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 un-mentioned 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 convenience nurtures persistence, so 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, Rubbing shoulders with instructors and other trackers will always be helpful. Going out and tracking (one form of “dirt time”) helps build skill and experience, and worrying about how good you are only gets in the way of learning. And then there are those many wonderful non-fiction books on tracking.
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.