The Wilderness and Wellness Podcast

Tracking Series 01 – Introduction to Tracking, Basic Concepts and How to Get Started

June 29, 2020 Ron Waline
The Wilderness and Wellness Podcast
Tracking Series 01 – Introduction to Tracking, Basic Concepts and How to Get Started
Show Notes

In this introductory episode for a series specifically about tracking, I introduce the concept of tracking by discussing what tracking is, why we as humans are all equipped to be trackers, why our history as trackers contributes to our capability to read words on paper, among other things, and the possibilities and feats of skilled trackers. I also discuss some basic terminology, talk about the meta-level questions of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How, which outlines the various arts of tracking including identification, interpretation, aging, trailing, ecology, and intuition respectively. Next I discuss some techniques for learning how to track including the prerequisite of curiosity, the importance of dirt time, how to study tracks, utilizing animal forms (moving like the animal), the importance of the sit spot, and the benefits of tracking with a buddy. I also give a short primer on the concept of inner tracking, discuss some resources for getting started, and give a brief overview of what to expect in the coming series.


The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story

Web Resources:

Jonah Evans’ Website and Tracking Schools Directory – A great place to find a school near you that teaches tracking

Princeton University’s “Guide to Animal Tracking” – A great basic primer on the practical aspects of tracking

Kim Cabrera’s Bear Tracker Materials – Database of accurate track drawings, videos, links to resources such as the “Animals Don’t Cover Their Tracks” Facebook Page

The Art of Tracking Radio – A free podcast that goes in depth on many tracking topics with many leaders and big names in the tracking world

“The Magic of Reading” Blogpost – A blog article describing Bill Hill’s research into the way human’s read and why our millions of years of tracking as a species contributes to our ability to read and imagine images and stories while doing so

Book Recommendations:

Animal Tracking Basics – by: Jon Young, Tiffany Morgan

Tracker’s Field Guide – by: James Lowery

Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species – by: Mark Elbroch & Casey McFarland

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West – by: Hampton Sides