The ancient science of Man Tracking is still very effective in the detection and interpretation of human tracks in order to follow human signs and locate missing subjects or individuals avoiding discovery. Investigating human activities can be gained by details left on the ground, on upper vegetation, and even on tough surfaces.
Man Tracking can be successfully conducted on various terrains and scenarios, from urban areas to the great outdoors. It’s a relevant tactic for Border Patrol Agents, Search and Rescue Volunteers, Law Enforcement Officers, Bounty Hunters, or a landowner’s tracking of trespassers. It can elicit data on the subject such as physical stature, the direction of travel, presence or absence of weapons, intentions, and potential disabilities. Based on observation, interpretation, and “feeling the mind of the subject,” Man Tracking techniques can be mastered in a reasonable amount of time, if visual dedication is paired with intuition.
Follow these below techniques when attempting to track the “by-foot” movement of a person from one area to another.
》Scan the area.
》Look for spots with soft terrain (mud, sand, snow) in order to easily detect tracks.
》Check for any disturbance on the terrain (compressions, dislodged pebbles, bent grass, and leaves).
》Identify darker areas that reveal a fresh passage.
》When a print is located, analyze and measure the track then measure the distance between steps (stride/pace) to give an idea of where to be looking for your next print.
》Take note of contrast, impression, flattening, divots, tread, instep, etc.
》Pay attention to upper vegetation and to any bruises on or broken foliage/twigs)
》Use all your senses (except taste!) to look for tracks and to stay on track.
》Track at the beginning or end of the day where shadowing is more likely. If at night, use illumination from different angles.
》If a track is lost, return to the last known print, and grid/circle canvas as needed, or back-track to determine if the subject deviated from the obvious track path.
Consider the use of these tactics while performing perimeter security around your homestead. The detection of clues of movement in the woodlines, along fences, or behind your barn could indicate someone has trespassed, been hunting on your land, or otherwise watching your house for nefarious reasons.
This article was originally written by the Grayman Briefing. Stay in the know, sign up for Intel and Situational Awareness alerts pushed to your phone on emerging threats and preparedness warnings. Click HERE to subscribe to the Grayman Briefing.
Photo credit: Recoil Offgrid