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Reading Tracks


Henry Arthur Readford
May 23, 2011
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Track reading in the wild is not easy. The perfect track is not always left behind by the subject you are trying to track. Many track books show drawings of the perfect but this is not reality.Tracks are not just footprints they also include scats (dung), Bones, paths, shelters , feeding and other signs.

Track finding is generally easier early morning or later in the day when there is a slanting light. Bright overhead light tends to flatten them out even on sandy surfaces.
Footprints differ on different surfaces such as sand, rock , litter ect. In fact in some cases you are not actually looking for the print but recent disturbances such as mud or water on a rocky surface. Other factors that alter the print shape are gait,speed and ground irregularities .

Things to take in identifing tracks are gaits, size and track patterns. the gait refers to the type of step the animal takes like walking, trotting, gallop, bounding or hopping. the size is not only the size of the print but also includes the stride and straddle. Track patterns are distinctive patterns made by the gaits.

To help learn about tracks take pictures , correct measurents, scetches and even taking a cast . Another idea is to make smooth sandy area for study many call them sand boxes but NOTE here in Oz if you are trying to see Kangaroo prints the area will need to be large as the RED and GREY Kanga at a slow hop travels between 1.8 - 2 metres in length.

I hope this is a help and a decent start to this topic as i mentioned before many may know this info and it is even located elsewhere on the net but this is to collate it all here in BUSHCRAFTOZ forum
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