How To Escape Unseen and Cover Your Tracks in Winter

Let’s say the you-know-what hit the fan and you did everything right. You made short and long-term emergency plans, had multiple escape routes and somehow were still tracked down and captured. In a post-SHTF world, all bets are off. The world you would find yourself in is unpredictable at best. So what would you do if you were taken captive? Your only option would be to find a way to escape.

Related article: If You See These 14 Signs It’s Time to Bug Out

Timing is Crucial

So, when is the best time to run from pursuers?  Wintertime can often be unrelenting but could offer you an opportunity in this situation. If you know how to read the signs Mother Nature gives when a storm is about to hit, then you could time your escape perfectly. A snowstorm could be the best time to escape. The middle of a snowstorm will give you good cover and erase any tracks you make at the same time – especially with a good head start. That said, it is important for you to know beforehand and train how to navigate in the snow.

The pain is that the snow levels can be at a depth where you will need snowshoes. This video can show you how to use a knife to make snowshoes out of evergreens and cordage. (Your paracord bracelet would come in handy for this!) Now, with the head start, your snowshoes will leave tracks that will be almost indistinguishable in a few hours.

How To Cover Your Tracks

You can help it along.  Take a fallen branch…2 feet in length or more and drag this behind you over top of your tracks…smooths them out.  By the time the pursuers reach the area you’ve traversed, the falling snow will have done the trick.

Bear in mind this doesn’t beat the dogs, who track by both sight and scent.  We’ve discussed beating them in other articles.  This is for the two-legged “dogs” who pursue you.  Also, part of keeping your trail to a minimum is to look where you step.  With snow, to step on an embankment that may collapse on one side is a no-go.

Rule: Do your best to maintain the overall visual “continuity” of the terrain you’re traveling over.

This applies to any season, and it means to keep everything as natural looking as can be.  You can be aided in a snowstorm flight by high winds that will also help to blow the snow (especially if it’s a “dry” snowfall) across your trail.  If there’s a fallen log, don’t step on it or go over it…go around it if possible.  You want everything to appear au naturale to the pursuers…nothing out of place.  Take special care not break off any branches or step on any fallen timber and cause a fresh break.  Foliage that has snow on it?  If a man-sized patch of green shows through where small evergreen saplings are growing…they’ll know that a human passed through there.

Confuse the Trackers By Doubling Back

Doubling back is a good way to throw them off…if you do it right. You can reverse the snowshoes when you head back, as well…but you must make sure that you brushed over top of your first set of tracks before you double back.  A good tracker will also see more weight is distributed overtop of the toe area.  Lead it to the edge of a cliff and throw them off your trail if you can do it.  Want a good one?  Bring an extra jacket and an empty backpack with you.  Wrap boughs in it and throw it off the cliff, after filling the backpack with snow.

Your “dummy” will be partially covered with snow when they find it and they’ll waste time getting down below to check it out.  Time is what you want to buy yourself.  As many times as you can break off the main trail, throw a “division” and then double back, the better.  It is going to depend on how much time you have, and in how good a physical shape you’re in.

Covering Your Tracks in the Mud

During the warmer months, with the Spring Thaw, the first thing you’re going to have to deal with is the mud…and mud means a problem.  Mud means footprints, and mud that clings to your boots and is dragged with you…an exceptional problem when trying to cover your tracks. Due to the differing terrains, you will encounter this issue – especially in a rocky field with scrub grass.  Suddenly, tracks from “The Golem” are seen making a trail in the grass for about 50 meters.  Bad juju.

When transitioning from a muddy area to a terrain with little or no mud, you must have a way of taking care of this so that you don’t leave the tracks.  The answer: Teva’s.  Yes, the hardened-sole flip-flops that can take a rugged gravel creek bottom with sharp stones.  Pack these Teva’s and a sturdy plastic bag for when you’re changing the terrain.  Take off the muddy boots and throw them in the bag. Switch to the Teva’s for the entire time you cross the new terrain.  Switch back again when you come to more mud and slop to cross.

I’m a firm believer in using the creeks if the bottom is firm, as prints will be left in a muddy bottom.  For this, you’ll want to pick up some neoprene booties as well as some Rocky Gore-Tex socks.  Then you can protect your feet from the temperature of the creek.  Knowing the terrain beforehand is critical.  You can follow outcroppings of rock and submerged rock flats for a long way in a creek if the depth is below the knee without making any trail.  Bust up your travel of a trail and use both sides of the creek intermittently when you must emerge from it when possible.

One of the things you can do is to make yourself a pair of “boots” for the spring months…out of tough nylon or plastic bags.  Tie off four (4) pieces of broken branches to your boots, forming a “tic-tac-toe” arrangement of lines…making sure the ends don’t protrude too far from your boot edges.  Then pile some leaves and brush in your bags.  Step on this “mass” and then tie up the edges of the bag around your feet.  This will help you to keep from making tracks by removing your sole from the equation and giving you more surface area to distribute your weight.

You’ll have to repair or change it off every so often, so have an extra supply of bags you can switch off to.  The field expedient method is to do it with shirts or pieces of cloth taken from an article of clothing or from a sheet of material.  Just remember to tie up the corners, with the “biomass” of leaves and scrub beneath your feet.  Next installment, we’ll cover the dry summer and desert conditions, as well as some specialty information.  JJ out!



Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 30th, 2018
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One Response to How To Escape Unseen and Cover Your Tracks in Winter

  1. Craig Escaped Detroit says:

    Leaving NO tracks in the winter time is EASY in most of Florida.. just wear some Flip-Flops and walk along the beach.

    I had more than enough of that REAL winter crap back up in Michigan. No More.

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