First of all don’t panic… I’m not talking about hunting animals here. But I will be talking about connecting to our ‘Hunter Gatherer’ which we have spent thousands of years, in fact 10’s of thousands of years perfecting, and in the passing of only a couple of hundred years have lost in place of industrialisation and systemised ‘civilisation’.

As always I will be sharing a simple activity that you can do without having to be a wilderness expert.

I find animal tracking to be an incredibly mindful exercise and something that helps me to focus my mind away from the ‘noise’ of my busy life.

The great thing about this is that it can be done anywhere, I prefer to use my local woodland, but it can be done just as well in your local park or even your back garden.

Getting started.

First of all, you don’t need any equipment, however if you are totally new to the outdoors or animal tracking and signs you may want to take a look at some guides… the Field Studies Council and Woodland Trust both have loads of resources on what to look for.
(i have included some common examples below to get you started)

Step 1:
Spend some time strolling through nature. Start to scan the area around you slowly in a left to right motion, starting at the point closest to your feet and sweeping out, looking for anything that stands out to you.

Step 2.
With any luck it won’t be long before you find traces of wildlife, these come in many shapes and forms. It could be a badger set, fox den or rabbit warren. Maybe a pile of nuts or seed cases left on a tree stump by a squirrel, nibble marks in a plant, tree or fungi. Some hair caught on a bramble or bush, droppings… or if you are really lucky a footprint.

You don’t have to know what has caused the track, you can learn about that as you progress. We don’t have to know all the answers in an instant, don’t be tempted to get you phone out… remember it took our ancestors hundreds of generations to master this. there is no rush!

Step 3
Take some time to explore… What animal do you think it was? What size, was it a predator or leaf eater. What route did it take, why did it choose that spot? You can do this by physically moving around or by sitting still and exploring in your head.

Imagine yourself as the animal, look at your surroundings, is it a place of safety, is it a ‘run’ or trail that gets you to and from food and water without being vulnerable to predators? Or is this the animals hunting ground that gives you great vision of your meal for the day.

Remember you don’t need the correct answer, just relax slow down and ponder the questions.

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