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  • Advanced Bushcraft - 2016

    New Course Dates 2018

    May and July 2018

    Advanced Bushcraft

    Two course dates available for 2018 in both May and July

    More Info

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Wildlife Identification and Tracking Level 4

Course Content

Bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian field identification, feathers including form, function and identification, track identification, kill sites, scatology, feeding signs, gaits and track patterns, dens and resting places, ecology and behavior. Identification of mammals and birds through vocalizations including territorial, social, alarm calls. Use of equipment including live trapping, endoscopes and live capture traps. 

View our Mammal Tracking video.

What’s it about

This course focuses on birds, mammal, reptiles and amphibians and their identification using a range of techniques and equipment. These include direct observation in the field emphasizing key identification points and separating close species. We will also cover identification through vocalizations this will include bird song, social calls and alarm calls but will also look at the sounds made by the other groups including mammals. We use endoscopes to peer into dark places,  live traps to get up close to some of the smaller creatures and all sorts of techniques to capture evidence. Part of the programme explores the use of field sign by the nature detective not only for mammals but also for birds and our cold blooded friends. Emphasis will be places on becoming competent in this area hopefully being able to identify a range of sign across these taxonomic groups. Although focusing on vertebrates we will also be covering insect sign to the extent of cross overs with other sign. It is our hope that you will leave the programme with a sound knowledge of British wildlife and prepared should you choose to take on a cyber tracker evaluation and score highly. We will cover as many species as possible but will be working from our site in the south of England and will therefore be limited to this regions wildlife. Part of the course will be as field trips to other areas of interest.

You may also be interested in cyber tracker evaluations

Please enquire should this course be full as we may run extra dates

Dates 2018 - 14 days 

  • 27-29 April
  • 15-17 June
  • 4-6 July
  • 28-30 July
  • 15-16 September

Course Dates

Wildlife Identification and Tracking Level 4

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 this is a self catered course and although it is non residential you are welcome to camp at our site if you prefer. It is also possible to arrive the evening before but please call us to discuss this option. There will be some travel to other venues although we will endeavor to car share as much as possible.

You need to be over 18 years of age to attend this programme.

Starting 27th April 2018

Course: Wildlife Identification and Tracking

Training: 27th April 2018

Assessment:

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 each block first day

Completion Time: 4.00pm each block last day

Course Leader: John Rhyder

Course Size: 8 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £940 (Deposit £140)

Booking Form

Course Reviews

Lucy O'Hagan

August 2017 - Woodcraft School

I could do this course a thousand times over and still discover something new! Welcome to the world of wildlife track & sign and there’s no better person to guide you through it. John’s passion for the subject not only shines through but is really infectious. I never understood how he could pick out a fox track amongst a cluster of dog tracks, or how that seemingly little scuff on the ground was actually a rabbit print. In reality, it’s hours upon hours of time spent on the track. Tracking is something you certainly can’t bluff. The course is thoughtfully laid out, allowing room for spontaneity and exploration when the environment offers up something new or different. It’s a fantastic preparation for the Cybertracker evaluation and is a real credit to the revival of this skill. I also particularly appreciated the attitude taken towards the relevance of this skill to the conservation of animals & habitats. Thank you very much to John and David for your guidance and patience in this newly discovered passion of mine.

Julian Drummond

August 2017 - Woodcraft School

When I signed up for this class I wasn't really interested in the qualification, I simply thought it would be nice to spend 4 extended weekends wandering in the woodlands, coastlines, meadows and healthland of our beautiful & bountiful landscape, with an experienced woodsman & naturalist. As well as being with a group of people who understood my love for the animals and plants of our wild and open places. 
I got all that and so much more. The testing at the end, far from being a trial or stress became such a motivation for learning and a way to focus my mind, that in a way, I wish we had been tested at the end of everyday in the field. 
There was no pressure to do well, instead we got all the encouragement and help we could ever need to learn and excel. 
We got to see some of the more elusive animals close-up and personal. Animals some people will never even get a glimpse of in their entire lives & we got to get nose to nose with them. 
This is one of those classes you could take every year for the rest of your life and learn something new every time from John. Deepening your connection to the natural world more each year. 
I love John's style, his obvious love of nature & especially tracking is infectious. His professional manner giving way to his own unique personality as the days wore on. With a good mix of theory bolstered by lots & lots of practical field experience & intelligent questions asked that stretched my awareness beyond what I expected of myself. 
The main site was beautiful, with many trips out to explore a wide range of environments and eco systems. I feel exceptionally motivated and capable to continue my own studies of the natural world & my growth as a naturalist. 

