00:00:04.040 --> 00:00:10.060
leeburton: So today I have Preston Taylor joining us, and Preston is an amazing
00:00:10.070 --> 00:00:24.270
leeburton: wildlife trailer. He lives out in California, Northern California, just near the Oregon border. Um. He's a specialist in trailing black bears, and he's also author of the book tracking the American Black Bear
00:00:24.280 --> 00:00:34.360
00:00:34.620 --> 00:00:51.270
leeburton: Well, hey, Press and I just getting started. Uh, you have a really interesting history. And uh, if you don't mind just kind of covering that you know where you grew up, how you got into the outdoors, obviously trailing specifically, and particularly your interest in black bears. How that all came about.
00:00:51.540 --> 00:01:05.670
Preston Taylor: Yeah, uh, I I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. Uh right in the middle of the city. Um, I really was a a city rat, for you know the first part of my life, and um
00:01:06.040 --> 00:01:17.220
Preston Taylor: childhood and teenage years uh, but my dad, you know my dad grew up in the mountains in North Carolina, and he was a scientist and was interested in the natural world, and
00:01:17.370 --> 00:01:37.010
Preston Taylor: so he, you know, engaged me in in activities here and there. Um, with nature. Um that you know laid a a foundation, I think, for me to follow later in life. Um, you know, he he really enjoyed digging clams, and you know we we're here to talk about tracking
00:01:37.020 --> 00:01:47.929
Preston Taylor: and it and it's most basic level. Tracking is just, you know, making observations of disturbances, you know, against the background. And and so
00:01:48.100 --> 00:02:06.429
Preston Taylor: you know these little things that my dad did with me digging plans or trying to catch crabs, or, you know, observing the planets stuff like that, I think played a role, you know, later in my um pursuit of learning about nature, you know. But it wasn't really until um
00:02:06.440 --> 00:02:20.239
Preston Taylor: when I was sixteen that I went to a a wilderness program out in Utah, and we lived in the desert mountains for a couple of months. Um, that I really got involved in the natural world, um
00:02:20.840 --> 00:02:39.949
Preston Taylor: you know, making fire, you know, with sticks. There's no lighters or matches sleeping under the stars, or if it did rain under a tarp just out there in the elements. Um, for for a long period of time, and that's
00:02:39.960 --> 00:02:50.549
Preston Taylor: it was pretty cool, definitely changed my life. Um! And then I went to high school in Idaho after that, and we, you know we spent a lot of time in the mountains, too. And so so after high school,
00:02:50.630 --> 00:03:17.630
Preston Taylor: I moved back to the east coast, and and I was there for a few months, trying to figure out what to do, and and eventually moved up to uh Vermont, and and started in a part of that community up there. The removal they're in a school and really diving into to tracking and to, you know primitive skills and and naturalist knowledge, natural history, all those kinds of things. And that's right. I started focusing on learning about um animals, learning about tracking
00:03:17.640 --> 00:03:24.589
Preston Taylor: um, and you know, really I spent, you know that was, you know, when I was nineteen,
00:03:24.840 --> 00:03:32.989
and then I I spent a good four or five years really um just working there and focus on learning about animals.
00:03:33.000 --> 00:03:52.689
Preston Taylor: And Um decided to go back to school to get a degree in wildlife management. And so, while I was going to school, I also started uh pursuing Um, the cyber tracker certification process, and so kind of in conjunction of studying academic wildlife. Um conservation.
00:03:52.700 --> 00:03:59.509
Preston Taylor: I was also trying to attain the you know, senior track or certificate, with within the saber tracker system.
00:03:59.560 --> 00:04:27.760
leeburton: Um. And and so pretty much just focused on school and tracking for you know, ten years. Wow, that that's really interesting, actually, because that's sort of full circle I I teach tracking courses at a couple of two or three universities, and I'm really always pushing cyber track or Eval, you know, because it's such a great learning experience. And so you you kind of did that on your own way back in the day, you know you're studying it. And then at the same time, you're trying to get certified.
00:04:27.910 --> 00:04:43.379
Preston Taylor: Yeah, yeah, it was fun. So it was a a good process, You know. I learned a lot about um wildlife, and also a lot about myself, You know when you're when you're going for those last couple of points, and and you know, battling yourself in your head, and
00:04:43.390 --> 00:04:48.810
Preston Taylor: you know self-confidence and everything like that it's amazing what it brings up in you.
00:04:49.360 --> 00:05:05.049
Preston Taylor: Wow, yeah, that is great. And then um. So from there you you were still out East. How did you end up in California? No. So So when I started school I moved out West, and I was going to community college. I went to community college for um four years I would take.
00:05:05.140 --> 00:05:32.969
Preston Taylor: I take a couple of classes, and then, if I could get a seasonal wildlife technician job somewhere in the country, I would take that and take a semester off. And so it was kind of bouncing around from um seasonal wildlife jobs back to school. So it took me about four years to get enough credits to transfer, and then I transferred up here to where I live, now up in humble county to humble State University. It's now a cal Polytech. Um, but um transfer here. Finish my degree here,
00:05:32.980 --> 00:05:36.090
Preston Taylor: and I've stayed here, you know, since I graduated. Yeah,
00:05:36.620 --> 00:05:48.590
leeburton: wow, that that's incredible. And is that where you got into, you know, black bears? Or how did that
00:05:48.650 --> 00:05:56.990
Preston Taylor: like really focus on bears? But um, you know where I live now is one of the highest densities of black bears on the continent.
00:05:57.000 --> 00:06:18.050
Preston Taylor: Um, we we have a ton of bears. It's really cool. Um! And so, just being thrown into this world with all these bears. It's hard to, you know, operate in the natural world without interacting with them. And so I did sort of really start focusing on them and and spending a lot of time around them and tracking them and learning about them. Yeah,
00:06:18.950 --> 00:06:24.249
leeburton: yeah, that that's really cool. And and then the hunting part came later. I know because you're a bow hunter, right?
00:06:24.400 --> 00:06:29.859
Preston Taylor: Yeah. Well, yeah, I don't. When I moved out west I started hunting too so kind of like.
00:06:30.720 --> 00:06:47.329
Preston Taylor: I think I was twenty-four when I went back to started going back to college, and so right about right kind of around the same time. So I I started going to college. I started doing the cyber tracker certifications, and I started hunting. Yeah,
00:06:48.070 --> 00:07:05.579
Preston Taylor: okay, And and this took Um, I I just happened over a period of years, right? So it's just constant learning process. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Um. The you know. Yeah, school took me because especially because I was bouncing back and forth between seasonal jobs. You know, it was like
00:07:05.900 --> 00:07:10.810
Preston Taylor: eight years or nine years, or something to get my bachelors, and then um
00:07:10.940 --> 00:07:14.029
Preston Taylor: the cyber tracker process when I
00:07:14.180 --> 00:07:24.160
Preston Taylor: when I first started that, you know i'd already been track tracking for four or five years. Um, but to. I get a senior certificate.
00:07:24.170 --> 00:07:36.430
Preston Taylor: Took me nine years of doing the evaluations. Um: Yeah. And then yeah, through all that whole time to you know, learning about hunting, and you know Um, that whole process. Yeah,
00:07:36.520 --> 00:08:06.509
leeburton: yeah, just we may talk more about cyber track or later. But uh, for people listening at the senior. Correct me if i'm wrong here. But you have to excel and get the highest certification, both tracking and trailing right? Yeah. So it's one hundred percent on a track and signed specialist evaluation and one hundred on the trailing special evaluation. Yup: Yeah. And I can attest that is exceedingly difficult. Um: Yeah, Which is so some people might be listening, thinking, Wow, you know, nine years and all that's like, yeah, that
00:08:06.520 --> 00:08:25.859
Preston Taylor: that's um, you know. Some people do it in less. But I I've heard stories. People have done it longer. Right? So yeah, it's it's, you know. Everybody It's It's a different journey for everyone. So you know some people. Yeah, Some people
00:08:25.950 --> 00:08:30.059
Preston Taylor: get there quicker than others, but it's all a journey, you know, and and
00:08:30.480 --> 00:08:44.159
Preston Taylor: it's not like you're arrive anywhere at the end, you know there's still so much to learn, you know,
00:08:44.169 --> 00:09:11.949
leeburton: that you should go out with in California, you know. Trailing bears, and he's not really well. I don't know. I don't want to say he's not a bow guy, but he's gone, Guy, I think, but nonetheless I was. He. You need to go with this. So um, Anyway, I'm going to mention that to him again if I chat again. But okay, thanks. Yeah, I think he. I think he said one time that he's a good tracker. Or, he said, he's a really good at identifying sign because he likes to trap beavers, you know. Yeah, Yeah, yeah,
00:09:11.960 --> 00:09:31.479
leeburton: Yeah, you know I I was interesting. I found out more about him. Um, I I I was wondering about that. But then, yeah, his dad was or not. I don't know if his dad was a trapper, but he did a lot of trappings, kid, I mean, even like you know, small rodents and muskrats, and I think he really does know it. So he'd probably find it really interesting. But yeah, there was some.
