Search and Rescue (SAR)

This is a comprehensive 40 hour course on SAR mantracking. 

Mantracking on SAR missions is done under an overarching response plan designed by the Incident Commander, also known in ICS terms as the Incident Action Plan (IAP).  Trackers need to learn within the bigger picture and within the context of the current mission and those to follow.  You cannot train tracking in a vacuum.  Training in context is where TTOS has excelled and the military, homeland security and state and local law enforcement proves our process time and time again in real-world successes.

Our SAR Mantracking course begins with the basics: the dynamics of a single footprint.  From that anchor point, students are introduced to micro tracking, also known as step-by-step tracking.  Students will learn step-by-step tracking first and be expected to demonstrate an understanding of it in practical exercises on the end of the first day.  Step-by-step tracking is not difficult to learn.  By use of a tracking stick (AKA a logic stick because you are relying on the external focus of using the tool rather than your own reasoning and observation capabilities) you will locate and identify sign and spoor left behind by the person being tracked.

By the end of the week, students will learn to, and be expected to demonstrate, macro tracking.  Macro tracking is a systematic process whereby trackers use both deductive and inductive reasoning to quickly identify the sign and spoor at their feet and connect it to a trackline ahead of them.  This is the highest and purest form of mantracking and manhunting.  It has worked for our Special Operations Forces time and time again to successfully hunt those that need to be apprehended.  When slow is not an option and failure unacceptable, people come to TTOS.

In the final practical exercise students will be expected to plan and conduct their own SAR operation from start to finish.  This necessitates leadership, operational planning, coordination of work effort, division of labor, management of non-organic assets, search urgency analyses, air-ground coordination and technical interoperability.  It sounds like a lot, but after 22 years of training the best of the best, our systems, plans and programs of instruction are unparalleled.  We design an environment where success is always achievable.

We have provided manhunting instruction all over the United States and internationally.  This gives us a unique environmental (temperate forest, rain forest, jungle, grasslands, high desert, low desert, high altitude and frigid environments) perspective that cannot be found anywhere else.

In closing, we also leave our students with techniques that can be taught to hunters, hikers and children that enjoy outdoor activities.  Learn to track – never get lost.


Established as the premier source for law enforcement, homeland security and military training since 1994, TTOS has continued to lead from the front and evolve within key areas of sole-source expertise, programs of instruction and curricula; and further development of our instructors as subject matter experts (SME’s)

Each attendee will receive 40 hours of professional development during this program of instruction, based on our Visual Tracker Basic Course (VT 01).  This course is designed and intended for search and rescue members, coordinators, leaders and anyone that may find themselves in a position responsible for the expedient and safe rescue of lost or missing persons in woodland, grassland, rural or arid environments.  This course uses mantracking as a means to come into contact with impressions that can be directly linked to the person being sought, establish a primary direction of travel, maintain contact with the tracks, profile personal movement preferences (predictive analysis), profile the terrain and assist in coordinating the overall response using sound deductive/inductive reasoning; based on information (from various sources) that can be observed, analyzed, understood and acted upon.

This is not a sit in the classroom course!  TTOS courses are framed within the “Train in Context to Missions to Come” perspective, meaning you cannot train tracking operations in a vacuum.  Basic training begins with an understanding of the big picture and then training to specifics within.  As part of the 40 hour Visual Tracker Course, each attendee will be given hours of individual credit, including but not limited to:


  • Managing cohesive and effective teams
  • Small unit leadership
  • Operational planning/Search Urgency Analysis
  • Incident Command protocols/IAP adherence (NIMS ICS)

Technical Interoperability

  • Technical interoperability (concept and overview)
  • Managing containment for operations
  • Managing non-organic assets
  • Air operations and how to manage air assets effectively

Advanced Wilderness Medicine

  • Developed by medical professionals
  • Hands on life saving training within a wilderness setting
  • Staffed by qualified and certified EMS instructors
  • Worked into SAR training scenarios for practical exercises


  • Correct GPS usage
  • Basic land navigation and map reading
  • Terrain profiling
  • Terrain association techniques

Electronic Indicators

  • Finding beacons and cellular phones
  • Sign-cutting based on GPS plotting of a moving person

At the conclusion of the course, each attendee will receive a Basic SAR Visual Tracker certification from TTOS. Additional credit for all areas of instruction will be awarded to each attendee by subject and hour.