Have you any handy tracking tips or kit.

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Pablo

Settler
Oct 10, 2005
647
5
62
Essex, UK
www.woodlife.co.uk
Still working on the old deductive skills.

I put the short stride and splay down to either carrying a load or tiredness, big mistake.

Quote; Jack Kerarney; Tracking, A Blueprint for learning How. Chapter 9, Track Identification and Description. Page 136 Shoe Sizes. (All long timers bristle when they hear a track described as “a size 9 track” or “about a size 10”.There is no way in the world to accurately tell the shoe size of a track by its overall measurement.)

About half an hour later I caught up with the boots, and the woman about 5’6" in them. Women are generally described as walking “pigeon toed” Yea right! But anyway a new lesson learnt.
The old saying; Anyone that has never made a mistake has never tried...

Bob Carss; possibly summarises deductive skills best in his excellent and highly recommended book, The Complete Guide to Tracking; New, Revised, Edition. Chapter 15, page 172.
Observe, Remember, Select and analyse, Deduce and comprehend.

Deduction is a process of elimination. Once we have gathered all our evidence, we will start to see a picture or story unfold. We will then start to reason and deduce to ascertain the possible. If we can’t do that, we should look at eliminating the impossible. Once that process is complete, whatever is left no matter how improbable has to be the truth.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Not quite right IMHO but you are very much on the roght lines. It actually comes through the deduction processes itself.
Sir I have no reason whatsoever to doubt that you aren't anything other than 100% spot on.

My problem is I still haven’t got the working knowledge or the Interpretation skills of a systematic tracker to even attempt to start at speculative tracking,

"Actually I do however have the bad habit of impatients and skipping sign to frequently".

This is where I believed or hoped that the good old stick the old nose in the dirt for long enough and the experience would pay off,..."eventually". One thing I do all the time is return to and go over my own tracks. Find a camp spot, setup tent, light a fire, have a meal ,go for a quick recce, do a bit of fishing, bottle o whisky round the fire, next day, breakfast, brake camp, collect and carry out or burn all the rubbish, then move away a short distance, dump the pack, go back to the campsite and look at all the sign, flat grass under the tent round the fire, foot prints down to the loch some more flat grass at fishing spot, leftover oats in loch from washing breakfast billycan, everything exactly where I expect and know it to be “but therein lays the problem” I have followed tracks blindfolded over sand just to try and develop a better sense of touch and gait pattern, I could probably do the same at my camp spots, but I am only doing it from memory. It’s easy to follow a set of tracks when you already know where to look, on the other hand however some days I will go out for a 8 or 10 mile walk, 24 hours later ill do the same walk again, obviously I can still remember the route but the sign will have already started growing very faint and sparse.

If I win the lotto maybe Ill just chuck RM his “grand–and-a-half “ and be done with it.

Any advice is most welcome, Cheers Pablo.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
any plaster tips ? Like how to avoid spoiling a print in wetter ground ?

Hi Scots Charles River..

JonathanD posted a very good tutorial resently, well worth a read.
Link: TRACKING : Making casts of animal tracks.


If I remember correctly hairspray works, must be the lacquer in it working as barrier or a sealant, a fine layer of talcum powder over the track may work as a releasing agent.
I've been wanting to try some liquid latex on tracks in the snow, apparently it produces no heat when curing and there is no reason to assume it would have any problem on wet mud, and of course you could then make multiple positives from the negative track ,” is that right - + anyway” Perhaps covering the track with some Birch bark or straw have a small quick fire, just to dry off the surface moisture, let it burn out, blow off the ash ,giving it light blast with hair spray may also help just to seal the track, and start mixing the Plaster of Paris. you have nothing to lose by trying.


PS. See you on the loch some time.
 
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Pablo

Settler
Oct 10, 2005
647
5
62
Essex, UK
www.woodlife.co.uk
Sir I have no reason whatsoever to doubt that you aren't anything other than 100% spot on.

My problem is I still haven’t got the working knowledge or the Interpretation skills of a systematic tracker to even attempt to start at speculative tracking,

"Actually I do however have the bad habit of inpatients and skipping sign to frequently".

Sorry if my comment sounded pretentious. It wasn't meant to be.

I don't believe you need to be a skilled at systematic tracking to become good at speculative tracking. Perhaps knowledge of the quarry to anticpate and predict is more important.

Skipping tracks and sign is essential if you want to close down the quarry - although it's nice to be have the skills (and the time and patience) to interpret every single track.

