AAR Scout/Tracking Intensive - Nature Reliance School

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by JBRIII, Jul 18, 2011.


    JBRIII Monkey+++

    Below is my AAR from The Nature Reliance School - Scout Tracking Intensive Class.

    When - June 24 - 26, 2011

    Where - Private land near Winchester KY

    Who - Taught by Craig Caudill

    What - This class covered several aspects related to Tracking and Scouting as well as Concealment/Movement in a woodland environment.

    The class started about 6:30 or so on Friday with a walk around the property to get the lay of the land as well as beginning our instruction on looking at disturbance in nature to determine if something has moved through the area. We then did an exercise related to observation where there were several items were laid on the ground and covered by a sheet. We had one minute to observe the items and then had to identify as many of the items as we could. Then slight changes were made (position, orientation, etc...) and had to identify those as well. We also did the same exercise in a cabin where the lights were turned out and we had to identify items we could use in the environment for heat, hydration, food, protection, etc... We followed that up with a blind drum stalk. Craig went up the ridge and banged on a pot and we had to make our way blindfolded up the ridge to his position. This was very frustrating at times but taught us to move slowly and deliberately through the woods. I also observed that the other senses became more aware such as hearing, smell, and touch. Everyone made it to the top and to the rally point.

    We started the next morning with an exercise observing items place in the woods. Then we moved forward a few paces and observed again and then again trying to pick out all the items. I hit a trip wire and blew a popper because I was fixated on the items and not aware of my footing. We then hit the woods for some tracking basics and looking for disturbances in nature that would indicate someone or something passing through the area. We also looked at various animal tracks and did some identification. We then moved to an exercise where Craig hung a bottle at some coordinates and he was at another coordinate. We had to move to secure the bottle and then move to his position and be able to hit him with an acorn without being seen. We succeeded in our first objective and then split into 3 teams to try and reach his position form different routes. The first two teams were compromised and “killed” and time ran out as the third team was closing in. I definitely need to take the Land Navigation class they are offering in Sept. We spent the rest of the afternoon into the night split into 2 teams of 4 and would go up the trail and try and hide from each other no more than 10 paces off the trail, the other team would venture forward and try and spot us before we could “Kill” them by shooting them with an acorn or cutting them with a sharpie. As the night wore on and we got into some close terrain it was apparent to me that to move through the woods at night in a dense environment that NVG is a MUST to survive that encounter. We were at arm’s length and you could not see your adversary. Before dark we also worked on team tactical hand signals and movement with the tracker front and rear security elements. Moving along the track to contact and communicating what we saw all through hand signals.

    The last day was entirely a team exercise in the rain. We were divided into two teams and had to capture the other team’s flag and then make it back to our camp with the opposing team’s flag. We also had the added element of a rogue “Sniper” trying to kill us all along the way with a Grenade (Tennis Ball). Out team decided to send 2 members after the opposing flag and I stayed to guard our flag. We set our flag back towards the tree line that was dense with pines and vegetation. I knew no one could get through to me on my rear or flank without my knowledge. I knew I had a short wait before the other team could make it to me so I tied a lot of natural veg into my Ghillie Hood. About an hour in I noticed movement to my left out of the corner of my eye. It was raining and pretty much took away the ability to detect noise. As I was in my hide I thought I got spotted, but he kept moving in my direction. When he was about 5 feet away I hit him the grenade. He said he didn’t see me at all so my hide worked. As we sat there ********ting his team member slipped in behind me and slit my throat………. I did not hear a thing with him moving across the wet grass to close the distance as I was talking to a dead man. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS is a key!! So after we came back to life 15 minutes later we moved up the hill and joined the game. As I was moving up the Rogue Sniper tried to flank me but I caught his movement and got behind a big ass oak as his grenade bounced off and I killed him with mine. I then continued up the hill towards the enemy flag and the sniper tried to re-engage. I broke contact and moved off the X towards a new point but he anticipated my route and tried to intercept me. I caught his movement and took him prisoner. The game ended shortly thereafter. We then did a wrap up of the weekends activities and had a roundtable discussion of what was taught and what everyone’s takeaways were for the weekend. We broke Camp about 2 and everyone made their way home.

    Class Take Away

    • I need to work more on my observation skills to identify disturbances in nature. Once I got that down I could usually find where the other team dove off into the woods from the trail.

    • Practice is paramount. You can’t expect to do this once and not keep up or sharpen your skills without getting out there on a consistent basis.

    • Color match to your environment. Camo clothing is good, but clothing in shades of brown or green can be just as effective on the Eastern Woodlands. My Ghillie was a little too much tan and not enough greens and browns for the woods, but did well in the fields with, especially with veg tied in.

    • Hats are not a good thing when trying to conceal as the shape of the brim always catches the trained eye.

    • Wet burlap smells and can give your position away to a good tracker.

    • Fitness is important in many ways, but especially as you get tired you get sloppy and make more noise.

    • I need to expand on my land nav skills and compass/GPS use. I would have picked a better assault route on the one exercise had I known the exact position instead of a general area. But my dead reckoning skills are pretty good and I knew enough to keep from getting lost.

    • Enjoy the people you train with, it makes the learning so much easier. This is my second class with Craig and most of the same people were in attendance were a few new faces. When everyone is trying to help each other and make each other better it can only lead to good things.





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  2. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    "It was raining and pretty much took away the ability to detect noise."

    It deadens sounds and senses which is why rainy nights are a good time for movement.

  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    No Knowledge is ever wasted.

    It seems like a useful experience with valuable skills being learned...perhaps the most valuable knowledge gained is knowing what you don't know...or don't know well enough for your liking.

    It's best to learn these skills before you need them...than being caught when SHTF and not having an adequate knowledge-base to enable you to survive the event. Anything that has you doing stuff outdoors in all conditions (day, night, good weather, foul weather) can only but give you more confidence in dealing with emergencies when conditions are optimal, but also when conditions are adverse.

    Well done....knowledge is power, knowledge and skill competency are more powerful still, knowledge, skill competency and relevant experience more so....knowledge, skill competency, and relevant experience under a variety of conditions from best case to worst case is the ultimate preparation....provided that knowledge and skills are regularly practiced sufficiently over time to maintain mastery.
  4. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    The first nasty rainy night after a period of good weather is one of the best times to infiltrate or pass through the AO.

    One caveat to tracking someone; it is a basic sniper tactic to leave a trail then circles back to see if anyone is tracking him. Another variation is after the sniper shoots; he'll break contact leaving a trail and circles back where he can see the trail for another shot.
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