tips for rookie trackers

As part of Wildcraft (at Embercombe) we run nature awareness and tracking skills. As a little taster of what is in stall here are some tips to set you on the right trail for successful tracking.

  • Take time to move to nature’s beat. Find a quiet ‘sit-spot’, spend some time sitting, listening and becoming a part of your surroundings. 20 minutes should help you see more, hear more, smell more…sense more.
  • Move slowly and quietly. Try to suppress our modern-day urge to rush through every task. Slow down and you will notice much more detail. The quieter you are the closer you can get to the wildlife.
  • Think like an animal. Tracking is a way of thinking. If you establish a link with the behaviour of the animal you are following then this can help anticipate where the next track will lie.
  • Feel the habit. Most mammals are creatures of habit. They have defined territories, routes and places that they like to feed, drink, sleep or even sit. Regular use of these places leaves their mark providing a good starting point to see and possibly discover the animal itself.
  • Patterns, sequences and stories. Individual tracks are not always as important in determining what animal made them, as are trail patterns. A single track will not tell you much.  Collecting together a clutch of evidence along with a sequence of events will tell you not only what species they belong to but also help write the story of what was happening to that animal at the moment when those tracks were made.
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