#4 Avoid carrying too much gear or wearing baggy clothing. Too much gear can weigh you down, dehydrate you quicker and slow you down. Baggy clothing can snag and cause un-do noise, which can bring attention to yourself.
#5 Avoid carrying anything that makes too much noise, and avoid wearing noisy clothing. Avoid carrying things like clanging keys, or anything that is set to make noise like watches, alarms, GPS, or cell phones.
#6 Avoid wearing clothing that has buttons or large open pockets, which can snag and make noise; avoid exposed metal zippers or material that can reflect moonlight or other light sources.
#7 Avoid using things that illuminate or draw attention; any sort of lighting that may attract attention.
#8 When it’s muddy or snowy, have shoes and socks appropriate to keeping moisture out and heat in. Water in shoes can also cause noise. High top boots are best in damp weather and offer protection from ticks and other bugs and insects that may crawl up your feet and ankle area. Do not wear running shoes or any shoes with reflection material. Soft boot with light rubber souls on the bottoms work well. You may want some deep traction on the bottom of the shoes, as long it doesn’t increase noise when walking. At times, you may want to take the shoes or boots off, if it helps with noise reduction, and to air out the feet. Practice walking barefoot to toughen up and build up the bottom of the feet. Walk barefoot on various surfaces to adapt to the sensation it gives your feet.
#9 Prepare well for your route. Learn major landmarks such as roads, rivers, large rocks, large trees, houses, buildings, etc. Know if there are precipices or dead ends that are impossible to cross, climb or descend from. Know where common routes are and have multiple alternative routes to avoid being spotted.
#10 Know where good high ground spots are and always look for available high ground that can give you a 360 degree view without being spotted yourself.
#11 If you are able to conceal by rivers or waterfalls, these can be good spots to avoid detection by sound. The water sound will drown out your sound of movements. Concealing in water, when possible, will also hide your scent, if being tracked by animals. Do not stay in water too long, as hypothermia can set in. If in water, remove your clothes and shoes to keep them dry until you come out of water.
#12 If in buildings, stay close to wall, low to floor, and walk softly and quietly.
#13 When walking, stay low to ground and use tall grass, trees, and heavy terrain to conceal movement when possible. Look ahead and know where each stop will be at, before proceeding. If no cover is available, you may need to crawl on stomach to avoid detection. The Apaches used a soft toe to heel walk to minimize noise when crouching into steps. During mid speed movements, they would change to heel to toe walks and during runs it would be more flat foot running. On noisy surfaces, most weight should be placed on back foot as the front foot finds a good placement and slowly transfers weight onto the front foot. Use the knees and ankles to absorb as much of the movement and weight as possible. On slippery surfaces, take very small steps with flat foot placement. Always listen to ambient noises around you at each pause of your steps. Understand each sound before moving again.
#14 Always know where you are at and how to get back to previous spots. Draw maps, use visual landmarks, and leave pathfinder markers that only you can identify.
#15 Use of a walking stick can come in handy, as you can check for quicksand, mud holes, water levels, unstable surfaces, and moving snakes and other creatures away from your path. Walking sticks come in handy in survival situations as well.
#16 If you observe outside noises, stay in sync with those noises. If someone is sleeping nearby, step as they exhale. If you hear a clock or watch, step with each “˜tic/tock’ sound. If you hear a refrigerator, heater, or central air unit kick on, then move at that time. If someone starts to talk, or you hear music, TV, or radio, then use that opportunity to move. If the wind begins to pick up, move at that moment, etc.
#17 If a search party is nearing your location, throw pebbles in another alternative far direction to redirect their search, as you look for escape routes to gain more distance.
#18 Place bandanna over mouth and nose to minimize breathing sounds and scent. Avoid sneezing, coughing, or burping. If you cannot control such noises, put your face low to the ground and cover mouth, close your eyes, and minimize the noise, as best you can. Repeat, without making a sound, a word to distract and release some irritability in the throat. An example would be saying “Good morning” silently several times. If in areas of allergies, take non-drowsy counter-allergy medication, if available.
#19 Stay out of areas that are not sheltered from long-range visibility. If you can see from afar, chances are, others can see you too. Use night optics if available during darkness and good quality binoculars, if available, during the day. Minimize your use of these optics, as their glare and reflection from the lenses may be detected.
