I must extend my apologies, due to a few classes and unforeseen circumstances this article is coming to you a bit later than expected. This article will illustrated another cognitive aspect of Tracking Humans. The previous two articles the emphases were placed on the Average Pace Count and Comparison Methods of how we can assess the number of humans passing through an area. This month we will elaborate on a different method called the Direct Count Method.
The Direct Count is the simplest of all the counting methods. Find the Most Visible Prominent
Track. Draw your first line using the rear edge heel impression of the first Most Visible Prominent Track. This line should be horizontal, and perpendicular to where that person’s left (right) foot came in contact with the surface. That line should be drawn across the entire width of the prints in question. Say for example, the left heel came in contact with the surface. At this time measure the stride of that person, (heel-to-heel) which should lead to the right heel. Draw the second line crossing the entire width of the footwear impression in question. Use the right foot’s rear edge of the heel as a forward point of reference. Now you can start calculating the number of persons in question. Just directly count every print and partial print within the two lines. This method is intended for numbers ranging from 1 to 6 people. In a heavy forested area, where no footwear impressions can be seen, one must count the number of Flattened are, Ground Signs, consisting of live or dead vegetation. These Flatten areas are areas where someone dwelled for a period of time. It can be a sleep, surveillance, hide site, temporary, extended, communication, or meal halt. If you see rope marks around the tress indicating the use of hammocks, count the number of marks and divide by two. Hammocks usually utilize two trees, but do not forget that the same tree may be used for more than one hammock. If the footwear impressions are very noticeable and/or of different distinguishable patterns, there is no need to find the Most Visible Prominent Track. Just directly count the different impressions. If all the footwear impressions are of the same pattern, from the same manufacture, two or more are the same size, then finding the Most Visible Prominent Track will make the Direct Count Method easier and more accurate.