Archive for February, 2009

Dates from other tracking and SAR related groups that may be of interest to team members of Georgia Trackers Alliance.

Please post any suggested websites here. They will be reviewed and added if appropriate.

gta-yargo09_img1_1Today (Feb 21, 2009) we held our monthly tracking training session at Fort Yargo State Park. We were honored to have a guest tracker, Robert Speiden from the National Awareness Tracking School in Virgina. We arrived around 9am and got dirt time for the next 8 hours. In addition to our dirt time, we also had an opportunity to preview Robert Speiden’s new book, “Foundations for Awareness, Signcutting and Tracking”. Thanks to all those who attended and made this a good training event.

A little reminder about our mission and information about how the
website fits into our mission:

Our first objective is to field a team of people who are trained and
professional in their ability, presentation, and results. This
objective, as part of our mission, cannot be accomplished if we don’t
cast a wide net and provide information and support for all types of
tracking interests, in the hopes of raising up individuals who will
aspire and succeed in joining a field ready team.

A public forum is required. The caveat in having a public forum is
that individuals who may have little insight into the art and science
of tracking could act as though they are representing GTA, or at least
be perceived in that way, and prolong our growth or acceptance as a
team in the Southeast United States.

This is partially why we had a private board for the first 13 months
of forming. Although we could have pressed this issue and had a
website with no discussion capability and a clear statement of our
present state and future interests, it wasn’t a bad thing that our
first few runs at starting a website didn’t materialize.

Now our position is substantially different. We have a growing crowd
of persons who are either established or growing as SAR professionals
and who have also attended 1 or more significant presentations and
practice sessions related to tracking. We, as a group, are becoming
track aware, and many who have taken advantage of some of our training
opportunities are seeing sign. Some have been on this journey for 3
years, many more for at least a year, and a few for many years beyond
that. As a skill that requires time and effort to build, we are
demonstrating the patience and effort and building up “sweat equity”
in ourselves, and with this team.

Almost as important as seeing sign, we have a growing community of
people who understand the process of learning to see sign, and how
that differs from reading a book and understanding the mechanics of
relying only on tracking tools and tactics. Our group is becoming
self-aware in addition to track-aware, and nothing we do is more
valuable than spreading the notion that tracking works, and tracking
is an important resource on every search.

To take the next step, we must broaden our discussion. Our website is
based on a web tool that manages “blogs” or “weblogs” as a fundamental
capability. This familiar form of communication is typified in tools
like facebook and myspace. It is a simple way to start a conversation
and log the stream of thought, comment and opinions in reverse
chronological order. We have no desire to limit our public presence on
the website to just commentary, so Ken Hughey has worked hard to put a
“face” on our website that we now present to the public. We are also
populating as much content as possible as a public service, to provide
the background on our group and to promote and support tracking as
much as possible. If you haven’t been watching it form, you should.
Many around the US have commented very favorably about the website and
some are almost as excited as we are that the site is moving forward.
One of the other tracking sites that has been popular with trackers
for over a decade has actually given us full access and permission to
use and extend anything they had done previously, and I look forward
to that collaboration reaping huge rewards for the tracking community

Even those of you who have been hesitant to start a new topic on the
message board should feel comfortable just joining into the middle of
conversation on the website. LOOK on the right side of the board under
“categories” or “recent posts” and click on them, then click on the
comment button to open up the conversation….and JOIN IN. It is easy,
there is no grade and it will help us become a more useful tool on the


Change is inevitable. And change is always both good and bad. In our
case, and as many of you have been putting up with from me for several
years now, we WILL be incorporated….and soon. That is an important
step for us. Once that occurs, we will implement our bylaws and SOP’s
and bring a level of formality to our program. As I have said before,
I wish it weren’t necessary, but it is a crucial step. I believe some
of our more qualified and practiced trackers on this team have been
waiting for this to occur, by the way, and I look forward to old
friends stepping back up and working with us when we cross this
threshold. In other cases, the formality may not fit others’ styles
and whatever interest we managed to hold with them up to this time may
diminish. I regret this, but it is necessary for us to move forward.

So what does this mean specifically? In many ways, it may require
little change. We will keep our broader, public discussion moving
forward through the blogs on our website and I hope everyone continues
to keep up with team activities and continues to learn from those
posts. It does mean that we will have some form of a private forum for
GTA members only however, and members will soon be defined as those
who choose to join our group formally. Membership will involve filling
out some information about yourself and paying some very minimal dues.
On this form, you will need to consider if you will be an associate
member or an active member. See the website for more information, or
look for the new draft SOP’s that will be posted shortly here on our
yahoo group.

Dues are being voted on through another poll Ken Chappell has put up
on the yahoo group board. I encourage you to vote, but at the same
time, realize, whatever option is selected, it will only be used to
help cover startup costs and possible recurring bills related to
future hosting, callout notification, printed brochures and as seed
money to help us get some logo’d items ordered.

As state above, the latest draft of the SOP’s will be posted by this
afternoon in case you are interested in reviewing them before you make
a decision about applying for membership. I expect the SOP’s to be
finalized within a few days, and comments are still welcome.

Thank you all for joining your leadership team on this journey and I
hope to see many of you this Saturday at Fort Yargo state park.
“Section B”.


Tracking research is a fundamental benefit to all types of trackers. The effort can be very easy, taking only a couple of hours total, but unless we start, we will never have a body of knowledge to pull from.

Trackers have been around for centuries, but in this age of GPS, 4×4 vehicles and helicopters, are we letting go of something more fundamental — an intuitive knowledge linking man to nature?
The Last Trackers Of The Outback

** The FULL video (50 minutes) can be viewed at THIS LINK

Please post any questions or comments related to how to track here please.

Please post any general tracking related comments or questions here for discussion.

There are other pages we need on the site, including pages for blog posts (other than recent blog posts), contact us, privacy, etc.  These will be coming…..

At this point I’m interested in pages you would like to see and most importantly feedback on the overall look, feel and navigation.

We will be forthcoming with info on blogs  and how they work (for those that are new to blogs).

Leave your suggestions and comments about the new site here.