BTW - a bottle o whisky; fishing etc is my ideal tracking trip. Perhaps we should meet up! Also I'm not sure whether your grand and a half would be well spent on an RM tracking course. I know peeps who have been on the Wood sense course and weren;t that impressed. I think I said in another post that I spent some time in Africa with the bushmen for not much more than that.

All the best.
 

Scots_Charles_River

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 12, 2006
3,248
16
paddling a loch
www.flickr.com
Hi Scots Charles River..

JonathanD posted a very good tutorial resently, well worth a read.
Link: TRACKING : Making casts of animal tracks.


If I remember correctly hairspray works, must be the lacquer in it working as barrier or a sealant, a fine layer of talcum powder over the track may work as a releasing agent.
I've been wanting to try some liquid latex on tracks in the snow, apparently it produces no heat when curing and there is no reason to assume it would have any problem on wet mud, of course you could then make multiple positives from the negative track ,” is that right - + anyway” Other than that if it’s a very fine, rare or unusual track and you have the time, you could light a fire near the track and surround the track with hot Stones, If you have the time and can come back to the track later you could try filling it up with the hot ashes to slow bake, cap and seal it and just blow the ash out later. If you can’t copy it because it’s too wet you could try covering it with leaves or news paper and have a quick fire over it, you have nothing to lose by trying.

PS. See you on the loch some time.

Thanks, we only have 2hrs so once we drive out of school, get there etc not much time. We saw deer and fox (I think) tracks last week so they asked if we could cast them.

Thanks
 
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Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
We will then start to reason and deduce to ascertain the possible. If we can’t do that, we should look at eliminating the impossible. Once that process is complete, whatever is left no matter how improbable has to be the truth.

As many will know, the most well known source of this aphorism is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking through Sherlock Holmes. It is, in its original form, undoubtedly logically true; however, the difficult aspect is deducing and ascertaining the possible, because you can't always know when you've finished doing that. The snag is, until that part is done, you can't move on. Donald Rumsfeldt(?) was more accurate when he spoke of "known unkowns and unknown unknowns" . Sorry to be a pedant but surely tracking is about honesty - both with ourselves and others. We need to be realistic about such absolutes and consider more use of terms like "unlikely, possible, probable, most probable, almost certainly" and so on. That way the mind is forced to stay open to possibilities or potential explanations that we have not been sufficiently imaginative to come up with yet. This is not fudging the issue, and there will be times when the evidence is absolute and unequivocal. If anyone wants an object lesson in this, read some of Mr Deval's discussion threads about tracking, he's very good at honest and open evaluation and reporting of evidence IMO.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Sorry if my comment sounded pretentious. It wasn't meant to be.
Not atoll Bro, I understood it to be in the best possible spirit, any constructive advice is more than welcome, if I am doing something wrong and or there is a more effective and methodical approach to employ at doing something all the better. I would rather know now before it becomes just another ingrained bad habit, Speaking of which, “anticipate and predict” my problem with skipping sign is, when I think I know where an Animal is heading, I move forward and usually find that at some point I have lost the trail, I then have to turnaround and walk back to the last known sign only to find it even harder to decipher the tracks because I have just trampled all over the place, "twice".

Cheers for all and any advice Bro.
 
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Siberianfury

Native
Jan 1, 1970
1,534
0
mendip hills, somerset
its such a massive subjet as a general rule, when following a trail, stick to the path of least resistance and look for exit routes, a tracking stick is also extreamly useful for helping you out when you get stuck
 

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
Bob Carss' book on tracking is very good IMO. Even though, like so many things now, its the "SAS" way to do it, it does teach a method of tracking which seems to be pretty universally accepted. In fact, if you go on the RM (first) tracking course, almost exactly the same protocol is taught. The other thing I found useful is the Tom Brown tracking box. If you're really into it though, get on a course, or get together with more experienced mates. Have fun.
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
I thought I should just add this short paragraph from Louis Liebenberg book The Art of Tracking,The Origin of Science, as it seemed quite appropriate for the current topic.

Louis Liebenberg.
The Art of Tracking, The Origin of Science. 1995.
Spoor Interpretation, Chapter 10, Page 150.

Quote "Since tracks may be partly obliterated or difficult to see, they may only exhibit fractional evidence, so the reconstruction of these animal's activities will have to be based on creative hypotheses. To interpret the spoor, trackers must use their imagination to visualize what the animal was doing to create such markings. Such a reconstruction will contain more information than is evident from the spoor, and will therefore be partly factual and partly hypothetical. As new factual information is gathered in the process of tracking, hypotheses may have to be revised or substituted by better ones. A detailed knowledge of an animal's habits, which may partly be based on hypothetical spoor interpretation, as well as knowledge of the environment, may enable trackers to extrapolate from incomplete evidence to recreate a complete account of the animal's activities. Spoor interpretation need not only be based on evidence from the spoor itself, but also on activities which may be indicated by the spoor in the context of the environment and in the light of the tracker's knowledge of the animal's behavior. A hypothetical reconstruction of the animal's activities may enable trackers to anticipate and predict the animal's movements." L,L.
 
