HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 4, No. 1, 1985

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 4 No. 1, 1985

The Wall
by Tom Brown Jr.

We have an expression here at the Farm when students or instructors are learning and practicing tracking. It is called "the wall", and to the uninitiated visitor it must sound strange when one of the students say that they can't wait until they hit the wall. Most people ask themselves why anyone would want to get to the point in tracking where one can go no farther, and love his predicament.

My students and instructors now the importance of pushing themselves to the wall when tracking. The easy tracks teach you nothing for it is only when we get to the tracks that we can no longer see that we begin to learn anything. My cardinal rule is not to skip track when learning how to track, but find every track. All too often it is so easy to skip over an extremely difficult track and go on to the next easiest one, but this kind of tracking teaches you absolutely nothing.

So many good trackers easily fall into the category of not putting themselves up against the wall. Sometimes years will pass before they realize that they have stood still in their development, and they wonder why. The problem is usually that they skipped to easy tracks when they should have been concentrating on the most difficult tracks they could find. Only in this way can a tracker excel in his chosen art. That is why my trackers are looking forward to the wall. They know that only when they find the most difficult track will they learn something. Isn't the wall important in any phase of life with any skill, relationship, or emotion we are trying to master?

It is also important to track the most difficult animals you can find in your area. Stalking Wolf once told me that if I wanted to be a good man tracker I should track coyote, and if I wanted to be a good coyote tracker I should track mice. This concept is so very important because when you can track mice, inspects, and toads, larger tracks are so much easier to see and follow. This is just another form of hitting the wall and learning from it.

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The Tracker magazine:   Vol 1 No. 1  •  Vol 1 No. 2  •  Vol 1 No. 3  •  Vol 1 No. 4  •  Vol 2 No. 1
Vol 2 Nos. 2 & 3  •  Vol 3 No. 1  •  Vol 4 No. 1 

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