This site is an ongoing effort to reduce the learning curve for trackers by offering insights into the discipline and the illustration process itself, and to develop four-dimensional illustrations of the concepts involved (time is the 4th dimension). It is hoped this work will encourage others to develop illustrations that reveal the concepts even more clearly.
Most of the information shared here was learned in several ways, beginning with an introductory class with Tom Brown, Jr.: from the other sources mentioned on the reference page, by reading many of the excellent non-fiction books on tracking, as a student in Wilderness Awareness School’s Kamana program, and during and since completion of that program, in daily (mostly) sit spot time and tracking.
What is a track? The answer probably varies depending on how you look at it, but it is not the static and unchanging pattern of disturbance you see in drawings and photographs.
What is tracking? As used on this website; “… the science and art of observing animal tracks and other signs, with the goal of gaining understanding of the landscape and the animal being tracked (quarry). A further goal … is the deeper understanding of the systems and patterns that make up the environment surrounding and incorporating the tracker.” Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracking_(hunting)
There are a bunch of perspectives clustered in that definition, among them are some commonalities with “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) … a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.” Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
Both science and tracking are directed towards understanding the universe we all live in. Both aim to build insight based on accurate knowledge and perception. In the book, “The art of tracking: The origin of science” by Liebenberg, L. (2001), it was suggested that tracking may have been the first science and that science may have evolved from it.
So? Who cares? Well, how important is an accurate understanding of one’s self and the universe we depend upon? And … to quote author and life coach Martha Beck: “Humans evolved to learn from … evidence.”
If you are a beginning tracker…
Some useful insights may be found among these pages. Dirt time is the single most effective way to hone tracking skills. Because convenience nurtures persistence, even a square yard of cleared and fluffed soil in your back yard, a track box with damp sand, or the perspective-altering sit spot have a lot to reveal and teach. Rubbing shoulders with other trackers is another. Worrying about how good a tracker one is may be good motivation, at the beginning, but after that it only gets in the way of learning more.