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Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
I try to get my eye level down to the same level as the creature to get a better idea of the routes it can see and places it can fit through.
The uninviting scrub and branches that you can't fit through when you're standing up suddenly look more appealing when viewed as the animal might see it.
 
M

Matercraftsman

Guest
some good info here , thanks guys . tracking is something i have wanted to do since being a kid , started to practice the last year or so and it does seem that signs are starting to show themselves to me . so for noobies wondering if they can track , def have ago , practice , practice some more , take notice and then take more careful notice , it will come . work with a noobie friend to as they may have different perspective and point out something you may have missed and take advantage of snow and soft ground (great for showing detail). most of all " have fun!!"

cheers again guys :)
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
220-250 million year old fossilized Tetrapod footprints from Hopeman Moray.
After recently just walking part of the Spey Side Way myself and Netfrog (Hey Bro:)) decided on a Coastal foraging camp, however due to the lack of driftwood we decided to move east along the Moray coast for a bit, 3 days and 40 miles later we stopped briefly at the Clashach Quarry Hopeman to have a look at the fossilized foot prints, as the light and shadow’s were just perfect for photography, I thought i would share these images.

These first two tracks are very similar,the one with the hat is approximately 30cm the other with the Firesteel around 10cm.

.
Fossilized_Footprints_Hopeman_Moray.jpg

.
Claw or tail drags top right.

Elginia mirabilis perhaps?
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
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I remember once while working for a museum I had to guide a load o Paleontologists along the coast to some caves to see some fossilized foot prints, I knew the caves but I didn’t know about the fossilized footprints, as soon as the Paleonto-fossile-dudes entered the caves they switched on their torches and pointed them at the roof, (that totally blew me away) that was the last place I would have expected to look for footprints. Work that one out !...
 
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Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
If you have had a trail camera set up for weeks, make sure the SD card hasn't been in your jacket pocket the whole time.

Equally, make sure you check ALL of your pockets before putting your jacket in the washing machine.
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
If you have had a trail camera set up for weeks, make sure the SD card hasn't been in your jacket pocket the whole time.

Equally, make sure you check ALL of your pockets before putting your jacket in the washing machine.

I know how you feel Bushwacker,
I once walked halfway along the West Highland Way before I realised the winder on my camera wasn’t rotating the film spool,, Arghhhh 3 days of glorious sunny weather and not one picture to show for it......
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Never mind handy!... Here’s an important tip when using a tide table, be aware of the time difference between BST “British summer time" and GMT “Greenwich mean time” used on tide tables, it caught me out bonny the other day, a one hour time difference on a 3.9m H tide can make for a very refreshing and personal experience.

Common (Harbor) Seal.

Order Pinnipedia.

Beaching


Claw marks.


Adult track,


Common seal pup claw marks.


Common seal, claw, flipper and body drag moving away towards the sea.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
I was chatting with the curator of a local museum recently about the Clashach Quarry Fossil Footprints. Traditionally the footprints are said to have been laid down in a desert environment, however with the sheer amount of footprints in the area there would have to have been some local source of food, predators need pray, predators can predate on each other but there still has to be a herbivore at the bottom of the food chain or alternatively land animals feeding on semi aquatic mammals, reptiles or amphibians in turn feeding on aquatic vegetation or fish. I began to wonder if, rather than laid down in a desert the tracks were perhaps laid down on a beach, tidal estuary, mudflats, river bank, or possibly from bottom-walkers in shallow water.
It was looking at and discussing the similarities between these 2 images that started me scratching my head.




To hold a track in silt mud or clay is no problem but to hold a track permanently in desert sand with this much detail i’d imagine there would have to be at least some moisture avalible in the atmosphere possibly even as little as an early morning dew or coastal fog but some, of course it could be round a watering hole or oasis.
As for the fossilized tracks themselves, the stride is very short but the straddle is to narrow to allow for any body drag so this one’s probably not a marine animal say for example a turtle or a croc, probably just a coincidental similarity.
I thought I'd just throw the idea out there to see what you think?.
.

Any paleontologists on this forum familiar with and info on the Temnospondyls tetrapods of around the middle Triassic period would be most welcome because my brain just burnt out CHEERS...................
 
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