Dirt time is the single best way to hone tracking skills, followed closely by rubbing shoulders with other trackers. This site is about reducing the learning curve. Worrying about how good you are only gets in the way of learning. And then there are those many wonderful, well-written non-fiction books on tracking.
What is tracking? As used on this website; “Tracking in hunting and ecology is 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 of tracking 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. What is science? “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is 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, and require insight based on accuracy of 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 so science may have evolved from tracking.
So? Who cares? Well, how important is an accurate understanding of the universe we depend upon?
If you are a beginning tracker…
Some useful insights may be found among these pages, and since 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 teach.
Most of the information shared here was learned in an introductory class with Tom Brown, Jr., from the other sources mentioned on the reference page, as a student in Wilderness Awareness School’s Kamana program, and since completion of that program, during daily (mostly) sit spot time and tracking.