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Benton County Emergency Management

Basic Search and Rescue Course

Tracking
NOTES I. Introduction and History Universal Tracking Services (UTS) rack Awareness Advanced Tracking Degrees About UTS Course and Certifications II. Why Tracking, and when to Track? Tracking Video: UTS III. Slide Show and Discussion IV. Field Preparation. Supplies needed out in the field. a. Pencil, b. Paper or Foot Information Card, c. Flashlight, d. Biodegradable flagging tape, d. Tracking stick, and e. Tape measure (2-3, rigid). Communication between teams Proper procedures for traveling in the field. Reading/Reference: Tracking, a Blueprint for Learning How, by Jack Kearney, Pathway Press, El Cajon, California Handouts Sign Cutting Awareness in Oregon: History Tracking Tracking Glossary Tracking Program: Aids to Sign Cutting, Universal Tracking Services, Inc. Information Obtainable by Sign Cutting

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Benton County Emergency Management

Basic Search and Rescue Course

Tracking
Lost: Tracking? The Tracking Stick Tracking Team - 3 Person Track Identification Shoe Pattern Report Forms - 2 Sole and Heel Identification, Oregon Emergency Management Division Use of the Tracking Stick The 3 Man Tracking Team Traveling in the Field

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The following pages are from Universal Tracking Service, Inc. Track Aware manual

Sign Cutting Awareness in Oregon - History During the Spring of 1977, Chairman Frank G. Heyl and Chairman-Elect, Colonel Gale P. Goyins, of the State of Oregon Search and Rescue Advisory Council, while representing Oregons SAR program took in a demonstration of Man Tracking training. The expertise of the U.S. Border Patrol Officers and particularly of Abe Taylor, Jack Kearney, and Joe Hardin, were being explained to SAR personnel throughout the Western States. Frank and Gale set up the first Tracking Seminar in Oregon in October of 1977, held at Camp Hancock, near Clarno, Oregon. Each of the three U.S. Border Patrol instructors returned to Oregon in the Spring of 1978 (Camp Rilea) and Fall of 1978 (Camp Lily White). Beginning with the fourth seminar, held in June of 1979 at Diamond Lake, Joe Hardin was the only Chief Instructor. This program has continued to be sponsored by the SAR Advisory Council at least once a year, sometimes twice a year. The SAR Advisory Council attempts to offer the seminar at different locations throughout the state, rotating north and south, east and west. The initial emphasis was training for SAR personnel as a technique for searching for and locating lost persons. More recently, attendance has included more and more Law Enforcement personnel. Criminal reports from Law Enforcement Agencies indicate using the technique of Sign Cutting in all types of situations from homicide, rape, and runaway, to burglary. Many of the persons involved have participated in most of the seminars, allowing for advancement of their skills and development of Sign Cutter expertise. Some of these persons have developed into very effective instructors and assistant instructors, allowing Joel Hardin, as Chief Instructor, to utilize them in training. Over years of training, particularly by repeat attendants, a trend has developed that gives justification to the theory that expertise as a Sign Cutter comes not only from the adept and persistent trainee, but also from the repeat and continuous practice of the skills and techniques. Skill starts with awareness as a sign cutter. It develops into analysis and interpretation, and on to intelligence and evaluation of signs for discerning of enemy presence, existence of physical characteristics, mental attitudes, stress, thoughts and impressions of the subjects feelings. Such evaluations are of significant importance, particularly in Military applications. It is anticipated that future programs will emphasize training directed to specific areas of interest: Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Industrial Security, Military, Intelligence and Counter Intelligence, etc. You are encouraged to hone and practice your skills at home, on your own, or with a smaller group to develop and maintain your tracking eye.

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TRACKING
Why Tracking? 1. 2. Tracking is a great aid to any gathering process. Tracking is an outstanding information gathering technique.

