Tracking Tips for the Novice Woodsman

Hello Friends,

As the name implies, this here Old Trapper has been in the tracking game for decades centuries. And over those many years I've learned a thing or two about tracking animals. 

Deer in forest clearing

Now unfortunately, our near-magical technological advances have rendered most first-world humans incapable of even finding a forest, much making their way through one. But I firmly believe much can be gained by fostering our natural connection to the wilder places in our world.

So the next time you're bored on a Saturday, climb in your car, drive to your nearest state or national park, step into the woods, and remember these three things:

Thing 1: Stop

If you immediately start shouting and crashing through the woods, you'll be better off visiting a zoo. Wild animals are naturally skittish and will immediately take off when they hear those twigs and branches snapping underneath your sneakered feet. Instead, stop for a moment and proceed to...

Thing 2: Look 

Now that you've stopped for a moment, take a look around. What do you see? Are there tracks on the ground? Bits of fur stuck to trees? Droppings on the ground? Anything that an animal might leave behind and they passed by? Now, onto thing 3...

Old Trapper Kneeling in the Forest

Thing 3: Listen

Once you've taken in your surroundings, what do you hear? Is something moving nearby? Can you determine the sound's direction? Is it coming towards you or moving away? Now that you've used you've taken the measure of your surroundings, you're ready to start moving in a direction.

Here's the Real Tip

By now you've probably realized these tips aren't particularly advanced, but that's really the point. If you want to interact with nature - on nature's terms - you have to use the senses the good Lord provided us. That means putting your phone away and being present in your current moment.

And this probably goes without saying, but for the love of all things that are holy, DON'T GET LOST and always let someone know where you'll be and when you'll be back. That's just using your brain.

All My Best,