Mantracker strategy

The trackers in Mantracker pay a lot of attention to tracks. I wonder if this strategy would work?

Change footwear. Start out with your typical boots. The trackers will follow. Try to find a place where your tracks will be lost. Switch to cross-trainers. Try not to leave tracks, of course. Find another place for a change and switch to moccasins. Traditional moccasins, as worn by mountain men and indians, just have a soft leather sole. These should leave ‘softer’ tracks that might be harder to see. Would that work?

Also: Has anyone tried to get behind the trackers? It seems to me (never having to been in the situation) that it might be safer to stalk the stalkers. When the trackers give up, they will probably go back to the prey’s LKP. If the prey can hide whilst the trackers pass them, then they’ll be in front with the trackers going the other way.

We love this show.

The changing footwear is an interesting idea, but remember you’d have to carry everything with you so weight is an issue. Also there have been teams who tried to disguise their footprints by wrapping their feet in cloth to leave less distinct tracks – that seemed to work pretty well.

However sooner or later you’ll have to go through the bush, and then you’re prone to leave move tracks than just footprints. Inappropriate footwear will just slow you down.

Team have also gotten behind the trackers either purposefully or by accident. It might help you evade capture for a while, but eventually the Mantracker will stop and turn around, and then you’re in trouble. Or worse, he figures out where you’re headed and just waits there, cutting you off from your finish line while the clock ticks down. It’s never worked out well to get behind them.

A lot of prey have tried switching shoes. The tracker just goes “well they’re different tracks but it’s probably our prey” and follows. I’m pretty sure in one episode the prey even tried moccasins for exactly the reason you say but the tracker saw the tracks anyway. And a few people have tried things like tieing grass to the bottoms of their shoes and putting socks over their shoes to obscure the tracks but it’s never really worked.

some of the prey has found themselves behind the tracker accidentally but they usually didn’t know it and eventually stumble into the tracker and have to beeline into the bush. I don’t recall anyone doing it intentionally.

What I wonder is how the camera crew following the trackers and prey around don’t seem to give away the position.

Just watched an episode in which two Olympic athletes started out wearing neoprene booties – no shoes or boots at all. The tracker (sorry, I just can’t call him ‘Mantracker’) laughed it off. He also noticed when they swtiched to sandals. You can’t not leave tracks in the terrain they have to go through. The trackers hate it when the prey get behind them and generally don’t let it happen. If they lose the trail for too long, they assume they’ve got out ahead and always double back.

As for the camera crews, they’re supposdely highly trained adventure cameramen, skilled in the art of keeping silent and invisible, but that’s just BS. Either we’re mostly watching re-enactment or parts of the show are fake. Many times the camera is out ahead of the prey, or in perfect position to catch key moments of the chase. That’s just not possible without re-enacting or faking. And every single time there’s a long shot of the prey or the trackers, there’s never a camera crew standing beside them. C’mon…

I tend to think that lots of the show is re-enacted and embellished. Whatever – I still love it anyway. I’d like to see Les Stroud go up against the trackers in a much wider territory – but everyone on foot.

The only strategy that really consistently works is to head for heavy bush and rocky slopes. Non-horse territory. And if you can swim down the middle of a raging river for a few miles, that helps too. I saw a couple of young lunatics beat the trackers by taking the river route for the last couple of miles. They actually let the river carry them under the bridge that marked the finish. The trackers and horses watched them float by.

I’ve read that the producers use decoy camera crews as well, so that the Tracker can’t just look for cameras to figure out where the prey is. But then you’d expect him to get misled by their tracks. So, yeah, I suspect there is some re-enactment going on.

I remember seeing an episode or two with the runners duct taping soles the opposite way on their shoes to screw with Mantracker. Mantracker figures it out by the weight distribution on the footprints. Walking heel toe generally he can see which hits the ground first and so on.

Another episode had some guy go barefoot where his partner didn’t. Mantracker was like wtf? this guy is crazy!

They shot an episode near my hometown and the mechanics of the filming process were reported in a local paper. Some key events are reshot, apparently.