Tracks are clues, and by far the most plentiful type of clue a lost person or law violator will leave behind. Humans cannot walk across the face of the earth without leaving some evidence that s/he has been there. In tracking seminars, you will learn to identify the various types of signs left by the person you are looking for. To the eye of an experienced tracker, a bit of evidence will appear just about every place that a person s/he is seeking has moved. In ideal circumstances this means a clue is just about every 18 to 20 inches. The information that can be assembled by a tracker who finds no other evidence than tracks, can sometimes recreate an entire chain of events. An experienced tracker can not only determine the direction of travel, but can also provide information as to how long ago the person was in the area, estimate weight, tell if they were looking back to see if they were followed, whether they were running or walking, etc. An excellent publication to read, and the one this material was gathered from is the book, Tracking, a Blueprint for Learning How, by Jack Kearney, Pathway Press, El Cajon, California. Material Needed for Tracking 1. Tracking Stick: at least three feet long with several O rings attached as measuring devices. A tracking stick is not a walking stick. Most walking sticks are too big to be handled easily for tracking purposes. Small Measuring Tape: every tracker should carry some type of measuring device. Note Pad, Pencil: a small note pad and pencil should be carried and easily accessible to record measurements, notes and drawings of tracks/track patterns. Flashlight: a must when tracking at night, low light conditions, or heavily forested areas. Light is vital to vision, vision is vital to tracking. A three cell light works best. Avoid a five cell light as they are too bright for effective use. Trail Tape: a role of timber cruisers tape works well.

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Tracking Teams The maximum number of persons for a tracking team should be four. You can get by with three, but it is nice to have the fourth to rotate into the three person team. The designated leader of the team works as the point person, a position that puts the leader slightly ahead of the two flankers. Point Person It is the point persons responsibility to follow the set of tracks and maintain order by seeing to it that neither flanker gets ahead of the point and thereby in a position to obliterate or damage the tracks being followed. Flankers The first responsibility of the flankers is to watch to the side for another incoming trail and to be sure the trail the group is following does not make a sudden turn. The flankers secondary responsibility is to assist the point in finding the next track. It is wise to rotate flankers up to the point position periodically to let the point take an eye rest. Working the point position is very fatiguing, so keep the team fresh by rotating often. At night it is advisable to have a couple extra team members working into a position as night tracking is always harder on the eyes. With extra team members, there is a natural tendency to mingle with the three or four person team - AVOID this as it can cause serious problems maintaining order. Extra team members should always remain back slightly and rest their eyes until it is their turn to track.

Tracking Team 3 Person


60o Arc

60o Arc

Point Man

60o Arc

Left Flanker

Right Flanker

Indicate responsible field of vision for each 3 person tracking team member

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THE THREE MAN TRACKING TEAM

A
The team must rotate the lead position often to maintain fresh eyes on the area of sign. The flankers job is to look for change of direction A in the prime sign and to alert the other team of other sign entering the area. B As fatigue starts to set in, the team needs to stand up and back away from the last known sign and take a break

Starting position of the three man trakcing team and indicatestheir area of viewing responsibility

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Measuring With Your Tracking Stick There are several ways of utilizing the rubber bands or O rings on your tracking stick. Pick a method that works for you and stick with it. The following is an example of one common method:

THE TRACKING STICK

STRIDE measurement from heel to toe

FOOT measurement Rubber O rings or other material is used to keep the measurement

TRACKING STICK Tracking sticks are one of the most important tools to the tracker. A tracking stick can be made from anything you have available to you. A branch made in the field, a ski pole is typical, gun cleaning rods, doweling. There are also tracking sticks made specific for tracking.

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Marking Sign A great aid in marking sign is the method of placing a small piece of timber cruisers tape next to the outside of each step. In so doing, you can look back and see where each step was taken. This is especially helpful in criminal cases when photographs are needed. Caution: do not place any marks or materials for marking in the actual foot impression, this destroys and renders useless potential vital evidence. Expert trackers seldom see footprints, but do their tracking following partial tracks, flat spots, scuffs and bent vegetation. These slight indicators are what trackers call sign. It is impossible to say how far a tracker might have to follow sign before s/he finds a full footprint that recalls markings that positively identify the person sought, but when these tracks are found, they should be uniquely marked. This can be done by drawing a circle all the way around the print or by using brightly colored tape nearby the print.

