To illustrate just a few of the basics of how he adapted the Stratosphere and the Jungle Hammock during tracking, Snugpak Ambassador Perry McGee from the UK’s National Tracking School talks us through a recent expedition in Europe, searching for the magnificent European Wolf
An ideal tracking companion
“Tracking any predatory animal successfully (especially the European wolf), can be difficult at the very least. It demands enhanced human sensory perception, having a detailed knowledge of habitation and feeding habits, of territorial and seasonal behaviour, navigation skills and an awareness of the natural environment and of course, having the right kit.
“The wolf in Europe is a legally protected species and is a magnificent predatory survivor, often existing in remote areas and breeding in territorial packs. They are a highly adaptable species, often displaying unique hierarchy and distinct behavioural patterns. In the main, most European wolves are normally found in secluded or covered wooded areas.
“They have an outer coat which is dark grey to dark brown. Wolves often have the appearance of the German Shepard domestic dog, but the nose, trunk and snout are usually longer and the chest (is) higher and narrower. The mating season in Europe is usually from January to March, with the young cubs being born around April to June. A female’s litter is usually four to six cubs, however, this can be higher and they are usually born in burrows or scrapes, near to a water source.”
“Searching or tracking the wolf is not easy and it can be dangerous Wolves have acute senses of hearing, sight and smell and are natural predators. They use their intelligence to survive and in many cases, when threatened, they have been known to be very dangerous and instances of human attacks exist. For this reason, any encounters should only be carried out by professional and qualified people – and only with protective equipment and proper rescue and escape strategies.
“(In this case), once the initial signs of wolves were detected – tracks and odours – we prepared a safe and covert area nearby, from which I would able to take long-range photos. During any tracking, it is essential to be silent and patient – and it is here that the Stratosphere comes into its own. Its design allows the user to get inside and concentrate, using all the senses to listen, smell and search for the subject. We use a phrase called ‘establishing a legend’, which essentially means long-term acclimatisation.
“In this case, the Stratosphere was positioned correctly, disguised and down wind of the route of the wolf trail. The outline of the tent was broken up and the entire outer cover was covered using the Jungle Hammock, debris and foliage.
“Overall, the Stratosphere is an excellent lightweight tool and is ideal for what we do. I hope that you have as much respect for it as we do and enjoy its unique design.”
To find out more about the UK National Tracking School’s courses, you can email us here.