David Scott-Donelan Level 1 Man-Tracking Course

Footprint found on tracking exerciseWhether you are a member of the armed forces, law enforcement, search & rescue, or the general public, tracking is a very valuable and potentially life-saving skill. Frontier Bushcraft has teamed up with The Scott-Donelan Tracking School to provide cutting-edge man-tracking training in the UK. The Scott-Donelan Tracking School is the world leader in visual man-tracking instruction and application. David Scott-Donelan (DSD as he is often called) has over 45 years of professional experience in both real-world man-tracking operations and tracking training. David Scott-Donelan was a career soldier with almost three decades of active duty in the war zones of Rhodesia, South Africa, Mozambique and South-West Africa/Namibia. David served with the Rhodesian Special Air Service, Tracker Combat Unit, British South African Police Reserve, Rhodesian Light Infantry, Selous Scouts and South African Special Forces. In the late 1980s David emigrated to the United States where he has continued his illustrious tracking career. Thousands of individuals from soldiers to police and other law enforcement agencies to park rangers to search and rescue (SAR) personnel have benefited from David's US training programmes. In particular, DSD established the Combat Tracking Course at Ft. Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, and oversaw its operation for five years. That training programme, originating from his original course standards, is now the standard for the entire United States Army. DSD was one of three experts who developed the US Marine Corps Combat Hunter programme, with DSD responsible for the Combat Tracking pillar of the course. Besides the ability to follow people across an area, the skills learned during the tracking pillar helps Marines identify IEDs by recognising slight changes on the ground. DSD also provided the tracking expertise behind the nationally recognised US Border Hunter project. David travels the world teaching tracking and in recent years his students in Australian law enforcement have had great success in applying their skills both in apprehending criminals but also finding lost persons as part of search and rescue efforts. David Scott-Donelan is actively involved with the most advanced and cutting-edge modern application of man tracking in the world today. The Level 1 Man-Tracking Course is your opportunity to learn directly from him.

The Level 1 Man-Tracking Course

The Level 1 Tracking Course provides a comprehensive foundation in tracking and teaches techniques you will not find in any other tracking courses offered in the UK. The Level 1 Tracking Course is extremely well-suited to the needs of police officers (particularly PolSAs and other officers involved in search), forensic detectives, wildlife crime investigators, SAR personnel, military personnel, game keepers, rangers and naturalists, in addition to bushcraft, survival and outdoors enthusiasts and professionals. Attendance of the Level 1 course also provides the necessary pre-requisite for attending the more advanced Level 2 course (more details to follow) which is suited to more advanced trackers as well as tracking operation coordinators.

Level 1 Tracking Course Contents

During this course we will cover:
  • Basic Tracking Techniques
  • Rules of Tracking
  • Tracking Indicators - Spoor and Sign
  • Micro Tracking
  • Dynamics of a Footprint
  • Interpreting Ground Spoor
  • Action Indicators
  • Field Expedient Height Assessment
  • Ericsson Method of Track Interpretation
  • Goals and Missions of the Tracking Team
  • Roles within the Tracking Team
  • Tracking Team Formations and Signals
  • Follow-up Procedures
  • Lost Spoor Procedures
  • Back Tracking
Measuring footprint

Dynamics of a footprint. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Application of Ericsson method of track interpretation

Track interpretation. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Following detailed lessons and briefings, the above course syllabus will be developed and applied by the use of practical exercises, including
  • Spoor Pit Exercises
  • Basic Tracking Exercises
  • Team Tracking Exercises
  • Exercises Employing Lost Spoor Procedures
  • Extended Follow-ups
Tracking exercises with DSD

Tracking training exercise with David Scott-Donelan. Photo: Paul Kirtley.


You don’t need to spend lots of money on specialist clothing or equipment for this course. What you will need is some basic outdoor clothing and camping equipment. Clothing should be muted, natural colours. Avoid bright colours. A full kit-list is available here and it will also be e-mailed to you with your e-mail receipt after your booking has been accepted.


This course will be conducted entirely outdoors, from an expedition-style base camp and you will be camping out for the duration of the course. There will be a covered teaching area which also serves as a communal area for breaks. There is a fire, kettle, tea, coffee, biscuits and cordial available here.


This course is self catered so please bring food enough for the week and a stove for cooking. If you have attended a course where you have been taught safe fire-management techniques and leave-no-trace, then you can cook over a fire. Even so, you may still want to pack a stove for occasions when you need more speed.

Experience Required

While previous tracking training/experience will be beneficial, no previous tracking, bushcraft or camping experience is required to attend this course.

Availability and Booking: Level 1 Tracking

Duration: 5 days. Price: £747 Deposit: 25% on booking; Balance: 9 weeks prior to course date. Suitability: 18 years and above. Course size: 16 participants (maximum). Location: East Sussex. Course Leader: David Scott-Donelan Frontier Instructors: Paul Kirtley

Course Dates:Book your course nowTBA

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If you are not completely satisfied with your course, we'll give you your money back. Just tell your course leader at the end of the course and we'll arrange the rest. It's 100% risk free!

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