Why 4-D?
Image of tracks left in snow, young Black Bear then Human, walking in opposite directions.
The Latest Page: Gaits
The Latest Concept: Sign bruised or torn …

Image: Leaf Bruised & Torn
Leaf Bruised & Torn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This site is an ongoing effort to reduce the learning curve for trackers.

Offering insights, and developing four-dimensional illustrations of the concepts (time is the 4th dimension) is also intended to encourage others to develop illustrations revealing the concepts ever more clearly.

The information shared here was learned beginning with an introductory class with Tom Brown, Jr..  Subsequently, more was learned from the other sources mentioned on this site’s reference page (there are many other excellent non-fiction books on tracking), as a student in Wilderness Awareness School’s Kamana program, and in daily (mostly) sit spot time and tracking.

What is a track?  

The answer probably varies depending on how you look at it, but no track is the static, unchanging pattern of disturbance you see in drawings and photographs.  One way to describe a track is as the story it is, and stories are a core aspect of humanity, one of our most-used tools for navigating through life.   “… Our species doesn’t operate by reality. It operates by stories. …” (Becky Chambers, “Record of a Spaceborn Few”)

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 can be directed towards understanding the universe we all live in, and towards building insight based on accurate knowledge and perception.  In “The art of tracking: The origin of science” by  Liebenberg, L. (2001), it is 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:

Dirt time: the single most effective way to hone tracking skills.

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 facilitate daily dirt time.

Rubbing shoulders: with other trackers.

Worrying about how good a tracker one is: may be good motivation at the beginning, after that it only gets in the way, the job is to learn and improve skills, not worry.