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SAS Guide to Tracking, New and Revised Paperback – November 25, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Who Dares, Wins."
--Motto of the Special Air Service (SAS)

From the Inside Flap

Anyone who has spent even a little time outdoors has come across strange tracks left by animals of people and wondered “what was here?” In this practical guide, former-SAS member Bob Carss shows how to track any moving thing, in any environment, and under nearly any circumstance. He begins by explaining common terms, such as a “top sign”, markings left above ankle height; “pointers”, signs that tell the general direction of the quarry; and a “conclusive sign,” markings that confirm the quarry’s presence. The difference between tracks left by quarry and false tracks are described, as well as how a pattern of signs builds into the tracking picture – the overall movement, direction, and motivation of the quarry. Included are tips on:

  • Tracking in desert, forest, jungle, marsh, and grassy areas
  • Interpreting animal, human, and vehicle signs
  • How to preserve night vision
  • Using time frames to eliminate misleading signs
  • Detecting quarry when they backtrack or circle around
  • How time and weather affect signs
  • How to spot intentionally misleading signs

The SAS Guide to Tracking is a remarkable guide to developing a new awareness of the outdoors and is the perfect companion for naturalists, outdoorspeople, hunters, wildlife photographers, search-and-rescue teams, and law enforcement.

With a Foreword by John “Lofty” Wiseman, author of The SAS Survival Handbook


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Product Details

  • Series: SAS
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; Revised edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599214377
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599214375
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By T.A.L. Dozer VINE VOICE on November 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an extensive source of material for tracking humans (and animals), but also covers material on all facets of tracking and related skills (stalking, observation and navigation skills). This book has its flaws in the 1st and 2nd editions; some that would make animal tracking experts and Tom Brown "Brownies" cringe; for example mistakes and statements made by Carss about determining the sex of deer. Overall this is very minor mistakes to me. I need to really do a page by page comparison of changes made in this 3rd edition. At fist look it has a slight additional page count but as of now that is all I can really tell for content. Although the 3rd edition has a new foreword by the world famous former 22SAS survival expert and instructor John "Lofty" Wiseman, author of The SAS Survival Handbook that provides a wealth of creditability to this already very respectable title. As far as the human (mantracking) and military tracking portions, I think most of the information is right on, seeing as most was gleamed from military sources like the New Zealand and Australian Special Air Service. One of most interesting topics covered in this book not found in other works is the Track Pursuit Drill (known in U.S. circles as the Track Following Drill), which is a methodical procedure of following sign/spoor that falls somewhere between the step-by-step method and the aggressive speed-tracking. The TPD was adopted for heavily vegetated areas (like the jungles of Vietnam) but is suited for all terrain. Also of note is to please be aware that this title was originally published (1st edition) as "The Complete Guide to Tracking" which is identical in every way other then the cover and size, the 2nd edition being slightly larger and squarer in shape. This book is a revised and updated 2008 (3rd) edition.Read more ›
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By The Suburban Hippie Experimentalist on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent resource in any situation. Not just tracking in the woods.

This book is a useful tool for teaching ourselves to be more observant. Being observant and noticing your surroundings, is a good skill to have in a lot of every day situations. For example, listening for the hidden meaning in what your boss is telling you. Finding the meaning in why your wife may be mad at you for.

Noticing the finer details in your every day surrounding to look for trouble when things are a miss. Teaching your children, and yourself to pay attention, and challenging them and yourself with memory games, to help you both with observation, memory and communication skills.

As for tracking, it is an excellent reference with very detailed information that after you read and understand it, a lot of it seems obvious to you, and you wonder why you didn't think of it.

However, you didn't until you read the book.

Some of the things that don't seem obvious is what to look for when an animal crosses a creek. How the lichen will be pushed off of the stones on the creek floor. What a track through grass looks like, when an animal has been walking away from your area, versus walking toward the area.

All though this book is loaded with detailed tools to track, it isn't a dry boring read. I found the book very easy to get through, and had a good time thinking about how the techniques can not only be applied to tracking animals in the woods, beach, across rocks, etc, but how to apply it in everyday life.

When you look around at the areas you are most familiar with, and learn to look past the mundane details you have seen a thousand times, things look different to you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By bigib on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a great overview book on tracking, and more importantly a great book for teaching tracking. I have been studying tracking for several years now and have read several books on the subject. The book covers a lot of different areas of tracking including human tracking, animal tracking and even vehicle tracking. For me the best part of the book are the tracking exercises and the summeries at the end of each chapter that help you progress through the exercises without reading the whole chapter again. If you are serious about tracking then I recommend this book along with tracking: a blueprint for learning how by Jack Kearney ( this book only covers human tracking but has a wealth of knowledge as well as great tracking excercises ) and finally mammal tracking by james halfpenny, who by the way, has a video course thats a good companion to the book it answered alot of questions.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Fister on February 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had a copy of the original in my personal library and ended up giving it away to my brother. I took a chance and replaced my perfectly adequate copy with the New Revised version and I've been very happy with it. It really is better then the original, some of the typos have been removed, the formatting is better and the flow makes more sense. As a hunter his anecdotes about mantracking are interesting but not necessarily useful. His practise exercises are very good and build on each other to bring the reader's tracking/stalking skills together in a nice linear fashion. This one definitely goes back into the personal library as it's a keeper.
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