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  • Wildlife Identification and Tracking

    New dates 2018

    Starting In April 2018

    Wildlife Identification & Tracking

    New Reviews available for this unique course

    More Info

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Tracker Certification

What's it about?

Track and Sign Evaluation

This is a two-day practical field test that emphasise open, honest dialogue and real learning. The tracks and sign of any and all species encountered in the field may be asked, whether big or small, clear or obscure. After participants give their answers, a dialogue ensues between the evaluator and participants to provide the opportunity for everyone involved to learn and for each of us to internalize the field marks used for identification.

With this in mind these evaluations are easily, if not more, educational than a workshop with an added benefit that you may also have your knowlege regognised if scoring a minimum of 69%.

Tracker Certifications emphasise practical tracking and the development of reliable field skills, and are not associated with any particular philosophy or tracking school. No prior training is required to participate.

Track & Sign I: The candidate must be able to interpret the spoor of medium to large animals and must have a fair knowledge of animal behavior. To qualify for the Track & Sign I certificate the candidate must obtain 69% on the Track & Sign Interpretation.

Track & Sign II Certificate: The candidate must be able to interpret the spoor of small to large animals, interpret less distinct spoor and must have a good knowledge of animal behavior. To qualify for the Track & Sign II certificate the candidate must obtain 80% on the Track & Sign Interpretation evaluation.

Track & Sign III and Track & Sign IV Certificates: The candidate must be able to interpret the spoor of any animal, interpret obscure spoor and must have a very good knowledge of animal behavior. To qualify for the Track & Sign III certificate the candidate must obtain 90% on the Track & Sign Interpretation evaluation, and for Level IV, 100%.

Track & Sign Specialist Certification: The candidate must be able to interpret the spoor of any animal, interpret very obscure spoor and must have an excellent knowledge of animal behavior. To qualify for the Track & Sign Specialist certificate the candidate must obtain 100% on a Track & Sign Interpretation Specialist evaluation.*

*Track & Sign Specialist Evaluation: The process during the Track & Sign Specialist evaluation is identical to the above-described evaluation, excepting the following variation: At least 50 very difficult spoor will be asked, with not more than 10 difficult spoor. No easy spoor will be asked. In addition to this, 7 “extremely” difficult spoor will be asked; No penalty is awarded for an incorrect answer on an extremely difficult question, but three correctly answered extremely difficult spoor cancel the mistake of one incorrect answer; thus, participants can rectify up to two mistakes during an evaluation and still earn their Specialist Certificates

Trailing Evaluation

Trailing I Certificate: The candidate must be a fair systematic tracker and be able to track humans or large animals. He or she must have a fair ability to judge the age of spoor. To qualify for the Trailing I certificate the candidate must obtain 70% on the Trailing of a human or large mammal spoor.

Trailing II Certificate: The candidate must be a good systematic tracker and be able to track large animals. He or she must have a fair ability to judge the age of spoor. To qualify for the Trailing II certificate the candidate must obtain 80% for the Trailing of a large mammal spoor.

Trailing III and Trailing IV Certificates:
The candidate must be a good systematic tracker and be able to track medium or large animals. He or she must have a fair ability to judge the age of spoor. To qualify for the Trailing III certificate the candidate must obtain 90% on the Trailing of a medium or large mammal spoor. To qualify for the Trailing IV certificate the candidate must obtain 100% on the Trailing of a medium or large mammal spoor.

Trailing Specialist Certificate:
The Trailing Specialist evaluation is done in varying (easy, difficult and very difficult) terrain on an animal that is difficult to follow, and must be conducted by both an Evaluator and an External Evaluator.
 The candidate must be a good speculative tracker: this includes the ability to predict where spoor will be found beyond the immediate area, i.e. beyond the vicinity directly ahead of the tracker. He or she must be good at judging the age of spoor and must be able to detect signs of stress or the location of carcasses from spoor. The Trailing Specialist must obtain 100% on the Trailing of a difficult animal spoor.

More details on the system can be found here http://cybertracker.org and also at http://trackercertification.com 

Details of European evaluators, European evaluations and candidate scores can also now be found on the USA tracker certification site.

