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Episode 82 S3-1

Tracking & Evading


Special Guest:

The Walls of Freedom Ch 1

James E. Hart

The Walls of Freedom adventure begins as Erika, Vince and their children step out into the unknown while being tracked by a federal tracking party. Here to discuss tracking and evading is James E. Hart, author of Urban & Wilderness Survival, Emergency Preparedness.

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When you first start learning to track humans you can practice with your family and friends. You have to get into the mind of who ever you are tracking. Try to move the way you think they would. Where do you think they would go? Most people run downhill or crosswise. Uphill is more strenuous and slow. You have to think about why they are moving they way they are and which way they will go next. If they are in an urban area would the individual feel more comfortable in a crowd or would they try to move away? Would they enter a building and try to throw you off in there?


You have to get into their mind; it's a physiological game. What kind of person is this individual youhumans can change patterns. However, change is difficult for most individuals and eventually they will want to fall back into their old patterns.

are trying to find? Would they step outside the box to try to throw you off? When tracking an animal you can be fairly certain that the animal will follow its normal patterns but


If you are in a survival situation and you are the one being tracked you need to make it as tough as possible on the trackers. Don't go to higher ground because there is usually less cover up there. Use the muck, bogs and hard terrain for them to traverse. If you can put cloth or carpet on your boots is will minimize your footprint. Also don't hurry. Move quickly but nimbly. If you run you will leave a deep print. You can sweep your tracks. It may show some trail but if done right it will cover your track. If you are in a tight forest with interlocking trees you can climb the tree and go from branch to branch for a while. This will break your track for a while and cause the tracker to have to reestablish a new one. Alternately you can jump from bolder to bolder in an appropriate geographical area. If there is a stream, follow it downstream. Set up traps and snares to hurt the trackers without killing them. They will have to slow down and be more aware of their movements. You can backtrack your steps and leave false trails. Work within the shadows and blend in.


Here is a link to a device called a "Cat Claw" by that you can apply to your books to leave a lighter tread. They are also useful for reducing noise of walking, getting better traction in wet areas and spreading scent when hunting. This link was provided by one of the listeners and added after airing.


Carry cayenne pepper or alternate hot spice to evade tracking dogs. Leaving this powder behind you will disrupt the animal's senses and render it useless without doing it harm.  Alternately, a tasty little poison treat will quickly end the threat. People have mixed opinions about using a stream as a deterrent for a dog. James suggests: If you come to a stream, follow it downstream. He explains that different dogs have different abilities. Some can smell your dead skin particles in the air. Others follow your sent off the ground. If you stay in the water for a long period of time you will increase the likely hood of the dog being thrown off. Disabling the animal's senses is the easiest most effective thing you can do.


You can also try to make the dog handler's job harder by leaping back and forth over a fence every 20 ft or so. The handler may have to lift the dog over the fence again and again, tiring him out. Unless the handler can let the animal loose or the dog can go through the fence without assistance. Setting traps for the handler is also an idea. The animal may set off the trap and the handler gets slowed down.


In a true SHTF situation, James suggests eliminating a tracking team by letting two of your group members drop back to handle the trackers while they are trying to follow the other larger group. If they have dogs, you will have to send extra people to dispose of the animals first. Anyone tracking you in a SHTF situation will be trying to take what you have.


This information can be extremely applicable today as well. Many hikers and campers are lost or killed just trying to enjoy the great outdoors. You can leave imprints of your shoes with your loved ones. Also provide them with hiking routes you will be taking. Once you arrive and park your car, take a picture of your car and the license plate. Take a picture of all of the group members in the gear they will be wearing while hiking. Send these pictures to your loved one for them to keep on hand. This information is absolutely priceless if there is ever a need for a tracker to find you.

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The Walls of Freedom Ch 1

James E. Hart

A veteran of 2 tours of duty in Vietnam, James began his survival training at the age of 7 when he was stranded in the Mojave Desert for 7 hours without food or water during a family move in 1954. Since then he has been through the scouting program where he attained Life scout, served as Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Venture Advisor, and earned the Badden Powell Award. An avid outdoors man, he has winter camped in Utah and northern Quebec, Canada, snow shoed in upstate New York, Utah and Quebec, and camped in the Mojave Desert of California, the Uintah Mountains of Utah, and the Piney Woods of East Texas, among numerous other locations. James has traveled and been through 42 of the 50 states of the US. Three provinces of Canada, sailed the Pacific Ocean, and crossed the Equator and 35 countries from jungles of South America to the Himalayas of Nepal. Having earned an Associates of Photography Degree from Houston Community College, he has beautifully captured many of his travels with his camera.


Now retired from a career with the Trinity River Authority of Texas, James resides in Dallas, TX, where he lectures on Wilderness and Survival Training. He is the author of SWET Survival & Wilderness Experience Training, Urban & Wilderness Emergency Planning, 35 other booklets on wilderness training, monthly articles for Survival Life Magazine, and a column and articles for The Garland Messenger Newspaper. James also does workshops and speaking engagements.

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