Have you any handy tracking tips or kit.

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Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
The right angled military style torches that were popular a while back are ideal for this. Mine is taped to the end of my walking pole, (which used to double as a tracking stick although I tend not to use one much nowadays). If you get one with different coloured gels to put over the lens, or one with different coloured LEDs, you can experiment widely. I spent many years looking for fingerprints and the torches we used for that were great for sidelighting, because they were diffuse - there was no central hotspot to overexpose parts of an image. The LED Lensers are also good for that type of thing, (but not cheap). If conditions allow, I personally still prefer introducing shade over the subject then directing ambient light from the side using a mirror.
BTW, interesting thread. Thanks.
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Hi Firelite.
"The right angled military style torches that were popular a while back are ideal for this. Mine is taped to the end of my walking pole, (which used to double as a tracking stick".
"Great minds think alike".
"Is that just something “practical” people say to each other, or necessity and just what the mother of invention dictates".?

Old post on handy tips. Photography and Night Tracking.
For tracking at night it might help to tape a torch on to the end of a tracking stick at a right angle, and keeping the light low,and just to one side just above ground level.

You must have just missed my recent post in kit chatter, I was trying to get a hold of a Pentagon molle light, its a very small copy of the old US ARMY right angled torch. Now the dark nights are here all we can do is adapt and work with the conditions.

UP DATE I ended up getting the Energizer Hard Case Romeo Molly Vest Light, 40 Lumen & Waterproof to IPX7 1m, weight 57g runs on one AA battery and comes with a Red Green and Blue filter and easily light enough to mount on the end of a tracking stick.



I spent many years looking for fingerprints and the torches we used for that were great for sidelighting, because they were diffuse - there was no central hotspot to overexpose parts of an image.

Now you've mentioned the subject of fingerprints.
I often wondered if it would be possible for me to lift a fingerprint say off the top of a metal gate with a home made kit, Perhaps just a photographers blower brush some ground graphite from a pencil and scotch tape,I normally carry WhisperDust anyway which is essentially talcum powder. There can’t be anything more conclusive than getting someone's dabs.

It was when I was looking at the sand and mud transfer on these gates that I thought there’s got to be a fingerprint on that top rail somewhere.
.

Question homemade fingerprint kit.
Possible or not practical?
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Pogo Gait


You really got to worry about the mental health of some people / or just get used to it in the case of my chick.
Building up a character profile, and this one is definitely an X Punk Rocker.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
The Importance of Sun Position.
I'm currently working my way through the tracking exercises in the Jack Kearney book Tracking a Blueprint for learning How, this exercise demonstrates the importance of sun position to the viewer when tracking ( JK book p27) in short, always ( whenever the terrain allows) always keep the track between yourself and the sun, regardless of cloud cover, for a quick demonstration on the effectiveness of the sun position the book recommends, laying down a track in the dust and walking round it in a complete circle and observing the increase and decrease of the shadow in the track wall.
I took some pictures at the time and thought I would just share the results, decide for your self.
First image always with the track between me and the sun.
.
.
.
This last two images probably demonstrate the effect best so I'll increase the image size.
Track between me and the Sun.

Sun at my back.


Probably being ((definitely being)) the worst tracking student North of Hadrian's Wall I got to say the Jack Kearney book is an ace how to teach yourself book for any future tracker without an instructor.
 
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Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
21st century Pict...This has to be the longest (slowest) response to a question ever. never mind... The question about fingerprints on your gate is that, almost universally now, fingerprint searchers would use a flake milled aluminium powder for searching for latents (non-visible marks). However, I was brought up a bit more old-school, and a dear friend who is no longer with us would definitely have suggested a black powder (not the bang-stuff) for that gate top. The softest make up brush you can get might still be too harsh. Try to get the right kit from a scene examiner's supplier. The surface or 'substrate' that the fingerprint is on is key. The smoother the better, unless its things like paper. On your gate, unless it was going in a lab I would suggest magnetic powder and/or aluminium flake. I appreciate its a bit academic, and bow to your having got there first re the right angled torch!

ATB


Firelite.
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
21st century Pict...This has to be the longest (slowest) response to a question ever. never mind... The question about fingerprints on your gate is that, almost universally now, fingerprint searchers would use a flake milled aluminium powder for searching for latents (non-visible marks). However, I was brought up a bit more old-school, and a dear friend who is no longer with us would definitely have suggested a black powder (not the bang-stuff) for that gate top. The softest make up brush you can get might still be too harsh. Try to get the right kit from a scene examiner's supplier. The surface or 'substrate' that the fingerprint is on is key. The smoother the better, unless its things like paper. On your gate, unless it was going in a lab I would suggest magnetic powder and/or aluminium flake. I appreciate its a bit academic, and bow to your having got there first re the right angled torch!

