Real World Tracking News & Updates

Here you can find the latest news and updates from real world applications of tracking.  We will update this page constantly with new articles and links where Tracking is used in the field and down range to defeat terrorists, cartel smugglers, Illegal aliens, and everyday criminals... Check back often for updates, and if you have a story or link you'd like to share, send it to
The LATEST thing to bitch about.

…So here’s the thing, last week a couple of punks drove by and shot at the police for no apparent reason, not that there even is such a thing as a reason, but the fact is, they shot at the police.  Subsequently there was a pursuit into the rural areas which resulted in a roadblock, punks exiting the vehicle and hitting the woods.  So here we have a start point, an ICP as we call it in the tracking world.  Vehicle left at the point of entry, weapons discarded, shitheads on the lamb and on foot and at the time, unknown as to what threat they still pose.  K-9 lost the trail which isn’t unusual, but no so true with bloodhounds. Regardless, that was it from what I’m told. Rain was eminent, darkness and a lot of the normal contamination we end up with.

   The thing is, 30 minute north from this location, are a bevy of well trained level III Tactical Tracking officers who would have loved to jump into the woods and track these thugs. There are several local officers trained up as well, some in the same county, others in nearby municipalities and ajoining counties.  Not to mention we at TTTS and our cadre who offered via email/text to be there by sunrise the following day, beings on how by the time we heard about it, it would have been pointless to show up.  Several of us tried to call to offer up our abilities and got nothing, no answers, no responses to voice mails, emails, or text. 

    So, how’s that for a waste of resources.  Then again, it isn’t the first time by any means, and surely will not be the last.  I probably have as many stories of this kind of stupid, as I have of successes.  …well maybe not, but still, stupid is stupid.

SUBJECT: The Team that Quit     

     TTTS has always maintained the “Train as you fight, fight as you train”, mindset and methodology in our training.  Anyone who has attended any of our courses know this and has appreciated what it brings to the training arena.  That is until recently.  Yep, we finally got a handful of officers who just could not grasp the concept of realistic training.  Actually, there were 7 officers and 1 Army Reserve Desk Jockey from out of the area. Given, the officers were not tactical officers, but were a team put together as a potential rescue team, however the course is titled Tactical Mantracking for Law Enforcement.  With that, students are expected to carry on in the course in the manner in which it is conducted.  We do not dumb down the course to meet a lessor expectation unless the course is a custom course for that group alone. We do actually conduct a course for Search and Rescue folks that has no Tactical elements, verbiage, or God forbid, any handling of firearms. Still the tracking is as effective as in this course and maintains various tracking formations.  

  That said, day one during the subject block of camouflage, painting or veiling the face and hands came up. An overall lull came over that side of the classroom and it was made clear that  these folks had no camo.  Ok, I explained that stealth movement and silence was a large part of Tactical Tracking and as one of our TTPs for training was, that if we hear, or see you, we (as the quarry), move and your day just got a bit longer.  I suggested at least wear earth colors and do something with the faces and hands, as the human eye is attracted to light and movement, as well as recognition of key elements (face).   The female in that group smugly looked up and with 4 of her fingers pointed to her face and said, “cover this?”  First of course I thought she was making jest, but soon realized…nope, serious as can be.  OK, still no big deal and perhaps, just a little quirk that some have about face paint and veils that’s nothing new.  Next day, bright colors, and even a long sleeve white T-shirt.  Some did go and get some camo and we were all very encouraged about that.        

   Let’s jump to day 3 Team Tracking and React to Contact.  WOW, after doing an extensive weapons check by all instructors down the line of open bolts and slides to be sure no one had any live ammo in the weapons, or mags (unless mags were in the vests or belts) but no hot primary weapons, we proceeded with the exercise which was moving in a tracking formation and unexpected contact, (ambush).  A loud “CONTACT LEFT” and expectation of a reaction was met with a disappointing DUH…  A couple of guys who had time in the service, did at least react and turn, but that was it.  They just stood there, over and over again.  I asked, why don’t you react to the threat? Come on line, weapons up etc.  The response was as shocking, “ we do not raise our weapons if we are just training”.  There is was…”just training”.  So, my reaction was as always, “ if you react with this in training, you will react with this if it happens”. Nah, we know the difference.    I said then, “at least carry a stick, or raise your arms as if to have a weapon”  Damn… Meanwhile, in the background I could hear the other teams reacting to the contact drill ambushes.   

  OK, now about the silence thing, we have an entire block devoted to noise discipline and hand signals, all of which for these guys was for nothing.  As we moved through the brush, it was constant cross talking back and forth from control to flanks.  When the instructor suggested using the hand signals covered in class and stop the talking, he was met with “ how else is he going to know what I want to tell him”.  The answer was “hand signals” and was met again with a smart comment about “just training”.  Of course when they reached the quarry and were ambushed, the quarry said aloud, “Hell, we heard you guys talking 20 mins before you got here”.     This was the norm for the week from this team.  

