Glossary of Tracking

Aging: Process of determining time lapse since sign was made, taking into consideration vegetation damage, rain, sun, and other natural elements.
Backing: Walking, usually across a road or natural barrier, in a backward motion, generally in an attempt to camouflage track by an incorrect direction of travel.
Broken Twigs: Small particles or twigs, which are uniquely broken in such a way as to indicate damage from human footwear.
Bruising: Footfall damage to vegetation.
Brushing Out: Using a branch, grass, or clothing article, in an attempt to brush or erase tracks from an area.
Camouflage: See Deception.
Compressed Areas: Areas of ground surface compressed in a manner which give an indication of human footfalls.
Continuity of Sign: The evidence of footfalls in proper sequence along a line of sign, generally unidentifiable.
Counter-tracking: Countering a tracker's efforts to track you.
Crying: The natural weeping of vegetation fluids resulting from footfall damage.
Cutting for Sign: An operation used principally along natural barriers to locate human sign.
Deception (Camouflage): Attempting to confuse, disguise or conceal sign by walking backward, brushing out, or other means. To deceive or confuse direction of travel, number of persons, or presence of sign.
False Trails: Leaving a good trail, or sign, into a poor sign area, then departing on another route.
Flagged: Leaves or grass turned in direction of travel, showing the underside surfaces.
Flankers: The two members to the right and left, behind a point person, who make up a tracking team.
Grass Trail: The bending, intertwining of grass or brush indicating human passage.
Heel Marks: The curved mark or depression on the ground surface made by the walking motion of the heel portion of the shoes.
Healing: A process with live vegetation in which human damage is repaired. Used to age sign.
Inventing Sign: Seeing sign that is not present, usually because of fatigue and/or a "need" to see it. To fabricate within the "mind's eye."
Light Angle: The correct angle for seeing sign utilizing the primary light source.
Line of Sign: The continuity of sign evidencing human passage.
Littering: Scattered debris, rubbish, or human feces that are sign of human presence.
Natural Barriers: Areas such as streams, banks, and roads, which generally interrupt human passage, and show sign well.
Place Last Seen (PLS): Place where witness or evidence indicates the subject was last seen.
Perimeter Cut: A sign cut method of limiting a search area, or locating sign along natural barriers.
Point Person: The principal tracking person who is in front of other team members and generally (on the ground) identifying each footprint step-by-step.
Prime Sign Area: The area of correct size and location in relation to other sign, in which the next print should be located.
Sand Trap: Dirt areas, occurring naturally or man-made, which, by their nature, show sign well.
Scuff Mark: The mark or sign caused by footgear contacting the ground surface.
Shine: The light reflection from human footfall damage or compression.
Sign: Evidence of a person's passage.


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