show us your tracking sticks

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ocean1975

Full Member
Jan 10, 2009
675
67
rochester, kent
Hi all,
As a newbie tracker,I was hoping for some advice on making a tracking sick.I have got myself a 25mm alpine spike to go on the end and a button compass for the top,need to get some castration bands for measuring stride ect if anyone has any i am willing to buy some including postage.
Looking forward to your info.
Cheers in advance Andy.
 

ocean1975

Full Member
Jan 10, 2009
675
67
rochester, kent
Here is pablo(i hope he dosnt might me putting it up)Showing us how to use a tracking stick at the Bushcraft magazine mayday meet in egerton.
pabloshowinghowtouseatrackingstick.jpg
 

Wolfie

Need to contact Admin...
Jul 19, 2004
194
1
S.Wales
Have you a stick ready for use? If not find and cut a nice hazel stick of about the right size and weight for you - approx 1" thick and at least about 40" long. Then put it away for at least 6 months to dry out!

Once dry (seasoned), check for straightness. If it needs straightening try bending gently over your knee, or heat it up with steam and once flexible again bend over your knee or carefully in a vice.

Once you have your stick ready -

Step 1 - On the bottom of the shank (the end with the smallest diameter) use a sharp knife to mark where the top of the ferrule will be.

Step 2 - Trim the shank so that the ferrule fits snugly, but not too tightly, onto the shank. Take care to ensure that the ferrule fits centrally on the stick.

Step 3 - When you are satisfied with the fit of the ferrule treat the trimmed end of the shank (not the parts of the shank with the bark still attached) with an outdoor varnish.

Step 4 - Once the varnish has dried mix some epoxy resin and apply to the bottom of the shank. Push the ferrule onto the shank (Don’t worry about any excess glue at this stage). Once the ferrule is fully on the shank, hammer the brass pin into place using a small hammer. When the glue has begun to dry, remove any excess carefully using a knife.

Step 5 - Once the epoxy glue on the ferrule has dried measure the stick and cut it to the required height. Cut the top flat using a fine toothed wood saw. Take care not to damage the bark on the shank.

Step 6 - Use a knife to gently round off the top of the stick and then sand it smooth using sandpaper.

Step 7 - Mark the centre of the stick and using this mark drill a hole in the top of the stick. Test the hole for fit using the compass. (Don’t push the compass all the way in as it may be difficult to get it back out) Ensure that the hole is deep enough so that the compass will fit flush with the top of the stick.

Step 8 - Mix a small amount of epoxy and smear it on the inside of the hole for the compass. (Do not put too much glue in the hole as it will make it difficult to push the compass into place) Then put the compass into the hole and gently push it into place so that the compass fits flush with the top of the stick. As in step 4 allow the glue to dry slightly before removing any excess.

Step 9 - Once the epoxy on the compass has dried use a fine grade sandpaper (400 grade) to sand the shank smooth. Take care when sanding not to sand away the bark. You are only sanding it smooth not trying to remove the bark

Step 10 - After sanding apply linseed oil to the shank and polish with a soft rag to bring out the colour of the bark. Finally fit the tracking rings to the stick by sliding them into place

Care of your tracking stick
Wipe down your stick to remove any mud or dirt and then polish the shank with linseed oil Treat the stick with linseed oil at the following intervals;

Once a day for a week,
Once a week for a month,
Once a month for a year,
Once a year for a lifetime.
 

Pablo

Settler
Oct 10, 2005
647
5
62
Essex, UK
www.woodlife.co.uk
I think they have limited use.

That kind of depends how you use them. They don;t have to be used for just measuring or predicting. There's a whole "swiss army stick" in there somewhere. We do Woodland Craft Course which includes making a tracking stick and showing you how to use it (as well as other craft-type projects) so give us a visit.
 

FerlasDave

Full Member
Jun 18, 2008
1,288
144
Off the beaten track
Im not so keen on them tbh, most of my early tracking was done when I wasnt looking for tracks. If you work out the measurements of your own foot, stride, hand, whatever then most of it can be done in your head.
 

Paganwolf

New Member
Jul 26, 2004
2,330
2
50
Essex, Uk
www.WoodlifeTrails.com
I use my tracking stick every day pretty much, i think some are getting hung up on the single obvious use, a stick is more than a stick and the things you can use it for is open to knowledge and your own imagination, and its personal and costs very little..
 