But what blows my mind is how dumb some prey behave. Now, I’m no Navy Seal, but I’m amazed at how many prey talk non-stop at their regular speaking volume, wear bright clothes, highlight themselves on a ridge or mountain face, saunter down the middle of fire roads at great length, build fires at night, ascend heights needlessly (a tremendous energy drain), use cabins, or fail to hunker down, motionless, when needed. And so on.

You can usually tell right off the bat who has a chance and who is doomed simply by examining their dress, mental state, and how they interact.

the thing about cabins is I think they’re given those as rest points deliberately. When you see their locations it’s pretty much the middle of game. Although making a fire and resting at these points are dumb, I think survival from the elements and actually getting some rest is important rather than the game parameters of never being caught. In other words if you don’t have a good rest, you’ll be more easily caught.

The teams are likely exhausted after a long day of not-being-caught. But if they could make it to a road, it might be worth pushing on while the trackers are sleeping.

seriously I’ve seen people get cramps, yet they still decide to go thru thick bush. I think I’ve only seen one team bring goggles/safety glasses to run thru bush without worrying about poking an eye. That’s something more people should bring.

The thing about night time travelling that scares me the most is the wildlife. Do they risk taking a lead but having to be spooked by the nighttime noises and predators? Can’t forget that they still need rest too. Resting when Mantracker rests is the best time, the small lead they get for not taking a break would catch up to them if they decide to rest at an inopportune time.

It depends on where they are. I don’t watch often, but I’ve noticed there is frequently a road. I agree that it would be foolish to take off cross-country at night, and that if you’re just wasted at the end of the day there’s no better time to sleep than when you’re not being chased. But let’s say you’re 20 km from the finish line, and there’s a road. You can probably walk that in six hours. Someone with military training (especially recent training) might be able to push through the fatigue. Mind over matter, as it were.

there are rarely roads that directly lead to the finish line. Even with trails, you can lose your bearing really easily at night if it’s cloudy and extra dark. The time wasted trying to figure out where you are, the pace at which you move at night would most likely be a crawl. Perhaps they are forced to take a mandatory sundown break too.

you can watch episodes on Youtube. I’ve seen a ton there. I don’t want to link the uploader straight up, but this clip is from a guy who has a lot of eps uploaded.

Amen. It seems like the show is more about the prey being idiotic than the tracker dude being all that good. It seems like a lot of the reality/competition shows are like that. Apparently, people would rather see idiots screwing up (and the fake soap opera drama that ensues) than competent folks truly competing.

Band name!

Or possibly Robert Ludlum book title.

I’d like to see Mantracker in an urban setting and with a female tracker. That could be fun.

He’s certainly had a female tracker with him on at least one occasion, and he’s done at least one semi-urban setting. But going urban is pointless, it seems, since city police are the ones who have the experience at that sort of thing. When you go urban, you completely lose the cowboy aspect that’s the heart of the show.

With regard to the contestants being idiots, I don’t know how valid that is. Sure some of them are, and some are certainly chosen for the potential hilarity factor (the Chris and Brock episode, for example, which had me in stitches), but I think in general, it’s supposed to be ordinary shmucks doing the best they can. And as they all state, it seems mighty easy when you’re watching on TV, but when you’re out there, cold and tired and disoriented, you tend to forget you’re speaking way too loudly and not being stealthy enough.

That said, I too would love to see the thing done right – no re-enactment, totally serious, no BS, prey who are thoughtful and at least somewhat experienced. But it can’t happen. There’d be no show because of the simple fact that the camera crews would give everything away. For better or worse, we’re stuck with half-serious adventure, half-reality show mucky-muck.

Why not just strap mini-cams on the runner’s heads and do the whole thing *Blair Witch *style?

I once brought up Mantracker to my boss and mentioned that although it would be cool to see some advanced SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) guys compete against him, it would be lose/lose.

If the “prey” won, everyone would say “Of course they won, they are SERE guys!”

If the “prey” lost, everyone would say “How badly do they suck, they are supposed to be experts!”

So maybe the reason why you don’t get really great prey a lot of the time is because the really great evaders would have nothing to gain from going on Mantracker?