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Men's Tracks

First of all you must be able to distinguish one man's footmark from that of another, by its size, shape, and nails, etc. And, similarly, the prints of horses and other animals.

From a man's track, that is, from the size of his foot and the length of his stride, you can tell, to a certain extent, his height.

In taking notes of a track you should pick out a well-marked print, very carefully measure its length, length of heel, width of sole, width at instep, width of heel, number of rows of nails, and number of nails in each row, heel and toe-plates or nails, shape of nail-heads, nails missing, etc.

It is best to make a diagram of the foot-print thus. You should also measure very carefully the length of the man's step from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other.

A man was once found drowned in a river. It was supposed that he must have fallen in accidentally, and that the cuts on his head were caused by stones, etc., in the river. But someone took a drawing of his boots, and after searching the river-bank came on his tracks, and followed them up to a spot where there had evidently been a struggle: the ground was much trampled and bushes broken down to the water's edge, and there were tracks of two other men's feet. Though these men were never found, it showed the case to be one of probable murder, which would not otherwise have been suspected.

Differences Between Bare-Foot Tracks

It is very puzzling for a beginner to tell the difference between a lot of footmarks of bare feet-they all look so much alike-but this is the way that the Indian police trackers do it.

When measuring the footprint of the man you are after draw a line from the tip of the big toe to the tip of the little toe, and then notice where the other toes come with regard to this line, and put it down in your note-book. Then when you come to a number of tracks you have only to try this same line on one or two of them till you find the one you want. All people vary a little in the position of then-toes.

Try it with the other Scouts in your Patrol, each of you making a footprint with his bare foot, and then noting how it is different from the others when the toe line is drawn.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: The Pace Of Tracks

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: The Importance Of Tracking

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