The Wisdom of the Tracking Box
Tom Brown Jr.
Last November during a Tracker Association
meeting I began to teach the members how to effectively use a tracking box for
learning human and animal track patterns. This huge, sand-filled box enables the
student to figure out with great ease the various patterns of walking, sitting,
falling, and variable gaits found in all tracks.
I find that students are often puzzled over a
strange grouping of tracks that they find, unable to figure out what the animal
or human did to create such a tapestry of tracks. By recreating those tracks in
a large tracking box, the student will readily see why the tracks were made in
that manner. The tracking box is also a great way to study the vast assortment
of pressure releases, mounding, furrowing, scoring, and the numerous other
facets of in-depth track reading.
To build the tracking box you will need three 2
x 12 x 8 and a sheet of ¾” exterior plywood. The tracking box is 8’ long, 4’
wide, and 12” deep, with the plywood acting as he bottom of the box.
The box should be painted with wood life or
some other kind of wood preservative and then set above the ground on 4 x 4
blocks, or if you like a taller view, on saw horses. Many students locate their
boxes in the basement, or in the garage but it is also good to locate it outside
The dirt for the inside should be damp beach
sand (you'll have to keep it moist with a spray bottle), at least 10 inches
deep. The reason for the beach sand is that it holds tracks well and makes it
easy to read the pressure releases.