Evasion Tactics in a Wilderness Environment
The following is informational only, and is intended to be used, when you as a Prepper, have to abandon your home, and are forced to set off in to the wilderness. You may be forced away from your home by marauders, rouge law enforcement or rogue military units and even by other Prepper groups.
Your success or failure depends on the level of training of those tracking you, and your own level of training. Assume those tracking you are skilled and that they may use tracking dogs.
This information is not applicable to those that find themselves running from law enforcement because they have committed a crime. The fact they committed a crime shows their level of training and intelligence, so enough said on that.
Evasion is a survival skill that is instinctive in human and animals alike when danger is present. Animals use it all the time. They use their instincts/skills to prevent detection, so they do not end up as a meal for predators, human or otherwise. Animals cannot control their environment as humans can however.
Animals walk the same trails to water, and they do not have the ability to alter their trail to avoid detection. They seek water and then forage for food in the same areas, year after year, in other words, they cannot associate the consequence with their actions, but humans can.
One of the ways to counter an expert tracker is by knowing how to track. Learn how to track another human being if you expect to be able to avoid being tracked down by others. There is more to tracking than just following footprints. An expert tracker looks for patterns and they will make an educated guess as to probable entry/exit points and ultimately may ascertain your destination.
Practice with a friend. Have them set off as if they are being pursued and this means they will walk faster than normal and may even run in some cases to get ahead of those following. Follow their tracks and make note of where the trail gets harder to see and where it is easier to see. Note the soil, or snow composition and how the tracks look when someone is walking or running. Notice how the grass is trampled and how fast it recovers after someone has trampled it.
Note the conditions where you lost the trail. What type of soils or ground cover makes tracking harder? This is what you will learn when you practice tracking others. Study the tread pattern and length of stride of the person you are tracking and memorize it so as not to get confused when more than one track is present.
When You become the Hunted
Running at first is important to gain distance from those following or from those than might follow you. If you see an armed unit heading toward your house, and escape is the only alternative, then you want to move quickly. It is assumed you have a survival bag packed and ready to go.
It will take time for the aggressors to get organized, so use this to gain distance. Do not head for any obvious landmarks like rivers or lakes or any structures that might be in the area. The trackers in most cases can only guess about your skill level and what survival gear you may have.
To eliminate the obvious they may split the team so one or two can check any water sources and possible shelters in the area. They may put a water source close by under surveillance. They will immediately begin trying to determine a possible destination.
The weather and terrain are calculated into the mix. They know you will need water, so make sure your survival bag has enough water so it is not an immediate concern.
In all likelihood, you will not stop an experienced tracker from eventually finding you if they stay with it. Of course, if you have a destination that is a safe zone, or can find an area where you can successfully launch a counter attack then you can stop the tracker (s).
In most cases, you would need reinforcements to launch an attack to stop a well-armed unit however. Your objective is to confuse and slow the tracker with the hope they give up the hunt.
Use roadways, streams and railroad tracks to your advantage, but realize they will expect you to do this, and you will be exposed while doing this. Enter on blind curves where the view is obstructed from both directions and once on the roadway in the stream or on the tracks reverse direction.
This will slow the tracker, not stop them because they will eventually, if not immediately, realize you changed direction. They will find where you reentered the woods. Do not try to keep landmarks such as roadways, train tracks and waterways in sight by walking parallel to them.
You can change shoes if you have them, to leave a different tread mark. Change once you are on a highway, train tracks or in a river, and do this before reentering the woods. This will slow down and possibly confuse the tracker, but will not stop them.
Do not go near any structures you find, and once you have used a waterway, tracks or roadway move away from them, and do not walk parallel to them. You do not want to be exposed in the middle of a river or roadway, so use caution when doing so, and make sure you are far enough ahead of your pursuers before exposing yourself.
Can You Evade Tracking Dogs
It is extremely difficult if not impossible once they have your scent. What you can do however, is to confuse the handler. Change direction abruptly, so if you come upon a big tree or rock, circle it and head off in a different direction for example, and then after 50 yards or so abruptly do the same thing. The handler may think the dogs have lost the sent if they keep twisting and turning back and forth, and the handler may then move them off in another direction. At the very least, you have slowed the pursuit.
You can walk in a stream but the dogs of course will track you to the water’s edge and then can find where you left the water. Walking up the middle of a stream leaves you exposed, so in some cases this method may not be worthwhile to try, unless you are convinced you have a substantial lead on your pursuers.
Do not hide in trees, because you are trapped if spotted and in most cases, you will be tracked right to the tree. Do not hide in water, the breathing through a reed trick, only works in the movies. You will be tracked to the body of water and experienced trackers will simply wait you out. You can develop hypothermia even if the water is 72° F, so you cannot hold out for long.
Do not smoke, chew gum or apply insect repellent that has an odor. Bury waste even urine under rocks and make sure you place the rock back so as not to leave any indication you where there. Hold your position so you can listen, you cannot just thrash through the brush, you have to stop periodically to look and listen. You of course want to spot them before they spot you, so use your senses to help you.
If you cannot stay ahead of them, then let them pass you, but to avoid detection you have to use camouflage. Mud, wood ashes and foliage can all be used. You cannot make yourself look like trees or bushes so do not try, it will only make you stand out.
You want to break up the body and face’s outline by using shadows, leaves, mud and ash/charcoal. Blend in using the colors around you. You do not use green leaves and then crouch near a tan limestone outcropping. Use dust on your skin to reduce shine, along with mud and charcoal.
Grasses and leaves also can be stuck to the mud after it is applied to your skin and clothing. Resist movement because the eyes catch it. Go to ground and stay there until they pass. Of course, if they are using dogs you would not be able to do this.
Ideally as part of your prepping plans, you had planned for this and ultimately have more than one destination in mind. You cannot let your actions, in other words do not develop a pattern, which would allow the tracker to guess where you are headed.
If they realize you are steadily heading in one direction, they may have the capability of getting ahead of you, or they may determine your destination. Reversing course only slows the tracker and if you reverse course, and yet eventually head off in the same general direction you can be tracked right to that destination.
Therefore, you should have planned to have more than one destination, and as things unfold on the ground you can decide, which one is better suited.
Be patient and flexible. Flexibility is one of the most important keys to successful evasion. You are primarily focused on avoiding detection. Remember that people catch people. If you can avoid detection then you will ultimately succeed.