Tracks and Trails
Tracks and Trails highlights the latest news and information about Natural Awareness Tracking School and upcoming classes.
We are now in the Spring Equinox which is, by definition, when the time of sunlight and dark are equal in a day, regardless of your location on the planet. Spring and the fall equinox are the only two days of the annual cycle when the sun rises due east and sets due west. Each day between now and the Summer (for the Northern Hemisphere) Solstice, the sun will be rising farther north of east and setting north of west. If you would like to explore this and other natural cycles more, please consider attending our annual Natural Navigation class near the Fall Equinox on September 24, 2016. More information about that class can be found here.
Ken got interested in tracking from hunting days way before he got in to Search and Rescue. Fast forwarding through tracking leading him to SAR, he is now a VDEM Adjunct Instructor, Training officer for SARTI and other groups, and a very helpful instructor for N.A.T.S. Read more about Ken here.
Regardless of whether you are tracking two-legged humans, four-legged animals, or other quarry, most people want to improve their tracking skills. One tool to assist with that is a tracking training log. This log is intended to assist with documenting observations and interpretations by the tracker. As with most investments, you will get out of it as much value as you put in to it.
This log was originally constructed from discussions with Search & Rescue canine handlers and using their training logs as a starting point. It was then developed with the visual tracker in mind, and can be used by human trackers and animal trackers alike. It can be used to log experiences that a tracker has in the field, but is intended to be filled out after the fact because it isn’t convenient to bring in to the field. Here are three versions of the log – an excel version that you can edit as you please, a pdf form with NATS watermark, and a pdf form without logo watermark in case that presents printing difficulties. At first this log may seem overwhelming, but please understand that you don’t have to fill out every field in the log – just enter information for the parts in which you are interested. With that in mind, it is good to have something in your field book that reminds you to pay attention to some things such as wind, cloud cover, etc. A lot of weather information can be found online, and that is another article presented here as well as an appendix in Rob’s revised book Foundation for Awareness, Signcutting & Tracking.
Researching weather history for an area can provide critical information when interpreting the age of tracks. There are a few sites that provide that information, and this article will guide you through accessing that information from a wide network of private weather stations. This article is also an update to an appendix in Rob’s revised book Foundation for Awareness, Signcutting & Tracking.