Oct 30, 2003
35
0
Cornwall
Ah, the humble and often mis-called tracking stick. Perhaps as much as nine years ago we ran the first tracking course in the UK, using tracking sticks to BCUK members at Merthyr Mawr( Sorry about spelling). I have spent ten years researching the tracking stick, and joined the US Border Patrol in Arizona and California to explore the Step By Step Tracking Method as taught in the 70s and 80s, by Jack Kearney , Joel Hardin and Abe Taylor.
I found that the tracking stick is something of legend, but not used by experienced trackers to find the next track.
However the stick is a valuable training aid,giving students the security of knowing that the track is somewhere inside an arc of the stick.
I think this is where confusion creeps in. I think that people see the use of tracking sticks as still being in nappies, and getting rid of your stick means that you have come out of " tracking nappies"
It is true that once you have got a handle on spoor rythym,compression shapes and knowledge of your target the tracking stick is not used. In fact it can have a detrimental effect of pulling you back out of the zone.
For me , the tracking stick is my weapon, my defence in areas with dangerous wildlife, its good for bashing through brambles and nettles, but I also use it to re-set vegetation once I have passed through. Importantly in mantracking I use it to mark left/ right tracks as I track without coming out of the zone. marking tracks is essential , just in case you have to carry out lost spoor procedure, and to stop spoor contamination.
I love all my sticks, each one has its own personality. My Irish Blackthorn bends like a boomerang in wet conditions( very spectacular in Borneo). My acacia stick is mellowing with age, my raisin bush reminds me of wylie bushman, but also getting four of the best! My walnut is just the best, but not robust enough. Wolfie gave me a very nice hazel stick, with a beautifully crafted handle , with a brass compass in-set.
All my sticks are personlised, with carvings, including " the continous arrow", the silver feather, and self made adornements following designs taken from my collection of original viking jewelry.
A few years ago, I had one of my tracking sticks stolen in Kenya. I had freshly oiled it with linseed oil. I went down to a lake, and then pushed it into the mud, whilst I stalked a stunning croc, to get a good shot( photo) same buzz as hunting, but you dont kill it. I had moved a couple of hundred meters, and saw elephants coming towards me. They stopped, one female picked up my stick and walked off with it. Linseed oil is obviously very attarctive to elephants. It did make me laugh, because at the top of the stick was a circle of silver, that would have endured the digestive system of the elephant and be deposited some where out there in bush. So if you are ever in Kenya tracking, keep your eyes open for a lump of silver.
Tracking sticks are companions. Most hunter gatherers carry a stick......once you have got yourself a good stick, a compass is a very useful tool.
Obviously if hunting or tactical tracking then carrying a stick is not possible.
 
Last edited:
Mar 15, 2011
1,118
7
on the heather
I am a big fan of the tracking stick and especially right now as I just got a copy of Jack Kearney book (thanks JMHAZ )
1 old Carbon arrow 2x 410 shotgun cartridges a old 125g bludgeon 3 castration bands and a air rifle seal, light and very strong, a bit short at just over 30 inches but it works fine for me Makes a great bipod for photos to.
. .
 
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Rob

Need to contact Admin...
I had some specially made by a walking pole manufacturer - so that they were collapsable and could be easily carried in search & rescue / tactical kits. Having a stick with you is a real aid if you are pushed and will give you a helping hand when you need it. Doubles as a pointer (or even as walking pole if you have been on the go for a long time).

I will try and get some pics over the weekend and post them up.
 

mrcairney

Settler
Jun 4, 2011
839
1
West Pennine Moors
Inspired by this I realised I had the carcass of last years chrimbo tree out in the yard so I decided to make one. It isnt be the straightest stick in the world (knot city down the trunk), but it sure does smell nice.
 

Lumber Jack

New Member
Jul 3, 2011
86
1
I'm from Yorkshire, lad.
I've never liked them at all. I have several laying around the house which have been bought as Christmas presents ect. They all lay gathering dust. Whenever I'm tracking though, I have apair of bins in one hand and a .308 Remington in the other. So a tracking stick would only hinder my progress. I do everything in my head and that's the way I was taught, so i've never really strayed far from it.

However;

I know lots of schools use them and a lot of the people I work with use them. I think they are a valuable tool for any experience or age. If it improves your skills and makes life easier, go with it.:)

LJ

PS. One of the chaps I work with tends to some of the deer population up in Scotland. He's got a tracking stick that can only be described as a work of art. it's made from walnut I believe. And has various inlays of gold depicting pheasants taking flight, stags, ducks. ect ect. I'll get some pictures when I next see him and update the thread.
 
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comeonbabylightmyfire

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 3, 2010
192
0
London
I'd never heard of them until today. I don't do any tracking but they have an inherent cool factor and I like the look of the one in the photo so I'm gonna take some seasoned hazel from my garage and have a go.
 

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