00:09:31.850 --> 00:09:39.099
Preston Taylor: Go ahead. No, no, that that was it. There was a really interesting study done by Um, This guy Keller and
00:09:39.290 --> 00:09:59.139
Preston Taylor: he interviewed um a bunch of different groups of people, and he had a whole series of questions about animal natural history and Um. The The groups that scored the highest in animal natural history and behavior knowledge were um burders and trappers,
00:09:59.230 --> 00:10:03.569
Preston Taylor: and uh the groups that scored the lowest were um
00:10:03.580 --> 00:10:27.340
leeburton: trophy hunters and um anti-hunters. It's kind of a funny dichotomy that is, but it's you know as you know it's probably not surprising right from, because if you're a trapper you you gotta look for all this sign. You gotta know habitat right? You have to know where to find animals, and you know burders are constantly, and I teach bird language. You know you're You're constantly, I mean before I did it. It's like I.
00:10:27.350 --> 00:10:40.559
Preston Taylor: Now Now I look back. I like I wasn't paying attention anything, you know. So, and I think both of those groups of people are. They're just always in the woods, you know, and very observing, you know, which is really what it's all about.
00:10:40.840 --> 00:11:02.460
leeburton: Yeah, I I was just when you're talking about density of bears. I ran another program just south of the border. Here. It's been a few years ago now, but and and I guess supposedly has the highest and one of the very highest in sees of black bears uh, just across in Mexico and the Borough Mountain, so we'd love to get you down there. It's tough, substrate, but obviously bears, you know you can, as you well know you can uh
00:11:02.470 --> 00:11:06.859
leeburton: trail or track in other ways uh besides just leaving footprints
00:11:06.870 --> 00:11:26.220
Preston Taylor: well, and and in those desert environments like in the Southwest, it can be really good when when the substrate dusty, if it's been dry for a while. Um! It can be really good trailing, for with those kind of animals it's crazy crazy like bears used to be. You're in Texas, and you know that whole hill country used to be covered in bears.
00:11:26.230 --> 00:11:32.089
Preston Taylor: Um! They They used to be a lot of bears, you know, throughout part of this country where they're not anymore. Yeah,
00:11:32.100 --> 00:11:51.810
leeburton: yeah, it's a good point. I've read those accounts, and I grew up there and um, you know, even occasionally we get a few stragglers up there. Um guys like Joan Evans, whom you know, you know. Chronicle that so that that brings up a a a couple of questions, though, is in your own words. And and again for people it might be new to this or not that familiar.
00:11:51.860 --> 00:11:56.949
leeburton: How would you distinguish or differentiate between tracking versus trailing.
00:11:58.070 --> 00:12:04.040
Preston Taylor: Um, I mean there isn't really a difference.
00:12:04.110 --> 00:12:05.190
Preston Taylor: But
00:12:07.140 --> 00:12:11.579
Preston Taylor: we we sort of created a difference, um,
00:12:11.700 --> 00:12:17.270
Preston Taylor: you know, bringing the cyber tracker system over here to America because it comes from South Africa.
00:12:17.760 --> 00:12:21.319
Preston Taylor: And but really, before that showed up here,
00:12:21.480 --> 00:12:51.359
Preston Taylor: the tracking community in in the States was really focused on identifying tracks, you know, and and looking at them and interpreting sign and things like that. There were people that were trailing and locating animals by actually following the the tracks and and search and rescue people Border patrol that we're locating people from following um tracks and things like that. Um, so. But but most of the wildlife trackers, you know, just just considered going out.
00:12:51.370 --> 00:13:04.859
Preston Taylor: I'm looking at a track track, and so we kind of push this word trailing just to differentiate the the of trying to locate an animal um through the interpretation of their signs, you know, following it right
00:13:04.870 --> 00:13:23.240
Preston Taylor: and and there's not really a difference, you know um. But but there is a difference in maybe the intention of someone who says they're going trailing. Specifically it is to find fresh sign and follow that to the animal, you know, at the end of the trail.
00:13:24.000 --> 00:13:30.160
leeburton: Yeah, I find that fascinating. Obviously they go hand in hand. And you know, for instance, Um,
00:13:30.390 --> 00:13:42.339
leeburton: my students, I mean the course is predominantly about, you know, in the terms you define it tracking, you know, identifying um, And from a scientific perspective obviously that has a lot of uses. Um.
00:13:42.390 --> 00:13:54.699
leeburton: But I I personally um really attracted to trailing. And what is it? The greatest dance? Is that right? Is that the document? Yeah, I mean, you know, just our human ancestry. And uh, was it? Uh,
00:13:54.710 --> 00:14:13.990
leeburton: uh Levenberg says, you know that it's like the the oldest science, you know, or maybe an art and a science. But it's just amazing. These guys following for eight hours, um, you know, and I've I've heard store. I I know You've been on trails for hours, right? And I've heard, you know, Casey Mcfarland talk about that and some others. And
00:14:14.020 --> 00:14:22.390
leeburton: yeah, that's just it must be incredible experience.
00:14:22.470 --> 00:14:33.769
Preston Taylor: Um, you know, trailing really puts the the identification and and interpretation of tracks into um into play, and it into like a rhythm and a movement. So if you're
00:14:33.780 --> 00:14:42.920
Preston Taylor: following a bear through the woods and looking out into the forest ahead of you, you see a bark move from a tree.
00:14:43.140 --> 00:15:13.120
Preston Taylor: How quickly and how far away can you interpret the that as being either um a bare camium feeding or porcupine candy in a feeding, or an elk or deer, antler rub, or just another tree that fell, and and you know, scrape the bark off right, because if you can, if you can distinguish, bear fresh, bare candy and feeding way out in the distance from all those other potential signs that can keep you on the trail um faster and more efficiently right
00:15:13.130 --> 00:15:13.790
00:15:13.800 --> 00:15:43.789
Preston Taylor: And And so when you're trailing, you are identifying and interpreting tracks and sign. But you're just doing it rapidly, sometimes a little bit unconsciously, um, and and you're not really like diving down into the details that we often do when when people look at tracks and sign, you know, in a mud puddle, or or um in a sandy road. You know it. It's very quick, you know. Interpretations, and if you need to take close look, you can. But it's really neat because it just puts that in
00:15:43.800 --> 00:15:44.910
to play right.
00:15:44.970 --> 00:15:54.559
leeburton: It's like a mobile tracking
00:15:54.820 --> 00:16:08.630
leeburton: one of the things that try to get across and have a great example of it can be such a time saver, you know, and if you're on either you're hunting or you know Job function, You're trying to find a wounded animal, or a a poach, or whatever the case is.
00:16:08.640 --> 00:16:24.800
leeburton: I I you know, before I start learning this is I. I didn't realize how many strategies or tactics there were, and how valuable they are, you know, and how much you save your time, or making a mistake, or whatever. And then the other thought that comes, you know. Uh, from today's world.
00:16:24.820 --> 00:16:54.809
leeburton: It just uses a different part of our brain. Obviously tracking does, too. They both to. And you know, pattern matching, which is all like this artificial intelligence, you know. So sometimes i'm telling people, I say, Well, we actually are artificial intelligence. So we have that built in right. I mean it's in a pattern track. You can learn this right, and it's It's something that maybe a lot of it. Well, we we do use constantly, you know, like we evaluate city landscapes. Right? We're walking around, or a dangerous situation. We've seen something else is dangerous, but in terms of nature. We don't do that that much
00:16:54.820 --> 00:17:00.140
you more. But it was absolutely essential to our survival at one point in time. Right?
00:17:01.760 --> 00:17:02.810
Preston Taylor: Yeah.
00:17:02.900 --> 00:17:06.040
leeburton: So uh just based on that.
