Search and Rescue Crew Learns Search Method

 Victoria Fregoso reports, vfregoso@k2tv.com

 Members of search and rescue crews from across the state are in Riverton this week brushing up on search skills and learning new methods.




 These search and rescue team members are looking for any physical evidence of human tracks on ground. This very detailed form of search is known as Man Tracking.

"You can get such details, as a little tiny blade of grass folded over, a little bruise. You can find some of the lugs of a foot print, right on a blade of grass," said Kendra Aanestad who has volunteered for Fremont County Search and Rescue for 6 years.

When search and rescue teams are sent out, the man tracking method lets them know which direction the person they're searching for went.

"When a person walks on the ground, they have to leave signs, there's no other way around it," said Preston Funkhouser, a tracking instructor with Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services. "And in a mile of travel, they leave 2,000 pieces of evidence because they leave 2,000 tracks on an average one mile track."

Using very few tools and tracking sticks, a concept developed over 40 years ago, team members can figure out the person's stride and where they made their next step.

"All of our students use that technique. When they get stuck, they don't see the sign, they put the stick down right over the last track, wave it around and sure enough, it focuses their eye where the next track should be," Funkhouser said.

The man tracking method is new to Shane Fehring, who is on his 15th year with the Fremont County Search and Rescue Team. And no matter how strenuous the search might be, he is always determined to get it done.

"It's like a story and it just continues on and you want to see it close. You want to see the end of it and bring closure to the families. The main fact that all of us are out here, we just enjoy the fact that we get to help people out in their times of need."