#20 If someone has a campfire, hide in the darkness behind it. Those around the campfire will have their eyes fixed and adjusted to the light from the fire, but not to the darkness around the light source.
#21 When looking around in the dark, do not fix on one spot for too long. Slowly move your head and eyes and listen as you turn. Always locate sound first then fix eyes on area of location of the sound. Sound can echo and travel, so do not assume you have located a sound source correctly. If you see nothing, then move the head and eyes to other areas. Indoors or outdoors: always listen for sounds, but do not get startled at the sounds, nor make noises at the surprise of hearing new sounds. Rain and wind can drown out sounds. Stay upwind when possible. On cloudy days, all sounds are more distinct, clearer and louder.
#22 It is easy to give away your position, when you make sounds. Do not be afraid of animal sounds or small crawlers, such as spiders, scorpions, snakes, ants, ticks, etc. You will most likely not be injured by such crawlers if they are spotted around you. If in danger from other people, it is not worth the risk of making sounds and being found. If a large animal approaches you, wait until it is very close and shout out a loud animal growl or howl, to frighten it and avoid human sounds. When at rest, place non-reflective sunglasses on both sides of the head to confuse large animals that may be approaching.
#23 Conceal body heat as much as possible. In our high tech world, heat signature devices are more common. If you suspect those looking for you have such devices, conceal yourself in mud, underground holes, caves, tunnels, or in water.
#24 Be in great physical conditioning and have great cardiovascular conditioning. You don’t want to be huffing and puffing climbing up a hill, having to crawl on your belly, or doing hundreds of lunges or squats. You don’t want to be having to stop every couple minutes to catch your breath either.
#25 Always be in condition “˜yellow’ or “˜orange'””meaning be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. A great way to practice this is being a defensive driver; or when hiking you should always look, listen, and feel what’s around you before advancing forward.
#26 If you are in good foliage areas, lay down, if spotted, rather than run into the open. It can be very hard to find someone that is 10 feet in front of them, if they are lying down in heavy foliage areas, especially in the dark. Darkness is your friend, when you are hiding. Many times you can just stand behind a tree or lay down in the shadows. If you can move, without making sound, curl up in the fetal position. If someone steps on you, do not make a sound, as they may think it was the terrain. If it’s pitch black and they step on you, bite their ankle, make an animal sound, and run away on all fours, so they think it was a wild dog. Use animal sound specific to the area. Most people will run away in fear, if they thought an animal bit them.
#27 Have weapons on you, if possible, for worse case scenarios”¦enough said.
#28 Do not eat foods that give you gas and leave scents. Do not drink too much water, as your urine leaves a scent and makes sounds. Minimize bowel movements and urination.
#29 Rest, if possible, in trees, boulder areas, or protective areas that are hard to be spotted in. You can pile foliage and branches over you, if need be, for concealment.
#30 If coming upon people sleeping, carefully observe their state of sleep. If a person shows signs of regular breathing, they may still be awake or faking the sleep, or they may be in a very light sleep pattern. Shallow breathing in indicative of a light sleeper too. You are safe around a snorer, as long as they are not faking the snoring. Snoring is indicative of a heavy sleeper.
#31 Change your pace of footwork. Minimize foot patterns and strides; walk on outside of feet when you can. If possible, cover up all tracks as you move. Long stride foot patterns represent a running pace. Dragging stride foot patterns represent a tired walker and/or someone carrying a heavy load.
#32 Climbing large trees can be a great way to avoid detection. Many trackers will not be looking up, if they are focused on searching for tracks on the ground. Make sure anytime you climb up, that you are able to climb down. Make sure you are conditioned to climb and check all branches before placing your full body weight on a branch.
#33 Have an eye patch (or bandana) to cover an eye, to pre-adapt to nightfall/darkness. Wear an eye patch on one eye for 30-45 minutes before sunset to adapt one eye to night vision; switch to the other eye afterwards. Once exposed to light, the eye will need time to readjust so you may have to constantly switch eyes and eye patches.
#34 Never let anxiety or fear overcome you. Always stay calm, cool, and collective. Most often, it is harder to search and track than to it is to hide and evade.
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