Conservation Ranger Course with C.R.O.W.


On May 5th and 6th I’ve attendend the first topic of the Conservation Ranger Course developed and hold by C.R.O.W. [Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide]. On July 22nd at European Security Academy, in Poland, me and all the other attendants graduated successfully as Rangers.

The reasons behind the choice to take part of this lie in the personal and natural belief that Tracking Skills are not only one of the keys of success of any Antipoaching Operation as widely demonstrated  throughout the past and recent years, but also in the firm committment in the Conservation and Biodiversity’s heritage.

My goal is to apprehend about Tracking as much as possible in the most various terrain and scenario, also abroad. This skill can give a tremendous contribution in the “knock – down” of Antipoaching Operations worldwide I mean. The possibility to learn from different Instructors in areas I’m not familiar with will surely increase my awareness as well my expertise. It’s gonna be tough, no doubt about it. But I’m here to learn and fight hard!

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May, 5th: First day. On Animal Behaviour, Endemic and Environmental Diseases, Medical Protocol. You can see a red head on left side, first row.
May, 19th. Tracking in Antipoaching Operations. Drawing different tracks on mud terrain.
May, 19th. Tracking in Savannah-like area.
May, 20th. Orienteering.

June, 9th: First date with Shotgun (and also AK-47)

More on C.R.O.W. [Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide]

“Crow is an anti-poaching and conservation organization whose mission is to train rangers in the skills necessary to support, train, and supplement anti-poaching and conservation efforts worldwide.

We are located in Texas, US, and sponsored by several organizations and companies based in Europe, the US, Africa, and Australia to support private reserves, conservation areas, and national parks in the fight for conservation of animals and their habitat. With over 10-years experience in Africa (from Namibian deserts to Congo rain forests), our goal is to handle situations effectively through collaborative strategies.

CROW’s mission is to set a standard in education for rangers operating in medium\high risk environments; promoting conservation knowledge worldwide and train rangers and skilled volunteers to help in the challenge for conservation.”


On right side : Course in Italy (May-June 2018). Left side: Course in Poland (July 2018)


A bunch of photos of the course hold in Polond at European Security Academy.

Some of you may recall I’ve already collaborated with C.R.O.W. in a Joint Training between this NGO and Hull’s Tracking School. Here you can see the post related.



To read is to understand. To understand is to belong.

How many times we have seen the ground and just considered it terrain, grain, grass, peebles, sand and more over or even concrete and asphalt? Thousands.

Learn how to read the ground“. That precisely what Tracking is.

Ground  shows up itself as an amalgam of signs, as an inner chaos to the most novices among Tracking novices. We see it, but most of times we don’t look at it. We don’t think at it. It’s over there, underneath our feet, we don’t pay attention to its voice because it’s just an element, we take it for granted.

Nothing is granted at all, especially the Ground. That’s why, if we really want to learn how to read it, we have to listen to his silent voice.

Does Ground have a voice? It has! It speaks throughout the passages of man and beast. Every contact leaves a trace; this way, every sign is a word, then a sentence, then again a story.

Learn to track duly involves the capability to understand the Ground. More specifically: What’s happened. When. Why. How may persons. Animals.

Time after time, that reading will become a belonging. To a certain scenario, to a particular time. We will find ourselves surprised to kinda feel having been present to that moment – the moment in which tracks were made. Just like a whole thing.





Dizziness before Tracking?


Have you ever experienced a sense of dizziness just a couple of minutes of early dirt time? I have, I won’t hide you that. It comes out that my mind and my eyes start to tremble in the precise moment I need them the most. You can easily figure out the scene: I’m just arrived in the woods and I start to do my regular dirt time when I soon realize that I can’t focus my eyes and my mind as much as I would, and I can feel like a sense of lightheadedness. Odd, isn’t it? I used to get mad about that. Oh, I was super upset with myself I mean. I used to start considering how many hours of good sleep I had, what I had for supper, if I drank too much beers the evening before. Yep, I had this habit of making a list of all the possible “bad things” I’ve done just in order to understand the reasons beyond that dizziness (the cause behind an awful performance as well I mean!)


After long thoughts I came out with this simple explanation: that dizziness came from the sudden projection of me inside a different scenario. That’s exactly what I mean: you can’t simply reach the woods, jump off the car and tell yourself: ok, let’s track. You can’t, unless you are a Master Tracker (and surely I’m not already that!).

