How To Master The Skills of Wildlife Tracking With The Help of A Mentor…
Have you been hitting roadblocks while trying to learn the art and science of wildlife tracking?
Here are some common issues that hold people back:
- Maybe there are no good instructors near where you live
- Maybe you don’t know any good tracking locations
- Maybe you wouldn’t know how to practice even if you had the perfect location!
- Maybe you’re overwhelmed by information in field guides
- Maybe you don’t have tons of time to get outside and practice
Do you have any of these blocks? They’re pretty common, especially at beginner & intermediate stages of learning.
But does that mean you can’t learn tracking?
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to do it alone… these blocks are usually enough to completely stop people in their tracks (no pun intended).
I’d like to explain how with good mentoring I believe you can and will get past any tracking blocks that might be stopping you.
Allow Me To Illustrate How A Mentor Can Help You Learn The Art of Tracking
Here’s a common tracking scenario…
Let’s say that you’re struggling to master your ID skills because you don’t know any good tracking spots near where you live.
Let’s also say…
You only have an hour per week at most to go tracking.
That one hour usually ends up feeling like a waste because the only tracks you find are dogs and other people.
Pretty tough, right?
This is a common scenario that usually ends when the tracker gives up and says, “maybe someday I’ll get back into it.”
Yet this is also the point where a tracking mentor can offer specific tools & suggestions that work better for your situation.
Here’s the key…
A tracking mentor sees the problem differently.
The thing that doesn’t occur to most people is that this isn’t just one problem. There are actually two very different problems here:
- No good location
- Can’t ID tracks
These two problems have two very different solutions that enable you to maximize your time and success.
So here’s what most people do in that situation…
They use their one hour per week to try and find tracks so they can improve their ID skills.
Seems pretty logical right?
But that usually doesn’t work because they don’t have any good locations. It doesn’t take many wasted hours before they get discouraged and give up.
So here’s what I might suggest if I were mentoring the person in our tracking scenario.
If you don’t yet have a good location… don’t try to learn track ID in the field.
Here’s what you should do instead:
#1 Start practicing track ID at home by sketching life-size tracks on file cards.
Until you find a good location, there are journaling techniques that you can do at home in as little as 5 minutes per day.
This requires very little effort and will bring much faster results than being frustrated in the field.
Plus… after a few days of sketching practice you also have flashcards to work with.
And you still have that one hour of field time per week…
#2 Use your one hour of field time to practice scouting techniques until you start finding good locations.
This is the counter intuitive part that simply doesn’t occur to most people. There’s a whole art and science to finding good tracking spots.
And in many cases the ability to scout locations is going to be much more important than ID skills…
…and it’s necessary to build your scouting abilities BEFORE you’re able to build your track ID skills in the field.
That’s why having a mentor is such a strong (even essential) asset if you want to build tracking skills with the least amount of frustration.
Tracking roadblocks emerge because your focus is on the wrong skills, routines, and exercises for your current level.
Here’s the golden rule…
A Tracking Mentor Keeps You Focused On The Right Steps And Activities…
So You Make The Fastest Progress And Don’t Waste Your Time/Energy
The scenario above is just one type of tracking problem.
There are way too many possible scenarios to list them all here. And the reality is that your situation is probably unique!
That’s exactly why live mentoring makes such a big difference.
It gives you personalized direction for whatever kinds of problems or questions you encounter.
Your personal goals and challenges probably require unique ways of crafting your skills & field time in order to find the answer.
Even really specific questions like…
I really want to find a coyote but I just don’t know how.”
(That is actually a really fun question to work on!)
So here’s the deal.
If you’re someone who is excited about getting on the fast track with your tracking skills then I’d really love to help you out.
Here’s some of what we can work on together:
- Where to focus your energy in order to avoid frustration and move towards your tracking goals much more quickly
- Help you problem solve any blocks or specific challenges that prevent you from putting in effective dirt time
- Give you simple and practical exercises/missions that build your foundations in track ID, interpretation, trailing, etc
- Discuss tracking mysteries and animal behaviour so you can start thinking like a tracker
Do You Want A Wildlife Tracking Mentor?
If you’d like to work with me on your tracking skills… just send me a message and let me know what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!