00:17:06.349 --> 00:17:23.540
leeburton: Can you maybe state some other things? You're a biologist, right? You're a trained biologist. Why is trailing an important skill? Um, And it's also, you know, I think fun, or you certainly seem to enjoy it. But you know what are some, I I guess practical aspects of it.
00:17:24.470 --> 00:17:25.829
Preston Taylor: Um!
00:17:26.339 --> 00:17:31.589
Preston Taylor: So I guess that there's two ways to think about it. Um
00:17:32.910 --> 00:17:39.319
Preston Taylor: track tracking and trailing with snow, and then tracking and trailing um without snow,
00:17:39.420 --> 00:17:41.950
Preston Taylor: and when there's snow cover,
00:17:42.070 --> 00:17:44.940
Preston Taylor: you know. You can follow um
00:17:45.250 --> 00:17:51.919
Preston Taylor: almost any sized animal that moves around across the top of the snow. I mean back. When I lived in New England.
00:17:52.000 --> 00:17:58.069
Preston Taylor: I remember Josh Roberts and I followed this Southern fine squirrel
00:17:58.100 --> 00:18:07.649
Preston Taylor: uh across the landscape, or was it northern? It might have been a northern fine school. I can't remember at this point. But um! When we we fall we were able to fall this fine squirrel
00:18:07.660 --> 00:18:37.620
Preston Taylor: from tree to tree, and because the snow was um on the branches we could see which which branches that the squirrel was using, and and we followed the squirrel to different clocks that it was feeding on, and and things like that. And and so when there's snow, you know, as a biologist when there's snow um, you can obviously get a lot of information about smaller animals. Um, you know martens and fissures and bobcats and things that might be very challenging, if not impossible, to trail without.
00:18:37.630 --> 00:18:38.580
00:18:38.970 --> 00:18:41.090
Preston Taylor: And then and then without snow
00:18:41.100 --> 00:18:59.820
Preston Taylor: depending on the conditions of the substrate. Um, you know. Obviously we can follow a lot of the big animals um, and then it just depends on the conditions of the substrate down how small it is, but being able to follow any of these animals Um! As they go about their lives through the woods.
00:18:59.830 --> 00:19:12.100
Preston Taylor: It gives you an an insight into the Uh behavior and um interaction of this animal with its environment and with other animals. That uh, it's difficult
00:19:12.130 --> 00:19:19.540
Preston Taylor: to um to develop that relationship and understanding the animal any other way. I mean,
00:19:20.290 --> 00:19:34.700
Preston Taylor: aside from you know, when you get to watch an animal uh It's pretty cool, and if you're in an environment that allows you to watch animals for long periods of time, then you can get a lot of this information to like like um or loss. Murray
00:19:34.910 --> 00:19:54.190
Preston Taylor: W. Um. On one of his um studies that he published was the Diet of elk and a camera. Where this was, I think it was outside of Yellowstone, but he would spend all day um observing and L. Curd feeding, and Then he would go over there and crawl around and try to find the plants they nibbled on, you know, and and
00:19:54.200 --> 00:19:58.710
Preston Taylor: you can do that by watching animals and open environments. But but if if the
00:19:58.780 --> 00:20:07.020
Preston Taylor: forest is too thick to see the animal, or if they're too skittish to let you watch them for very long. You're not going to be able to get these kind of observations.
00:20:07.290 --> 00:20:36.819
Preston Taylor: And and so there's really no other way to learn about an animal so intimately than by following and literally walking in its footsteps. Right you You walk step by step where this animal is going. Through the forest. You can see the plants they nibbled off, or you can see where they've chased a deer, you know, if you're following them outline or snuck up on embedded Big Horn sheep. Um, you get to see where the animal lays down and rest, and how that changes with the weather patterns, or
00:20:36.830 --> 00:20:46.699
Preston Taylor: um, if it's feeling pressure by other predators or humans. Um, you get to see their scent, Martin behavior. You get to smell the animal. So there's this. It
00:20:47.190 --> 00:20:55.109
Preston Taylor: develops this intimate relationship with the natural world. That's very difficult to get any other way. And so, as a biologist,
00:20:55.230 --> 00:21:01.239
Preston Taylor: having that foundation um allows me to,
00:21:01.340 --> 00:21:11.410
Preston Taylor: uh, you know, confront a a question or hypothesis, or a problem or a management goal, you know. With this,
00:21:11.420 --> 00:21:41.390
Preston Taylor: you know kind of alternative, you know um relationship with these animals, right? So like I. I work as an ungulate biologist in the euro tribe right now, and so we we do elk and dear um conservation work, and I've spent a lot of time with with these elk and and deer in these hills, following them around. And so it it just gives me, you know, a a broader knowledge of how they behave, and and thinking about conservation of them. And um, you know, just helps in that way helps guide that.
00:21:41.400 --> 00:21:42.490
Preston Taylor: Yeah, Yeah.
00:21:43.300 --> 00:21:59.529
leeburton: Well, that's beautiful. Um! I I ran a program with a Casey Mcfarlane few years ago in Belize, and after we were doing this, one of the Belize Rangers kind of broken English, but he said it just like you did, he said. It's literally like you're touching the animal,
00:21:59.570 --> 00:22:09.289
leeburton: you know, when you're I mean you know It's like you're with them, because you see everything that they do, and they can. You do something like that? You described it beautifully, but
00:22:09.340 --> 00:22:15.039
leeburton: you don't really get it, you know. And then when you see it, and I didn't even think about it as you were speaking. But it's kind of like your
00:22:15.050 --> 00:22:30.380
leeburton: it's in three D. Too, like you were actually trailing something through trees up above you.
00:22:35.810 --> 00:22:41.390
leeburton: Okay? Sorry. I thought we lost you second press and go ahead. Yeah, I think you're Mike. Let's see. Let me uh.
00:22:45.180 --> 00:22:52.400
Preston Taylor: So you know, for biologists, too, and and managers. There's other ways that you can use trailing
00:22:52.410 --> 00:23:06.429
Preston Taylor: to collect um, you know, Dna, from fur or from scat uh, you can record habitat use. You can record behavior interactions with with predators and and pray and things like that. So there's a lot of behavioral information you get
00:23:06.440 --> 00:23:27.080
Preston Taylor: um as well as There's a lot of studies that are using game cameras now, and so you can use trailing to help guide where to place those cameras. You know what's What's the most likely place to capture the species and the behavior that you get. You're going for, you know. So tracking really plays a role with that and can help guide that, because I know
00:23:27.440 --> 00:23:35.450
Preston Taylor: I know of. You know, camera studies that people people just put out randomly. You know what I mean. And you're missing a lot out there like that.
00:23:35.650 --> 00:23:44.139
leeburton: Yeah, I I guess you can feel in the missing pieces right? So many gaps trail cameras not going to get. I'm also reminded to, as you speak, that
00:23:44.150 --> 00:23:59.920
leeburton: in addition, just pure biology or science. Um. And again, I have some students who are, you know, game wardens, or let's say, veterinarian forensics, and I've got one one Guy wrote me in the last master, saying that you know, once he started learning this um,
00:23:59.930 --> 00:24:14.999
leeburton: you know, in studying the course, and then on his own, he actually pursued a guy who was in your neck of the woods, Connecticut um over a mile through the forest and caught the guy in charge him to wildlife crime and killed a bobcat illegally. Oh, wow, yeah, yeah, it's.
00:24:15.160 --> 00:24:42.749
Preston Taylor: I mean, the possibilities are just, you know, really up to your imagination. Um. But but it's yeah, I mean, tracking has been used by border patrol and and game wardens. For, you know, before we had a lot of the technology, the old school field biologists, you know they were. They had to be good trackers, you know. Um, Yeah. So uh, if you again, somebody comes to you, uh, you know, just out of the blue, and says, Hey,
00:24:42.760 --> 00:24:48.810
leeburton: I want to learn about trailing. How do you go about it? How would you advise them? And let's say you know they didn't have.
