Tactical Tracking Trail

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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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Exeter
Not sure if many here are still interested in Tracking???

So after recently having moved house I know have a morning walk through a lovely stretch of countryside to start the day.

As I'm as equally interested in Tactical Man Tracking as I am in Animal Tracking I was considering setting up a Tracking Trail - common day items related to Humankind that can be left out in a series of spots that I can then observe and study on my walk to see how they are aging and react to weather conditions.

Just casting the suggestions net here to see if any fellow trackers have any suggestions?

So , as an initial example 1) - Cigarette.


Please chip in , lets get Tracking talked about again.

Thanks.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,146
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McBride, BC
Road kill. Fling it into the woods where you can watch the ants, etc., work it over.
There was a dead baby bird in my front yard. Took a month+ to decompose.
The ants carried much of it away, bit by bit.
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,003
110
Devon
I was going to suggest a body or two myself. It was interesting seeing a dead deer gradually disappear and seeing what may have been eating it and dragging bits off. Likewise a dead pigeon seemed to stay in one piece for longer than expected before disappearing. Perhaps a large bone half buried may stay around long enough to see what may be feeding on it.

Droppings are also worth looking at if any appear, I noticed some recent deer droppings that were very fresh (minutes old as I saw the deer standing over them) but seemed to stay that way for several days.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
I have wild deer tracks across mud, sand and snow in my front yard.
Interesting to watch the tracks gradually disintegrate in the weather.
Fresh, day old, last week, that sort of stuff.

Judging by the track patterns, the deer ( maybe 4-5 of them) do not go near some nearby houses at all.
Suppose you hunted there, you would never get anything.

I have piles of deer scat in my front yard, even on my front doorstep, 18" from the door!
Can't set foot outside the damn door without looking at the step first.
I keep sweeping it away so it does not get tracked into the house.
I am surprised at how long (months) that crap lasts without disintigration.

There's a big collection of useful books here called the Peterson Field Guide Series.
The one, Guide to Animal Tracks, is the best of the bunch.
You must have much the same for the UK.
 

TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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Road kill. Fling it into the woods where you can watch the ants, etc., work it over.
There was a dead baby bird in my front yard. Took a month+ to decompose.
The ants carried much of it away, bit by bit.
Did you read the bit about this being more biased towards Tactical Man Tracking?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,146
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McBride, BC
Yes I did. Watching all sort of other things deteriorate in the environment has direct application to tracking people.
Even bent grasses. It adresses the time line of their passage and cold trails.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,003
110
Devon
Did you read the bit about this being more biased towards Tactical Man Tracking?
I thought you said equally interested in both? I admit to not knowing what you mean by tactical man tracking though.

A couple of items that might fit the bill are fruit skins, banana and orange. The banana ages fairly well but the orange skin can seem to stay fresh for a long time.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
2,712
1,922
Mid Wales
Some interesting ideas coming through!

Assuming you have all the necessary rights to do so, and without wishing to encourage any damage to the landscape :) ...

Pee against a tree and each day see if you can still smell it (depends a lot on the weather and you get funny looks doing this one :))

See how quickly animal scats decompose (equally relevant to human waste) - again based on weather records

The obvious one - find a good footprint area, ideally a few in different soils (clay, gravel, sand etc.) make a clear footprint and watch it deteriorate (from edge loss to total loss) - log the weather conditions over the same period.

Walk through various grass heights and log how they look after days and weeks; I am always surprised at how long tracks through grass remain.

Break or cut a branch or sapling and watch the change in the broken surface over time (it takes months to look old).
 
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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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I thought you said equally interested in both? I admit to not knowing what you mean by tactical man tracking though.

A couple of items that might fit the bill are fruit skins, banana and orange. The banana ages fairly well but the orange skin can seem to stay fresh for a long time.

"As I'm as equally interested in Tactical Man Tracking as I am in Animal Tracking I was considering setting up a Tracking Trail - common day items related to Humankind that can be left out in a series of spots that I can then observe and study on my walk to see how they are aging and react to weather conditions."
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,146
1,298
McBride, BC
Excellent! Did you guys get the Canadian-made TV series called "Man Tracker" with Terry Grant?
Terry and a local resident on horseback. Prey pair of greenhorns with a head start and a map to the goal post.
A few pairs actually beat Terry to the finish. A few were actually overnighters, too.
The secret was the horse. Their ears go up like pin-point radar for the prey position.

Make your own footprints in various soils, learn how those deteriorate over days.
How do different grasses bend and rebound from footprints?

You would love my front yard. All sorts of animal tracks ( deer, ravens, doggy things, maybe some cats).
Day after day, I go out there and watch the tracks change.
The snow now makes that easy to follow. But, I have a really muddy patch that everybody seems to need
to step in as they cross my front yard. My daily diary of who has come and gone.

If somebody walks with a cane, can you tell which direction they were going?
If they walked backwards just to confuse you, would you recognize the weird footprints as such?
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,520
601
Bedfordshire
What about scuffs and soil transfers on rocks, roots and fence rails? To answer when someone stood on a root, knocked the moss off, when a fence was climbed, when did someone go from mud puddle to grass or other surface...

What do you reckon the practical time limit is on man tracking, tactical or otherwise?
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
4,874
134
46
Exeter
Excellent! Did you guys get the Canadian-made TV series called "Man Tracker" with Terry Grant?
Terry and a local resident on horseback. Prey pair of greenhorns with a head start and a map to the goal post.
A few pairs actually beat Terry to the finish. A few were actually overnighters, too.
The secret was the horse. Their ears go up like pin-point radar for the prey position.

Make your own footprints in various soils, learn how those deteriorate over days.
How do different grasses bend and rebound from footprints?

You would love my front yard. All sorts of animal tracks ( deer, ravens, doggy things, maybe some cats).
Day after day, I go out there and watch the tracks change.
The snow now makes that easy to follow. But, I have a really muddy patch that everybody seems to need
to step in as they cross my front yard. My daily diary of who has come and gone.

If somebody walks with a cane, can you tell which direction they were going?
If they walked backwards just to confuse you, would you recognize the weird footprints as such?
Yes , I'm familiar with ManTracker - I liked it. Maybe not as much depth of education displayed as I would have liked but its more about entertainment.