The Complete Guide to Trackingby Bob Carss, Stewart Birch
Anyone who has spent even a little time outdoors has come across strange tracks left by animals or people and wondered "what was here?" In this practical guide, ex-SAS member Bob Carss shows how to track any moving thing, in any environment, and under nearly any circumstance. He begins by explaining common terms, such as a "top sign," markings left above ankle height; "pointers," signs that tell the general direction of the quarry; and a "conclusive sign," markings that confirm the quarry's presence. The difference between tracks left by a quarry and false tracks are described, as well as how a pattern of signs builds into the tracking picture - the overall movement, direction, and motivation of the quarry. Included are tips on: tracking in desert, forest, jungle, marsh, and grassy areas; interpreting animal, human, and vehicle signs, how to preserve night vision; using time frames to eliminate misleading signs; detecting quarry when they backtrack or circle around; how time and weather affect signs; how to spot intentionally misleading signs. The SAS Guide to Tracking is a remarkable guide to developing a new awareness of the outdoors and is the perfect companion for naturalists, outdoorspeople, hunters, wildlife photographers, search-and-rescue teams, and law enforcement.
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The SAS Guide to Tracking is one of the more thorough guides to tracking available today. It is a thick volume in comparison to similar books but is filled with useful information. It details the more common tracking techniques and gives very informative descriptions not only of what you are looking for but why you should look for particular signs and what they mean. It covers various techniques for various terrain types, surface vegetations and track aging. All in all one of the best books on tracking that you could purchase today. I will warn you that while it covers technique and sign reading it does not cover the tracks of various animals to any significant extent, but then again it would be a much larger book if it did and given the thoroughness of the text perhaps a separate book on animal tracks would be warranted. Unlike most tracking books, it does cover tracking people very well.
This book is somewhat focused on military applications. Tom Brown, Jr's books provide a more exhaustive base of knowledge that is more widely applicable.