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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: "Best tracker in the territory!" 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: "Best tracker in the territory!"  (Read 3445 times)
Doug.38PR
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« on: February 02, 2017, 02:01:38 pm »


You'll hear above said line in every movie when referencing Indians, Ttrappers, Scouts, Texas Rangers, US Marshals.  They can find hoofprints and foot prints every 10 feet, tell by a broken branch who has bern by and how long ago and how much weight they were carrythibg.  They can track anybody just like a modern GPS.

I think i already know tge answer, but is this mostly just hollywood rubbish?   Any truth to it?
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 02:25:08 pm »

Somewhere I have a book written by a man who was raised in the piney barrens in Main. His grandfather was an SW Indian, perhaps an Apache who taught him tracking skills and other useful things.
When he was a grown man hi was hired to find lost people all over the country. His tracking skills were said to be uncanny even being able to track a bird in flight.
I bought the book from the Outdoor life book club in the 80s and read it a couple of times.  It's packed away and I can't recall the title, but "The Tracker" comes to mind.
So yes there have been and still are people with highly devepopled tracking skills.

Will Ketchum
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 03:23:36 pm »

That sounds like Tom Brown, who has written a series of books and teaches survival and tracking classes.  My understanding is that much of what he has written has been called into question.  On the other hand, I know a certified law enforcement tracker who can follow some pretty amazing trails...

CC Griff
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 04:27:14 pm »

That's him! 
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2017, 04:59:56 pm »

HUMPFF!!  And ..... HORSEFEATHERS!!!

I wall have you all to know, I can track a Medium Rare Broiled Tenderloin through a Coal Bin, at Midnight, in the Rain, without a Flashlight,
while carefully opening a cold bottle of Ale.  You can put that INNA BANK!!  Grin

Coffinmaker
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shrapnel
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2017, 07:26:31 pm »

Stretching the truth isn't something new. Go to an old folks home and you could find some amazing stories that are impossible to prove or disprove. Even modern day stories of a sniper that shot another sniper through the other sniper's scope. That feat has been tried to be duplicated many times but not ever reproduced.

I am sure there are capable people in their day that had some amazing skills, but most of what is displayed on TV and in movies is the artistic privilege of the writer. It is amazing when you think of it, that the tracker that gets off his horse to read and interpret sign, follow the person who is trying to get away, and yet the tracker is able to keep up. I don't put much faith in those stories...
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Tsalagidave
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2017, 07:37:39 pm »

Doug, that is a great question and while I am not someone who grew up in a non-electric primitive world, I've learned and done a bit as both an Outdoorsman and hunter. There are a lot of period references to the capacity of various people on the frontier for their astute forensic observation of the natural world. A great example is Randolph Marcy's commentary on it in his 1859 book.  He stated that American Indians and Mexicans tended to be far superior to whites at the practice with the exception of the occasional mountain man who had spent his life out on the plains and mountains.

 A lot of this observation comes from familiarity with your climate. (Eg. a footprint will weather a lot faster in a wet climate like Washington than it would in the Mojave Desert. Weathering around the edge of a footprint can act as a time marker but important observations such as your knowledge of recent winds, rains, or snows can help you judge the approximate time an animal or person came by.   Depth of horse tracks can indicate if this is a laden (pack or rider) or an unladen animal.  Even the broken twig or impact-driven stone reveals information on a previous traveler's passing.  Some primitive cultures today can still match footprints to individuals, know the approximate time they made the tracks and can even deduce which tribe passed by depending on travelling characteristics revealed by said tribe in the tracks they leave.

I wish I was that good but my experience enables me to judge the approximate size and condition of a traveler or animal's tracks.  If I know what the weather was over the previous 72 hours, I am not terrible at estimating the time of passage.  I also make my own track next to the ones I find as a comparison to presume their size/weight. There are other subtleties for later discussion but yes, there is some truth to it but also take account of historic license taken by 20th - 21st century script writers as well.

-Dave
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Niederlander
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2017, 08:14:35 pm »

Stretching the truth isn't something new. Go to an old folks home and you could find some amazing stories that are impossible to prove or disprove. Even modern day stories of a sniper that shot another sniper through the other sniper's scope. That feat has been tried to be duplicated many times but not ever reproduced.

I am sure there are capable people in their day that had some amazing skills, but most of what is displayed on TV and in movies is the artistic privilege of the writer. It is amazing when you think of it, that the tracker that gets off his horse to read and interpret sign, follow the person who is trying to get away, and yet the tracker is able to keep up. I don't put much faith in those stories...
If Gunny Hathcock said he shot a sniper through the scope, I believe he did it.  He never said he could do it on demand, but that it happened once.  He also said it gave him pause when he realized if his bullet went through the enemy's scope, he must have beat him to the shot by about a second.  As you said, a lot of the B.S. was spread by later writers.
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shrapnel
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2017, 08:46:28 pm »

If Gunny Hathcock said he shot a sniper through the scope, I believe he did it.  He never said he could do it on demand, but that it happened once.  He also said it gave him pause when he realized if his bullet went through the enemy's scope, he must have beat him to the shot by about a second.  As you said, a lot of the B.S. was spread by later writers.

