Category Archives: Tracking

Observation, Memory, Concentration, Skills For Tracking and Life

kim tracking observation skills

Essential Skills For Tracking And Life

Observation, Memory, Concentration

In a previous post I spoke about improving observation skills and gave some tips that can help not just children, but adults as well to develop their memory (Observation Skills, What to teach your children,) In this post is a game that is named after the character who played the game to improve his observation and memory skills. The book is Kim by Rudyard Kipling in 1901 and the game is “Kim’s Game.” It is a book that is well worth reading. These are skills for tracking and life.

[amazon_link asins=’154550184X’ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’bushcraft4kids-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’cbe81b9c-4fc4-11e7-9c19-15d2e136e801′]

I always say it is important to get our children outdoors, but sometimes we cant. So here is a game that can be played anywhere, indoors and out

Improving memory, observation and concentration skills are  vital for all people especially children. It is beneficial for their education, learning about wildlife and nature and skills that are great everyday life skills, that can help keep us all safe.

Perry Mcgee’s Essential Tracking Handbook

Perry mcgee's essential tracking handbook

Perry McGee Essential Tracking Handbook

National Tracking School

I recently got  a book through the post, it was Perry Mcgee’s Essential Tracking Handbook. It is by Perry McGee and his colleague Jamie McGregor who are founder and Senior Tracking and search adviser of the National Tracking School. Prior to reading this book I had read Perry’s first book,  The Tracking handbook, this was an excellent book which I related to, but found it related to my work as a police officer rather than a member of the public. Then I read this book. I have read it from cover to cover and found it the best book on the subject of tracking.

The first thing Perry explains is that tracking is not the best term to use, instead the term sign awareness should be used. Firstly using Sign Awareness opens the field up to the scope that it truly has. When most people thing if tracking they think of following a person or an animal, often hunting animals or finding fugitives. Although these are uses of Sign awareness the field is much wider. If we focus on tracking we will develop tunnel vision and become focused on tracking or following what ever the subject is. That means the operative will more than likely miss the full story being told by the sign.

Perry McGee Essential Tracking Handbook

Perry mcgee's essential tracking handbook

Perry mcgee’s essential tracking handbook


tracking handbook

tracking handbook

This book is essential reading for all people who have an interest in sign awareness. As I police officer I was fortunate to be able to use these skills in various environments. whether it was to protect myself through counter surveillance, following sign to find people or to read crime scenes. Sadly I had little training in the basic policing training, it was through what I learned as a child and later in specialist departments.

As a child I learned through play then through a man called Eddie McGee, yes it was Perry’s Father. He was an great tracker, survival expert and nature lover. He wrote many books and a television series. If I hadn’t been taught basic skills as a child I would never have had the wonderful career I had. The books by Eddie McGee are still available second hand on amazon. I would highly recommend them for children and adults to learn about outdoor skills in a fun, enjoyable way.


In the book Perry McGee’s Essential Tracking Handbook you will find an thorough look at sign awareness that will help people from all backgrounds. Whether you are an adult wanting your child to develop a better understanding of the world around them and/or you want your child to develop skill that will help them in many areas of their lives as children and adults, this book is for you. If you are and adult wanting to learn how to develop your understanding of nature and wildlife, this is the book for you. If you work in law enforcement, this book is for you. What I am saying is this book is a great introduction to all people, through to some advanced methods

[amazon_link asins=’0901764418,0091754054′ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’bushcraft4kids-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’57e3d77d-4c7a-11e7-a4b2-29d19384e5e6′]

Perry is looking to write some more specialised books for all areas and he also runs some excellent courses at the National Tracking School.

Content of Perry McGee’s Essential Tracking Handbook.

Here is a list of content.

  • Introduction.
  • Glossary of Terms.
  • Chapter One – Basic Searching Skills And Procedures.
  • Chapter Two – Advance Searching Skills And Procedures.
  • Chapter Three – Tactical Searching Skills and Procedures.
  • Chapter Four – Urban Searching Skills and procedures.
  • Chapter Five – Navigational Searching Skills and Procedures.
  • Chapter Six – Search and Rescue Searching Skills and procedures.
  • Chapter Seven – First Aid Responder Skills and Procedures.
  • Chapter Eight – Fugitive Searching Skills and Procedures.
  • Chapter Nine – Counter Evasive Searching and Self-Defence.
  • Chapter Ten – Searching Exercises, Games and Awareness
  • Chapter Eleven – Specialised Discipline and Procedures
  • Appendices – Reference, terms and useful material.