  The Thursday PE was disastrous. This is the first of two exercises in which instructors are not with the teams but, are the quarry. Teams are to make use of everything we’ve covered to this point and gather/report intel along the trackline. We told the teams that because we were going to be utilizing the National Forest, they may encounter civilians, campers, hikers, and possibly bow hunters. If they came upon any, to simply break contact with them, wait until they passed and move on. Stay in formation, don’t contaminate, and if you are in lost spoor more than 20 mins, call us to get you back on. No formations were followed which resulted in total contamination and lost spoor.  When they were put back on spoor, they could be heard talking loudly from vast distances and the quarry simply got up and moved on as promised.  At 1730 hrs, we called index to end of the PE.  During the debrief, the team leader spoke from a very unprofessional reclining position on the ground, while except for the reserve guy who chose to sit, and the female, who decided to walk away and not partake, the other team members stood as professionals. During this debrief from his reclining position, the team leader voiced his concern about the bow hunters they had seen and them wearing camo.  I told them that the bow hunters no doubt had heard them coming long before they saw him from all the chatter that they were doing, but if they wanted to wear orange the next day, do it if that will keep you focused and tracking.  

   That evening I received a text from them stating that they and their training officer, had concerns for safety and would be pulling out of the course for the final PE.  The Army Reserve desk guy didn’t show up either.    This is the first time we have had anyone quit, or complain about our course, training TTPs, aside from the constant ding on AARs about the amount of classroom time required early in the course, and possibly down time during Micro/Macro training when we work one on one with each student to be sure that he/she “gets it”.    The remaining teams seemed to rejoice at the absence of the others, and expressed their frustration with all the “bitching” that had been coming from them and “Army guy”. The final PE went without a hitch, both remaining teams had closed with, and captured their prospective quarries by 1430 hrs.

SUBJECT: Tactical Tracker Training and Live Ammo

 Recently TTTS had a team of snowflakes drop out of training for fear of being shot by bow hunters, difficult terrain conditions, wearing camo in the woods, having to use hand/arm signals, and of course carrying weapons during the practical exercises. We are very animate about not carrying a hot weapon during exercises due to safety precautions, but also, suggest that officers carry a hot mag on their person, or in their secondary weapons. We always conduct weapons checks prior to exercises to be sure weapons are clear prior to the PE.

    During the final tracking exercise 19 November in Conway SC, one of the reasons for this became evident again. This time not from the drug or human smugglers, growers but, because of wildlife. I personally have been of the belief that most wildlife will run from humans when detected unless of course they have young nearby. This particular day I was accompanied by USMC LTCol Ret. Singleton (Mark) who is attached to the Horry County, PD. Mark was with me as quarry (spoor layer) as he sometimes does, during the final tracker training exercise making our way through corn fields, swamps, thick brush, and woods behaving as fleeing armed and dangerous felons. The team of SWAT officers were on our track line somewhere around 300 yrds behind us. Mark and I were getting a bit run down by the thick brush, briers, and swamp, and decided we should make our way to the opening where the corn field meets the wood line and have a rest stop. Throughout the entire track line, we were stepping over and through torn ground where wild hogs have ripped up the ground and of course the tell-tale odor of their close presence. Mark following closely, made the occasional mention that if we encountered one or more of these wild hogs, they will in fact attack. This was always met with the “nah, not unless they have young” from me.

   It wasn’t until we came upon the strong smell of bear scat and a couple of large piles of fresh substance that I thought, “well OK, I guess I’ll insert the hot mag now. When we reached the edge of the woods we took a seat at the base of a couple of trees and decided that this would be our checkpoint 2 where we would leave butt prints, body marks, other action indicators, litter etc. I had just finished eating a Pop-Tart, weapon lying on the ground and seated in a condition yellow position when Mark said, “Look there!". I looked to my right, down the tractor lane separating the old corn field from the wood line, and stepping out from the field was a huge ass hog, about 60 yards away. A light, constant breeze was blowing from our left (west) straight towards him and I think he caught our scent because he turned his head in our direction quickly. I still wasn’t too concerned as I was still thinking that as soon as he detected us, he would haul ass away. With this thinking, I was still in condition yellow, weapon still on the ground. …dumbass.  The hog turned towards our direction and started walking our way. Hmmm..I picked up my weapon and thought maybe I’ll at least be ready. His head raised for an instant and he started to charge. We, had no place to go, and this guy was closing. So, in the end, a single greentip between the eyes, and his day ended on the tractor path. The question is, what if we didn’t have a hot mag? This guy was estimated at around 350 and we were in the open.    

   Just to be clear,  the Horry County guys in the photo at the top, are definitely NOT the aforementioned snowflake team who pulled out a few weeks earlier.

                                   SUBJECT: Recent Awarded Contracts to TTTS

Over the past 2 years TTTS has been awarded contracts to train members of the military, along with multiple units outside of the contract system. These are the most recent.

