Have you ever sat silently in the woods until the deer, curious about a quiet human visitor, have come out to see who you are? Have you ever swam across a pond and come so close to baby beavers you could touch them?
These are a few of the things I have spent countless hours doing. Sneaking close enough to see and sometimes even touch a wild animal who is terrified of humans is exhilarating.
To me, tracking helps in my pursuit of seeing wild animals. As a teenager, I was so connected to nature from going into the woods daily, I’d see the deer, beavers, and many other animals every time I went out. But it wasn’t all chance! It was knowing a handful of skills – tracking, moving silently through the woods, using wide angle vision, and keeping my mental state calm.
And knowing what animals live in my local woods and parks is very grounding. It’s an ancient skill that predated and likely spurred writing skills. Ancient man and hunter/gatherer tribes all agree, as do I – there is something deeply spiritual about tracking wildlife. You can almost see the animal walking along the trail . . . just like when reading a book, you might be able to see an image from it. And by following an animals trail, you can learn so, so much about that animal. What it ate, where it lives, if it has young or not, how big it is, etc.
The lack of connection with place has formed a deep feeling of loss in most individuals that they cannot begin to understand.
Humans need this connection to thrive – the connected to nature, also often called the connection to place. Many say this connection is a form a catharsis.
When I find red fox tracks or coyote tracks, every time I’m filled with a sense of excitement as well as this inexplicable peace.
Sign up for our upcoming tracking and wilderness awareness classes to meet other cool people and learn how to tap into the ancient knowledge of tracking, seeing wildlife up close, and connecting deeply to nature.