Learning how to track is a difficult skill that is often used in hunting. However, you can also use it when ambushing an enemy! It takes practice to learn to track since no one is born a talented tracker. You have to get through the frustration to reap the rewards of your practice. To get you started, I gathered some basic yet classic tracking skills you need to learn. These tips are so effective that they would never fail you!
Taking Pictures Helps
Taking pictures of tracks or signs is very helpful. When you do this, point the camera straight at it so the angle doesn’t obscure things. And put a ruler down for scale. It is great to cycle through your pictures later and relearn what you saw that day. You can even post them on Facebook for help!
Be a Naturalist Instead of a Tracker
To be a great tracker, you need to be a great naturalist first. You have to learn about nature instead of merely tracks. Tracks are just an incredible resource for a naturalist to find animals and to see what they have been up to. Make a list of all the mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds of your region. This will require getting more field guides. Learn all the bird songs, the plants, trees, learn what everything eats.
It is very difficult to find complete tracks. But this does not mean that without full footprints, you cannot track your foe or game. Other signs or clues of your prey’s presence can be barely seen. In the old days, most trackers used a tracking stick, but now most top trackers use a metal measuring tape to look for track signs and to measure the stride length.
Human footsteps have three phases, the contact, mid-stance, and the propulsion phase. These three will leave their own markings. One skill you need to learn regarding reading signs is differentiating footprint styles.
Prepare for Defense
If tracking humans or animals, do not forget your own security too. There is a chance that you’ll end up as the prey, so take your time and observe carefully the area in front of you with your binoculars before continuing the tracking. If you take your time, take a close look at your map, and man-track correctly, you can predict what his path will be. Then find a way to cut him off, overpass him and ambush him.
To track your opponent, you have to be able to determine the number of humans or animals, their direction of travel, and the time they passed through your current position, as well as figure out where they are heading and when they will get there. When tracking humans, this skill will let you make a guess of their intentions.
With the right attitude, you will get a lot of insight more than just counting the number of people or animals in the area. You will be able to estimate their direction of movement, learn when they passed the point you are at, interpret what they were doing at this location, reasonably anticipate where they are going and when they’ll get there. You’ll also be able to follow the trail as long as you need to.
With the right trail mindset, you may know that a man you’re tracking is young, fit, or trained. He may also be middle-ade and tired. You have to feel if they know you are following them or not. You have to learn to identify if they feel threatened just by the way they leave their tracks.