Targeted Specices Evaluations

We have developed two targeted evaluations aimed at specific groups of animals but following the criteria used on the two-day evaluations. A minimum of 30 questions will be asked over the course of one day with successful candidates being scored on the same percentage levels as described above.

Identification of the Field Signs of British Riparian Mammals

The target species include all wild riparian mammals especially with the importance of candidates being able to separate rare species, otters, polecat and water vole in particular all of which are biodiversity action plan (BAP) priority species.

Candidates will also be expected to be able to identify sign which is left by animals other than those outlined above and could be confused with leading to misidentification. These include but are not limited to: sign of cats, dogs, foxes and badgers commonly confused with otters. Rats, hedgehogs and smaller rodents such as yellow-necked mice and field voles commonly confused with water vole. Polecat and (region dependent) pine marten sign should be separated from cats and other mustelids particularly mink. Scat and feeding sign for all of the above mentioned mammals are also included as is commonly found in the riparian habitat and in addition, lagomorph scrapes, dust baths, skulls and bones. Read more

Who is it for?

The perceived target group is primarily ecologists and citizen-scientists who require reliable and measurable field-skills when making survey-based decisions that influence land management and conservation. It is hoped this may also be of interest to naturalists in general and anyone else with an interest in wildlife.

Identification of the Field Signs of British Ungulates

The target species include all wild ungulates commonly found within the UK: Wild boar, Red deer, Sika deer, Fallow deer, Roe deer, Chinese water deer and muntjak. Reindeer have been omitted as they are only found in very restricted areas and are semi or fully domesticated. Sign will include tracks, dropping, digs including scrapes and wallows, resting areas, antler rubs, feeding sign and discards such as hair, antlers and skulls and bones.

Candidates will also be expected to be able to identify sign which is left by animals other than native/naturalised ungulates and could be confused leading to misidentification. These include tracks of domestic animals such as cows, sheep and goats and signs of other wild mammals and birds such as squirrels and badgers who may damage trees for example or scrape and dig at the ground. Read more

Who is it for? 

The perceived target group is primarily deer managers, deer stalkers and land managers especially foresters. The first two interest groups will find a good knowledge of field sign useful in devising cull ratios when information ranging from simple presence and absence of a species to roughly estimating population size . Land managers and especially foresters have real need to mitigate damage to forest trees and new plantations and being able to accurately assess the species causing the damage makes accurate control of damage more effective.  

It is hoped this may also be of interest to naturalists in general and anyone with an interest in wildlife especially deer.

Please contact us for further details

Course Dates

Tracker Certification

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note that by booking on to our courses you agree to our terms and conditions.

Please note that these events are self catered.

Trailing evaluations

We are not working from our usual site for our tracking and trailing evaluations and so do not normally offer camping. Please contact us if you would like to discuss options.

Track & Sign Evaluation 2-3 June 2018 FULL - CANCELLATION LIST

Course: Track & Sign Evaluation

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 5.30 pm Latest

Course Leader: John Rhyder

Course Size: 10 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £200 (Deposit £50.00)

Track & Sign Evaluation 7-8 July 2018

Course: Track & Sign Evaluation

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 5.30 pm Latest

Course Leader: John Rhyder

Course Size: 10 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £200 (Deposit £50.00)

Trailing Evaluation 10-11 Nov 2018

Course: Trailing Evaluation

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 5.00 pm

Course Leader: Evaluators from Cybertracker International

Course Size: 4 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £300 (Deposit £100.00)

Trailing Evaluation 12-13 Nov 2018

Course: Trailing Evaluation

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 5.00 pm

Course Leader: Evaluators from Cybertracker International

Course Size: 4 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £300 (Deposit £100.00)

