I missed posting this Bill Marple post. Hope you like it even though Thanksgiving is over.
Bill Maple on Thanksgiving and the love of tracking.
Hope you’re doing well, and getting
ready for Thanksgiving and the holidays.
I know Danielle and I will enjoy Thanksgiving
here with the usual family get together
and feasting! However, aside from the
normal social aspects of this holiday,
we’re also planning on getting out into
the wilderness for a few hours to track,
wander, and otherwise give thanks for
the beauty of the natural world around us.
I hope you have time to do the same!
As you can see from the above title, I
have some interesting things to share
with you today. But first, a few administrative
-Many folks have asked when my next
Dirt Time and Beyond the Lateral Ridge
classes are running. We’ve had a bit of
hard time back at Tracker School with
our website lately, and the classes are
not currently listed. They should be up
soon and you can get in touch with Sara
if you’re interested in taking one.
The dates are for the 3-5 of December and
19-21 February respectively for Dirt
Time and Beyond the Lateral Ridge. Both
classes will take place in Santa Cruz, CA.
If you’re interested in either of these two
classes, I urge you to sign up soon, as they
usually fill up quickly! Hope to see you there!
-I’m VERY excited to say that not only
will I shortly have my very own website
up and online, but also, I will soon be
announcing the date for my very first
ONLINE TRACKING CLASS.
I’m currently beta testing them, and should be
rolling them out in the next week! They
will be a viable alternative for folks who
either can’t make it to a class, or for those
who want a reference material for classes
they’ve taken in the past. The best news is
that I’ll be offering them at a discount for
the people who are part of the Tracking
Update! Stay tuned for more info!
So, on to the subject of the email, “GRUDGE
MATCH: GROUND SQUIRREL VS
WOODRAT.” I want you to begin by taking
a look at the below photos. If you can’t
see them, please make sure you click on
the “display images” provided by your email
Danielle and I came across these tracks
on a walk up in the mountains surrounding
Las Vegas, and had quite a time going
back and forth over whether or not they
were made by a ground squirrel or a woodrat,
both of which are common in the area
we live in.
I would say we “talked” about
it for close to an hour, and each of us
changed our mind two or three times before
we finally came to conclusion about the
tracks origins. To be honest, it was Danielle
who eventually “solved the case” by
tracking the animal back to its den. Ahhhhh,
how tracking can add a certain “spice”
to your relationship at times……
Begin by asking yourself some of the following questions:
-What is the direction of travel?
-Which tracks are the front feet, and which are the rears?
-What gait pattern is being demonstrated here?
-How many toes are in the front, and how many are in the rear?
-What shape are the digits? Short and stubby? Long and slender? Somewhere in between?
-Is there an orientation to the fronts and rears? Are they “pitched” in one direction or the other?
-What’s happening with the metacarpal pads(the leading edge of the heel pad)? Are they segmented? Fully separated? Do they have a particular shape?
If you’re running into difficulty here,
just remember there ought to be a
trusty field guide in your tracking
library somewhere that can give you
a clue into what you’re looking for.
If you don’t have a field guide(shame
on you!!!), you can always check out
what “Momma Google” has to say by
doing a few searches.
Have a great time with the track ID.
I’ll be sending out the answer in my
next email. Until then, happy tracking,
and keep your eye out for my ONLINE
928 Main Street