Of course he did, if he said so, it must be true.

Here is another picture from the 1880's that definitely must be real, nobody would make this up...

 
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2017, 09:41:40 pm »

Of course he did, if he said so, it must be true.

Here is another picture from the 1880's that definitely must be real, nobody would make this up...

 

Well the only actual witnesses of Gunny Hathcock's shot were himself and his spotter the rifle and scope were however retrieved and they were witnessed.  It may have been a scratch shot but I believe he made it.

Will Ketchum
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2017, 12:59:11 pm »

If I doodit, I gonna get a woopin, so I doodit.

There are many things we can question.  There are some things that are not open to question.  The combat record of Gunny Hathcock is not one of those things to be questioned.  Because two clowns from Myth Busters were unable to duplicate the incident, gives no valid reason to question.

Unless you desire to compare combat records, the comparison to stories heard in an Old Folks Home is ........ LAME ....... at best.  You are entitled to be a skeptic.  You are not entitled to question  the integrity of Gunny Hathcock.

Coffinmaker
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2017, 02:54:49 pm »

If I doodit, I gonna get a woopin, so I doodit.

There are many things we can question.  There are some things that are not open to question.  The combat record of Gunny Hathcock is not one of those things to be questioned.  Because two clowns from Myth Busters were unable to duplicate the incident, gives no valid reason to question.

Unless you desire to compare combat records, the comparison to stories heard in an Old Folks Home is ........ LAME ....... at best.  You are entitled to be a skeptic.  You are not entitled to question  the integrity of Gunny Hathcock.

Coffinmaker

Amen!
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Will Ketchum's Rules of W&CAS: 1 Be Safe. 2 Have Fun. 3  Look Good Doin It!
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Doug.38PR
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2017, 06:51:27 pm »

I think the most amusing Hollywood trackers to date is in Streets of Laredo.  Wes Studi plays this Kickapoo Indian that won't ride a horse and spends the whole move running around the desert of West Texas tracking people down.   Appearing out of nowhere jogging onto a scene.   I don't know who thought that was a good idea.  Looks absurd.   But Wes Studi played a good role there. 
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shrapnel
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2017, 08:30:19 pm »


Unless you desire to compare combat records, the comparison to stories heard in an Old Folks Home is ........ LAME ....... at best.  You are entitled to be a skeptic.  You are not entitled to question  the integrity of Gunny Hathcock.

Coffinmaker

You guys need to get a better grip on life. I didn't compare old folks home stories to your beloved sniper, 2 separate circumstances. I find it hard to believe the scope story, based entirely on what experience I have had with rifles and ballistics. Myth Busters tried to get a rifle bullet to pass through the scope from one end to the other without success in a totally separate trial.

Maybe Gunny did it, I don't hang my hat on claims of others and their success or failures. It really doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things, we can all be thankful for the service of our armed forces, but shooting another sniper through his scope , doesn't make me think any more or less of the act.

As far as entitlement goes, I don't question Gunny's service, but skeptical of that shot, I guess you could say that I am. The point of all of this was about claims verses what actually happens with scouts, and I find that most of it is artistic license of those who are writing about such incidences.
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2017, 02:17:46 pm »

Then, while tightly gripping your take on life, why didn't you just say that and be done??  Would have been much much simpler.  Especially, in that specific regard, I do happen to agree with your assessment of "Artistic License."

Coffinmaker
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shrapnel
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2017, 06:56:08 pm »

Then, while tightly gripping your take on life, why didn't you just say that and be done??  Would have been much much simpler.  Especially, in that specific regard, I do happen to agree with your assessment of "Artistic License."

Coffinmaker

Absolutely, but if you remember, I did not mention any names, that seems simple enough.
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Don Nix
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« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2017, 03:18:23 pm »

