How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

(Wilderness/Urban Survival), (BOB/BOL/INCH/ETC), (Shelters)
User avatar
Plain Jane
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:01 pm
Location: Ontario

How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Plain Jane » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:44 am

Hey everyone :)

Not that there is any snow on the ground still in my neck of the woods, but there most certainly will be anytime now! With the anticipation and prepping for snow, it's got me thinking about the possibility of having to bug out on foot during winter. Now there could be a multitude of reasons for having to do this but what if the reason was because you were trying to escape some not so nice people? How could you cover tracks during the winter in northern regions??

I did a quick search and found this response:

"Whether you walk in boots or snowshoes or ski, you will leave tracks. There is no really practical way to cover your tracks but there are some ways to disguise them if you are traveling with a large party and don't want someone tracking you to know how many people are in your party. The best way to do this is to have the person with the smallest feet lead, have the other members of the party follow in the same footprints and have the person with the largest footprint follow in the rear. Only and expert tracker will be able to determine the little nuances in the footprints and even then the tracker might not be able to determine the exact size of the party.

It is very difficult to cover snowshoe tracks. They leave a very large mark on the snow unless the snow is very hard packed and has an icy surface. Since most modern snowshoes have a crampon or some traction device, that will leave a small mark and will be able to be detected by a decent tracker.

While it is possible for a group of skiers to ski in the same tracks as the leader, more often than not it is very difficult for a group to use the exact same spots where they plant the poles.

Other techniques to use if you are traveling alone and need to throw off a would be stalker is to create false trails by circling back to your original path and retracing your own steps. At the least you raise the chances that the tracker will follow one of the false paths and you might gain some time. If you have waders or waterproof boots, you can always try to walk in a stream for some distance and exit the water out of sight from where you entered. You stand a 50/50 shot of having the tracker go the opposite way.

The most ingenious thing I ever saw was someone who used stilts with the bottoms carved out to resemble deer tracks. It fooled the novice trackers who were trying to tail him, but the experts saw through the ruse very quickly because the guy with the stilts could not mimic the exact gait of a deer".

The stilts with bottoms resembling deer tracks have me chuckling a bit :lol: but all in all, I like this response and thought I would share.

Are there any trackers out there who would like to share their thoughts on covering tracks during the winter? I would love to hear from you!

Ya know.. 'cause girls need paracord too!

User avatar
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:04 pm

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by JackDee » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:09 am

Actually I want to answer it by Plain Tarzan (jump from trees to trees), but since it's for the walking in snow I will suggest... Hmmm...

To reduce pressure in snow...

Hard one this problem...

Try use some tent material cut with square/rectangle shape...
....... O......... <--rope
:A___/I \___B:
[ ___ /\___ ] <-- tent ===> try walk here
try walk here too (I think it's easier this way)

Stand on the tent and conect point A and B using small rope
also the same with point C and D
Then put thecenter of the ropes on your shoulders, now try walk above the tent.
Maybe you have to walk diagonal...

Right hand with right foot...
Left hand with left foot...

Hmmm... Still thinking...

.. __________
|| ________ ||
||......O... ..||
:A___/I \___B:
[ ___ /\___ ] <-- tent connected from end to end
C--------------- D

A little bit problems with mobility I guess, maybe its easier to connect point AC with BD
So now you walk inside the tent like the wheel for mouse?
Or perhaps just try to walk inside a tent?

Maybe let go the rope, just grab point A+C with your hand, and point B+D with the other hand, then walk...

This is a wildshot but who knows?
The idea is like a tank tracks, to reduce pressure on areas of contact with the snow/ground.

I don't know if it leaves trails like ski or not.
Regret comes last, if it comes early its called registration!

In the end, only fellow preppers truly respects other preppers.
When nothing happens, the world will laugh at you.
When SHTF, what will happen when they found out you got supplies?


Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Knuckle » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:01 pm

Pretty hard no to leave an obvious track in snow. And the chances of trying to mimic another creature is nill too as there is no way a 2 legged human can simulate any 4 legged animal. If you stuck to game trails, eventually a well used trial would mask much of your sign, but some would always remain. So unless it snows heavy or blows hard to drift in all sign, most anyone can follow tracks in the snow.

Hard not to believe that everyone doesn't have snow now as I stare out into the white abyss outside. I look at tracks everyday in my back yard as I like to know what wondered thru in the night. I have dog tracks galore but can still tell a wolf track as they walk with a narrower gait than a dog does and thus the tracks are more in line. But the wolves come in close as deer and moose try to dissuade them from following by entering towns where they might then become the prey in turn.

Snow makes it easy to read what is in the area. And the signs remain for a very long time here in my region. The quickest way to have your tracks covered here would be to walk on a snow machine trail. The quickest way to have what signs you left behind get wiped away though would be to wear he largest snowshoes to make the least impression. This would require a pair of large Huron (round nosed 1 piece) type or Iroquois (Pointed 2 piece) snowshoes with tighter lacing (holes are smaller). Walking with these and dragging a wide sled behind you will leave very little trail and specific definitions will get lost faster than any other way I can think of. But it's still up to the weather ahead to destroy all signs that you were ever there otherwise.

