Things I Learned From Watching Mantracker

In no particular order, here are a few things I’ve learned from watching Mantracker:

  • Understand your position, status, limitations, and goal — from that, build a plan.
  • Acknowledge that your trackers are professionals. They are probably far better at tracking than you are at evading. Therefore, never taunt your trackers, never attempt to track them, and recognize your lack of skill.
  • The tracker is the predator, you are prey.
  • Know how to navigate. Dead reckoning, maps, compasses. GPS isn’t always an option.
  • Two words: Shut. Up.
  • Know yourself and especially your limitations.
  • Know your gear and how to use it. Never abandon it.
  • Travel at night whenever possible.
  • Stay out of lights and off ridges, roads, and paths.
  • Use fire sparingly–not at all if possible.
  • Soap, aftershave, perfumes, smoking, and cooking are absolutely taboo.
  • Stay away from dry leaves and branches, wet grass, mud, sand, or anything that will make noise or leave tracks.
  • A team is a team. It must have a shared goal. This is not negotiable. Never abandon your team.
  • There is no “self-sacrifice” in a team. To steal a line from Starship Troopers, “Everyone fights. No one quits.”
  • 26km (or is it miles?) is a long damn way to move on foot, especially if one is out if shape or has bad footwear.