Tactical Tracking Trail

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,365
773
46
Exeter
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?

I like the idea of aging soil transfers , seeing how the 'crust' deteriorates , that's mostly a weathering factor as well i guess. Water transfer , how quickly it dries,disappears. etc.

I'm guessing that these questions are making me think that accurate short term aging of spoor would hasten a chase in a tactical situation or a S-A-R ( finding a lost child ).

The longer term stuff - aging of objects, campfires , Boot prints maybe an indicator to building up an image of deeper duration. (?)

But then again its all on a time spectrum.

Not sure if that makes sense..
 

Snufkin

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 13, 2004
2,090
120
50
Norfolk
Take a dump in the woods. See how it and the toilet paper deteriorates.
Create your own senario. Your target camps in the woods, creates a simple shelter, builds a fire to cook some food and throws the leftovers away. Then see how all the sign fades.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TeeDee

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,912
986
Bedfordshire
I have a copy of the book "Tactical Tracking Operations: The Essential Guide For Military And Police Trackers" by David Scott-Donelan and found that to present a significant contrast to "The Science and Art of Tracking" by Tom Brown. The latter focused on minute details within a track, sometimes to the point of absurdity, while the former was all about law enforcement and military operations, right down to discussing weapons and tactics, no fantasy.

When I asked about the duration/time thing I was thinking about what one might want out of the exercise. Finding people who are lost, or who are trying to evade, or knowing whether there is someone ahead of you on a trail and how far ahead they are, are probably the most applicable uses. Whatever signs you stage to observe, I think you need to be able to repeat them at intervals over time to see how they age with different conditions and time of year. With that in mind you probably don't want anything that is too involved to begin with. See if you enjoy jogging before agreeing to run a marathon...
Also, unless the aim is to be able to track regularly trespassing stealth campers you may acquire a skill with few applications.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TeeDee

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,365
773
46
Exeter
I have a copy of the book "Tactical Tracking Operations: The Essential Guide For Military And Police Trackers" by David Scott-Donelan and found that to present a significant contrast to "The Science and Art of Tracking" by Tom Brown. The latter focused on minute details within a track, sometimes to the point of absurdity,


Agreed. Tom Brown no longer has a place in my library.

When I asked about the duration/time thing I was thinking about what one might want out of the exercise. Finding people who are lost, or who are trying to evade, or knowing whether there is someone ahead of you on a trail and how far ahead they are, are probably the most applicable uses. Whatever signs you stage to observe, I think you need to be able to repeat them at intervals over time to see how they age with different conditions and time of year. With that in mind you probably don't want anything that is too involved to begin with. See if you enjoy jogging before agreeing to run a marathon...
Also, unless the aim is to be able to track regularly trespassing stealth campers you may acquire a skill with few applications.

Hmmmm. I think Tracking has a way of drawing you in... I'm not a newbie to tracking but i'd like to enhance what i do know. Or at least what i think I know. The idea of the tactical trail is to just increase a series of mental datum points ref environment vs artifact / objects.
Its about building up a bigger picture of not what has happened but when...

hth
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,937
3,122
Mid Wales
I'm a relative beginner at this but it occurs to me that whereas using this method can hone your appreciation of what time and weather does to sign (the physical) it doesn't do anything to enhance your ability to use the psychological/behavioural aspect of tracking. Most instructors (actually probably all) that I have learnt from concentrate on the physical (because that's relatively easy to talk about and demonstrate) but when they talk about how they work they put far more emphasis on understanding the quarry; that's much more difficult to get dirt time on :(

If anyone can come up with exercises to practice that I'd be keen to hear about them :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: TeeDee

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,646
McBride, BC
The weathering, aging, of tracks, man or beast, is the part that interests me.
How old are those footprints? Just about need a diary of weather conditions.

I can hunt the same places 10 days in a row.
The foot prints are incidental but I still stop to see what's new.
A grizzly bear paw print on top of mine is pause for thought.

