Laying signs for people to follow

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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
My first dog, honey coloured labrador, was a wonderful tracker but only tried him out with me. Could find me anywhere anytime and find and fetch my slippers or anything else I asked for at home.
Mar 15, 2011
on the heather
I love the hidden message one, it's fine if yo've no idea or brain enough to work it out but it's not very hidden, well, not for long :D

Hi Tony, It was 2TRAPPERS post 11 and this sticks that reminded me of this one so I copied this over from the Tracking Tips post as I thought you may like this one, first off it might help to know that long before the modern concept of a Highland clan wearing standard tartans originality clans would distinguish themselves in the field by the wearing of a plant badge.

From Neil Munro’s fictional book John Splendid.
After fleeing the battle of InverLochy 1645, this is the intelligence John Splendid gained from the trail marker found lying on the keystone of the Bridge of Orchy.
“” Three sprigs of gale, a leaf of ivy from the bridge arch where it grew in dark green sprays of glossy sheen and a bare twig of oak standing up at a slant, were held down on the parapet by a peeled willow withy, one end of which pointed in the direction of the glen –the whole held together by two stones,. The message was clear enough to him. The three sprigs of gale meant three men of the Campbell clan; the oak meant a Stewart who was always reminding the Campbell’s that his race was royal; the ivy leaf meant a Gordon; the peeled branch of willow meant men in a hurry and the twig of oak pointed to the position of the sun. Five fugitives of these names hurrying south over the Bridge of Orchy at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. “”

Not strictly tracking but the angled oak twig pointing to the sun clearly indicates certain knowledge of sign.

I cant think of any modern traveller people signs around here but boots and teapots nailed to trees is not to uncommon around here.

Coincidently: The Bridge of Orchy is a military bridge and wasn't built until 1751.
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
If you Google 'Hobo Signs,' there's quite a few. I've carved a few such as "nice people live here" in western red cedar to give away as garden decoration.


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
.......It's a question of timing, and of conditions.........

.......On the subject of dogs again it's a question of time. A dog may be able to be given a scent object and then follow my trail upto a few hours after I passed that way. But what if it's 12 hours? or 24 hours after I walked down that path? In our rain? with other people walking the paths?

Search dogs are used by SAR in the UK, and they are very effective, but the way they work and the job they do is far removed from the demonstrations you talk about.


-Cadaver dogs can smell remains under water as much as 12 feet deep.
-Bloodhounds can differentiate one person's scent from hundreds of others in the area, and the spoor can last for days (even after rains) if there's something for it to cling to. The real limiting factor in differentiating one individual from another is the diet of said individuals; When everyone is of the same ethnicity (and therefore the same general culturally influenced diet) the scents are closer.

But you're right about the time factor in a different sense: Recapturing escaped inmates doesn't necessarily have a time limit whereas rescuing lost or injured persons has to be accomplished before they succumb.
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