  • US NAVSCOLEOD IED Division, Eglin AFB, FL
  • USAF AETC 502 CES/CED, EOD/CIED, Lackland, TX
  • USMC IWREC. Impovised Weapons Recoginition and Exploitation Course (CIED Ground Effects Observation Training) Camp Pendleton, CA
  • USAF AETC 502 CES/CED kunsan AB Korea

        Subject:  JUNGLE WARFARE TRACKING TRAINING Contract Awarded.
  20 May, 2016 Tactical Tracker Training School was notified that we had won the Jungle Warfare Tracking Training Contract.
 Training was to commence at 0800 hrs. Monday June 13, at the US Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, and finalize with a CULEX 23, June after conducting 2 phases of Combat Jungle Tracking Training. The training was to be conducted for US Marine Combat Hunter, and Combat Tracking Instructors in order to facilitate and enhance their knowledge and ability to better or improve their instructional skills at Visual Mantracking.  
   The course was a complete success along with all the expected elements of Jungle Training in play, rain, humidity, heat, sun, insects, lost spoor, dense vegetation, Habu in the face and underfoot, Fire Belly Newts, slippery surfaces, wet feet, holes, and a lot of great training combined with a group of great Marines with an outstanding training mindset.


 OK, Snake eating real men...So lately I've been hearing some of  the most ridiculous bilge being slug out for tracking students to ultimately scrape off of their boots and hopefully, clear out of their ears.  There are low speed, delusional people out there, who are actually trying to convince even experienced trackers and some of our former students as well as students of other reputable tracking schools, that STICK Tracking is actually....better for achieving successful tracking follow-ups.   We even heard from a guy that he thought this slow, tedious, and most ineffective method of creeping along on hand and foot with their ....sticks, was the more "advanced" method of tracking.  We were told of one, dare I say, instructor, even said that " you can not effectively track without the use of the tracking stick, and a K-9".   We suggest putting down the pipe, take in some air and go back to growing pot, or whatever it was that they did prior to teaching tracking.  Although we encourage our students to try other methods and styles of tracking, but would never say that this is the only way, or only style that works..  It is without a doubt, the faster, more tactical, and most effective when it comes to finding the quarry on the move and closing and capturing, rescue, or if necessary, eliminating said quarry. Hell..even for cold tracks back to a source, or for gathering intel.  Imagine using a tracking stick to locate, identify, where a possible IED had been em placed..yeah...  Everyone should learn how using that stick works and when it might be the rare occasion that might come along and you can't figure out the size, stride, of your quarry's foot and stride..but if you get to the quarry, then put it away, toss it aside, and get on the ball by macro tracking... The guys who bailed...fine keep that attitude and go nowhere, Stick guys...we welcome you to our course when you're ready to start getting tracking success..and yes, you can bring the stick. We won't rag you, but you'll be happy in the end to leave it when you graduate.



So... all of a sudden everyone is a "Tracking Instructor"  WTF?  How does this happen?  We can put you through our entire course and you'll have at a minimum of 150 hrs of under our wing instruction, then put you through our additional Instructor Course 600 hrs. and you should have something which parallels the Army Basic Instructor Course (ABIC) or like course, a law enforcement Instructor course...and so on...and you still can not be an actual Tactical, Combat, or Visual Tracking Instructor with any accreditation...  How can most of these clowns calling themselves "Tracking Instructors", actually explain what it's like to track an actual hostile or potentially hostile, or even just someone on the move, without the experiences associated with having actually tracked multiple quarry in the real world.   Let's use the analogy of doing a room clearing..shoot house, compared to doing an actual entry...nuff said right....  Same thing with tracking... We can see these well trained up guys as Instructor assistants or even instructor candidates...but as the lead, or the head of a so called "Tracking School''...please..  SO,,how about if we take a "Tracking Instructor Course"...Does this training come with some real world tracking of hostiles, fugitives, bad guys, and potentially hostile fleeing individuals?  Are they going to be feeling the potential danger...deep in their hearts that they may be fired upon during the track?..  OK then.   I know some damn good trackers who are operating reputable schools, but think twice about instant Tracking Instructors to teach your guys.   ...and stay away from those guys who just steal courses and POIs we call 'Pop Ups".  You'll know who they are.
  Stay safe and keep on trackin.

HEY... Now these guys are changing up their tune and trying to claim they have some real world tracking experience to pass along.  All BS,  having served is all good, but having served, id not the same as "having served and been trackers, or not as tracking keep it in perspective..One was our student, who didn't get to track as an LEO, and never while serving, the other was David's student..(although David has absolutely no memory of him, and definitely did NOT give him permission to use his copyrighted materials either) was out of the military very shortly after taking the course, never used tracking downrange, or conducted training. careful of the BS.  ...lot of these guys out there.   I have only been tracking sense before these kids were even born...

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