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Tracking Glossary
Revised May, 1988 Aging: Process of determining time lapse since sign was made, considering vegetation damage, rain, sun and other natural elements. Backing: Walking, usually across a road or natural barrier in a backward motion generally in an attempt to camouflage track by an incorrect direction of travel. Broken Twigs: Small particles or twigs which are uniquely broken in such a way indicating damage from human footwear. Bruising: Footfall damage to vegetation. Brushing Out: Using a branch, grass or clothing article in an attempt to brush or erase tracks from an area. Camouflage: See Deception. Compressed Areas:Areas of ground surface compressed in a manner which gives an indication of human footfall. Continuity of Sign: The evidence of footfall in proper sequence along a line of sign, generally unidentifiable. Countertracking: Countering a trackers efforts to track you. Crying: The natural weeping of vegetation fluids resulting from damage. Cutting for Sign: An operation used principally along natural barriers to locate human sign. Deception (Camouflage): Attempting to confuse, disguise or conceal sign by walking backwards, brushing out, or other means, to deceive or confuse direction of travel, number of persons, or presence of sign. False Trails: Leaving a good trail or sign into a poor sign area, then departing on a another route. Flagging: Leaves or grass turned in direction of travel, showing the underside surfaces. Flankers: The two tracking team members to the right and left and behind the point person. Grass Trail: The bending, intertwining of grass or brush indicating human passage. Heel Marks: The curved mark or depression on the ground surface made by the walking motion of the heel portion of the shoe.

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Healing:A process with live vegetation in which damage is repaired, used to age sign. Light Angle: The correct angle for seeing sign utilizing the primary light source. Line of Sign: The continuity of sign evidencing human passage. Littering: Scattered debris, rubbish, or human feces that are sign of human presence. Natural Barriers: Areas such as streams, banks, roads, which generally interrupt human passage and show sign well. P.L.S.: Place where witness or evidence indicates victim or suspect was last seen. Perimeters Cut: A sign cut method of limiting a search area or locating sign along natural barriers. Point Person: The principle tracking person who is in front of other team members and generally on the ground identifying each footprint step-by-step. Prime Sign Area: The area of correct size and location in relation to other sign, in which the next print should be located. Sand Trap: Dirt areas, occurring naturally or man-made which, by their nature, show sign well. Scuff Mark: The mark or sign caused by footgear contacting the ground surface. Shine: The light reflection from surfaces of grasses, vegetation and ground, bent or compressed at a different angle or compaction than the surrounding area. Sign Cutting: The skill of locating, following and identifying evidence of human presence or passage. Stride Interval: Sign cut measurement from tip of toe of one normal walking step to back of heel of the next successive step. Toe Digs: The indented mark or sign left in a normal walking motion when one foot propels the body forward. Tracking Team: Ideally, a three to four person team (one relief person), each with a specific function, following a line of sign. Transfers: The evidence of dirt or debris being carried by footgear and redeposited on succeeding footfalls. Signature Track: Footprint evidence clearly displaying unique characteristics so as to be unmistakably identifiable.

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Universal Tracking Services Inc.


TRACKING PROGRAM

AIDS TO SIGN CUTTING A supplement to the Universal Tracking Services, Inc. Tracking Program glossary of tracking terminology. This addition to the glossary contains additional tracking aids helpful to students and which will indicate presence or passage of persons. 1. Grass, leaves, sticks or debris kicked by footfalls and indicating direction of travel. Vines, grass or weeds bent in elongated oval shapes, or other unnatural formations may indicate human passage from footfalls or pushing aside. Sap coming from breaks, cuts, scrape. and bruising of plants may indicate footfall damage. Dew or moisture knocked from plant surfaces in regular footfall intervals or shapes. Dry ground surfaces exposed at regular footfall intervals after rain or periods of heavy moisture. Color change to vegetation or ground .surface at regular interval., may be caused. by compression of surf ace by footfalls. Vegetation damage at regular interval. indicated by darkened surfaces after a frost. Texture change of frost or frozen ground surf aces in size and shape of footfalls. Fallen leaves which show signs of weathering are turned, flipped or tipped to expose the contrasting underside surfaces. Broken cobwebs or other insect or animal disturbance may be indications. Stride measurement will lengthen when going downhill. Stride measurement will shorten when going uphill.

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10. 11. 12.

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INFORMATION OBTAINABLE BY SIGN CUTTING A visual tracker should be able to determine some of all of the following information: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Direction of travel. Speed of movement. Age of tracks. Is the individual lost? If not lost, what is the objective or goal? Number in party. Physical condition of individual or individuals. Whether the individual or party is carrying a load.

AGING OF SIGN The skill to accurately determine the age of sign is only learned through the practical experience of relating the visual change of footfall damage to natural elements over a period of time. The natural element factors which effect sign are: temperature and humidity variations caused by sunlight, wind, rain, daylight and dark. The variations of possibilities of visual changes in any one piece of sign caused by these factors are further complicated by the individual characteristics of each eye to see things just a little differently. In short there is no way to learn to age sign without seeing the sign itself change with time, subject to the elements. Expert sign cutters will only attempt to teach, explain or illustrate this skill in classroom or written materials in the broadest of terms and most basic examples, such as: grasses stepped on during the cool of night will be revived by the sunlight warmth of the day; distinct color change in vegetation damage; evidence if rain; morning or evening breezes; dirt transfer from surface dew; night time or day time characteristics; vegetation damage to previously frosted surfaces.