Course Reviews

Ian Gosling

March 2018 - Trailing Woodcraft School

'Embarking on the journey of trailing through Cybertracker at Woodcraft School has been a massively enriching experience. What makes this valuable to me is the structure and delivery style. Whilst the subject definitely requires lifetime investment and commitment in regards to leaning, improving and becoming proficient, the whole set up offers you the foundation to do this regardless of where your skill set is initially. Whilst laid back, enjoyable and fun, which serves anyone who just wants to trail for leisure, there is still the high level of professional influence and support that makes you value the nature of the 2 day trailing evaluation. This definitely enables you to feel confident that through ongoing learning and investment in a very absorbing and addictive subject matter this can also benefit anyone seriously thinking about teaching or instructing further down the line. The very high quality of instruction and the constructive, relevant and personal feedback makes the experience more valid and enriching to the participant. It gives solid and much needed credibility to a challenging skill set and i genuinely relish the the thought of staying on this journey for a long time.  For professional and personal reasons. Thank you"

Richard Law

March 2018 - Track and Sign Woodcraft School

The course/ assessment, in my opinion, was first class. The technical balance of questions was really good, and the explanations of the detail was clear and easy to follow. While I scored slightly lower than my previous result, I felt that it was an accurate reflection of where I am currently with my knowledge and skill within the Cybetracker sphere. Again, I have left the course with a sense of frustration of how much there is to know and a sense of pleasure at gaining wildlife information, while is never likely to come up in a pub quiz, it certainly going to open up my view of the natural world. What Cybertracker encompasses for me is the sense that there is always more and the journey never ends.What is really valuable with these courses is the friendly and inclusive approach that you have to people who attend. People with all abilities should feel that they can attend and gain knowledge that is not attainable anywhere else.I don’t normally give out compliments so take this one as it is.

Dawn Doughty

March 2018 - Track and Sign Woodcraft School

Hey John, 

Just a quick email to say a massive thanks for the last two days of Cybertracking!! I really enjoyed it! And feel like I learnt loads. A massive thanks again to for getting me started in the first place,

David Adams

November 2016 - Trailing Woodcraft School

I recently attended the Cybertracker trailing evaluation with the Woodcraft School with the evaluator for the weekend being Nate Harvey coming from across the pond.

I have been evaluated in Track and Sign so was a little surprised that the format wasn’t in the same, however this was my own assumption of how I thought the weekend would go which bore no resemblance to the previous assessment. On this evaluation you were given fresh trail to follow and asked to comment on various aspects of the trail, surrounding sign and what might be going on in the area in general.

At no point were you given feedback on your answers so the lingering doubt I had about my performance and  progress persisted until feedback on the second day. The days were long and remaining focused while others were on trail was especially difficult, hushed tones and whispers were the order of the day. My own limitations were very apparent but I persisted having a much better second day.

The quality of our small group was marked not by age but experience in the field, with others being much more proficient than myself; however this did not detract from the experience but enhanced it. Feedback was given in an informal setting in the local hostelry over a well-earned pint (lemonade for me I had a six hour drive ahead) and was both accurate and insightful with many pointers to improve and practice when I got back home.

It was at times painful, frustrating  and lays you completely vulnerable to your own insecurities but it is also honest. I had a good idea of my capabilities before I left home but this process tells you exactly where you are at (in a kind and supportive way, thanks Nate).

John is a great host and Nate is a wonderful example of an excellent assessor who showed great patience and understanding of a student like me, lacking but hopeful!

Many thanks to all who attended the evaluation! Especially Nate !

As a footnote I used advice from Nate and successfully connected with seven Roe deer in one of my local Forestry Commission woodlands the following weekend, so next year’s evaluation may be a little better, I hope!

Angie Nash

November 2016 - Trailing Woodcraft School

I attended both a two day trailing workshop and a Cybertrack trailing evaluation hosted by Woodcraft School. In the past, when I've spent time in the woods, I've followed the odd deer trail for 100m or so over easy terrain and then as soon as I'd lost the track I'd lose interest and not attempt to question it more or look for the final details. It wasn't really important to me to find it. After the evaluation, and seeing how its possible to pick up the tiniest of details and start to get an insight into the individual animal that left the track, I am well and truly hooked! Both John and Nate (from Cybertrack) taught me some great skills and methodology that I want to put into practice on a regular basis. I love the process of eliminating the different routes the animal could have taken until you find that one tiny sign that a deer went in a given direction and then starting to piece together a bit of the animals day. I came to both the workshop and the evaluation not knowing really what I could be taught other than the sorts of things you see in films, I.e. Bent twigs, but I was taught so much more than that and feel I've been given some great skills to be able to go out there and learn more about the animal as well as how to find it.
Thanks! X

