Tracking Books

scatsTracks, Scats and Other Traces: A Field Guide to Australian Mammals by Barbara Triggs, 2005

This book is to Australian mammal tracks and signs what Tim Low’s Wild Food Plants of Australia is to bush tucker. Barbara Triggs has been studying mammals by indirect methods for decades, such as observing their tracks and other signs, and collecting and analysing scats. This book allows the reader to perform basic analysis of tracks, scats, scratch marks, and other such signs to identify with a good probability of success the type of Australian mammal which made those marks. Click on the cover to go to

curiosityA Field Guide to the Tracks & Traces of Australian Animals by RGB Morrison, 1981

Older readers may remember Professor Rob Morrison as one of the hosts of The Curiosity Show through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1981, Rob Morrison published this book which was based on his extensive field experience studying Australia’s fauna, as well as extensive field work and cataloguing throughout the 1970s. A Field Guide to the Tracks and Traces of Australian Animals became the go-to reference guide for a couple of generations of naturalists and other bushgoers. Sadly it’s been out of print for years, but happily you can usually still find it second hand. Click on the cover to go to Abe Books.

brown1Science and Art of Tracking: Nature’s Path to Spiritual Discovery by Tom Brown Jr, 1999

 Tom Brown appears to be a polarising character when it comes to outdoors skills. There’s no denying that if you look past the spiritual aspects to his teachings, there is a lot of solid, practical knowledge being passed on which is useful for the bushman. I got a fair bit out of it. Read the reviews and make up your own mind. Click on the cover to go to Amazon.

brown2Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking by Tom Brown Jr, 1986

Another one by Tom Brown which people seem to either love or hate. I think it’s a useful guide since it’s not just about practical visual tracking techniques, it deals fully with interpretation using a spiritualesque self-and nature-awareness focus to help teach Holmesian levels of deduction. Good stuff. Click on the cover to go to

sf-trackingTC 31-34-4 Special Forces Tracking and Countertracking: September 2009, by US Army

Being a secret-squirrel special forces manual you’d expect a lot of ninja-style stuff from a book like this. The book was obviously meant as pre-reading for some special forces combat tracker course or other, so instead of the ninja stuff, what you get is an excellent and very useful full-colour primer on visual tracking and countertracking packed with pictures and diagrams. A great one to start with. Click on the cover to go to

carse-trackingSAS Guide to Tracking by Bob Carss, 2008

One of the better books out there dealing with nuts and bolts on-the-ground tracking. There’s no spiritual aspects at all, just hard-hitting “how-to” info. Bob Carss was a former instructor with the British Special Air Service and as such he had access to a lot of foreign techniques. In here you’ll see some mantracking methodology as used by Australian and Kiwi SF, both renowned as some of the best in the world of combat tracking. The techniques and concepts taught in the book are eminently useful for nature tracking as well. Click on the cover to go to

cleve-trackingThe Comprehensive Guide to Tracking by Cleve Cheney, 2013

And comprehensive it is. This is THE tracking text book. Nothing can replace experience out bush, but this book will point you in the right direction and keep you on course. The author, Cleve Cheney is a game ranger from South Africa who learned his craft from Shangaan trackers, acknowledged as the best native trackers in Africa. The book appears to have been written with big game hunting and wildlife photography in mind, so there is a lot of species-specific material which is only for Africa. Don’t let that put you off though. If you want to learn more than the basics, this book is a literal treasure trove of tracking information, insights, methods, and knowledge. It’s one of the jewels of my tracking bookshelf and I refer to it often. Click on the cover to go to

uktrackingBritish Army Military Tracking by UK Ministry of Defence, 2001

A pretty bog-standard military tracking manual, this one covers both visual tracking and dog team tracking as well as countertracking. It’s included here because the British essentially wrote the book on combat tracking and they based their earliest training on the skills and techniques taught to them by Iban headhunter scouts in British North Borneo in the 1950s and 60s.  Many of the concepts cross over from mantracking to wildlife tracking and observation. You don’t see many proper British army manuals around so to find one about tracking is a plus. Click on the cover to go to