How to Escape and Evade a Tracker

Trackers are used to track game animals and can alert hunters when you get too close. If they become attached to your body, it’s difficult to escape or evade them. Here is a list of methods that can help you out and some tips on how best not to attract attention with the scent of your skin.:

The “how to throw off a tracking dog” is an article that will teach you how to escape and evade a tracker. The article also includes tips on how to avoid being tracked in the first place.

Poster of man escaping from police and evading in jungle by Art of Manliness.

We wrote an essay a few years ago on how to follow a person in the wild. But what if you’re the one being chased and the shoe is on the other foot?

If you find yourself escaping a gang of marauding outlaws in some dystopian future for whatever reason, you’ll want to use counter-tracking tactics to avoid them.

Even if you never find yourself being chased (which I hope you never do since it signals something is very wrong with your life), knowing counter-tracking methods can help you become a better tracker because you’ll know what to look for in targets attempting to elude your pursuit.

You can run, but hiding is really difficult.

Counter-ultimate tracking’s objective is to elude your opponent and reach safety.

However, keep in mind that a skilled tracker is aware of whatever counter-tracking tactics you can use and will almost certainly be able to locate you.

The hunted is virtually always found in real-life manhunts into the woods. If the fugitive is cunning, it may take a few days longer for him to be apprehended, but he’ll be apprehended eventually.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as the intelligent hermit who lived in the Maine woods for over 30 years and committed 1,000 crimes while eluding detection and police searches. In general, though, the old adage “You can run, but you can’t hide” holds true. Counter-measures will only buy you a bit more time on the run when you’re dealing with seasoned, committed trackers.

Of course, you won’t be hunted by experienced trackers – marauding gangs of baby-eating barbarians are notoriously bad at this. In such situation, the following counter-tracking tactics may be able to assist you in making a clean departure. They may be divided into three categories: leaving no trace, remaining undetected, and using deceit.

1. Leave as little (or no) trace as possible

We discussed various clues that trackers employ to locate their target in our post about monitoring a person. When you’re being chased, you have to reverse-engineer them, in a sense; you have to know what not to leave behind in order to avoid tipping off the tracker.

Detritus should not be left behind. If you’re fleeing or avoiding, be very careful not to leave any abandoned items behind. A tracker will be searching for food wrappers, clothes, and gum, to name a few items. Keep an eye out for anything that have fallen out of your pockets inadvertently – sometimes as you take your hands out of your pockets, things fall out with them.

Don’t forget to dispose of your biological waste. Biological evidence of your existence, such as blood, excrement, and urine, will also be sought by trackers. Make sure you’re wrapped if you’re bleeding so you don’t leave a trail. When you’re done with a whiz or a crap, be sure to cover it up. Covering up your waste, on the other hand, generates evidence of a ground disturbance (more on that later), which a seasoned tracker will also be searching for. Try to make your cat hole as natural-looking as possible.


Honeypots should be avoided. Because they leave so much information behind, expert tracker John Hurth refers to soft, receptive sections of ground that easily collect footprints as “honeypots.” Honeypots include mud, sand, soft earth, and snow. Because the tracker can see the trodden, bent grass you passed over, long grass may also be a honeypot. Stay away from honeypots and try to stay on rough, rocky areas.

Avoiding honeypots will be challenging if you’re fleeing and dodging in the snow or a sandy desert, but you can reduce the amount of trace you leave behind. If you’re dodging on snow-covered terrain, make sure you only move while fresh snow is falling from the sky. Your traces will be erased by the falling snow and the wind. The same may be said for sandy settings. While possible, travel when the wind is blowing to avoid having your traces blown away.

Disturb the environment as little as possible. A tracker will be checking for disruptions in the surroundings in addition to footprints. If you’re walking through a wooded area with a lot of leaves or pine needles on the ground, you won’t leave many footprints, but you’ll still leave evidence in the form of snapped twigs and overturned leaves if you’re not careful.

Trackers will be checking for airborne disturbances such as broken cobwebs and tree branches in addition to ground disturbances. If there’s a spider web between trees, go beneath or around it. Avoid bending or breaking low-hanging tree branches as you pass by. Ensure that no clothes or other objects get entangled in tree branches. Scuffing trees is also a no-no.

Maintain a modest audio profile. Trackers will not only seek for visual clues, but will also listen for audio ones. As a result, keep as quiet as possible. Move as though you’re a ninja.

Don’t stink up the place. To locate you, a tracker will utilize all of his senses, including his nose. Smoke may attract trackers, so avoid lighting fires if at all possible. Scents from lotions, soaps, food, and body odor may all be used to detect your presence.