You need much more time – to be precise, your OWN time to project yourself into a new scenario, especially if you live in a big town as I do. You kinda have to detox yourself from urban environment and get in a brand new one. Woods have their own light, their own voice, their own laws. You must take your time to immerse yourself in them.

I’m not talking about hippie stuff or what. I just tell you how many benefits it has when it comes to Tracking. Craig Caudill from  Nature Reliance School  in his awesome book Extreme Wilderness Survival mentioned that too.

Take it easy, find yourself motionless in the middle of the very first woods you come across during your training, take deep, relaxing breaths and pay attention to all the details your eyes and mind can catch. This will be a great aid to your Tracking skill. It worked a lot on me and still it does!

I eventually come out with this consideration about that annoying dizziness: I just had to become familiar with a new scenario, and develop my capability of reception of every single detail of that environment.

It sounds easy and beneficial, doesn’t it? Let’s try and see!


Tracking in Movies and TV Series.

Frantically updated as I run across into new stuff, this list is intended to be an invitation. Not all the movies here mentioned are masterpiece or what, they just contain some scenes (good or bad reconstructions, it depends) based on Tracking.

Enjoy and please write me pm or leave a comment if you have some other good titles. I’m hungry for that!

Borderline, 1980
The Hunted
The Hunted, 2003
The Edge
The Edge, 1997
The Deadly Trackers, 1973
Jurassic World
Jurassic World, 2015
The Missing
The Missing, 2003
The Unit
The Unit, 2006
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead, 2010
True Detective
True Detective, 2014
Point Last Seen, 1998.  Thank you DebnCarl Norton!
Rabbit Proof Fence, 2002. Thank you DebnCarl Norton!
Ulzana’s Raid, 1972. Thank you DebnCarl Norton!
Wind River, 2017. Thank you Hezikiah Menacho!
Tracker, 2010. Thank you Mike Hull!
Tracker, 2002. Thank you Mike Hull!


About enhancing tracks at night.

In my personal experience as a student of Tracking, in quite every book I’ve read I’ve run across the amount of importance light has in Tracking. Not only daylight I mean. To the most of people, Tracking during the darkness should be an oxymoron. How could you think to follow tracks when it’s night? How could you even dare to consider it?

But the night shouldn’t be an abnegation.

You can track. Simply. In certain cases, you must track. Because you are in a manhunt, or you are taking part to a SAR Team, looking for a missing person. Because you are a Tracker, not “a part time one”.

For this specific reason, the use of extra tools (to your eyes and mind) to accomplish your mission should be a consistent idea.

Two years ago I’ve purchased a P7 Torch by Led Lenser in an effort to start a night training.

Let me be honest. I don’t have any endorsement from Led Lenser. They never shared any of my post on Instagram or Facebook. They don’t even know that I exist! I’ve just made my choice considering the price and the four lights available inside the torch. Easy peasy.

Then I’ve tested it a lot during some dirty time, with different nuances of darkness. From shades to dark night, frantically changing the colors, trying to following the suggestions I’ve earned from all the books I’ve studied (you can find them here): blu is great for tracks in snow, red tends to make the vision of the tracks blurry, white is good but green is even better.



Promotional image, found on the web.


Promotional image, found on the web.

Below you can find the set of photos I’ve taken enhancing the same track with the different lights on disposal.

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As you can notice by yourself, white light works great with this kind of terrain. Second place goes to green light. Blue’s kinda disaster. The rank could change drastically with a completely different kind of terrain and scenario. Infact, my fave light color has always been the green one, and see how it failed this time.

Titling the post, I’ve used the word “enhancing” on purpose. Even if this bulky torch works good, it cannot be a substitute for your eyes. You have to handle it in the right way not to only to enhance track, but also to detect them, bearing in mind the Golden Rule: STY [Sun-Track-You]. Keeping the track always between you and the source of light.

If you dig this torch, you can find a complete review here. “The LED Lenser P7QC is powered by 4 AAA batteries and puts out 220 lumens in high power mode. Its max luminous range is 60 meters and you can expect to get about 3 hours of light in high.”

Maybe Led Lenser will know about your existence!

[All Rights of the article: Kyt Walken, 2017]