00:24:48.910 --> 00:25:00.870
Preston Taylor: You know it couldn't take a cyber track, or you know evaluation or something like that. What? What would you tell them
00:25:00.930 --> 00:25:15.619
Preston Taylor: either a patch of public land. Um City County Park, or National Forest, Blm. Um, or a a a a ranch that a friend lets you on. You know where where it's legal for you to um. Go off trail right,
00:25:15.690 --> 00:25:33.750
Preston Taylor: and you need some kind of um large animal there, like at least a deer, sized animal deer, feral hogs, you know. Elk moose, things like that um are are good animals to start with. Large emulates, hooved animals, um even. You know cattle horses, you know they they're good animals to start with,
00:25:33.760 --> 00:25:49.270
Preston Taylor: and what I what I tell people to do is um just walk around this place until you see an animal, you see a deer, or you see a hog right, and if and if they run away great, if they don't, run away, watch them till they walk out of view,
00:25:49.280 --> 00:25:58.839
Preston Taylor: and then go over um to the spot they were standing. Find their tracks, and and try to follow them. You know. Um, I think that's a great way to start, because
00:25:58.850 --> 00:26:22.329
Preston Taylor: you need to be on fresh tracks. The the of the trail is the easier. It's going to be to actually catch up to that animal, and at first it can be difficult to age. You know what's fresh and what's old, and what's too old to follow, and so, if you start with, you know um tracks, you just saw an animal standing in It's a great place to begin, and the animals not too far away. So that's a a good way to start um.
00:26:22.430 --> 00:26:41.450
Preston Taylor: And then, once you've got a little practice, maybe an aging tracks, or or following them like that. Um, you can. You can just walk around until you cut tracks that you think are fresh, and and try to follow them, and a couple of um, you know. Considerations to keep in mind are uh what's the quality of the substrate?
00:26:41.460 --> 00:26:51.580
Preston Taylor: Um, because you're not going to be able to start on a set of tracks and catch up to an animal um in any substrate across any condition of the ground, you know. Just
00:26:51.590 --> 00:27:11.199
Preston Taylor: easy to example would be um when the ground freezes right, if it's frozen solid like a rock, I mean. I've seen a her to out run across ground like that, and you're hard pressed to find any sign. Right? So um consider what are what's the substrate and and start looking at conditions for when
00:27:11.210 --> 00:27:25.859
Preston Taylor: it's easier, and when it's harder, maybe when it's um when it's really dry and dusty. Uh it's easier, maybe, when it rains, and the these are really moist, you know it's It's easier, maybe, if it um.
00:27:25.870 --> 00:27:47.559
Preston Taylor: If the leaves are dropping in the fall and covering the tracks, it's really hard, you know. So just things to consider, or how difficult is the substrate Ha! You know, to follow the trail. Um! And And then just uh just practice. Um! But really you want to be on the freshest tracks you can. Um, because this will be the easiest to see, and the closest to the animal.
00:27:47.570 --> 00:27:57.960
Preston Taylor: And, um, you you just need to persevere and recognize that, like every skill uh, you're not going to be very good at it when you start right
00:27:57.970 --> 00:28:16.339
Preston Taylor: um like playing an instrument, you know nobody can pick up the guitar and just rip on it. You know what I mean. You have to put your the do your time and put your dues and learn the scales and and practice your chords, and, you know, Build up this skill set that you can put into to play later, and so it's the same thing with with tracking. It's
00:28:16.350 --> 00:28:26.680
Preston Taylor: it's, you know. Start when it's easy. Work on just following some tracks. Work on seeing difficult tracks, um work on finding the trail after you lose it,
00:28:26.690 --> 00:28:40.089
Preston Taylor: and you know, within you know, a few months. Um, certainly a couple of years. If you do this regularly, you know. You'll start to have some success, maybe catch up to animals. Um every now and again, and and build from there. Yeah,
00:28:40.310 --> 00:28:54.790
leeburton: yeah, And I I think it's evident by what you said that again, depending on where you live uh time of year can play into this as well right, and if I remember correctly where you are. And when you're out uh tracking, trailing bears, springtime is really good time.
00:28:54.800 --> 00:29:02.609
Preston Taylor: Yeah, Yeah, it it it, you know. Yeah, the substrate. It plays a a huge role in your ability to to find animal you.
00:29:02.730 --> 00:29:10.189
Preston Taylor: The other thing that plays a a very big role is is a person's intimate knowledge of the landscape and the behavior of those animals. So
00:29:10.450 --> 00:29:27.369
Preston Taylor: when you're learning and just across the board, obviously um, there are substrates that are going to be easier to follow tracks and and substrates that are going to be too difficult to follow tracks. And but when someone knows an area really well they can. They can make
00:29:27.380 --> 00:29:40.510
Preston Taylor: larger jumps across difficult, substrate, and and bigger leaps of um, like intuition of where they think the animals going to get back on the trail just because they know that area so well.
00:29:40.520 --> 00:29:50.839
Preston Taylor: But but definitely the start, and and in general the substrate, you know, is going to dictate whether or not you can find an animal or not. You know. Um. So where I am here. Yes, springtime
00:29:50.850 --> 00:30:10.650
Preston Taylor: it's excellent. It can be so good that you can catch up to bears, you know you start on a trail, and you can find them and and sneak up on them. It's pretty cool in the in the middle of the summer it can be very, very difficult, and and to to an extent impossible, to start on a fresh track and find that animal.
00:30:10.660 --> 00:30:27.969
leeburton: I guess. Um, that's where. Also, knowing the animal or the species, and being familiar with their behavior and habitats, they prefer, and time of year what they're feeding on, which obviously, you're going to learn that you trail, anyway. Uh, but if you know some of that ahead of time, I would think that's very helpful.
00:30:27.980 --> 00:30:46.789
Preston Taylor: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, definitely. Just basic. You know natural history information. What do they eat when is that? You know food available throughout the year. You know what what are their? You know what's driving them at this time of the year? When's their mating season that kind of stuff? Yeah. Just general biology information for sure it's very important. Yeah,
00:30:46.800 --> 00:30:56.170
leeburton: what about If you happen to live in an area? Let's say that's uh doesn't have any of those big animals, or you know, short on time What? Whatever the reason is, substrate? It's maybe tough.
00:30:56.180 --> 00:31:11.539
Preston Taylor: Have you tried, or do you recommend people cutting their own trail, you know. Uh, And if so, maybe describe that process and how that works. Yeah, that's That's great practice, you know, when when we're trailing, you know really what we're doing is, um!
00:31:12.050 --> 00:31:26.319
Preston Taylor: We're looking for disturbances in the distance, against the background of the forest, right and the quicker you can recognize those disturbances. You know the the faster that you or the more efficient you can move on the trail. I shouldn't see faster,
00:31:26.330 --> 00:31:51.400
Preston Taylor: um! And so, just for for practice. If you have ten minutes, or if you're in a location that's a little far from you know, big animals to practice on it. It's a great idea to walk through the woods, lay down a trail. You could do a big loop and come back to where you where you started, and and and then try to stay on your trail and just practice seeing that sign in the distance, Right? How far ahead can you see it
00:31:51.410 --> 00:31:57.470
Preston Taylor: step through different substrates, so it changes um, you know you can. You can.
00:31:57.480 --> 00:32:16.740
Preston Taylor: You can make it easy to start, and then you can make it more difficult as you as you're progressing but for sure. And what I do, too, is like, even when um the substrate gets really challenging, you know, if i'm driving around for work, and i'm driving in the mountains back here, and I jump a bear, or I jump a deer. Um! I'll get out of my truck,
00:32:16.750 --> 00:32:26.799
Preston Taylor: and i'll go. Look at where that animal went into the woods, and I might try to follow it, and and sometimes um! The substrate is so challenging that I can only
00:32:26.930 --> 00:32:41.770
Preston Taylor: positively stay on the trail for fifty yards, or maybe three hundred yards, until it peters out, and I can't be sure of where the animal went. But but I still practice that, because you know, it's good to just keep your eye sharp to see what it looks like.
00:32:41.780 --> 00:32:54.219
Preston Taylor: See a really fresh trail, even if it's difficult conditions, you know. Maybe maybe you can only see ten tracks in one hundred yards. But you know you got a hundred yards and really hard conditions, and it's it's all practice, you know. Yeah,
00:32:54.230 --> 00:33:07.800
leeburton: Yeah, no. I think that's good. I I've done some of that. And you know, like you said you, you're cutting your own trail. You can really market, dig your foot in, you know, as you're going. Um, you know, makes it easy at first, but then you also learn all kinds of things like about aging.
00:33:07.810 --> 00:33:37.800
Preston Taylor: You know what it looks like next day, what it looks like, or how quickly the you know, grass pops back up, you know it depends on all kinds things timing your weather, et cetera. Yeah. But yeah, something else I do, too, is when i'm just walking in the woods. I like to walk behind people because I I look at the tracks that they make, you know, and I look at the tracks actually bounce back or disappear, you know, even if it's difficult conditions. If i'm just working with someone like with my text or something, and they're walking in front of me. I'm always just kind of watching to see.