The flaw with tighter lacing is that less snow falls thru when it's sticky out and therefore you are lifting more weight with each step. You will find snowshoes in the NWT region usually have tighter lacings than those in the snow belt regions further south. A good trick in stickier snow is to walk with a tap stick and you tap each snowshoe as you lift it which helps the snow fall thru the holes and thus you lift less weight. I haven't used any of these new smaller aluminum rubber types but trappers say they work well and everything just slides off. I know they pay $300 for a good pair of them up here though.

Posts: 29
Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 4:10 am
Location: Calgary

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by RATTS » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:45 pm

Soloist strikes again!!!
I have on occasion used evergreen boughs as snow shoes, the more side branches and bushier the needles the better the lift.
Again use what is handy and immediately available.
As for being able to cover a trail, Knuckle is right only a well used game trail or weather will cover your trail.

Posts: 672
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:41 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Goldie » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:43 am

RATTS wrote:Soloist strikes again!!!

As for being able to cover a trail, Knuckle is right only a well used game trail or weather will cover your trail.
Not that I asked, but this is good information to remember if the need arises.

The Canadian Giant
Topic Leader
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:26 pm
Location: Central Alberta

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by The Canadian Giant » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:42 pm

There have been many accurate and good pieces of advice already on the difficulty/impossibility of covering your tracks in the snow. Any tracks left in uncompacted snow will be visible and readable until it melts. Now the tracks will become more difficult to read or even see with time, but like an archaeological excavation, the tracks will remain as evidence as to what has passed. Similar to moving in the city, being part of the crowd provides a measure of camoflage. Travelling on well-used trails, on snow-machine trails, on maintained roads, provides the ability to move quickly and to leave minimal tracks. Even more important may be one's level of fitness. Moving through the winter bush requires an enormous output of energy, and being efficient with our energy budget allows us to move more quickly.

Winter also provides us assistance. Cold reduces machine effectiveness, slows down pursuers and can provide its own form of cover. Be prepared and comfortable in travelling in the most extreme conditions. Move with the storms, move with the wind, leave tracks where they are most easily covered by drifting snow, learn to read and predict snow types to leave the least impactful trail, but also the most easily/quickly covered by old man winter himself.

To suggest that a persons tracks will remain for a long period of time is true, but there is also the functional trail. If you are honestly worried about pursuit, then you are concerned about leaving a trail that people can follow with minimal effort and travel at a faster pace than yourself. If you are on foot and being pursued in the winter, you must have something really valuable, or be a relatively unsavoury character. If I had to bug-out in winter and was truely concerned about pursuit, I would be considering means of travel that are fast and normal, cars, trucks, snowmachines, quads. Trying to escape on foot in a northern winter immediately isolates your tracks as unusual. However people normally travel in your neck of the northern woods is exactly the bugout method I would choose. Unless I could somehow teleport to a pleasantly provisioned permanently un-plottable tropical island. Come to think of it, that does sound like a good idea.......
Wilderness Survival and Bushcraft courses in Alberta

Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:31 am
Location: Clearwater

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Tarnthewoodsman » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:17 am

As stated above, I agree that snow makes thing more challenging. its more about reducing the imprint than covering it. Wide snowshoes are good but a trick to make their tracks less visible is to tie fur (thick fleece will also work) to the bottoms. You will still leave a track but the lines will be less defined. It makes it look like an old track rather than a fresh one. Beware though that in wet snow this will not work well, the fur will get heavy fast.

Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:53 pm

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Dusty » Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:17 am

All valid points, but it comes down to if you have to make tracks, you dont want to be there when the people following you get there.
Covering/hiding tracks in snow are quite impossible, so my best advice is to get there, make your tracks, and get out quick. Because many people will be able to follow you wherever you go in a snowy field, so either prep an ambush, or race through to a solid piece where you can disappear from making many tracks.

Dont stick around if you can be found.

My two cents.

User avatar
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:24 pm
Location: Nova Scotia

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Wayne » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:29 pm

Great thread with some excellent suggestions. How to cover tracks in the snow?

Snow is really tough with no guarantees of success. It largely has to do with the amount of time you have and the weather conditions:

1. Confuse (false trails) - Walk in a stream (upstream for example), leave walking sideways (parallel) to an uncovered area (bare rock or timber fall), then backtrack to the stream, move to another location, repeat process a couple of times. Backtrack to stream and move downstream past first location. Repeat process. Leave the area.

2. Cover - Drag a light branch behind you. This will cover the deeper holes left from a person's feet. It will make an obvious trail, but this trail will be shallow and will be more easily covered by blowing snow.

3. Out-pace your pursuit to a pre-determined non-traceable location

4. Walk in shadow where possible staying under trees where possible (less or no snow), change direction periodically moving from tree to tree under overhangs.

Alternatives - (group)
Confuse and Cover independently; or
Split-up and proceed to a non-traceable location

If you are being pursued by a tracking dog and handler, your only hope is to out-pace the pursuer (prepare to be bite).
None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.

Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:53 am

Re: How Do You Cover Your Tracks in Snow?

Post by Gallowshumour » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:47 am

You can't. No matter what you do you'll leave a trail of some kind. Even if you find a game trail, eventually someone will figure out it isn't Bullwinkle wearing the size 11 mukluks. About the only advice I can give you is, if you can shelter in place until a storm starts, leave as the storm intensifies and hope it fills in your tracks behind you. Either that or try walking backwards to your destination, maybe they'll think you're going the other way.

Post Reply

Return to “Survive and Thrive”