Tracking is an invaluable survival skill with a multitude of applications. But even if you know that you want to learn how to track, it’s not always as plain and simple as that. It often takes years of gaining knowledge and putting it into practice before you can track animals or humans with ease.
Learning how to track takes patience combined with plenty of resources and practice. The best way to learn to track is by reading books, taking classes, and learning from others that have been tracking longer than you. The more time you spend tracking, the faster your skills will develop.
If you’re hoping to learn how to track as quickly as possible, you can find the best ways to get started right here.
Why You Should Learn How to Track
Maybe you’re still on the fence about learning how to track. You might not think it’s worth the time and effort or that it won’t really come in handy. If you’re unsure about pursuing this amazing skill, here are some reasons you should absolutely learn how to track both animals and humans.
Learn About Your Environment
Through learning to track, you also have the opportunity to learn more about the place you live. You have to have a great understanding of the flora, fauna, and different types of soil in order to perfect your skills as a tracker.
An understanding of your environment gives you a lot of useful knowledge when you head out into the wilderness.
Tracking is a skill rooted in attention to detail. Learning to track will make you so much more aware of your surroundings than you would be simply walking through them. You’ll start to notice things about your environment you never noticed before. This heightened sense of awareness can be a lifesaver.
Of course, learning to track animals makes hunting a lot easier. You don’t have to sit around and wait for animals to come your way if you know how to track them down.
Tracking will also get you more familiar with the habits of the animals in your area. What places do they frequent? What patterns do they move in? Knowing these things will give you a much better idea of where the animals are when you go out hunting.
Find Missing People
On the other hand, learning to track humans makes you incredibly valuable to any search efforts. If your child wanders off or you lose your group in the wilderness, you’ll have a much better chance of finding them if you know what signs to look for.
Finding people quickly after they’ve gotten lost lowers the risk of a bad outcome.
Retrace Your Steps
What if you’re the one that gets lost?
Knowing what you do about tracking humans will allow you to “track yourself” by following your own trail back the way you came. In doing so, you can quickly and easily make your way back to a well-defined path or your group.
Cover Your Tracks
You never know when you may be in a situation where you need to cover your tracks so someone else won’t find you. If you know how to track, you can easily reverse engineer what you know to make sure your trail isn’t obvious to anyone else.
How to Learn Tracking
Now that you know why you should learn how to track, it’s time to talk about how exactly you can go about that. Tracking isn’t learned by simply reading a few articles online. In order to become an expert tracker, you’re going to have to spend plenty of time and effort in your pursuit.
Get your hands on as many helpful books as you possibly can. These resources will be what you refer back to if you ever have any questions.
There is a plethora of tracking books out there for you to take advantage of. Many of them are geared toward animal tracking, teaching you about different species and how to trail them. However, there are books specifically about human tracking as well as books that combine human and animal tracking.
Take a Class
Finding a good quality class on tracking will probably take you some digging. It’s important to research any classes you come across to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. Find reviews from people who actually took that class and read all the information available before committing.
Tracker Certification offers training on track and sign as well as a class on trailing. Through this course, you can become a certified animal tracker once you prove your skills.
The TYR Group offers a multitude of different classes based on tracking humans, combat, and survival. If you’re looking for something super hands-on and human-focused, this might be the way you want to go.
There are also courses available through the Natural Awareness Tracking School and the Tactical Tracker Training School.
Taking classes on tracking will help you develop your skills in a controlled setting under teachers that know what they’re talking about. You can read all the books you want but there is something to be said about watching someone else put what you see on paper into action.
Learn From Others
If a formal classroom setting just isn’t for you, a one-on-one approach might suit your needs just right. This one may be a little bit harder to arrange. If you’re determined enough, you should be able to find someone that knows all about tracking to teach you how to one your skills privately.
Unlike with a class, getting personalized training gives you the opportunity to really get up close and observe the art of tracking.
With this method, you can find different people from different parts of the country that will round out your skills with their own until you form your very own method of tracking. It allows you to take what works for you and leave the rest and will likely be much more hands-on than any class you could attend.
However, if at all possible, you can combine a tracking class with one-on-one tutoring from a master tracker for an even greater understanding of the skill.
Practice Makes Perfect
Get out in the field and practice what you learn as much as humanly possible.
The only way you’re going to truly learn how to track is if you get out there and do it as you learn. Putting what you have read or learned to use will give you a much better idea of the realities of tracking than just sitting and taking notes.
Tracking is an art form and like any good artistic skill, practice is key. No one is going to paint a masterpiece on their very first try, no matter how many art classes they’ve taken.
Practice is a big part of learning how to track and so is patience. It takes time to hone the awareness necessary to be able to track with efficiency. If you’re passionate and stay on top of your skills, you’ll start to notice things about your environment you never noticed before.
After all, you may just be getting started but learning how to track is a lifelong trail.