Old logging roads tend to be quite muddy and ideal for this.
The big animals have no more interest in bush-bashing than I do.

We get a little fresh snow almost every day.night so the age of the prints in the mornings is established.
Right now, it hasn't snowed for 48 hours. It's been warmth in the sun.
I'm watching the most recent deer tracks and Raven tracks slowly mush down.
Some sort of a big doggie thing came by in the night and left me a load out front. Prints and turdsicles.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,365
773
46
Exeter
I'm a relative beginner at this but it occurs to me that whereas using this method can hone your appreciation of what time and weather does to sign (the physical) it doesn't do anything to enhance your ability to use the psychological/behavioural aspect of tracking. Most instructors (actually probably all) that I have learnt from concentrate on the physical (because that's relatively easy to talk about and demonstrate) but when they talk about how they work they put far more emphasis on understanding the quarry; that's much more difficult to get dirt time on :(

If anyone can come up with exercises to practice that I'd be keen to hear about them :)

Hi Broch , Can you explain that a bit more please Sir , not sure if i'm following.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,937
3,122
Mid Wales
Hi Broch , Can you explain that a bit more please Sir , not sure if i'm following.

It's about getting into the mind of your quarry (human or animal) - what are they thinking? how fit/healthy/hungry are they? are they afraid/confident? what is their goal?

It allows the professionals to get ahead of their quarry or, at worst, gain distance over them, by predicting their moves. OK there are risks, but with experience they seem to have a high success rate. I believe it's what makes the professionals look (and be) streets ahead of us amateurs :(
 
  • Like
Reactions: TeeDee

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,365
773
46
Exeter
It's about getting into the mind of your quarry (human or animal) - what are they thinking? how fit/healthy/hungry are they? are they afraid/confident? what is their goal?

It allows the professionals to get ahead of their quarry or, at worst, gain distance over them, by predicting their moves. OK there are risks, but with experience they seem to have a high success rate. I believe it's what makes the professionals look (and be) streets ahead of us amateurs :(


Thanks mate , I've watched the Sans Bushmen track ( at speed ) and like you say they do seem to imitate and 'connect' with the emotional state of the animal or prey.
 

zackerty

Nomad
Dec 16, 2004
303
37
Christchurch...New Zealand
My job years ago required an intimate knowledge of tracking, but it was limited to tropical and sub-topical areas.

It helped to be near the area to be tracked within a few days prior, to "know" the weather conditions, rain, wind, etc.

I do it for fun when I am in the bush ( which is not too much these days, but that will change soonish )

You can all seasons in one day here in NZ, which makes it more challenging.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
One day, in the middle of a poo analysis, you will discover that the creature had a Full English for breakfast!

This thread reminds me of that Indian vs Inuit joke our resident 1st Nation member posted a year or so ago.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,157
198
Devon
I'll add fire to the list. Having recently done a bit of man tracking it was interesting to see someone try and disguise their fire. Firstly, in a private woodland setting it surprised me that the smell of smoke lingered for many hours after the fire was extinguished. It's also interesting to see how out of place a few bits of charred twigs are when no one normally has fires in an area. Again, I wonder how long the charred remains will be noticeable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TeeDee

dogsinger

New Member
Sep 29, 2020
1
0
64
Australia
TeeDee,

Mated just joined form Australia, I have a fair bit of practical experience in tracking, people and animals. Just starting tracking, the best thing to do is, slow down, looking but not staring this can distort your vision. the depth of a print can tell you if it is male or female, ladies tend to slay their feet a wee bit more than men. and of course size. cigarettes can be a bit dodgy they tend to soak up to much of everything, and don't forget when someone finishes a smoke they mostly toss it away, false sign. that's when sense of smell comes into it. Smoke can be smelt from a long distance but tobacco smoke is distinctive and will drift on the smallest breeze. i am sorry if I have gone on too long mate but I am willing to keep this thread going and am only to pleased to pass on my knowledge as best as I can.

All the best. JIm