We had a great time at Swift Base. Since Swift is normally a Venturing camp, their selection of Boy Scout merit badges is limited. So adults who are counselors for badges which work well in an outdoor setting are encouraged to add their own merit badge sessions to the schedule for the campers.
One of the Scouters at a neighboring campsite offered to do the Tracking merit badge. Thjis is another of the historic merit badges which are only being offered this year to celebrate the BSA 100th anniversary.
So the counselor met with the Scouts for an hour each day to cover most of the requirements. Then, during free time, they went out in groups and looked for tracks or other evidence. In a modern twist on this merit badge, they could take pictures on a digital camera and then show it to the counselor as the evidence of what they found. It was a fun and productive way for the Scouts to spend some of their unscheduled time. The five Scouts in our troop who earned the badge really enjoyed looking around camp for tracks.
As an aside, this merit badge was originally called “Stalking”, but due to the negative connotations of the word in today’s world, BSA decided to refer to this badge as “Tracking” instead.
Tracking Merit Badge Requirements
- Demonstrate by means of a [tracking] game or otherwise, ability to [track] skillfully in shelter and wind, etc., showing how to proceed noiselessly and “freeze” when occasion demands.
- Know and recognize the tracks of ten different kinds of animals or birds in his vicinity, three of which may be domestic.
- Submit satisfactory evidence that he has trailed two different kinds of wild animals or birds on ordinary ground far enough to determine the direction in which they were going, and their gait or speed. Give the names of animals or birds trailed, their direction of travel, and describe gait and speed; or submit satisfactory evidence that he has trailed six different kinds of wild animal or birds in snow, sand, dust, or mud, far enough to determine the direction they were going and their gait or speed. Give names of animals or birds, their direction of travel, and describe gait and speed.
- Submit satisfactory evidence that he has tracked a human being and deducted from the trail whether it was man or woman, young or old, the gait or speed, and also give any other information deduced.
- Submit evidence that he has scored at least 30 points from the following groups:
Group (f) and 4 of the 5 groups (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) must be represented in the score of 30 and at least 7 points must be scored from (a), (b), or (c). Make clear recognizable photographs of
- Live bird away from nest – 4 points each
- Live woodchuck or smaller wild animal – 3 points each
- Live wild animal larger than woodchuck – 4 points each
- Live bird on nest – 3 points each
- Tracks of live wild animal or bird – 2 points each
- Make satisfactory plaster cast of wild animal or bird tracks with identification imprint on back of cast – 2 points each