Real and tangible applications of any skill is what we all are constantly looking for. Surely we aren’t prone to waste our precious time in learning something unnecessary. We are surrounded by wonders of the ultimate technology and we are so used to relying on it. Think
about our GPS, our mobile phones, but also to ATMs, and any cooking device. There are plenty of inside our houses.
My intention is not to be negative, just honest. Because a sound mind is what makes the difference in any worst-case scenario. We can’t count only on luck. Luck does not save people. Knowledge does.
In this article, we will see how in past times the art of Tracking has been combined successfully with survival Skills, taking lessons from the past to apply them nowadays. This is not a maybe, it’s a given.
In fact, back in the day, Mountain Men traded this practice.
Several good movies depicted that with the proper nuances: think about “Man in the Wilderness”, 1971, directed by Richard C.Sarafian and starring Richard Harris as Zachary Bass. The plot was roughly inspired by the dramatic story of Hugh Glass. We all watched “The Revenant”, and we are all supposed to be familiar with the tragic sequence of events that led the trapper and scout.
Glass, abandoned by his fellows after being mauled by a grizzly bear, to track back the expedition who deprived him of his weapons. In the 2015 movie, Glass eventually gave up on this revenge to come back to his son, drifting away from the real facts. Even with given cinematographic discrepancies, the two movies provide a truthful representation of Glass’ commitment to track his former companions. Even horribly wounded, he pursued his goal not only with admirable dedication, but also thanks to the skills acquired during the previous years.
At that time, infact, Tracking was an undeniable tool for any Trapper.
The benefits of the application of this Art happened to be several:
– Tracking animals
– Setting traps in the right spots
– Tracking natives
– Preventing any attack from hostile tribes
– Tracking used trails
– Setting campsites in safe areas
– to explore new routes
You can easily notice how many similarities appear to be in common with modern-day hunting, Patrolling, Reconnaissance Activity and Survival too!
In the mid of 1800s, every Mountain Man was a Tracker: Jim Bridger, John Colt, Kit Carson.. we all heard about their legendary ventures. We also studied them at school. Without developing this skill, the individual would have been surely lost, either in making a fortune with fur trade or maintaining a high level of awareness.
“There is nothing that sharpens a man’s senses so acutely as to know that bitter and determined enemies are in pursuit of him night and day” Frederick Russell Burnham
By saying that, the question “Can Tracking really come in handy in current times?” is absolutely legitimate.
You don’t have to be a “reborn” Mountain Man to understand how this Art can be significant when things start to take the wrong turn. Even if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you can find yourself in trouble by wandering in a brand new area you are not familiar with.
What if you went out without a map? Or, even worse, you run out the batteries for your GPS? And if your mobile phone does not get any signal?
Far before considering the idea to set up an improvised shelter for the night – especially if you are inexperienced in it and have absolutely no clue where and how to start with that – just stay put where you are. Take a deep breath.
If you understand the fundamentals of Tracking, you can start backtracking yourself. After all, Survival skills are based on Tracking, and vice versa. And you must get out of this mishap. It will take time, but you will feel more comfortable in it than strolling around with no idea of how you can make your way back.
Step by step, you will reconstruct your path without surrendering to panic, which is an essential goal in an emergency situation. Willingness, skill, and common sense will take you the rest of the way. In further articles, we will see in more detail how Tracking Skills can be immediately and effectively
combined with Survival ones.