Tracking: Signs of Man, Signs of Hope: A Systematic Approach to the Art and Science of Tracking Humans

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Tracker. The very word evokes images of buckskin-clad braves crouching over the ground, carefully studying the signs before them-a part of history. But the modern world has not put behind it the need for the earthy business of tracking-far from it. Such skills are still routinely used by the military, rescue personnel, and law enforcement, as well as by hunters and people living at subsistence level throughout the world. Tracking-Signs of Man, Signs of Hope is the ultimate authoritative guide to this most ...
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Overview


Tracker. The very word evokes images of buckskin-clad braves crouching over the ground, carefully studying the signs before them-a part of history. But the modern world has not put behind it the need for the earthy business of tracking-far from it. Such skills are still routinely used by the military, rescue personnel, and law enforcement, as well as by hunters and people living at subsistence level throughout the world. Tracking-Signs of Man, Signs of Hope is the ultimate authoritative guide to this most complex pursuit. A great resource for military, law enforcement, and rescue professionals, Tracking-Signs of Man, Signs of Hope is also useful for outdoor enthusiasts. Users will find it invaluable as an on-site manual in the course of any search.
Chapters cover topics such as:
discovering how the experts gather and take advantage of information about their "Chase"
turning your five senses into scientific evidence gathering machines
telling the difference between natural and unnatural movement, foliage, and sounds
differentiating between unrelated or incidental signs and those left specifically by your Chase
accurately interpreting the age of a sign
determining the physical, mental, and emotional condition of your Chase
transforming hindrances into advantages
picking up the trail again once it has been lost
protecting yourself against a dangerous and/or desperate foe
working together as a team
documenting the evidence so that others can pick up where you left off
and more
Unlike many tracking manuals, this guide focuses on tracking humans-be they enemy combatants or lost children. With careful attention to the details that make the expert tracker, author David Diaz explains what it takes to be a tracker, from physical stamina to focus and perception. He explains the tools of the tracker and presents safety tips. Tracking-Signs of Man, Signs of Hope will be an invaluable addition to any library-and could be a lifesaver.
David Diaz is a twenty-year U.S. Army Special Forces/Marine Corps professional who recently retired from the U.S. Armed Forces. He first learned about tracking from an indigenous Malaysian who hunted insurgents in the jungles of Malaysia. Diaz fine-tuned his craft through years of dedicated study and instruction from the finest trackers throughout the world, including the Dyak/Iban of Brunei, Nigrito aborigines from the Philippines, the San Man of Botswana, and U.S. Vietnam-veteran Marine trackers who gained their skills from the Montagnards in the highlands of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has taught these skills to U.S. Army soldiers, police officers, and foreign military forces worldwide, in times of war and peace, in both friendly and hostile environments.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592286867
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

David Diaz is a 20-year U.S. Army Special Forces/Marine Corps professional who recently retired from the U.S. Armed Forces. He first learned about tracking from the son of a Malaysian headhunter, who hunted insurgents in the jungles of Malaysia. He fine-tuned his craft through years of dedicated study and instruction from the finest trackers throughout the world, including the Dyak/Iban of Brunei, Nigrito aborigines from the Philippines, the San Man of Botswana, and U.S. Vietnam-veteran Marine trackers, who gained their skills from the Montagnards in the highlands of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has taught these skills to U.S. Army soldiers, police officers, and foreign military forces worldwide, in times of war and peace, in both friendly and hostile environments.

Writer V.L. McCann has a B.A. in Creative Writing, graduating with Honors in 1981 and thereafter serving nearly 12 years as an officer in the U.S. Army. In 1997, McCann became owner and chief writer/editor of Abbacy Professional Writing in Tacoma, Washington.

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Read an Excerpt


Even a novice tracker should be able to make a reasonable assumption about the age of any sign. And just like anything else, practice will give you the edge you need when it really counts.

HUMAN & ANIMAL EXCREMENT

In Chapter 3, we discussed various odors, including that of human and animal urine and defecation. Let's take that a step further and use that excrement to help us determine time passage. Chapter 1 included an excerpt in which a Native American tracker examined horse droppings and determined not only the specific grasslands at which the animal had grazed but how much time had gone by since the droppings had been left. While not an exact science, determining time passage can be accomplished with a few clues.

Take a close look at the excrement, either urine or defecation. The more moist and fly-congested it is, with a high concentration of smell, the less time has passed since it was left. Conversely, the more dehydrated and least fly-congested it is, with less concentration of smell, the longer it has been since the excretion of the urine or defecation. To obtain a more exact knowledge of this, time it and analyze it in your laboratory (later in this chapter). In cold to freezing conditions, open or cut in half the defecation. The inner moisture and heat will tell you its freshness. Yes, it's a dirty job, but just remember: if it smells like it and looks like it, you surely do not have to taste it!

LIVING CREATURES & PLANT LIFE

Here, again, knowledge of the flora (plant life), fauna (wildlife), and insects of your immediate surroundings is paramount to success. In your climate and geographic region of the world, knowing when certain species of animals come out to feed and at what time insects are the most active will certainly provide a clue as to the time a Chase traveled through the area.

