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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
9/9/2012 8:38:20 AM What are people up to as of late?
So I thought I would drop a line again and see what everyone is up to.

I am curious what people do to practice their tracking or what people like to do as far as tracking goes.

I have had a lot less time as of late. I find that 10 step and 30 step drills are about as much time as I have to practice. I still find that those drills are superb and very effective. I have had many chances to use these skills in my forensic investigations and following people. It is always so pleasing to have success, even little bits of it, that reaffirm the need for tracking skills.

The one thing I wish I could find is a good practice buddy. I teach and show people tracking and survival skills, but not many are interested enough to practice them with me (maybe they just don't like me... haha).

I have done very little when it comes to tracking animals. That is another area I would like to get more into.

Anyway, I wish you all the best of luck as always.
Richard



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michaelr
Join Date: 3/31/2010
9/9/2012 10:59:43 AM WHERE In the World is...
Hey Richard,
Whereabouts do you live? I'm sure someone on here lives near you...



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jkr
Join Date: 10/31/2011
9/9/2012 11:32:37 AM 
I consider myself to be a novice at tracking and I'm looking forward to taking some classes through onPoint. I too suffer from lack of a consistent practice buddy.

I have a small tracking box in the yard.(37"x21"x2") It's filled with sand right now. I can move it around without much trouble, change the medium, wet it down or whatever I can think of. Lately I've been studying a shrew with it.

When walking with the family I'll pick one of them and stay back a few feet to watch how everything is affected by what they do.

There is a park near by that has a small patch of woods that I will also attempt to fallow an unknown trail. I start out on the main path and look for that adventurous soul that left the trail. Then see if I can follow it to it's end.

I will also use the same patch of woods to trail animals. Two weeks ago my son and I were trailing a deer when we came across a debris hut of sorts. As I approached it, I noticed a trip line set up as a disturbance indicator. I found a total of three. It looked like the trip lines were set up just to see if anyone had been there while the builder of the hut was gone. That certainly heightened our awareness.

I also just finished reading "Combat Tracking Guide" by John Hurth. This is the first combat tracking book I have read so I don't have anything to compare it with, but I did enjoy the book. It had a lot of information on tactics and how to employ a combat tracking team operationally.

Jacob




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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
9/9/2012 1:40:54 PM 
I live in Salt Lake City Utah.


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Deer Runner
Join Date: 3/14/2008
9/10/2012 5:09:47 AM 
quoted:
I live in Salt Lake City Utah.


Hello from Nevada!


Joe



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michaelr
Join Date: 3/31/2010
9/14/2012 5:06:57 PM Welp...
I'd love to have a practice buddy too, but I'm living in the Midwest.


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Trackerdoc
Join Date: 3/15/2008
9/17/2012 5:44:31 AM 
I am in Oklahoma and live very close to the Arkansas border. Consistent practice is an issue for all of us. There is also not a group to trail with or train with. I have decided now hunting may be my need generating activity to get me outside tracking more


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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
9/17/2012 7:14:51 AM 
I agree with what you said, Trackerdoc. Consistency is hard to manage with life getting in the way. I have also been considering hunting as a means of improving. I figure going on nature walks is good as well, but you aren't feeling the strong need to find the animal at the end of the trail like you would in hunting. I am currently in school and working full time and therefore have little extra time.

Once I graduate I would like to devote a few months to tracking. I have been considering creating a self schooling kind of program that I have to commit time to (similar to school). I would probably go out for a few hours several times a week with specific goals in mind (like finding and following something, creating plaster casts, studying aging, etc). I guess it would be similar to Kamana, but tracking specific. My hopes would be that I could develop more proficiency and confidence in my tracking.

As always I will still plan on going to tracking classes if possible. I am interested in Joel Hardin's classes for the forensic side of things. Onpoint Tactical's classes will always be a yes, if they would put more on.... =)



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Trackerdoc
Join Date: 3/15/2008
9/22/2012 12:35:34 PM 
Having a few months of straight tracking would be awesome. I don't tho k you could beat total immersion to really get good. How about starting the day with kamana and a serious sitspot time, then work Ob Jim kearneys book and do his drills daily as he describes, then end with another sitspot. Interspersed have a daily visit to a complex wisdom of the marks ara full of tracks and trash. Throw in a mentor who could feed your passion and discoveries with wise questions and a smattering of daily hunts. You would be a master in 8 weeks. What else would you do?


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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
9/23/2012 12:53:54 PM 
That is exactly what I was thinking. I really like the structured approach that Jack Kearney's book gives to learning and developing tracking skills.

