Posts Tagged ‘practical tracking’

I’ve had many sit spots over the years and for some reason this one might be my favorite.  It is in a little park in the middle of Fort Worth, TX.  The view is just right and I’m near a trail but hidden from it.  Having the pond there attracts a lot of wildlife but more than anything, this spot just feels really good.  Sometimes it seems like a certain sit spot has everything but it never feels quite right.  This is a good one.

My favorite skill to practice right now is the art of trailing.  This is the skill of recognizing a fresh trail and following it to the animal.  It is an amazing skill and seems unbelievable at times which makes it so fun to learn.  When I start to see trails and tracks that before wouldn’t have caught my eye it is very exciting.  I think this skill pushes the core of human potential.  We evolved to track and process millions of bits of information through our senses and synthesize it into feelings and meanings all in a glance.  Everyone needs to feel the joy of this taking place in their brains because our species worked hard for thousands of years to develop this ability.

My routine for practicing trailing is to make a clear track, then walk in a big loop back to this track.  Then I follow the trail very meticulously looking for every single track and disturbance.  Once I make it back to the start I follow the trail again but this time I keep my head up and look as far down the trail as I can and move as fast as I can along the trail while still seeing the tracks.  This last part is the goal and eventually I’ll abandon the first meticulous pass.  This is the exercise recommended in the book Practical Tracking.  A great book about learning to trail dangerous animals in Africa and North America.  Can you see the trail in this picture?  It follows the right side of the road for a bit the move across to the left side.

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