Tracking Classes


Identifying Animal and Human Sign in the Field

Sunday, June 25, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Animals leave emails for each other on the landscape and the observant human can read them with practice. Using a field guide to identify tracks in the field, students will experience animal tracking in the wild and see things they walked past before. Animal behavior leaves all kinds of clues in different habitats, including browsing on vegetation, tracks in various substrates, broken limbs, resting spots, scratches and scent marks on trees and objects, scat and scrapes.

This class will be held North of Carson, Washington in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and our tracking team will pick out an active spot for us to head to before the class.

We will meet at the Carson Post Office parking lot at 10:00 AM and proceed from 10 to 30 miles to the days location. Be prepared for the field, the weather and bring whatever food you require for lunch and snack. Although we can share field books, it will be helpful if you can bring one, as well as a measuring device, a notebook and writing implement. Highly recommended would be:

Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles,Amphibians, and Invertebrates…May 19, 2010, by David Moskowitz

Tuition: $55  Online Registration

An Introduction to Trailing Using Human Sign

Saturday, July 22, 10:00am to 4:00pm

It’s easy to follow someone on the beach, or in the dust or snow, but how about in the grass, gravel and hard mud? It can be done! And yes, you can do it. This class will help you see tracks where you never looked for them before and is a valuable tool for tracking animals of all kinds in any substrate.

The class will be held in a relatively small area in and we will work in teams. This adult version of hide and seek will give you skills you thought only trackers in the movies had. We will be working approximately 15 miles north of Carson, Washington but will meet at the usual sport at the Carson Post Office parking lot at 10:00 AM.

Be prepared for walking in long grass, off trail and in forest duff. We will take a break for lunch.

Bring lunch, snacks, water and a good hat, sunglasses and whatever you need to be comfortable in the field. Helpful equipment would be a walking stick, two rubber bands, a small mirror and a measuring device.

Tuition $55  Online Registration

An Exploration of the Crepuscular Habits of Animals

Date and time TBA

Especially in August when it is warm, animals tend to move around in the early morning and late evening. Humans tend to go home just when they get started. One of the best ways to experience the magic of evening in the woods is to do a quiet sit. It seems like an easy thing to do, but there are skills to it and it takes practice.

This class will meet at TreeSong Nature Awareness Center and will move into the woods at a leisurely pace, practicing the animal tracking skills you have already learned. We will take a dinner break and then set up for wildlife experiences.

Walking will be easy and slow, but be prepared for trail walking, the weather and even if it is hot during the day, bring a jacket, wear long pants and boots. A hiking stick will help you, but most importantly, bring something comfortable to sit on for this class. A flashlight and bug repellent should go in your day pack.

Tuition: $55  Online Registration

A Walk With the American Black Bear
An exploration of the sign and habits of the Black Bear


Sunday, September 24, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Our shy Washington black bears are trying to fatten up for their winter hibernation in the fall and will go to some lengths to find calories. In this class we will travel to several Gorge area locations where black bears have found a good source of food, even if they have to duck around the activities of people. We will explore the signs they leave behind and talk about the lives of bears, what they need to survive and how we can live with them as they go about their bear business of planting wild seeds and helping our habitats to thrive.

Class will meet in Stevenson, Washington in the library parking lot. We will travel by car to several locations if necessary. Be prepared for a short hike, bring food, water and appropriate weather gear. A camera, a notebook and a measuring device are recommended extra gear.

Tuition $55

Online Registration, Click Here

For all tracking classes:  Kids under 19 must be accompanied by a parent, under 12 will be considered on a case by case basis.

LJ HunterTreeInstructor L. J. Hunter is the author of “Lonesome for Bears” Lyons Press 2008, a co-founder of the International Society of Professional Trackers and is certified by CyberTracker Conservation in Track and Sign, as well as by Universal Tracking Services in human tracking. Further experiences include man tracking for Search and Rescue interspersed with natural history studies and a former brown bear viewing guide in an outback Alaskan Lodge.


 Check out Past Tracking Classes (2016)!

A Walk in the Woods:  Tracking Basics & Wilderness Personal Safety at TreeSong
Saturday, May 28th, 10am-4pm

Enhance your hiking and wilderness skills in a one-day workshop, which will leave you safer, more observant and confident whether you hike with a group or alone.   Hands-on skills include being able to see tracks of humans and animals in Northwest forest duff, assessing a trailhead and your personal security, interfacing with large animals of all kinds, using effective defense methods and seeing more wildlife.  Fieldwork will be physically easy and mentally challenging.

Mountain Bike Tracking (offsite)
Sunday, June 12th, 4pm-dusk

We will use mountain bikes to view tracks and possibly wildlife. This class will be an evening class on one of the longest nights of the year.  Participants will meet in Carson and proceed approximately 30 miles north to a closed area. From here we will bike into a wildlife-rich area on a closed road system.  The ride is approximately four miles on relatively flat terrain and not technically difficult. Beg or borrow a bike for this one as evenings in the wilderness can sometimes be magical. Bring your dinner as we will ride back around dusk.

Tracking in the Gifford Pinchot:  Tracking for
Practical Applications/Tracking Animals
Saturday, July 9th, 9:30 a.m. – Afternoon

Ever wonder where animals go after you see them or their tracks?   This class will focus on the basics of trailing. Trailing is a skill every tracker should have and this class will take place in various substrates to give you a solid foundation. Using a step by step method developed by man trackers for search and rescue and law enforcement, trackers will learn how to trail animals.  We will work in the Hemlock area of the Gifford Pinchot Forest from 10am until 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the afternoon. Meeting place will be in Carson at 9:30am.  Bring lunch for lunch break in the field.

Predators of the Northwest (offsite)
Saturday, August 20,  9:00 a.m. – Approx. 2:00 p.m. 

This class will concentrate on predators and their role in the habitat. The class will be in the Gifford Pinchot wherever significant wildlife activity is detected the week before class.  Meeting place TBA.

Washington Black Bears (offsite)
Sunday, September 25, 10:00 a.m.- Approx. 2:00 p.m.

Join L.J. Hunter, master naturalist and tracker, as we head out into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to explore the wonderful world of Washington Black Bears.  You will be part of the discovery team that will find out what the bears are up to this time of year, including what they are eating.  This is a truly fabulous way to learn about the NW forest ecosystem.

Oxbow Tracking Evening
Thursday, October 6, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Pull on your boots, grab your favorite field guide and join in the fun of flood plain sand tracking!  Animal tracks register clearly in the sand resulting in a plethora of track viewing opportunities. We will meet at Oxbow Regional Park’s floodplain parking lot (rain or shine!). What will we be doing?  Tracking in sand on the flood plain.

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