We had an intimate group for training on Saturday at the Wildcat WMA near Big Canoe. After breakfast at the huddle house Ken Miller and I met Mark Young and went over to the Wildcat WMA. The other two Ken’s in our group tried valiantly to make it but sometimes life just gets in the way. The weather when we arrived was overcast and about 47 degrees. It promised to rain – probably sooner rather than later. In the morning, we attempted to track random folks from their cars into the park. We went into an area with multiple prints and spent a good bit of time dissecting the prints into which pattern went with which print. We observed where someone had walked over to the creek bank and went down to the water’s edge and then stood around for a while (logical thing to do for a fisherman) and then climbed back up and left. It was very interesting to see the effects of the freeze and subsequent thaw on the ground. The freezing of the moisture in the soil to form ice crystals withdraws water from soil and creates shrinking and swelling of the soil. At first glance, these areas of disturbance looked like animal or a person had been there but it was the separating of the soil from the freeze-thaw effect. Mark had a good term for this but I can’t recall it at this moment.

After lunch at Fuegos, Ken Miller was kind enough to lay some tracks for us to follow. A light rain had just started and the lighting was horrible for tracking. This did allow for an illuminating – hee, hee- discussion on good tracking flashlights and why a tracker never has enough flashlights. The humidity had been high all day and with the steady light rain, our sign seemed to be vanishing before our eyes. Tracking fresh sign on damp leaf cover was tough. Definitely one of those days where you learned more from the problems than you did from the successes. Luckily, the torrential downpour we were expecting never came. All in all it was a great day and a great start to our year.

Next Tracking Training Feb. 20th – location TBD. Any ideas?

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply