Tracking is probably the most important skill in bushcraft as the skills that it develops feed back into everything that we do. From foraging for materials, wild food or enjoying wildlife, to following the trail of a wild animal or human being. It is also one of the most exciting skills and definitely the most challenging.
With most of the population now living in urban surroundings, the senses have been blunted as the need for them has reduced. This course will return your senses to their natural, heightened state and by the end of the course you will be amazed, especially when you return home. Of huge value to all who enjoy being in the outdoors, tracking is also a vital skill for those involved in law enforcement, search and rescue, wildlife monitoring, conservation and countering poachers and has been used all around the world for thousands of years.
The structure of this course allows you to become immersed in the woodland environment, to tune-in to the everyday life and patterns of your surroundings. Doing this enables you to become familiar with what is normal and, in turn, begin to pick out those things that are out of place: a colour change or flattening in the leaf litter, a bracken frond turned or entangled, a scuff in the soil or a bruised stem. Initially you may find this frustrating but your senses will start to pinpoint the changes and, as you move forward you will sense the rhythm of their movement and begin to build a picture of the quarry, adding purpose to the trail and allowing you to predict their movements.
The art of tracking though, is far more than following a trail, nose to the ground. It requires us to make the most of our senses and observe with head up, alert and ears pricked. Above all though, tracking is a way of thinking and combining this with acute observation, rather like a detective.
If we are to approach wildlife to very close quarters, we must also move quietly, and remain unseen. The Woodlore Tracking course will teach you how these things are possible and practical in a down to earth and realistic environment. Once you have got the hang of identifying sign, we will push beyond simply looking for the next footprint on a trail and will encourage you to find the actual foot that made it. Successful tracking requires concentration, focus and a great deal of determination. Many beginners find tracking tiring, even frustrating. This is normal. Perseverance with the skill, however, will help you to develop powerful observational and deductive abilities, allowing you to see the natural world, even places you are familiar with, in a new light!
Some of the topics covered in this course include:
- Ancient and modern applications of tracking
- Human senses
- Using binoculars and telescopes
- Moving quietly and blending in
- Animal sign identification
- Wildlife watching
- Tracking terminology
- Tracking drills
- Determining age
- Team tracking
- Blood spoor
- Final tracking exercise
This course starts at 17:30 on Sunday and will finish at 16:00 on Saturday.
This course is self-catering, so please bring enough food for the duration of the course and a stove to cook it on. Many clients have found in the past, bringing a cool box is useful to keep all of your food inside.
We provide a kettle, tea, coffee, squash and biscuits in a brew box at the main camp fire of the course, under a large parachute. We also have fresh drinking water and a fruit bowl available.
The Woodlore Tracking course will take place at an expedition style camp in East Sussex, close to Tunbridge Wells. The camp is situated in beautiful private woodland with no public access with lots of wildlife including deer, owls, badgers, fox and butterflies. We do not have shower/toilet blocks at our sites, therefore all aspects of the course will have a fantastic wilderness feel, using a screened camp shower and a screened latrine in the woods.
We have a car park at the course site where you your car will be kept during the course (if you bring one).
Joining instructions will be sent to participants of the course 9 weeks before it is due to start, giving details of where to meet, at what time, and what to bring with you.