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Coastal Wild Food Course West Sussex dawn
  • 5 day course

    23-27 July 2024

    New-Foundational Ethnobotany

    Based on the utility of plants and trees

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    Europe & The UK

    Dates now available for 2024

    Tracker Evaluations

    Trailing and Track & Sign evaluations

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Wildlife Trailing Intensive

Whether you are looking for a wildlife tracker or for a teacher about tracking, you need look no further than John Rhyder. In all respects, John is among the very best. I have seen him find and follow the trails of Fallow, Roe and Red deer, and I have seen him trail to within 35 meters of bedded animals that are unaware of our presence. He is as reliable in his skill at identifying tracks and sign as he is at trailing the animals that left them. In addition, John has taught for many years. He is clear, to the point, expert at managing groups in all conditions, and he is quick witted, funny! I can think of no one with whom I would rather work, track, learn, laugh or share a meal than John Rhyder. I am confident that you will find him a pleasure. 

 Nate Harvey

Evaluator, Senior Tracker, CyberTracker Conservation

Course Content

This is a unique course running over 4 months to really develop proficiency in animal trailing. Track and sign and trailing make up the two halves of the tracking equation knowledge and ability in both area give a fully rounded appreciation of wildlife and wildlife tracking. The trailing intensive takes you literally a step further down the trail than our shorter workshops can. To make the most of this programme it would be advisable that you practice a little each week in between sessions. You will be offered individual feedback and given advice on what to work on between these sessions

We are broadly following and using the categories employed by CyberTracker as assessment criteria for the trailing evaluation. spoor recognition, spoor anticipation, anticipation of dangerous situations, alertness and stealth with each of these main headings further broken down into sub categories leading too what is a most in-depth and thorough trailing and therefore training criteria. The length of the programme opens up opportunities to really hone these skills from month to month.

The programme is taught entirely out in the field and is open to anyone regardless of previous experience. Multiple days of trailing can be quite mentally and physically intense and is aimed at those who really want to get good at tracking animals. A big part of trailing animals is linking the quarry to their landscape and how it effects their behaviour, with this in mind we will also look at the tracks and sign of other species encountered, identification of food plants, as well as aging tracks, field craft and stalking, bird and animal alarms and gait recognition.

There is an expression in tracking that states tracking is about finding animals and not about finding tracks and with this in mind our intensive programme due to its length can explore in much closer detail the approach, when it is often necessary to leave the trail of fresh tracks and use knowledge of the terrain, the season and the behaviour of the animal to get close to the quarry.

We will focus initially on fallow deer as our principle target species but hope to move on to smaller and harder to follow species.

There will be no more than 5 students on this programme

You may also be interested in the following related programmes.

Course Dates

Sadly we are unable to run this programme over the coming Autumn and Winter.

This course will resume in the Autumn of 2024

If this course is full please contact us to be placed on a waiting list for cancellations.

Should enough people express an interest we may run extra dates.

Course Dates

Wildlife Trailing Intensive

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note this is a self catered course and although it is non residential.

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

Course Reviews

Raoul Maciver

I have taken several courses with John over the years and I was keen to try the ten day trailing intensive course.

I was not disappointed with this longer course. The extra time spent in the field meant I could learn so much more from John. His enthusiasm and knowledge is impressive and it is very instructive to work with him.

Halfway through the course John convinced me to take the cybertracker evalution. Although I was not sure I would be ready, it was an excellent way to test my knowledge and demonstrate what I had learnt.

He makes trailing look so easy and it can sometimes be frustrating when he can find trails which appear invisible to everyone else.

All the more worthwhile when by the end of the course you can start to see the same patterns.

The small number participants also allowed for good group discussions and moral support!

I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of trailing.

Lucy O'Hagan

I am delighted to say that, having completed the Wildlife Trailing Intensive course, I improved my Cybertracker score from a level one to a level three. What’s in a score? Confidence in finding a fresh trail, recognising deer tracks in a variety of substrates (are you ready to start noticing bent beech leaves where ever you go?!), the trailing intensive takes you literally a step further down the trail of this fascinating and ancient art. You’ll be met with a much more in-depth understanding of the behaviour of deer species, as well as how they relate to their landscape and the greater network of species therein.

On a more personal note, I find wildlife trailing to be an incredibly deep inner process and it has been hugely transformative process for me to develop the skills to track my inner landscape as I try to stay on the trail of an animal ahead of me.

A fantastic credit to the Cybertracker culture and to John’s knowledge of the subject, which has come from hours upon hours of committed and passionate study. This intensive programme really demonstrates how, if you practise and follow the process, then you too can follow, approach and get closer to wild animals.