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.

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Responses to “Tracking Research”

  • admin says:

    Please provide your thoughts on types of research that we could consider.

    The most basic form would be aging studies. It would be possible for 10 people to take 3-4 weeks following a simple observational approach (as outlined under RESEARCH on this website) and we would have 30 such studies to consider and review on occasion to keep our memory fresh.

    Possible aging topics:
    1. various types of water bottles
    2. cigarette / cigar butts
    3. candy wrappers (focus on multiple brands of a given type; gum for instance. This alone could keep a team busy for years by the way…
    4. pine needles
    5. print types in different soils (another that we could work on and stay busy for years).
    6. soda cans (redo other studies that were done on this topic and expand)
    7. blood (consider expanding and replicating Mark Gleason’s study, possibly breaking the overall topic up into smaller sections of research).
    8. socks (hypothermic lost persons often undress to various degrees. Socks are often found…both from hypothermic lost persons possibly, as well as from socks drying on a backpack fall off, etc… knowing if an article of clothing is the correct age could be very helpful).

    9. Other???

  • admin says:

    Another way to consider what research may be important could be by considering what we have found while we are out with SAR missions. What are you finding that may be of interest?

    Also, what have trackers in other parts of the country found while on a mission that may requires further scrutiny?

  • Mark Gleason says:

    I believe the best place to start of with any research, whether formal or informal, is to identify something from your own field experience. You find yourself faced with a question in the field, and realize you do not have the answer. It emerges from real life experience. Once I found myself asked to find a clandestine grave. I realized that I did not know precisly what to look for. It motivated a long, and personally meaningful, study for me. Most people think of research in the formal sense. That is, setting up research designs, etc. I think this is what prevents most from wanting to begin a study. But a study can also be informal and observational in nature. These are some of the most helpful…attack a question, or problem, from the perspective of common sense, and strive for easily accessible/understandable answers. Just some thoughts on the subject.

  • admin says:

    Excellent commentary Mark, and thank you.

    To emphasize this, many of you have been faced with real life tracking-related questions. I have heard discussions involving these issues. If you just act in a deliberate manner to understand your issue better, that information may become very useful. Not only to you, but to the broader tracking community. If you share your questions and/or findings with others, I’m sure there would be those who could help you write it up in a useful way.

    As Mark points out, we don’t necessarily have to act like purely analytical research scientists, it may be that we only make efforts to answer the questions we find ourselves pondering.

    …and maybe in some cases, these two courses of action will coincide, and other times they will not.


  • admin says:

    Dave Reynolds has sent me information on the following videos he has created. Please visit youtube to watch these at the following links:

    Aging of the track #1 – print in clay/sandy soil –

    Aging of a Track with leaf bruising and partial print in dirt –

    Most excellent work from a friend and member of Rocky Mountain Trackers.


Leave a Reply