Modern Visual Tracking: From Stone Age To Space Age

by Paul Kirtley

A Presentation By David Scott-Donelan

David Scott-Donelan is a world-renowned tracking authority. Amongst his busy schedule teaching tracking full time, every year David travels over to the UK from his home in Arizona to teach a handful of tracking courses at Frontier Bushcraft. After one such course last year, David accompanied us to the Bushcraft Show, where we had organised for him to give a main stage presentation on modern tracking techniques. David - or DSD as he is often fondly referred to - and his company The Scott-Donelan Tracking School are at the forefront of modern tracking applications. Tracking is not some archaic skill as some would have you believe. It is actively used by police forces, military units, park rangers, anti-poaching groups, as well as search and rescue teams. The basis of tracking remains as it ever did. But there have also been modern developments in the way tracking is used as well as some of the technology which can now be brought to bear to augment our own human faculties. In the above presentation David provides a thorough overview of modern visual tracking, a perspective he is uniquely qualified to provide. You can also watch the presentation here on YouTube. He starts with the basics that any tracker should know and moves onto some of the readily available modern technology which is being used by trackers.
Footprints in the sand with overlay of the tracking concepts of stride and pitch angle

David explains the system of studying the dynamics of a footprint and what it can tell us. Photo courtesy of David Scott-Donelan.

Polaroid Pocket Printer

Modern technology is being used in some ingenious ways to augment the contemporary tracker's abilities. Photo courtesy of David Scott-Donelan.

Tracking skills are not just for the professional trackers. The abilities and awareness provided by being a trained tracker are of benefit to anyone who loves being outdoors. In one of the slides of his presentation, DSD lists some of the comments from past students about what they gained from attending a tracking course:
  • Increased situational awareness
  • Increased observational skills
  • Learning to move silently
  • Gain confidence in outdoor environments
  • Moving in tune with the environment
  • Ability to interpret (read) tracks
  • Who, What, Where, Why and How
  • At one with your surroundings
  • Develop a “sixth sense”
  • A ‘COOL’ skill!
  • Immerses yourself into your surroundings
If you’d like to develop these qualities - whether for professional or recreational purposes - then check out the Level 1 Tracking Course With DSD.
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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine.

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Allen

I’m learning to track and have been practicing following deer and my fav target at the moment is a rat family lol, so this is a very interesting vid to me at this time and a big thank you for sharing it, thumbs up 🙂

Paul Allen

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear that you are getting into your tracking. There’s always something to fascinate, even down to the smallest detail.

Glad you enjoyed this video too.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Sam Larson

Awesome video! Lots of incredible insight
Thanks for sharing Paul

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hey Sam,

It’s good to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed this one.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Phil Robinson

Hey Paul, thanks for putting this up. Usual good stuff from DSD. Have shared it on the Tackers UK FB page.

Cheers,

Phil

Reply

Paul Kirtley

No worries Phil. Thanks for sharing onto the FB group too 🙂

Cheers,

Paul

Reply

Phil robinson

For anyone looking up the page on FB it’s actually “Tracking UK”

Ooops!

Phil

Reply

Paul Kirtley

No worries Phil.

The make it even easier, here’s a direct link to the group.

Cheers,

Paul

Reply

Pierluigi Tucci

Hi Paul,
very interesting video!

Sooner or later I will ahead on hat fascinating art.

Many thanks for sharing it.

Warm regards

Pierluigi Tucci

Reply

Ella Harper

awesome insight!
Thanks for sharing Paul

Reply

Paul Kirtley

My pleasure Ella. Glad you found it useful.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

paul russell

Thank you for sharing DSDs presentation with us. It was very interesting to see how tec is changing tracking. I personally prefer not to get technically dependant. Not that I would consider myself a Luddite, but I do prefer to leave the tec to the teccys.
Very interesting none the less, and always great to listen to someone with such vast experience, skills and knowledge on the subject. Thank you.

Reply

Tommy

What is the name / brand of the tracking camera, David showed on 29.36min in the video?

Reply

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