I like your ideas. I think for a schedule I would like to start off with some sit spot time to relax and improve general awareness (depending on where I am this offers a good chance to learn more bird language).
I would then run some 10 step drills in varying substrates to improve focus before trying to trail a long distance. Then I'd practice one of the Kearney drills (should take a few hours). There definately needs to be track and sign aging practice... I might even do this part in my back yard for ease of access. I would also need to do lots of this in the field to familiarize myself more with the vegitation damage (an area I lack in). Also I'd start keeping a weather journal. I like the idea of ending the time with another sit spot time. Thanks for the ideas.

Other ideas to improve would be maybe dedicating some time to people watching with the focus on tracking, studying books on ecosystems and animals, study animal tracks and practice on them (my focus is still a bit more man-tracking oriented), and even practice leaving no trace, called counter tracking, to see what tracks look like as someone does this.

The issue is time... I am hoping to set aside 3-4 hours for 3 days or so each week to do this. So I would have to augment and adjust all the important stuff to fit in to my time. Some times I will have all day to do it though. All in all I am very excited to try this.

Richard



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Trackerdoc
Join Date: 3/15/2008
9/25/2012 5:29:31 PM 
goodluck buddy. sounds like a good plan


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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
1/20/2013 1:39:03 PM 
Just a few more months now and I will start doing this tracking training plan! I am getting anxious. I look forward to devoting much more time to tracking. Time seems to always be the issue.

While at OnPoint's counter and anti-tracking class (which was awesome) I spoke to Kevin about any other ideas he had for me to study. He reminded me to also be studying the books on the list he gives during his classes. This is fitting for my making this a "school" model experience. These books will be my textbooks and my homework will be outside tracking. Luckily I already have a few of the books on the list and have read them. Kevin also suggested in the track aging area to include patches of jeans that I add each week as well as cans and bottles. I was also thinking cigarettes would be a good thing to get familiar with. Urine and human excrement would also be educational, but I doubt that my wife would appreciate that in the back yard. I can imagine the conversation already; "Honey, did you **** in the back yard?"

Until this spring/summer I will have to just track when I can. This usually means that I track to and from school (kind of distracting), sometimes on my own time, and while at work. I need to buy those books and maybe read one of those when I can as well.



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trackerface
Join Date: 5/27/2012
2/8/2013 7:01:04 AM 
So I went tracking up in the mountains yesterday and noticed a kill site across a ravine. I had to slide on the snow through little animal runs to get through all the brush at the bottom. That was entertaining. I found the remains of a deer. All that was left at the site was the ribs and spine down to the pelvis. A leg was there and the skull. The jaw bones were separated and strewn about. The skull hadn't been broken open to access the brain but the nose was gone. It looked like a mid sized deer to me but I am no expert on this.

I looked around and found drag marks where the deer was brought from. I went looking and found a scapula and a big pile of undigested and digested plant matter in a big pile (where the gut was opened up and left by the predators). Scattered all around were prints of dogs. The toes didn't splay much and the outer two toes didn't press in as deeply. I suspect they were coyote that ate the deer.

I followed the trail of several up another mountain a ways. I was looking at their tracks and then I realised something. I noticed that their tracks went deep into the snow. To the side of them was a set of tracks from another animal that wasn't sinking into the snow. I looked at the tracks and they looked like a cat. The tracks measured about 2" wide. I seldom found claw marks. One of the middle toes was longer and the tracks weren't asymetrical (all typical of cat tracks). The tracks looked like they had been there for at least a day or two so I am guess with the snow melting that the tracks had expanded a bit.

I followed the cat tracks through a tunnel under brush (once again sliding on my stomach down hill for a few yards). I wanted to be sure of the species so I collected lots of hairs that were stuck in the snow in the tunnel. They definitely looked like cat hairs. I followed another trail into a little hidden bush area and saw the back of a deer burried in the snow. i started to dig this up to look at it more closely. It stunk quite a lot. The remains I found were only the spine and the ribs down to the pelvis. The bones were not as "chewed" as the coyote killed deer and the edges of the bones had a lot more sinew like strands attached.

During my outing I also found a large rock outcropping with what looked like cat tracks as well. I figured this might be a good place to get out of a storm for the cat.

I ended up going home with a deer leg (going to use the hoof for track aging exercises and the other bones for tools) and the scapula for a tool. I also took lots of pics on my phone. I still don't get how I am supposed to upload pics (yes I have read the page on how to do it- I am not a computer guy and just don't follow). It was a very entertaining outing. My wife thinks I am nuts but that just makes it more fun.

Keep tracking,
Richard



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