As you can see this is a thorough book that is practical and interesting. Don’t think you are going to learn all the secrets used in Law Enforcement. As Perry points out early in the book some techniques would be beneficial to criminals and need to be kept secret. Perry still does a lot of work especially fighting poachers and that alone should earn the respect of him and James. If you don’t do anything else at the moment visit the website and buy this book and visit the National School of Tracking and see the services and course they offer.

I highly recommend this book as I do any books or courses by Perry Mcgee. If I were to score it, I would say 10 out of 10. When you have heard Perry talk you can hear him talking as you read.

One Skill to Teach Your Children. Observation Skills

observation, children learn skills with parents

Observation Skills, What to teach your children

I have worked outdoor in one way or another most of my adult working life. During this time I was fortunate to do jobs in the police that some people don’t even know exist. Some of these people would say at times are exciting and at time dangerous. They involved going through various assessments and test to see if I had the right skills to do the job. One skill that came up time and time again was observation skills. You would think that these are skill that all police officers have, but you would be surprised at the level many officers display. From the few that end up taking the assessment there is a large failure rate. I was also involved with surveillance along with various forms of evidence gathering. I learned skills that developed and added to my love of nature and the outdoors. Perry McGee recently described it to me as “Sign Awareness”

Using the term Sign Awareness instead of “Tracking” means there is a better understanding of the skills and the purpose and use of those skills in a positive way. Rather than the stereotypical belief that the skills are soley for hunting

I may have been lucky and observation was something that came natural. I have always been good at remembering what I saw and had learned various skills at school. Being dyslexic at school when I was a student was something that wasn’t often noticed. I struggled with writing and English, Never mind French. But I learned that I could learn lessons off by heart and it didn’t effect me as long as it looked like I had written my notes.

I try and pass these skills on to my children. Not because they are dyslexic, because they are skills that can be fun and very useful. Especially if you decide to have a career where you need to notice small details under pressure. These are skills you can teach your children by playing simple games.

First is a simple game to play in the car or whilst walking around. I will ask my daughter what colour a car was that drove past in the opposite direction, or how many people were stood at a bus stop. You can ask more difficult questions as your child’s skills develop. You can eventually start asking what a car vehicle registration number (VRN) of cars you see

Beware though. As your child develops observation skills, they will start asking you questions. So keep alert and keep your observation skill up to the same standard as your children. It is a win win situation for you and your child as you observation skills improve.

Memory and Observtion Skills

To help you child remember numbers they can learn mnemonics. A simple one that is of great help to children is to use  the rhyme method. Each number is represented by am image that rhymes with the number. Here is a list of common words.

If these aren’t suitable you can change them for ones that suit you or you child. The image that first comes to mind is the best and one that can be made into funny pictures. I know men who use boobs for 8, I am sure you can work out why, all though that isn’t recommended for your child.

Once these ten words are known any number can be remembered. you use the relevant words and link them together with a funny story.

  1 - Bun
  2 - Shoe
  3 - Tree
  4 - Door
  5 - Hive
  6 - Bricks
  7 - Heaven 
  8 - Skate
  9 - Line
  10 - Hen

You can easily remember words using a similar system. If you have a list of words you can link them together using a funny story. You can then remember the funny story, whilst reciting the story in your head you will be able to recall the list you remembered.

The more you use these types of techniques and games observation skill increase and so does memory. You find that you can remember much more. Using your memory will improve it naturally. It has been shown people of all ages and abilities can improve there memory and observation skills through practice. If you want to know more about the subject. I would recommend one author called Tony Buzan. He has written various books on memory and other subjects, they all are very practical and useful for adults and have skills you can pass to your children.

Developing these skills will also be beneficial for children learning Interpretting Sign/Sign Awareness or as many people know it, Tracking.