David Wege

August 2017 - Woodcraft School

For every single thing you learn on this course, another 10 questions pose themselves, so be warned - becoming a nature detective (for that is what you'll become after this course) will be all absorbing and stimulating, and stay with you wherever you are out in nature. This is an amazing course - with such depth that adds richness whatever your existing knowledge of our British wildlife. John is "the" expert - such a privilege to spend time in the field with him and learn from his vast expertise. The course covers a lot of our wildlife - I saw some of our reptiles for the first time, and getting up-close and personal with some of our small mammals was a treat. Learning about the evidence they leave behind was a revelation. Can't recommend this course enough, regardless of your current knowledge about our wildlife - budding expert or beginner - you'll learn so much.  

Nigel Sharma

August 2017 - Woodcraft School

This was a very interesting and stimulating course. I hate to think how much I have missed on all the many many occasions I have walked through the woods in the past in terms of animal signs that have been right there under my nose and how many times I have enjoyed listening to the birds singing and wished I knew which birds I was listening to. Walking in the countryside will be a greatly enriched experience from now on. There are three basic aspects to the course, recognising and identifying wild animals (including birds but not invertebrates or bats), recognising vocalisations (of mammals, birds and amphibians), and recognising the (surprisingly many) signs and tracks left by various animals (mainly mammals and birds). There are three groups of people who would benefit greatly from this course. Firstly those who love and enjoy wildlife and nature, secondly those who are considering any career that involves leading or teaching others in a wilderness or bushcraft environment, and thirdly anyone who is considering a career related to working with wild animals in any way including, for example, wildlife veterinary work, wildlife photography or wildlife related field studies, whether in the UK or abroad. If you are in the first of these three categories and just learning this stuff for personal enjoyment, you might not care about the fact that this is an assessed course, however I would warn you that the assessment at the end, whilst fair, is not easy. Depending on the base level of knowledge that you come with, I would say that you will need to allocate a reasonable amount of time outside of the course to study the course material, and even for walking in woodland, if you want to pass. I would also highly recommend getting the course recommended reading books (they are all on Amazon) and reading them either before the start or early on during the course itself in order to get the most out of them and the course.  

Gafyn Owen

August 2017 - Woodcraft School

I completely agree with the previous reviews. A fantastic course. I found it really bridged the gap from interest and enthusiasm to a basis for real understanding and knowledge. The instructors are passionate and knowledgeable of the subject and deliver information in a patient and encouraging way. Anyone with an interest in wildlife and the ability to commit some self-study would take a lot from this course. Highly recommended.  

Dawn Doughty

September 2016 - Woodcraft School

I loved this course!! I started off knowing a badger from a fox and what a deer track might look like, and ended up with so much knowledge as to track and sign! John has a lovely teaching style, so much knowledge and passion and a willingness to share this with us all. We also had the opportunity to learn from other experts in the field of birds and reptiles and to visit other sites in the area so as to have as wide an opportunity to learn as much as possible. There were times when I thought I would never be able to work out what I was looking at, but John is a very patient teacher (I will learn gait one day!!!) and supports you to explore what you see and find and work out what it may mean. I really recommend this course if you have a love of the natural world and want to learn more about the creatures around you, but be warned, a country walk will never be the same again for all the amazing things you'll see and will take you twice as long!!!!  

Duncan Barnes

September 2016 - Woodcraft School

I came on this course with what I thought was a reasonable level of knoledge and experience in Natural history! The combined experience of all the instructors on the course is absolutely incredible, and the amount of practical information that they manged to impart to us was mind blowing!! I feel that my knowledge and practical skills have gone up another level after the course, and as a result I can bore my family and friends with even more information....which is always a good thing! Thanks again, Duncan  

David Evans

July 2016 - Woodcraft School

An Outstanding Course. Enjoyable and very informative. Provided a remarkable insight into the lives of all those other creatures inhabiting the countryside. Strongly recommended.

Mark Williams

July 2016 - Woodcraft School

If you have any interest in wildlife and tracking then this is for you. A very in-depth course covering most British wildlife from reptiles to birds. Its worth spending time out and about in between sessions to improve and widen your knowledge, but I found the course went at a good pace and learnt a lot, as well as reinforcing what I already knew.  

Hefin Hamer

July 2016 - Woodcraft School

Thoroughly enjoyed the course a truly fantastic way to broaden your observations of animal signs and behaviour thank you for sharing your knowledge  

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