ATB


Firelite.
Hey Firelite​. How's things Bro?
No worries, we all get there in the end, as for side lighting tracks, I cant take the credit for that one, sort of an old school trackers trick, I was reading through Jack Kearney book and he recommended carrying a glass mirror for side-lighting tracks, ZMHAZ recommended it to me way back in May 2011, I would say there's probably nothing new under the sun but the new breed of Led torches may have moved the posts on a good bit, 200 - 400 even 900 Lumen torches are quite common these days. I remember way back in the day when I though my old 30 lumen Mini Maglite was the coolest thing ever.
ATB

Once again , what a great thread.
Hi TeeDee.
Cheers Bud, Yeah but I've been a bit slack lately and it needed a good kick, and your Trackers Groups suggestion was just the incentive to get things going again and Its good to know there are other trackers out there.
Happy Trails Bro.
 
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Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
Autumn Gales, a sign killer, "well, certainly to my untrained eye."
When I was out yesterday I took/made a short film of this track in a Beach wood during a gale, I don't know how to crop or upload a video @ the moment, but I got a good short film (a bit shaky being handheld in the wind and all that ) but of a track almost completely disappearing in about four minuets. When I get it sussed Ill upload the vid. Anyhoo I digress.

Not the best images here I'm afraid, unfortunately a bit of an after thought as I had to get going as time was running out.
You can still make out the trail in the second image but I would guess, another half hour in the wind this track would have been very easy to miss.
Time bracket 7 minutes,
. .
First image 14.22pm, second image 14.29pm.
At the far end of the trail into the more sheltered area of Pine and dead bracken where the leaves were a bit deeper, surprisingly "for me at least" the track was quite easy to follow, compared to the forest floor in the immediate foreground, where everything looked almost constantly in motion.
Today + 24 hours.
 
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flexo

Forager
Dec 3, 2010
118
0
france
yes i do have a trick: i go with a friend of mine who is a Professional stalker; and forest hunting ranger, beyond the joke,it is a good trick !
 

nephilim

Settler
Jul 24, 2014
871
0
Bedfordshire
Wow. I didn't know this thread existed. I'll replace sand with something a bit more to hand...perhaps talc? If I can get a clear print, then I may be able to determine what animals are using woodlands near me.

I know of foxes, squirrels and rabbits, but I'm sure there are badgers, muntjac deer and various bird species. Ive seen sparrowhawks and kites, along with buzzards and various common birds like magpies and a few varieties of pigeon.
 
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
I'll replace sand with something a bit more to hand...perhaps talc? If I can get a clear print, then I may be able to determine what animals are using woodlands near me.

I know of foxes, squirrels and rabbits, but I'm sure there are badgers, muntjac deer and various bird species. Ive seen sparrowhawks and kites, along with buzzards and various common birds like magpies and a few varieties of pigeon.

Try talc, but I'm wondering if it might be a bit too fine and disperse in breeze etc. I've not used the sand trick, but I will give it a go.
Hi Guys
Soot on a thin sheet of metal or ink on a board is another good trick that works if the ground conditions permit, the only reason I use sand is because it's the most convenient method for me in my area, I can get the sand 3 or 4 hundred yards away from the area I place most of my spoor pits, some times I just smooth over any muddy areas I find on the path in the woods for the hell of it and hope for the best, nothing to lose, so just use which ever method is easiest and most convenient for you.
You probably know plaster of Paris produces some heat as it sets when casting a track, I have no experience with using latex but I quite fancy trying pouring it down into a track in deep snow to see if I can get a print, you never know it might work, worth a try anyway.
There was a mink survey around here recently on the river Spey and its tributaries, they were using some kind of waterproof bluetack in there floating print traps to catch track, worked well to.

All the best Guys and have a good X mas.

PS Carl, sorry to hear about your nasty experience the other day, I know how you feel, but don't let it get to you Bro,ATB
 
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Knowing what animals live in your forests and can't find track or don't know what the track & spoor is, or the animal signs, one way we learned was to sit out on a still night with back to moon and resting yourself on tree. Don't smoke, drink or talk. Animals will walk right past you and if you are very still maybe even come and smell you to check you out.
 

sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,567
472
derbyshire
Not read the whole thread, but when tracking (following) a subject dont obsess about finding one print after another.....don't be afraid to cast around and take a bound to pick up the trail again

Mark the last track then look around following its most likely route and see if theres any good places for sign in the area....if you don't find anything return to the mark and strike a different direction
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,364
2,136
McBride, BC
Mostly(?) all there is are deer and birds, like Ravens, around my house in the village. I like to go out every day and look at the tracks, if it hasn't rained or snowed again. I want the learn how the form, the shape, of a track deteriorates over time = yesterday's track, last week's track. What's fresh and what's old news. Tracks make thin soup.
 

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