Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom


Al B.
what's that on the "tracking sticks"? Sounds interesting. Do you care to explain it in more detail here?

Marius Ferreira <>
Pretoria, Gauteng, RSA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 05:07:02 (EDT)

Tracking sticks: these come in various forms, home-made or commercial. Basically they're a long stick, usually marked in inches, used to measure length of stride, etc. This can help you track someone with a stride x inches long if the prints mix up with others on a trail for example. Also, when looking for sign they can show you where you should be looking. For example, if you lose a trail after a footprint, you can determine about how far away the next print (or the one after that, and so on) should be. I've taken a tracking class (I'm signing up for another) but like many things it really takes a lot of work to get good at it, so I'm just an amateur.
I do carry tracking sticks for my SAR work. I made my own lightweight, compact set by using shock-corded, fiberglass tent poles. The poles are cut to 12" OAL and etched with a ring every 1". A set of rubber bands are used to mark the distance measured. The whole unit weighs almost nothing and fits in an M16 bipod pouch on the outside of my pack.

Dave <>
San Jose, CA USA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 13:07:06 (EDT)

Tracking Stick: Scott: Dave's post explained it well. It's to measure stride in order to find your next track.There are two types of tracks,clear print, ie. mud or snow and all others which are called compression tracks.Most tracking is done by looking at compressions (I'm not talking about sign tracking such as turned over leaves and such just prints on the ground) Trick: Measure both left and right strides,the shorter stride will tell you the dominant side of the person.Example:
A shorter right stride will tell you that person is right dominant.
This can be important in search and rescue. People circle when lost,
and will circle to the dominant side.An average adult male coming to a forked trail given equal choices wil take the dominant side trail.

useful tips: keep the track between you and the sun or flashlight when looking at it-don't just look at the horizon of the track, the floor of the track is the only true track.

This only scratches the surface of tracking, but this much can help find wounded game. Practice Practice and when you get enough dirt time I'll tell you how to determine if the track is male or female and even how to tell the difference between coyote or dog.

Uncle Nunzio's Newphew <>
N.Y. USA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 17:42:40 (EDT)

The rest of you: Tracking: Alright already, Ya killin me with all this e-mail.
here it is: the inner two front toes on coyotes are SMALLER than a dogs.

Sex indiactors: All members of the deer,cat and dog family are diagonal walkers which means they lift opposite body parts at the same time and put their rear print in the front print,but not exactly,
so for example a buck will place his rear feet in his front tracks
but the rear hooves will fall slightly to the inside of the front tracks,because his chest is is wider than his hips opposite for does.
Why? Because bucks have bigger chests to hold up antlers and does have bigger hips for birthing, this is true for most mammals. Thats why the floor of the track is so important to study.
Uncle Nunzio's Newphew <>
N.Y. USA - Wednesday, October 14, 1998 at 22:29:03 (EDT) 

Al B. - Sorry man, thought you were talking humans on the male female toe thing. The feet of "most human females" turn in due to the same reason. Their hips are made for birthing and thus causes a turn in of the toes. The size of the feet can be disguised, but the turn in of the toes can not. The use of larger size shoes or boots will fool only until you inspect the toe push. The larger size shoes causes an unnatural toe push, and being unbalanced from the larger shoes, the toe drag is pronounced and the heel dig is too deep. Men will walk toe out.

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Wednesday, October 14, 1998 at 23:33:38 (EDT) 

Tracking: Tom Brown Jr. "The Tracker" has some really good books on primitive survival craft and tracking....In his field guide to tracking he talks alot about the use of the tracking stick. good field reference to have.
Cory <>
PC, FL USA - Thursday, October 15, 1998 at 10:11:18 (EDT) 

Rick: I'm familiar with the male/female human track difference you mentioned. Maybe it's a social thing, but the few times I have practiced tracking it didn't work, the female steps were positioned just like the men's. Maybe it's a social thing, I don't know. Has it worked in your experience?

Dave <>
San Jose, CA USA - Thursday, October 15, 1998 at 13:03:27 (EDT) 

Dave - What were the circumstances of the track and how were you tracking? The reason I ask is that a female trained with the militray or LEAs have a tendency to walk toe straight. Some will even go toe out for a while. One they become tired, the toes start to turn in since it is more natural. If the female is used to carrying heavy loads then the toes turn more out for balance, inward toes produce the "swing" we men enjoy but deny to our wives out of self preservation. Once again, once tire and moving on easy terrain the toes start in. If the female is navigating rough terrain, her toes will go out for balance. Again, depending on her back ground, checking the heel dig will present a worn inner heel from that part normally striking ground first while the male wears on the outer heel. Short duration practice tracks can give false impressions that wouldn't show from a longer track against an individual that is tired and carrieing weight. We go after our students when they infil and it can be fun since they are carrieing everything but the kitchen sink and are going through rough area on a time schedule purposely too short for the movement distance.

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Thursday, October 15, 1998 at 21:55:12 (EDT) 

Rick: I was tracking random hikers on and around various local trails, simple enough sometimes. But often when looking at the tracks (or watching them walk) I see the toes outward, maybe it's a California thing... I'll keep this in mind the next time I try it, and see what happens again.

Dave <>
San Jose, CA USA - Saturday, October 17, 1998 at 01:58:40 (EDT) 

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