00:33:37.960 --> 00:34:07.939
Preston Taylor: Oh, man, it's really tough to see their tracks, even though they're right in front of me. You know
00:34:07.950 --> 00:34:10.480
Preston Taylor: it's great, you know. Great practice for sure.
00:34:10.790 --> 00:34:21.850
leeburton: Can you discuss, especially if someone gets um? You know better at this, and over time starts to become proficient, like you're saying, May probably takes years to really, you know, get good. But
00:34:22.440 --> 00:34:33.809
leeburton: there's also some ethics involved, I guess, in trailing for lack of a better term, or some, you know, Do's and don't? And can you talk about that? And you know, as regards to,
00:34:33.820 --> 00:34:53.210
leeburton: you know, trying to find animals getting close to them, disturbing them, not disturbing them, and and also just some dues. And Don't, because one of the goals is obviously, you know you want to get close to wildlife, and so I know in the cyber Track revival. There's some things that you know. If if you do this or that boy. They bust you right. So maybe you just speak to a few of those.
00:34:53.219 --> 00:34:57.110
Preston Taylor: Yeah. Um: yeah, I think you know. First off um,
00:34:57.960 --> 00:35:12.339
Preston Taylor: you know. I think it's important to consider that we are uh doing this, you know. Probably for fun. Um, probably for um, Maybe professional development. Um,
00:35:12.600 --> 00:35:30.409
Preston Taylor: but very few of us uh are gonna live and die from our tracking, you know. Skills um, especially those of us that are probably listening to this on a computer, you know. Um, we're not leaving a a true hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Right? So it it's not a life and desk situation.
00:35:30.420 --> 00:35:49.409
Preston Taylor: Um, So it is important to consider what what's our impact on the animal, And there's really obvious um times the year that you, you know. You probably wouldn't want to push an animal like where it gets really cold and really deep snow, and the deer yard up like those white tail winter yards, You know. You want to consider.
00:35:49.420 --> 00:35:58.970
Preston Taylor: You know what you know. If you get walk into there, What are you gonna do? Those animals Are You gonna make them run around um spend a lot of energy. Are you
00:35:58.980 --> 00:36:23.070
Preston Taylor: creating a trail that coyotes can then follow into there? You know what I mean. Um may. Maybe it's the opposite. Maybe it's during the hot, dry season. Um! And you're trailing animals and jumping them out of their um Shady cool beds in the middle of the day, when it's really hot, and there's no water, except for you know, two thousand feet below you, and they don't want to go back down there to get water so definitely want to consider um.
00:36:23.080 --> 00:36:31.009
Preston Taylor: You know what are the stresses to the animals at at this time of year, and what's your impact going to be because our goal is to catch up to them and and
00:36:31.040 --> 00:36:53.470
Preston Taylor: and our and our really the ultimate goal is to sneak up on the animal right without it. Um observing us. Um, which is very difficult to do, especially when you're dealing with animals that probably get hunted, You know. I mean most of the National Forests a lot of these big game animals are are are getting hunted. Um! They're not comfortable around people. If you were in Yellowstone or something like that, then they might be more comfortable, more tolerant. Right?
00:36:53.480 --> 00:37:05.129
Preston Taylor: Um. And there's your own safety factor, right? Especially. Yeah. And and there's definitely a safety factor. Um, There are very obvious.
00:37:05.140 --> 00:37:17.839
Preston Taylor: Some situations uh that. Um! You have to consider for safety like walking up on a grizzly bear that that's defending a carcass or or any bear with cubs. Um, but there's also less
00:37:17.850 --> 00:37:30.899
Preston Taylor: obvious, you know, situations. Um Elk moves, you know, when they have tabs, or will definitely defend them. Um, even dear, to an extent that you know I got bluffed and charged by a dough with phones. Um.
00:37:30.980 --> 00:38:00.970
Preston Taylor: And and so yeah, you want to consider safety. Um, and then you know for us in North America to safety involves, you know, ticks and tick-borne diseases. You know plants that I'll give you rashes, poison Oak poison ivy. Things like that um getting lost and and just operating when you're following an animals trail, you're not in places that people usually go, and you're going to be zigzagging, and and you know, swirling around and going down into dark tunnels and crawling around
00:38:00.980 --> 00:38:04.459
Preston Taylor: to the bushes. And all of a sudden you stand up, and you're like.
00:38:04.970 --> 00:38:33.960
Preston Taylor: Where is the truck, you know, right or huh? It's sunset, and I've been following this animal for five hours and four miles. So what am I going to do right? So just being prepared for that? Um! Keep an awareness of your surroundings, Maybe a headlamp, you know, having some things like that. I mean this one other thing. This is why to me trailing is um. I don't see my favorite, and I don't get to do near as much of it and substrate on it is tough, but
00:38:33.970 --> 00:39:03.739
leeburton: I just love it because it's all encompassing, I mean, include so many things from other skill sets, you know, and or bird language, your bird alarm, or you like, say, keep in track navigating right, and you know, being aware of your surround you the wind right, you know, knowing the direction. Obviously, if you're hunting, that's super important. It's just so many facets to it. And I mean I did a workshop with you last year, which is great, and and I've done a lot of backpacking before, and it's great. But when you go off you follow animals trail.
00:39:03.750 --> 00:39:32.509
leeburton: Gosh! You see so much more in terms of other animal sign and wildlife, and you know Nas beds, you know, whatever the case is that it. It's just. And again you can kind of lose yourself in it, You know, right where you are that can cause some problems or time a year, or whether, but it's just amazing it all the things that it I again I don't see one skill to one I would choose, but I mean I can't think of one where we actually learn more. If you,
00:39:32.520 --> 00:39:50.249
Preston Taylor: when you commit to falling in in Animals Trail and a lot of times I I find tracks by walking a hiking trail, or I'm walking in Old Road, or you know. And and so as i'm walking along, i'm kind of in this human mindset, you know, two feet walking upright.
00:39:50.260 --> 00:39:59.140
Preston Taylor: But when that animal leaves that that human road, or that human hiking trail and goes into the you know the forest or into the desert,
00:39:59.330 --> 00:40:13.390
Preston Taylor: you you literally and figuratively, Um, leave that the human, the anthropocentric world, and and enter into that Havelina, or that wild hog, or that bears world
00:40:13.710 --> 00:40:38.189
Preston Taylor: physically and mentally, because to to move quietly through the woods a lot of times you're crawling, You know these animals are are low to the ground, and so you have to get under bushes and and to to move efficiently. You have to move on their trail as well, and so And so you start to navigate the environment in a way that's not human. You know it. It. It is
00:40:38.200 --> 00:40:44.960
Preston Taylor: the way that the Havolina sees the desert, or is the way that the bear sees? You know the the bush,
00:40:45.020 --> 00:40:49.399
Preston Taylor: and and when you start to follow that trail long enough
00:40:49.440 --> 00:40:53.170
Preston Taylor: and and well enough that you don't have to think about the process.
00:40:53.440 --> 00:40:55.729
Preston Taylor: You you just kind of do it,
00:40:55.740 --> 00:41:15.130
Preston Taylor: and and you're not thinking any. And when you spend hours not thinking, crawling down a bears tunnel and and looking at what it's eating and smelling it, what it's smelling and laying down. And in the animal's bed. You shed this human. You know, um mindset that we're in all the time. It's a really unique
00:41:15.140 --> 00:41:24.150
Preston Taylor: perspective and and cool to just get into that different mindset, you know. And then what we do on. You know the cyber tracker evaluations is
00:41:24.410 --> 00:41:52.490
Preston Taylor: we're we're rating, You know people's ability to follow trails. But one of the things that we look at is um as the trail becomes more difficult to follow. Uh! Is the person still able to be aware of their surroundings? Do they still know where we are in relationship to where we started? Are they still paying attention to the bird songs and the bird alarm calls? Are they still aware of the wind direction. Because this is what we see happen is as the trail becomes more difficult. These
00:41:52.500 --> 00:41:56.510
Preston Taylor: other awareness levels shrink right
00:41:56.710 --> 00:42:16.260
Preston Taylor: until it becomes so challenging just to follow the tracks that someone get tunnel vision right? The tunnel vision, and they have no idea where they are in the woods anymore, you know. I remember, on one of my specialist evaluations we had been crawling in circles through Sam and Barry on these bear trails, and um!
