Safety / Survival / Army Field Manuals / AFM 3-05.70

Chapter 21



21-18. Sometimes you need to move, undetected, to or from a location. You need more than just camouflage to make these moves successfully. The ability to stalk or move without making any sudden quick movement or loud noise is essential to avoiding detection. Always pick your route carefully to keep you concealed; use trenches, slight rises in terrain, thick vegetation for concealment. Avoid lateral movement to the observer unless you have good concealment, otherwise stalk straight in toward the observer.

21-19. You must practice stalking if it is to be effective. Use the following techniques when practicing.


21-20. Take steps about half your normal stride when stalking in the upright position. Such strides help you to maintain your balance. You should be able to stop at any point in that movement and hold that position as long as necessary. Curl the toes up out of the way when stepping down so the outside edge of the ball of the foot touches the ground. Feel for sticks and twigs that may snap when you place your weight on them. If you start to step on one, lift your foot and move it. After making contact with the outside edge of the ball of your foot, roll to the inside ball of your foot, place your heel down, followed by your toes. Then gradually shift your weight forward to the front foot. Lift the back foot to about knee height and start the process over again.

21-21. Keep your hands and arms close to your body and avoid waving them about or hitting vegetation. When moving in a crouch, you gain extra support by placing your hands on your knees. One step usually takes 1 minute to complete, but the time it takes will depend on the situation.


21-22. Crawl on your hands and knees when the vegetation is too low to allow you to walk upright without being seen. Move one limb at a time and be sure to set it down softly, feeling for anything that may snap and make noise. Be careful that your toes and heels do not catch on vegetation.


21-23. To stalk in the prone position, you do a low, modified push-up on your hands and toes, moving yourself forward slightly, and then lowering yourself again slowly. Avoid dragging and scraping along the ground as this makes excessive noise and leaves large trails for trackers to follow.


21-24. Before stalking an animal, select the best route. If the animal is moving, you will need an intercepting route. Pick a route that puts objects between you and the animal to conceal your movement from it. By positioning yourself in this way, you will be able to move faster, until you pass that object. Some objects such as large rocks and trees may totally conceal you, and others such as small bushes and grass may only partially conceal you. Pick the route that offers the best concealment and requires the least amount of effort.

21-25. Keep your eyes on the animal and stop when it looks your way or turns its ears your way, especially if it suspects your presence. As you get close, squint your eyes slightly to conceal both the light-dark contrast of the whites of the eyes and any shine from your eyes. Keep your mouth closed so that the animal does not see the whiteness or shine of your teeth.


21-26. Along with camouflage of your body, you need to camouflage your movement from visual trackers. Antitracking techniques should be used; countertracking techniques are of little use to the evader, as they would pinpoint his location or route. During movement this can be accomplished by using the following methods:

  • Restore vegetation—Use a stick to lift the vegetation you crushed down during movement through it. This can slow you down and it is hard to tell if you are being effective.

  • Brush out tracks—Use a tree branch to brush or pat out tracks in open ground. This is effective in concealing the number in the party, but leaves obvious signs in itself.

  • Use hard or stony ground—Using this type of terrain minimizes the signs you leave slowing the visual tracker.

  • Make abrupt direction changes—Using this technique combined with the use of hard or stony ground can be very effective in slowing the visual tracker as it will be much harder to detect the direction change.

  • Use well-used paths—Although the use of paths is not advisable, there may be times you can use them to your advantage. For example, if you have been in an area long enough to surveil the path to determine the traffic patterns, you could use the path prior to a farmer moving a heard of cows down the path, eliminating your sign.

  • Use foot coverings—They can assist in aging or virtually eliminating your signs. Examples include sandbags, rags, old socks, or commercial foot coverings made from imitation sheepskin (these seem to work the best).

  • Change footgear—Use this method in an area such as hard or stony ground. Vary the tread pattern.

  • Use custom footgear—Militaries generally have a standard issue footgear, although with the world economy, this is changing. If you know that the area you are working in has a standard issue footgear, you may want to acquire a pair or have that tread pattern put on your boots.

  • Walk backwards—This can be useful at times but there are pitfalls to avoid. Avoid turning your foot out. When you look over your left shoulder your left foot tends to turn outward and visa versa. Avoid dragging dirt backwards. Try to place your footfalls so that the toe indention is deeper than your heel indention to give the appearance of moving forward.

  • Confuse the start point—Whatever the point on the ground you start your evasion, try to confuse it by walking numerous cloverleaf patterns out of and back into it before you leave on your initial route (this can assist in delaying dog trackers also).

  • Use streams, lakes, waterways—This is a judgement call on your part. Ask yourself: Is the stream moving in the direction you need to go? Is it fast or slow moving water? Will it put you that much farther ahead of the trackers? (Note: You will leave more signs upon exiting the water.)

  • Crossing roads or paths with the traffic pattern—When crossing roads or paths try to cross with the direction of travel, not perpendicular, this will assist in your tracks blending into normal traffic patterns and making them harder to follow.

  • Careful placement of footfalls leaving little heel or toe dig—Try to leave as little sign as possible. Last but not least, always vary your techniques so as not to educate the tracker as to what to look for if he loses the track!


21-27. When trying to elude dog trackers always remember you are trying to beat the handler not the dog! Whatever you do, it should be done to either tire the handler or decrease the handler's confidence in his dog. Some techniques to use against dog tracker teams are as follows:

  • Open ground—Although this is a danger area, if the wind is high it will blow the scent to vegetated areas; thus the team will not be directly on your tracks and it will slow the team's progression.

  • Thick terrain—Using a zigzag pattern of movement will slow and tire the handler and possibly decrease the handler's confidence.

  • Hard or stony ground—In high winds or high temperatures these areas will dissipate your scent quicker, increasing the chance of the dog losing the track.

  • Crowded places—If the dog is not scent-specific trained, and you move through an area where many other people have recently been he may lose the track.

  • Freshly plowed or fertilized fields—The dog may lose the track in these areas due to the overpowering scent of fresh dirt and human or animal manure used as fertilizer (do not rely too much on this theory).

  • Speed—Try to maintain a constant speed. Try not to run. Running increases the scent, due to more soil and vegetation disturbance and more body odor from sweat or adrenaline.

  • Transportation—Using a vehicle will greatly increase your time and distance but you could still be tracked; however, it would be at a much slower pace.

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All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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