Elayna Shenshone

January 2016 - Woodcraft School

What I love about the Cybertracker system is that you come away with so much more knowledge than what you started the evaluation with. It may seem a bit pricey for an evaluation but you get just as much out of it as you would a training course, and you come away with a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to improve. I would highly recommend any of the Cybertracker training and evaluations to anyone wanting learn more about our wildlife and to anyone teaching outdoors skills.  

Geoffrey McMullan

27th - 28th August 2013 - Track and Sign Woodcraft School

"Cost: £300 self-catering. Given the high calibre of instructors from the USA and helpers made available to you, the evaluation is extremely good value for money. We had around 17 hours of dirt time which works out at just under £18 an hour"

Joining Instructions: These were clear, well presented to the point and delivered well in advance of the course.

Evaluation: OK, where do I start? I guess at the beginning like all good things. For some time now I have been aware of the Cyber Tracking concept, but until recently I did not feel the need to look into it. When I became aware of the evaluation that John was hosting I decided to take the plunge and apply for a place. Thankfully John accepted my application which in my own humble opinion is not always the case with others schools, when another instructor applies for a place.

There was the opportunity to take part in some training beforehand which was provided my Ben McNutt from Woodsmoke. However, I was not able to attend this training; this could be seen as a good or a bad thing. In my case I felt it was good that it had turned out this way, for the simple reason the evaluation gave me a real time assessment of where I felt I was at with my tracking skills. There are many trains of thought in the tracking world within the UK. It is important with the evaluation that you put your beliefs and philosophy to one side as it really does not have a place in this process, because it is about what you are seeing on the ground is in the moment.

The day starts with Mark Elbroch a well-established and highly respected tracker setting out very clear instructions on how he sees the day’s events going. Mark then sets off to find tracks and sign for us to investigate, once he has done this with the aid of his support staff he circles the tracks he wishes us to identify. Mark or his team will ask several questions and each question has a value based on the level of information required to answer it.

For example a level one question might be ‘what species is this’. A level two may be what species is this and what print is it? For example is it a left front, right rear? Level three could be what species is this, which print is it and what was the animal was doing? For example was it walking, bounding or operating in and what animals and birds for that matter present themselves on the day. Depending on the score you achieved will depend on which level of tracking certificate and badge you are awarded.

You will without doubt learn a lot from this process, not only about the tracks and signs observed but also from the information other people have to bring to the table. Mark himself is a mine of immense knowledge and experience and an amazing facilitator, in how he presents the questions to you and the rest of the group.

Something to keep in mind is how you are in yourself, in other words are you tired, hot, frustrated, or are you feeling anxious? All these things and other factors could potentially affect your decision making when identifying track and sign.

The evaluation allows you to draw a line in the sand. It clearly showed and confirmed to me where my knowledge was good, and where it needed more attention; the course is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is designed in such a way that you are all in the same boat and you each have a series of questions to answer over the duration of the evaluation, in our case it was seventy questions.

Where to now? After the course is over you are left with a lot to process, again this is a good thing as you end up with a choice, either to carry on or stay with where you are, and this will depend on what you wish to achieve with your tracking. The evaluation left me with wanting more for several reasons, one of which was to connect with other instructors as well as the group as a whole, for me this is as important as the course itself. Now it is up to me to go out and build on what I know, ready for the next evaluation.

On personal Note: I agree with Ben and John that the Cyber Tracking process is a great leveller. In my humble opinion UK tracking schools and other schools that run tracking as part of their course curriculum may wish to consider adopting cyber tracking. It will certainly set a nationwide standard that is not only real, but will benefit the schools and more importantly their clients. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in tracking, no matter what your level for experience is. Finely, I would like to thank Mark, John and the team for putting so much hard work in to making this evaluation such a great success."


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