For instance, deer travel to the water to drink during the late evening. If, during the dead of night or the crack of dawn, you notice a fresh deer's hoof print in the middle of your Chase's shoe print, you can pretty surely conclude that the deer arrived after the Chase had been there. If, however, your Chase's shoe print is superimposed on a deer's hoof print, you can almost conclusively determine that the Chase was there after the deer. If the deer of the area normally go to drink at the water source approximately between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and your team notices a fresh human footprint over the deer print at 11:30 p.m., the team can pretty safely assume that the Chase is a mere 2.5 to 3.5 hours ahead-or less.

Another example is a spider which constructs a web during the late evening in order to capture late flying insects (See Figure 5-1). These webs are often strung along narrow trails that are wide enough to capture flying insects yet close enough from one side to the other to make the web construction quick and easy. If the Chase's prints are discovered in the early morning below a newly created spider web, the tracker can assume that the Chase had passed through the area prior to the late evening of the day before.

Earthworm cast is another clear indicator of recent travel. Now, I am by no means a worm expert. I could dazzle you with Latin Rico Suave names such as Oligochaeta, Lumbricus Terrestris, and Lumbriculida, all part of the worm population known as Segmented Worms. But unless you are a pathologist or biologist, all you need to know is that worms are slimy and soft. Some earthworms are short; some are long; some are skinny; and some are fat. I have yet to see a pretty one.

A fact well known to many fishermen, worms appear on the surface of the ground after rainfall or at pre-dawn for air. As they travel, they simultaneously leave a mound or trail of moist mud pellets, called "worm cast." In tropical or sub-tropical regions of Southeast Asia, worm cast takes place between one and six o'clock in the morning, climate determining the exact hours it appears. The earthworm is not too fond of the sunlight; therefore, before dawn, they return to their sweet, cool mother earth. A trail of worm cast that has been crushed by a human boot was most likely disturbed after those hours, indicating a more recent passage. (See Figure 5-2a & b) Conversely, footprints covered by a trail or mound of worm cast most likely occurred before 1 a.m. (See Figure 5-3a, b & c). For more information regarding these creatures, ask your local hard-core fisherman. He will be able to tell you most anything you care to know-and some information you would rather not-about earthworms in your neck of the woods.

In the Pacific Northwest there is a particular species of slimy belly-crawlers known as slugs. They are similar to snails except that they have no shell and are extremely slimy. During the night and pre-dawn hours, they come out to feed on new, tender plants, much to the dismay of area gardeners and florists. Slugs leave a very distinct trail of slimy ooze that dries and hardens with the sun. When disturbed, the appearance of the trail will tell you if it was smeared (while still moist) or broken (once dried). This clue, of course, will give you a good indication of when the Chase traveled through the area.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Introduction 1
Chapter 1 History and Brief Overview 5
A Short History 6
A Tracking Overview 9
"Prey-Lude" To The Chase 13
Chapter 2 Getting to Know You 17
Operation Chase 22
Chapter 3 My Common Senses Will Find You 27
Sight 28
Visual Tracking
Scanning and Searching
Auditory Tracking 33
Vocal
Mechanical
Scent Tracking 36
Tactile Tracking 40
The Pursuit: Day One 42
Chapter 4 What Happened to My Signs? 51
Ground Signs 52
Foot Prints
Other Prints
Disturbances
Middle Signs 54
Wind Speed
Top Signs 57
Measuring 58
Factors Affecting Signs 65
Other Humans & Animals
Terrain
Climatic Weather Conditions
Time
The Pursuit: Day Two 78
Chapter 5 How Long Has It Been Since We Last Met? 85
Human and Animal Excrement 86
Living Creatures and Plant Life 86
Controlled Laboratory Test 90
Conduct of the Experiment
What You Eat is What You Leave
Database
A Lesson in Forensic Science 102
Decomposition
Mummification
Skeletonization
The Pursuit: Day Three 109
Chapter 6 What Do We Have Here? 117
Gathering the Evidence 117
Preserve the Area
Direction of Movement
Blood Trailing
Speed of Movement
Number of People
Kind of Food Consumed
Miscellaneous Items and Equipment
Weapons
Documenting the Evidence: The Tracker Report 137
Overview
Searching
Recording
Collecting
Formatting
Tracker Report 147
Chapter 7 Round Up the Posse 163
Tracker Team 166
Duties and Responsibilities
Track Searching Procedures
Formations
Immediate Action Drills
Booby Traps
Training for the Beginning Tracker 193
Static and Movement Observation Drills
Initial Exercise
Forested Area Exercise
Other Skills
Epilogue 203
Tracker's Creed 205
Appendix A Time-Based Analysis Tables 207
Appendix B Tracker Report 211
Appendix C Situation Report (SITREP) 221
Appendix D SALUTE Report 223
Appendix E Medevac Report 225
Glossary 227
Recommended Reading 233
About the Authors 235
Index 237
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