears up more and more native prairie, these animals have fewer places to call home.

Rock ptarmigan

The rock ptarmigan prefers tundra and high, rocky mountains. They are a very popular game species in places like Alaska.

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Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Successful hunts mean understanding your prey's life cycle. You could spend a lifetime roaming the Rocky Mountains in search of an African lion, but your hunt will always be in vain. Can you match these animals to their habitats?

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