The human footprint. Is it just an imprint in the soil? Or something more? For thousands of years, our ancestors have tracked animals by the prints and other sign that they leave behind. They’ve also tracked their fellow man. Whether searching for a lost child or pursuing an enemy, the rules and techniques of tracking a human followed the same principals. This skill has changed little over the ages, and it still serves valuable purposes. Here are just a few of the reasons to pursue this fascinating skill.
Find The Lost
Both children and adults can become the target of search and rescue missions. Having skilled trackers on the ground can bring a happy conclusion to many of these stories.
Retrace Your Steps
Lost your way? Follow your own tracks backward to a point of familiarity. Though this is easier said than done, it’s still a viable possibility for an observant outdoorsman.
Tracks can become valuable evidence at crime scenes. Tracks can both incriminate the guilty and exclude people as suspects.
Scouting And Intelligence
Military and law enforcement personnel have the upper hand when using solid man tracking techniques to learn about the movement and numbers of the people they are observing.
So how do you actually perform the art of man tracking? The fastest way to get into this field of study is to take a class. Make sure you do some research before you sign up blindly for the nearest class. Numerous schools in the US offer legitimate training in this skill, while a few other schools offer little more than a mumbo-jumbo scam program full of mystical nonsense and lies. The fact that they currently offer military and LE training is a plus. But you should still ask around and prowl the web for business reviews when shopping for a prospective school.
Can’t take a class? Then read a good book, and put in the training time yourself. Foundations of Awareness, Sign Cutting and Tracking by Rob Speiden is a great book, and Tactical Tracking Operations by David Scott-Donelan is another solid choice. Read one of these books, decipher the basics, and then ask your friend to take off running through woods so you can get in some practice. He can even circle around and join you at the starting point. That way you can both look for his tracks, plus two sets of eyes are always better than one. Don’t forget to take your time. Tracking can be a slow process, but besides a trail cam, it’s one of your most reliable resources for looking into the past and figuring out what happened.
Have you tried tracking a human before? Ever find anyone? Tell us your application and your story by leaving a comment.