00:42:16.270 --> 00:42:23.699
Preston Taylor: At the end of the day, Nate, you know. And Brian and Mark said, Okay, we're done, and uh, Nate looked at me and he goes.
00:42:24.000 --> 00:42:29.000
Preston Taylor: How do we go home, you know, just to see if I knew which way to even go, you know.
00:42:29.150 --> 00:42:42.469
leeburton: Let me get my Gps out. Yeah, Well, and and other stuff, too, like um. I I had an experience just my wife. She's biologist. We were on uh, actually our honeymoon in Italy,
00:42:42.480 --> 00:42:55.209
leeburton: and in this I I know most people wouldn't think of this, but there's a couple of national parks there that have uh bears, brown bears, and wolves. And so you know, we came up, and uh, I I guess
00:42:55.220 --> 00:43:09.590
leeburton: correct me if i'm wrong. But one of the cyber tracker metrics is, You come up to a ridge, you know, and you don't want to just pop up over right, or you come to a clearing. You're in the forest. You got to stop and pause right and take. Stop and take stock. Excuse me,
00:43:09.600 --> 00:43:22.000
leeburton: and she kind of wanted to plow through there or something, and I think she end up staying behind. But you know I stopped. It really worked, and then I waited and pause, you know. Make sure the winners right popped over, and sure enough, they're two wolves here,
00:43:22.010 --> 00:43:38.849
leeburton: you know it was awesome. And then they they kind of, you know. Do this thing? You know what's you know where'd you come from? And then they took off, you know, as you would expect. But it's just amazing when you follow those rules. You see so much more, and you know, if you like you said, If you don't get in that tunnel vision
00:43:38.860 --> 00:43:57.610
leeburton: which can lead to other issues as you describe that's cool. There's probably not too many walls there. No, there's not I. I saw another one in Romania on another trip, which is really just just a glance. You know it's really really fast, but it. It's amazing. This stuff really works, you know it it does. And um
00:43:57.620 --> 00:44:20.330
leeburton: I was. I've just blown away, and you know, doing that workshop with you last year, and you know i'm deal with Casey before, and it's It's incredible, You know. It really is an amazing skill. And a actually, if if you don't mind um, and I know you have a lot of them. But uh, do you mind sharing just uh maybe one or two kinda your favorite sort of, you know, trailing stories. And you know,
00:44:20.340 --> 00:44:24.769
Preston Taylor: Yeah, yeah, yeah, i'll tell you one from this summer in June.
00:44:24.930 --> 00:44:41.799
Preston Taylor: Uh I was in um North Idaho uh with uh Sandy Reed and Christy freeze um. We're doing some trailing. Where were you? Exactly the north? Idaho, That's as a as I want to get
00:44:41.810 --> 00:45:01.339
Preston Taylor: um. And actually Marcus Anderson was there, but left before this happened, and Melissa Weeks showed up um couple of days after. But anyway, we're we're practicing trailing, You know that's what we're there for, and we're up a road in the truck just looking for fresh tracks, and um Sandy, looking out the window, said,
00:45:01.350 --> 00:45:14.380
Preston Taylor: Oh, Hey, there's a pretty fresh dough and fawn trail here, I said. Oh, let's look at it. You know we wanted to really focus on bears and and bigger animals, I think elk and moose. But we this is really fresh, and so we decided to look at it.
00:45:14.410 --> 00:45:18.729
Preston Taylor: Um! The The road we were driving in was a dirt road
00:45:19.120 --> 00:45:33.990
Preston Taylor: Paralleling the road was a um recent logging operation. Right so for about three hundred yards it was pretty clear, and then there was forest behind that, and then a mountain going up behind there, and the deer tracks were going into that um logged area. They're very fresh,
00:45:34.000 --> 00:45:50.450
Preston Taylor: and I asked Sandy if she wanted to follow them, and and she said that she did so. We parked the truck, grabbed our stuff for the day. Um, because you never know what's gonna happen when you're trailing. Take your stick all your stuff, and and started going. And um Sandy was um
00:45:50.460 --> 00:46:04.920
Preston Taylor: doing really well at following these deer tracks, you know, um dear, can go from being super easy to follow, and in a couple of steps be almost impossible, you know. And and when you're moving well on a trail
00:46:04.930 --> 00:46:11.799
Preston Taylor: um, it creates um efficiency, and and it allows you to move quietly right
00:46:11.830 --> 00:46:32.870
Preston Taylor: when you're struggling on a trail. Oftentimes you just make more noise. So so when someone's moving well on the trail, it it's just quieter and and smoother, and there's less disturbance, you know, to the in the environment. So, because Sandy was following this trail really well, we moved across this um patch of clear cut um quickly and quietly,
00:46:32.880 --> 00:46:39.540
Preston Taylor: and as we came into the edge of the woods uh the hill kind of dipped down, and there was a a big pond
00:46:39.550 --> 00:46:53.470
Preston Taylor: and um she wasn't sure there was two game paths going around the pond, and she wasn't sure which way the deer went. So she just took the left one, and as we got down into this cedar flat she found some deer tracks right, so we knew we were on the right one,
00:46:53.480 --> 00:47:08.520
Preston Taylor: and when someone is is following the trail. Well, um! I don't have to pay attention to the tracks as much I can. I can be paid attention to the the broader picture, and I can be looking for animals, or I can be looking for the animal side way up in the distance.
00:47:08.530 --> 00:47:25.390
Preston Taylor: And so because I've Sandy was following the trail so well, I I I was looking out ahead, and as we came down into this cedar flat across the pond I I caught movement. Actually, what I first saw was the texture of an animals firm,
00:47:25.400 --> 00:47:39.159
Preston Taylor: which is the texture of an animals, for often is different than the surrounding environment, and that that's one of the things I key into when i'm looking for animals. So I saw this soft texture. Um! And then I saw a little bit of movement,
00:47:39.190 --> 00:47:45.479
Preston Taylor: and I could see kind of the general color was brown and um. We were in grizzly country,
00:47:45.490 --> 00:48:00.559
Preston Taylor: and so I didn't know if I was looking at um. The grizzly bear a uh brown color, black bear um a moose, or maybe maybe even an elk. But it didn't look right, you know quite the right color for an elk. Um. So I gave
00:48:00.570 --> 00:48:22.900
Preston Taylor: Sandy and Christy. We have a bunch of different signals, for when we see an animal, if we see a potentially dangerous animal. So I gave them the little signal Right? Um, that there's maybe a dangerous animal near us, you know, and everybody froze, and I kind of I kind of signaled, you know, to look that way right? And and they looked, and they could see the animal, and and
00:48:23.220 --> 00:48:32.710
Preston Taylor: we could We could hear. We could hear kind of tearing noises, and and this weird, crunching noise, and then we saw the animals head come up right,
00:48:33.030 --> 00:48:48.820
Preston Taylor: and a big big chunk of something with it. But when the animals had come up we could see that it was a bear, and we could see the dished out, You know nose of a grizzly right? And so so we knew it was a bear. We knew it was a grizzly uh. The animal was probably
00:48:48.830 --> 00:48:59.870
Preston Taylor: fifty yards away from us, and we figured out very quickly that um the bear was feeding on a car and and tearing at the skin and the muscle and crunching bones.
00:48:59.960 --> 00:49:18.769
Preston Taylor: You don't want to be too close to that. Yeah, yeah. And then we also figured out that behind that there was a bigger bear in the brush, just walking around, back and forth and and vocalizing to this bear. And so this is June, which is the peak of the of of Um blackber Endlers grizzly bears mating season.
00:49:18.780 --> 00:49:34.260
Preston Taylor: So so we had a a salve feeding on the carcass of an animal, and then a a bore behind her in the bushes, just, you know, courting her right, because bears take a lot of courtship to me, and so he's just vocalizing to her and stuff. So the whole time.
00:49:34.270 --> 00:49:52.000
Preston Taylor: Um! The wind was in our favor. It's blowing from the bears towards us, but we we bunched up really close together, and we all had our bear spray out, and we're just watching them. And I was kind of, you know, in that situation you have a couple of options. You could sneak away, because it bears didn't know we were there. Um! Or you could.
