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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,070
621
46
Exeter

Firelite

Forager
Feb 25, 2010
188
1
bedfordshire
The point you make is understandable, TeeDee, but I've just looked at other high profile bushcraft course providers, and I think the course compares quite well. I quite accept that there will always be circumstances when other things must take priority over our time or resources.

Speaking more generally, I don't know what is involved in arranging a bushcraft course, because I have never done it. Even so, I imagine that there would be a cost for the use of the land, hiring the speakers and instructors and feeding them, and that's before paying whatever type of insurances it would be that you would need. I'm suppose it is one of those things which, if you tried it, you would find it harder than it might at first appear.

I have thought about this question round and round, but ultimately it comes down to this: It isn't for me to say how anyone should spend their time or money. Even so, we are all entitled to hold and express an opinion. If not, what are forums for?

Clearly, I don't know what anyone else's circumstances are but in my view, paying for some world-class education and a week in the woods is a fair investment. One could argue that it is a better investment than a lot of the shiny equipment that is raved about.
 
Just got myself a copy of Ian Maxwell's Manhunter The Art of Tracking.

I think you have it on the master list a couple of posts above 21CP but I'm slowly reading it through for the first time and finding it very interesting. So far (part way through chapter 4) I'm getting the impression that it's a very holistic (multi-sensory) approach along with plenty of interesting anecdotes. I would suggest that even if you're not into man tracking or SAR it's worth a look. Lots of colour photos and diagrams.

Certainly a worthy entry of the list.
 

beaver1970

Full Member
The point you make is understandable, TeeDee, but I've just looked at other high profile bushcraft course providers, and I think the course compares quite well. I quite accept that there will always be circumstances when other things must take priority over our time or resources.

Speaking more generally, I don't know what is involved in arranging a bushcraft course, because I have never done it. Even so, I imagine that there would be a cost for the use of the land, hiring the speakers and instructors and feeding them, and that's before paying whatever type of insurances it would be that you would need. I'm suppose it is one of those things which, if you tried it, you would find it harder than it might at first appear.

I have thought about this question round and round, but ultimately it comes down to this: It isn't for me to say how anyone should spend their time or money. Even so, we are all entitled to hold and express an opinion. If not, what are forums for?

Clearly, I don't know what anyone else's circumstances are but in my view, paying for some world-class education and a week in the woods is a fair investment. One could argue that it is a better investment than a lot of the shiny equipment that is raved about.
I agree with what you are saying. It is expensive to run courses. I teach children and families and in the process of starting a charity to work with children and families outdoors, teaching Bushcraft skills whilst reading awareness about nature and the environment. The aim is to provide the service free to the end user.

The costs vary from course to course, but there are some expenses that you have to pay for every course. Insurance has to be paid yearly no matter how many courses you run. Often training seems expensive, but "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" raising funds to do this for free is very difficult and at times feels like a full time job in its self.
 

beaver1970

Full Member
When were in the bush tracking game we do not look for every footprint as the animal is likely moving quicker than us if we bothered every footprint. |So we look for clues to which may be the easiest way the deer, moose, wolf or whatever were after may go. |Then we move to where we think it is going and look for more sign, not just prints on the forest floor. Many animals leave trails through the forest or in open ground. From these regular trails or even fresh ones used by one animal you can often know which animal left it from where the track is going even if you cant see individual prints.

You must learn about how the animal moves, its habitat preferences where it like to eat and sleep and so on.

We listen too. Some birds give alarms calls for only one animal they see, like only for wolf, others give different calls from only close up, others like raven give us a clue from further away. Know more about birds and alarm calls.

Smell is important. Is the animal moving slowly or has it only just passed - is there more than one? Skilled hunters can identify different smell of different animals.

Droppings are important. If the animal is OK and doesn't know we are around the droppings will be in a normal pile. If its moving quick they'll be spread out. All animals make different shaped and smelling droppings. Our huntings dogs make different droppings than a wolf. From the droppings you can tell what he's been eating, where he's been if you know what to look for and can identify plants in the field and in the forest. That gives you more clues. Certain flies land on droppings quickly. Others take longer. It helps if you know your insects and their habits too.

Some plants spring back up quicker than others when you are closer behind the animal you are after. Others take maybe two or three hours to spring back up. All good clues so you need to know your plants and what they do when stood on.

For practice if you have a dog follow the dog when he's picked up a trail and see what he does and smells as they often smell urine dropped by animals. Then you know what the dog has smelt - you can too with practice. Fresh deer urine smells different from wolf.

For your own practice if you can borrow a dog or have one your self, take the dog out one early morning when the ground is wet and without looking at the dog look for the signs the dog leaves as it travels. In grass you should see the individual paw marks and look and see where it is going to, then move quickly just looking ahead to see how far you can pick this trail up. Is the grass still moving when you pass? You can do this with your friends too as they leave trail in grass. Now try it on a forest floor when the leaves are fresh on the ground. With luck if you know your birds you will hear alarm calls as the animal or your friend moves through undergrowth.

Have fun! Ejnu iknapwapmaskipi!
Thanks for this great and helpful post. It is great to hear words from experience.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,070
621
46
Exeter
Bump for this.

I'd REALLY like to form a group of like minded trackers in the South West.

I'd be happy to travel to any part of Cornwall , Dorset, Somerset and Devon for some regular earth time.

Anyone??
 

janso

Full Member
Dec 31, 2012
611
5
Penwith, Cornwall
TeeDee; I may have a contact that’s Cornwall based who is looking at forming an active tracking group with monthly meets - do you have an email I can forward for you?


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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,560
1,560
McBride, BC
Have you got an equivalent to the Peterson Field Guide Series?
#9 is the Field Guide to Animal Tracks by Olaus Murie. Right down to insects and earthworms and bark borer patterns.
#19 is the Field Guide to the Insects.

by the time that kids can read, they need books like these.

I can recognize all sorts of animal and bird tracks, footprints and scat, mud, dust and snow, that's just memory work.
What I can't do well is estimate track age beyond fresh/recent and old.
I do have the luxury of the deer tracks in my front yard muddy/soft places.
I can watch those deteriorate as the days go by.

Tracks make thin soup.