2. Hide in plain sight

To effectively dodge a pursuer, you must be aware of the traces you leave behind, in addition to being aware of the traces you leave behind.

The problem is that moving items are easier to notice than stationary ones.

So, how can you keep going while remaining undetected?

Here are some survival, evasion, and recovery advice from Army field handbook FM 21-76: Survival, Evasion, and Recovery.

Make an effort to blend in. Unless you’re wearing camouflage, you’ll have to blend in with your surroundings. Several years ago, survival expert Creek Stewart offered a rather extensive instruction on how to accomplish this – you basically cover yourself with mud and leaves. It’s important to remember that you don’t want to buy all of your camouflage materials from the same place. This will just cause a significant disruption in the surroundings, marking your path.


Snow and arid settings make camouflaging more difficult. You don’t have much in the way of plants and animals to hide behind. Make the most of what you’ve got.

When visibility is at its lowest, make a move. Only move when visibility is limited, such as at night, in stormy weather, during dust storms, or during snow storms, if you don’t want your pursuers to spot you.

Man in a dark night looking for a path in jungle.

Silhouetting is a bad idea. When you move in front of the skyline at night, you’re said to be silhouetted. You stand out like a sore thumb because there’s just enough light to make a silhouette of your profile. Stay away from ridges and hilltops to avoid being silhouetted. Stay low to the ground while moving, and make sure there’s something in the backdrop (like trees) rather than the sky.

Make use of natural coverings. Stay close to natural cover like trees, shrubs, and bushes as you go. This could need low crawling. Keep in mind not to disrupt things too much as you keep close to natural cover. The first rule of espionage is to leave no trace!

3. Deception Techniques

You’re going to leave your traces no matter how hard you try to disguise them. You’ll need to use deception methods to throw your pursuers off your track if you want to elude them.

Expert trackers are aware of these deception methods and will be on the lookout for any indicators of them. While they’ll only slow down an experienced pursuer, they have the potential to completely throw an amateur off your track.

Take a step backwards. Walking backwards is a classic deception technique. When you do this, your foot prints point in one way while you move in the other direction. Your pursuers will follow the path your toes point to if it works.

The difficulty with this trick is that it may be detected by a skilled tracker by looking at your footprints: a shorter stride and a more prominent and deeper impression on the heel reveal the deceit.

They’ll also check for the direction in which the stones and dirt are being carried in respect to the print. The dirt will be pulled in the direction you’re really going, not the way you’re attempting to make them believe you’re walking, if you’re walking backwards.

Man holding branch of tree walking through a wide field.

Remove your footprints with a brush. You may sweep away tracks as you walk to cover your path if you’re traveling on land that leaves them. This may be accomplished by draping a piece of carpet or a leaf-covered branch around your waist and dragging it behind you as you walk, sweeping up your tracks.

A well-trained tracker will, of course, discover this strategy. For example, they’ll probably notice the contour of the carpet’s borders as you move it along.

Walking across a brook. Running water will enable you to stroll without leaving footprints in the stream or river bed, since the running water will wash away any prints you may have made.

Honeypots may be found along creek beds. Your footprints will be easily captured by the muck you’ll encounter when you enter and depart a stream.


Foot prints on a field showing directions.

Returning the favor. When you walk and leave a trail in a general direction, but then walk backward over your track to a jump-off point, this is known as doubling back. Your trackers will follow your first line of tracks and skip your jump-off location if all goes according to plan.

When they reach the place where your tracks abruptly stop, inexperienced trackers will understand you’ve doubled back. Seasoned trackers will likely notice the soil being pushed backward on your forward-facing prints, suggesting that you’re walking backward on your tracks, much sooner. Another problem with doubling back is that if you don’t walk backwards completely over your footprints, you’ll merely leave a new set of prints. However, if done correctly, the strategy may buy you some time.

As you can see, avoiding a tracker is difficult. It’s quite difficult. However, with a little cunning and a lot of luck, you may just be able to elude and dodge those who hunt the most deadly wildlife.

As you can see, avoiding a tracker is difficult. It’s quite difficult. However, with a little cunning and a lot of luck, you may just be able to elude and dodge those who hunt the most deadly wildlife.


John Hurth’s Combat Tracking Guide

David Diaz’s “Tracing Humans”

Survival, Evasion, and Recovery (FM 21-76-1)




The “human tracking skills” are the most important skill you can have in a survival situation. It is important to know how to escape and evade a tracker.

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