00:49:52.010 --> 00:50:10.249
Preston Taylor: You could stay to watch them um and see what happens, and we wanted to kind of let it play out, so so we just we watched them, and we got to watch this bare feed on this carcass for um about twenty minutes a good long time, and until I felt the the hairs on the back of my neck kind of stand up when the wind shifted
00:50:10.260 --> 00:50:20.210
Preston Taylor: and the wind shifted right at the back of us and drifted slowly over to that bear. Her head came up the instant like the wind got over to her head came up,
00:50:20.220 --> 00:50:32.149
Preston Taylor: and you could see her smelling, you know, and she just turned and bolted into the woods away from us when her head came up, and she smelled this. That was like the moment where I didn't know it was going to happen right. She got to come towards us or go away.
00:50:32.160 --> 00:50:40.599
Preston Taylor: She just turned and bolted the big bear. I don't know if he knew it was going on, either, but he fall on her, too, and so they went all. They went back in the woods, and
00:50:40.610 --> 00:50:55.099
Preston Taylor: I know our hearts are pounding. But we were like, Okay, cool. Let's back out of here. Um, you know that was pretty sweet. We we got back to the trucks We drove up, you know, a few miles to be totally away from the area, and then we like got out and kind of decompressed and talked about how cool that was.
00:50:55.530 --> 00:51:03.560
Preston Taylor: We were following um a freshly, a freshly born deerf on a dough, and her new one fought him, and the the the fawn tracks were tiny,
00:51:03.590 --> 00:51:12.870
Preston Taylor: and we we hypothesize that. Maybe the bears had killed that font because it, you know that was right where the trail was going,
00:51:12.880 --> 00:51:27.379
Preston Taylor: so we we, and if it was a for a de a deer phone, it wouldn't take it bear very long to eat. Yeah. So we we decided to give those bears the whole day and um nine hours later, walk back in there to see what they were eating right.
00:51:27.390 --> 00:51:47.140
Preston Taylor: So this time we parked the truck and um the whole way across the clear cut. We're making noise, Hey, Bear, hey? There's, you know, stepping on sticks and loud stuff, and stopping and talking, and we got to the top of the hill where it goes down to the pond, and we stood there for five minutes, just talking and making noise.
00:51:47.150 --> 00:51:54.110
Preston Taylor: And we're like, okay, you know, they're probably not here right? So so we drop down onto the right side of the pond at this time,
00:51:54.170 --> 00:52:13.760
Preston Taylor: and as we're approaching the thicket where the bears were, we're about this. Now we're a little closer. We're about forty yards away from it. The sow jumps up, makes a bunch of woof, and then runs away from us, and the board jumps up to, and he runs a little ways. But then he turns around and he starts walking,
00:52:15.170 --> 00:52:34.849
Preston Taylor: you know, and so we're all like Well, hey, you know, you know. Hey, we're people. We just start backing out right court tape. It's like Here's spray in front of us, just backing out, you know. Walked, you know, four hundred yards back backwards to the car. Got in, and we were like jeez we didn't think they would stay there the whole time we walked in yelling, so we left,
00:52:34.860 --> 00:52:50.870
Preston Taylor: and um! The next day we got up, and we were trying to decide if we should give them more time, or if we should just go in there to see what they were doing, and and we decided to pull up and and see what it felt like. And so we pulled up into the truck, and we got out, and um! I can't remember.
00:52:51.150 --> 00:53:08.059
Preston Taylor: What did it sound what it sounded like before when the bears are there. But the next morning, when we pulled up, there were birds singing, and we saw a turkey in the clear cut, like near where the bears had been, and it just felt different, right? And we're like, okay. I think we can go in there, you know, this time.
00:53:08.120 --> 00:53:12.899
Preston Taylor: So we This time we did the same thing. We were just making a ton of noise walking in.
00:53:12.910 --> 00:53:29.200
Preston Taylor: We get down to the thicket. We're making lots of noise, um, and nothing happens, and we walk up on the scene, and um! The bear had been feeding on an outc that that they caught, you know, probably right before we got there the day before. So us following the dough and fawn
00:53:29.210 --> 00:53:36.899
Preston Taylor: and the bears killing the help, calf, or just total coincidence, you know, and we happen to same place the same time. Yeah. And and
00:53:36.910 --> 00:53:54.759
Preston Taylor: these two bears it was so cool. I mean, they They dug a huge crater in the earth to to bury. You know the carcass while they were feeding on on the calf, and there was a couple of beds nearby, and a couple of piles of droppings, all that was left from the calf was um part of one job
00:53:54.770 --> 00:54:01.899
Preston Taylor: um the four lower legs um part of the hip,
00:54:02.420 --> 00:54:15.639
Preston Taylor: and I think that's it. Everything else was eaten. Hide the entire spinal column, the skull, the stomach contents everything else was. It was incredible. Um.
00:54:15.650 --> 00:54:34.760
Preston Taylor: And so they were caching it in effect. Yeah, yeah, they they were caching it, but they weren't they didn't leave. They were sleeping like right next to it. They had a couple of bare beds right next to it, and then they also had a big pile where they had dug earth logs and covered up the the calf, you know, in in between feeding bouts. Yeah
00:54:34.770 --> 00:54:52.799
Preston Taylor: and and um. And when we got there the room, the little bits of remains they weren't covered anymore. So that was another signal. They probably weren't coming back to feed on it. Right? So so then we decided. Well, here's where you know two grizzlies or let's let's do some trailing. Let's practice grizzly trailing, you know, and
00:54:52.810 --> 00:55:11.570
Preston Taylor: we figured out where the bears had left, and and following the Bear trail can be Um! There's times when it's walking through like really high. You know fresh plant growth that you can see. You can see the trail for one hundred yards. It's super obvious. And then times where it's really subtle, and you're looking for little scuffs.
00:55:11.580 --> 00:55:21.859
Preston Taylor: And this trail was was a mixture of difficult and easy. There was some plant growth that was flagging to help keep us on. Sometimes there was soft enough dirt to leave
00:55:21.870 --> 00:55:38.560
Preston Taylor: tracks, but there's also long stretches of very hard just cedar, you know, for us with no plant growth where we couldn't see any trail, and we'd have to, you know, Predict the route and try to pick up a track farther ahead. So as we're following these two grizzly from that feeding site
00:55:38.630 --> 00:55:51.340
Preston Taylor: Um, we came out into a big clearing, and on the other side of the clearing was a really dense dark Se. Your forest, and the wind from that cedar forest was blowing towards us right
00:55:51.930 --> 00:55:59.449
Preston Taylor: inside the cedar forest, too far away to see us. There was a dear snorting,
00:55:59.680 --> 00:56:10.400
Preston Taylor: and and we talked about whether or not that deer was snorting at the grizzlies, you know, and um
00:56:10.620 --> 00:56:16.059
Preston Taylor: I what we we had two options either to fall, keep following the grizzly's trail,
00:56:16.070 --> 00:56:35.779
Preston Taylor: or to try to sneak around over to where that deer was snorting, and see if the bears were there, you know, and in hindsight I wish that we had tried to sneak over there that that deer was, but I I wanted us to, you know. Stay with the trail, you know, because that's kind of the the physical sign, right? And um.
00:56:35.790 --> 00:56:48.490
Preston Taylor: So we stayed with the trail and we ended up following them, maybe another kilometer to where they had bedded down for the night. And then from those beds the the grizzly took us right over to where that deer had been snorting,
00:56:48.500 --> 00:57:04.220
Preston Taylor: and then and then and then the trail walked off, and eventually um vanished into some place that we couldn't follow, but we're pretty sure that deer was storing at the grizzly's leaving those beds that morning, you know, because it was fresh, fine, right? And
00:57:04.230 --> 00:57:23.480
Preston Taylor: yeah, Yeah, it's It's pretty cool. What a great story! And that perfectly encompasses what you were saying earlier about. You know how you can learn all these things about behavior and how they were feeding, and then what they did afterwards, and how your animals react. And obviously some bird language in there. You know your tumba. Yeah, that's just that's incredible.
00:57:23.490 --> 00:57:33.869
leeburton: It was cool. It was pretty special. Yeah, it's pretty neat. Wow! Well, hey? And our remaining time here. Um, just want to ask you again, someone's listen This they're interested.
00:57:34.380 --> 00:57:56.309
leeburton: But let's say they haven't had time to, you know. Learn on their own um, or you know just a little bit. Can you talk about what people will learn, and just the usefulness. And either just let's say, taking a workshop that you know someone like yourself soon, or or even a a cyber track or email. Let's say they haven't done one before um. What can they expect? And you know what kind of experience. Is that
00:57:56.480 --> 00:58:05.060
Preston Taylor: Yeah. So? Um: yeah, I'd say that there's so. There's the difference between the evaluations and a workshop and
00:58:05.350 --> 00:58:10.239
Preston Taylor: the the evaluation and certification process.
