Animal Tracking Workshop

bev1bev2On April 18th Ancestral Knowledge hosted its first animal tracking workshop. The workshops was taught along t the Paint Branch Creek in College Park MD. This area is rich with animal diversity and hosts one of the finest sand bars in the area. I spent over 16 hours a week for over 2 years tracking and observing animals and animal behavior in this location, in essence this is were I became a tracker. It was a beautiful day reaching 70 degrees with a light wind from the south. We spent 6 hours tracking 4 different animals. Finding each print and identifying its species. The first trail we followed was a treat, having only seen clear tracks of this animal on 2 occasions in 2 years and never having seen a full clear front track. Today we had the gift of seeing several trails and trail conditions. The first two pictures are of this animals trail and I will leave it to you to try and figure out who it was we were following. As the day progressed the tracking became more and more difficult. The suns angle was changing and they were put on more and more difficult trails to follow. The third trail was along a run where fox traveled back and forth frequently. The trackers had to figure out which trail was connected to the original track I set them on. Track aging was crucial but not impossible to determine which tracks were from the night before and the ones laid that morning. deer1The fox was doing its typical 2 x trot. After a short break to mend our tracker headaches we moved into the wooded area along the creek to look for some good deer tracks to follow. Tracking in leaf litter is a bit more challenging then on sand as you can imagine. After a short walk I found two great trails to follow. These trails taught the trackers a great deal about becoming the animal and seeing through their eyes. One trail was a meandering slow walk as it ate along the way. The other trail was of a cautious deer as it approached a bike path. The trackers quickly learned to expand their awareness to their surroundings to notice the different plants the deer nibbled on and the sight lines that the other deer paused for to check if anyone was coming along the bike trail before crossing. All in all it was a great day and I look forward to sharing the wonders of tracking in the future.

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