I'd like to jump into this discussion with some facts.I have some little experience as a tracker.Not much but a little enough that I have witnessed some amazing things. While in the Army I was stationed at a special weapons depot serving as a member of the alert team. This was during the latter part of the Vietnam war during the heydey of the Red Army faction and the Baader-Meinhoff rampage.They were in hot pursuit of special weapons and staged several attacks on US Army depots in an attempt to get their hands on a nuke. They in fact did breach one depot and were able to get their hands on some some Stinger type shoulder fired missiles.Any way one night one of the dog handler teams alerted on a couple of intruders and were fired upon. They exchanged a couple of rounds and the alert force gave chase. It was a brutal cold pitch black night and we were moving through dense woods. The team leader was a E6 (Staff Sergeant)  and a full blood Cheyenne reservation raised. As we maneuvered through the brush he suddenly stopped and told me he had found the tracks of two men. My response was BS hell I cant see the ground much less foot prints. Sure enough , we laid a poncho out  got under it with a light and low and behold two distinct heel tracks.He made me a believer as we tracked to the intruders for a short distance and were able to get ahead and lay an ambush.Unfortunately only a couple of shots were fired and the intruders got away but not before killing one of the patrol dogs.It made a believer. As to Carlos Hathcocks story I firmly believe it. In the late 70 a man went on a rampage with a 30-06 rifle threatening his family and neighbors standing on his front porch. Two city PD officers that knew him drove up and were going to try to talk him down as they both had known him for many years. Unfortunately. he threw the rifle up and both officers fired, One missed completely but the other knocked him down. They were twenty five to thirty yards away. When they got to the suspect he was bleeding from a circular cut around his right eyes. The round from the officers .45 had hit the scope lense and while it split the scope open it did not pass through but drove the scope into his eye socket and knocked some sense into him.
 Over the years I have gained a little efficiency in tracking and started my two daughters at an early age teaching them to follow horse and cow tracks. If for no other erason than to find them when the stock found a bad place in the fence.tracking is an art and skill that can be learned but it takes a long time and a lot of practice. But dont ever think it cannot be done.
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1961MJS
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2017, 05:59:54 pm »

Hell, I couldn't track a snail across a plate of salt.

I belive the gunny.  I don't have the book handy, but I don't remember him saying he only hit the glass, "Nothin' but net." So to speak.

Later y'all
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greyhawk
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2017, 06:02:35 am »

I'd like to jump into this discussion with some facts.I have some little experience as a tracker.Not much but a little enough that I have witnessed some amazing things. While in the Army I was stationed at a special weapons depot serving as a member of the alert team. This was during the latter part of the Vietnam war during the heydey of the Red Army faction and the Baader-Meinhoff rampage.They were in hot pursuit of special weapons and staged several attacks on US Army depots in an attempt to get their hands on a nuke. They in fact did breach one depot and were able to get their hands on some some Stinger type shoulder fired missiles.Any way one night one of the dog handler teams alerted on a couple of intruders and were fired upon. They exchanged a couple of rounds and the alert force gave chase. It was a brutal cold pitch black night and we were moving through dense woods. The team leader was a E6 (Staff Sergeant)  and a full blood Cheyenne reservation raised. As we maneuvered through the brush he suddenly stopped and told me he had found the tracks of two men. My response was BS hell I cant see the ground much less foot prints. Sure enough , we laid a poncho out  got under it with a light and low and behold two distinct heel tracks.He made me a believer as we tracked to the intruders for a short distance and were able to get ahead and lay an ambush.Unfortunately only a couple of shots were fired and the intruders got away but not before killing one of the patrol dogs.It made a believer. As to Carlos Hathcocks story I firmly believe it. In the late 70 a man went on a rampage with a 30-06 rifle threatening his family and neighbors standing on his front porch. Two city PD officers that knew him drove up and were going to try to talk him down as they both had known him for many years. Unfortunately. he threw the rifle up and both officers fired, One missed completely but the other knocked him down. They were twenty five to thirty yards away. When they got to the suspect he was bleeding from a circular cut around his right eyes. The round from the officers .45 had hit the scope lense and while it split the scope open it did not pass through but drove the scope into his eye socket and knocked some sense into him.
 Over the years I have gained a little efficiency in tracking and started my two daughters at an early age teaching them to follow horse and cow tracks. If for no other erason than to find them when the stock found a bad place in the fence.tracking is an art and skill that can be learned but it takes a long time and a lot of practice. But dont ever think it cannot be done.

Don --- you left out the best part - your Cheyenne staff seargent was seeing things that were not there - not visible to any physical eyes but he saw --- call it psychic insight or anything you like some humans have developed senses to a level the rest of us have no clue about - oldtimers in the inland of australia amazed at the ability of some aboriginal trackers - they would follow a non existent trail on the run for miles - one old feller told me "they bin see im feet walkin" - literally a mind picture of the feet of the person they tracking - that and reading the country - once they get a start they know that person where he is going to go, how long to do it. I have a friend thats spent time in the bush with that Tom Brown bloke - these guys are operating at a different level than the rest of us and I get a laugh when I see people that because they cant explain things in their scientific way they decide its not possible. Bob Mundens pistol shooting was impossible - there was a bloke did impossible stuff with a longbow - shot a little headache pill on the wing - lots of impossible stuff - my friend has a habit of saying "Im lucky I left school early - didnt stay long enough to learn that the stuff I do is impossible"
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