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FOOTFALL CHARACTERISTICS

WALKING

regular sequence of footfall impressions with measured stride, equal depth and contact of heels, balls of foot and lift off from toes. This type of track best indicates individual mental and physical characteristics.

WALKING

hurried, but not jogging or flight characterized by irregular footfalls, irregular heel strikes, deeper toe digs, less care with debris which may be underfoot.

JOGGING

regular footfall interval, deeper heel strikes, longer stride, or shorter strides with feet planted firmly, deeper toe digs often with very light heel strike.

RUNNING FLIGHT

irregular stride, deep heel strikes, deep toe digs, less care and concern for debris or ground surfaces.

RUNNING

full flight or panic, very irregular footfalls, deep heel strikes, deep toe digs, skid marks from poorly placed footfalls or balance of person, no concern for ground surfaces, debris or obstacles in flight path.

NIGHT SIGN

indicated by inability of person to see obstacles, vegetation, puddles, in path walked.

CURRENT TEXT:

Tracking, A Blueprint For Learning How by Jack Kearney is recommended by the instructors.

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LOST!
TRACKING?
Tracking is one of the most effective tools used to find a missing person. The drawing shows the distance a person could travel in any direction with time. Finding a direction of travel with tracking can cut down the search area. Most subjects are found within 10 miles from point last seen. 10 miles has a search area of 314 sq miles. By establishing a direction of travel, the search area can be cut down to 26 sq. miles.

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TRACK IDENTIFICATION
Most sign cut operations should be gin with an identification of the suspect or victims sign. Generally this sign is appropriately located at the :Place Last Seen. Though an ideal, complete and distinct, perfect image of the footgear might not be found, an identifiable print should be located.

A complete drawing of this print should be made. This drawing should carefully note and reflect every detail visible to the sign cutter. Careful measurements of the dimensions of the print should include the length of heel and sole, width of each and shape as illustrated below. 1. a overall length of print b width of ball of foot c length of heel d - width of heel e stride normal walking measurement from tip of toe to back of heel 2. Basic shoe type flat tennis shoe Work boot Hiking boot Sneakers Street shoe toe round semi-round pointed square Heel straight leading edge Concave leading edge vd leading edge square heel Straight bars Circles Wavy lines Lugs Zig zags Diamonds Stars

3. Basic shoe shape

4. Basic sole patters

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5. Basic heel patter if different from sole (especially note worn areas on side of heels or rear of heel) 6. Note overall appearance of print and all worn places cuts for breaks anything which will distinguish this print from all others any and all unique features Once the print has been recorded on paper by the sign cutter, the drawing serves two purposes, (1) to show other sign cutters how the true sign appears, and compare with known suspect sign, (2) to refresh the sign cutters mental image whenever needed. The sign cutter may add to the drawing whenever successive tracks reveal greater details. A drawing thus made by the sign cutter also insures a lasting mental picture of the print. Written notes of measurements and appearance will greatly aid the sign cutters print description by radio for comparison by other teams.

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USE OF THE TRACKING STICK

Pivot the stick at the heel in an arc, this will allow you to concentrate on the prime sign area, looking for the heel of your next footfall. Experience will gain your confidence in using and trusting in your tracking stick. NOTE: Ensure tracking stick is held above the track to prevent contamination or destruction of sign

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TRAVELING IN THE FIELD


Frame 1 shows team B looking for sign with team A. This should only be attempted by more advanced trackers who are aware of the many problems which could occur. For those who are becoming Tracker Aware, the figure below shows the preferred way to travel while out in the filed. Unless otherwise directed, frame 1 is the way to travel at all times.

Team A stays on sign while Team B moves in single file walking in each others foot steps to reduce the area of disturbance caused by their own tracks. Trackers new to sign cutting should be within voice distance of each other, which allows the two teams to work more as one team

The above frame represents Team B as a team of searchers unaware of Team A or the mess of tracks they are leaving behind. OR if Team B is the sign cut team looking for sign, theyre unaware of the problems they will face if they pass over the prime sign.

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