00:58:10.340 --> 00:58:24.340
Preston Taylor: Um, It is a field test, you know. There is an element to being tested there, and the cyber checker process is broken in two modules. The track and sign Id and the trailing
00:58:24.390 --> 00:58:43.369
Preston Taylor: the track and sign um evaluation process can feel more like a workshop. You can show up to one of those without knowing very much. And if you're totally unattached to the score that you get, you're gonna learn a ton of stuff. Um, just because of the way the process is the evaluators ask a question.
00:58:43.380 --> 00:58:46.239
Preston Taylor: Everybody gives their answer, and then, if
00:58:46.250 --> 00:59:11.279
Preston Taylor: if um if there's disagreement about what it is, they go over the field marks. This is how you identify it as a canine instead of a fee line. This is how you differentiate it as a wild canine instead of a domestic one, and this is why it's a red fox and not a coyote. Right? So so the all those field marks are are pointed out to you, and so the identification evaluation. Um, you will learn a ton.
00:59:11.290 --> 00:59:14.770
Preston Taylor: The trailing evaluation is a little different, because
00:59:14.900 --> 00:59:34.470
Preston Taylor: you really put on the spot to perform, and it, and it's an opportunity for you to perform, and to show us what you can do, and and um, and so it the feedback we give. We give it at the end um to everybody, as as opposed to in the moment when it's happening,
00:59:34.530 --> 00:59:47.800
Preston Taylor: and so it it it's a little less like a workshop as far as um What you think you're getting out of it. But what's really cool about the trailing evaluations is that you get to watch the other people track,
00:59:47.810 --> 01:00:16.709
Preston Taylor: and and so you get to see other people in front on the trail and and what they're doing, and what they're doing right and where you know what they might not be doing right. And you actually, you'll get to see the evaluators look for the trail because everybody loses the trail, and at some point the evaluators are probably going to have to find it, and so you get to see them. Look for the trail, Um, and and you get taken along an animals trail in a way that will show you how to trail effectively.
01:00:16.720 --> 01:00:34.620
Preston Taylor: And so you do learn from the trailing evaluations. Um, but it's not as as quite as clear of a workshop as the identification ones are. Um and I would suggest, if you haven't ever done any trailing to do a workshop before you take an email. Um,
01:00:34.630 --> 01:00:38.490
Preston Taylor: not necessary. But um, you know it will help
01:00:38.500 --> 01:00:55.960
Preston Taylor: for sure. And so the evaluations have to be done with a certified evaluator. Right? Any Any cyber tracker evaluator has to get a specialist and then um train to become an evaluator. So we've all been through that process. But any anyone that's certified as a a level four
01:00:55.970 --> 01:01:25.789
Preston Taylor: um or professional tracker, a specialist or a senior tracker um are all people that I would encourage someone to take a workshop from, because they they've all scored one hundred on an evaluation, and they're very skilled at what they do. And so anyone you know, if you go to the tracker certification, North America website and has everybody listed, and what they what their certification level is, and if anyone that is, is a level. Four professional senior specialist offers workshops, I would say,
01:01:25.800 --> 01:01:40.709
Preston Taylor: you know, call them up and see if they can come to your area to do it. Um! And and what you'll get is from a workshop really is a breakdown of the process for trailing um how to identify a trail as fresh
01:01:40.720 --> 01:01:58.219
Preston Taylor: how to identify hard, substrate, how to look for roots of travel, how to find the trail when you've lost it. You know. Talking about animal behavior. Um! How to navigate through the woods. Things like this right? How to move quietly, you know, if you're looking to identify and interpret animal sign
01:01:58.230 --> 01:02:16.550
Preston Taylor: you're going to talk about. You know. What are the different species behaviors, and how does that manifest in the environment? You know? How does it look like when they sent or things like that. How to differentiate. You know the diff all the different muscle and weasel tracks things like that, so you'll you'll get a breakdown of of all these different things, and you get to spend time with someone
01:02:16.560 --> 01:02:28.279
Preston Taylor: who has devoted a you know a lot of their energy towards um. You know an intimate relationship with the natural world, and how these animals, you know, live and die in it. Um, Which is pretty cool.
01:02:29.180 --> 01:02:38.259
leeburton: Yeah, I can personally attest. They are great learning experiences, both of them. It it's incredible, and, like you said in very different ways. But, um!
01:02:38.830 --> 01:02:49.690
leeburton: It's. It's amazing all the things that are covered in there. And um, you know, before I started this years ago, I I really had no idea that it would be that comprehensive. So
01:02:49.780 --> 01:03:04.220
leeburton: um, if you're interested, Um, yeah, definitely. Uh, you can go to Cyber Tracker and uh check out their calendar. Uh, or you know, like I like pressing with saying, Find people in your area, you know, who are qualified uh because it's well worth it.
01:03:04.230 --> 01:03:11.889
leeburton: Hey, Preston? Uh, tell us just a little bit about your book tracking the American Black Bear and what's in it, and you know what you cover.
01:03:12.110 --> 01:03:18.419
Preston Taylor: Yeah, um. So So I wrote that book to describe um
01:03:19.780 --> 01:03:30.379
Preston Taylor: the you know trailing, and how to find animals right, and try to describe the process of of how to learn how to effectively trail and catch up and sneak up to animals. Um,
01:03:30.470 --> 01:03:46.520
Preston Taylor: which for me was, you know, a lot of that was guided through the cyber tracker process. Right? Um, and I use bears. I use black bears kind of as a as a subject matter for discussing how to do that, but but it's not just about bears. You can take
01:03:46.810 --> 01:04:03.170
Preston Taylor: the lessons, you know, and descriptions of techniques from that book, and apply it to any animal that is leaving a trail that you can follow. It's. Really, it's really a a a recipe for how to trail and catch up and find animals. Um! And that's what I was just trying to do was just
01:04:03.180 --> 01:04:16.839
Preston Taylor: show what is possible. Um show what maybe is not possible. Um! And talk about. You know the successes and struggles that I've had over the years trying to learn this skill. Um!
01:04:16.850 --> 01:04:24.719
Preston Taylor: And then and then kind of illuminate um some cool features of Black Bear natural history. That um
01:04:24.890 --> 01:04:44.530
Preston Taylor: is out there. Some of it is out there in scientific articles. It might be hard for some people to read. Some of it is not out there some kind of neat things that I figured out um and ah, and then I also. Part of it is about hunting, and and my approach to hunting, and and my thoughts on hunting. Um, you know, for me.
01:04:44.800 --> 01:05:01.029
Preston Taylor: Um hunt hunting is this ancient human, you know, skill set that probably made us who we are, and certainly um is something we relied on to live for a very long time. So it's part of us
01:05:01.040 --> 01:05:06.890
Preston Taylor: and um, it's definitely controversial, you know, in in the modern times, and
01:05:07.610 --> 01:05:25.569
Preston Taylor: I just wanted to show um a potentially other side to it. Um! That maybe it was more thoughtful than the most hunting people portray themselves um as well as uh compassionate. You know I care about these animals. Um!
01:05:25.580 --> 01:05:36.279
Preston Taylor: It. It's not easy to kill them. Um! But I do eat them, and and you know, sustain my life on them, you know. And it also kind of has developed a a
01:05:36.300 --> 01:05:45.350
Preston Taylor: a pretty deep relationship with them, you know, relying on them in that way. Um, So I wanted to, you know. Show that side of it, too. Um
01:05:45.730 --> 01:05:55.669
Preston Taylor: for better for worse.
01:05:56.380 --> 01:06:06.729
leeburton: Well, hey, Uh, thanks very much uh for that. And um, I think our audio may be going here again, but really quickly. Uh, where can people find you? I know you have a website, right?
01:06:06.740 --> 01:06:23.270
Preston Taylor: Yeah. And they can also get on to Facebook, and they can also get on to Facebook.
01:06:23.710 --> 01:06:31.629
leeburton: Well, hey, thank you very much for that. Um. And again, that website is tracker longbows dot com
01:06:31.640 --> 01:06:46.450
leeburton: uh, and it's an awesome book. It's very well written. And um, yeah, I I really enjoyed it. And thanks again. It's been a great time hopefully. Have you again? Some time.