Bad Ass Factor: Tracking, Survival and Stealth


The awareness of the ancient tracker was born from survival. There was once a time when following the trail of the deer, bear and bobcat told the story of how we live. Through tracking people develop both a timeless and personal understanding of participatory ecology, patterns and systems, telling the tale of another world, alive and on the edge of their awareness. Tracking also changes how we see and think about the world. The ability to follow a deer trail to the deer itself tests you to think on your feet and develop what we call “hyper-adaptive” learning.

Wilderness Survival develops a vital awareness for our basic needs. Shelter truly begins to mean warmth and living. Water becomes a valued resource and gift. Fire is cultivated as a powerful tool. And from hunting to gathering, food becomes the wellspring of an ever evolving relationship to what is truly wild and real.

Awareness and invisibility go hand in hand. You need to quiet your movements and thoughts in order to truly see the complexity of the world around you. Imagine the subtle calls of the birds telling you if a red fox is stealthily hunting through the woodland. Imagine being able to walk as quietly as that same fox.

Tony Deis

Affiliation Trackers Earth

Tony has lived and studied skills and concepts of sustainability his entire life. Even as a teenager he cultivated a 3/4 acre market garden based on principles of permaculture design and the study of ecology through tracking. The extensive Italian family Tony grew up with was one of the greatest influences on his core philosophy of the value of community and family. His focus at the Evergreen State College was how humans connect to the land around them through participatory experiences. This, coupled with decades of work and cutting edge development as a contractor and consultant in the field of environmental education, lead him to found TrackersNW and the Trackers Family of programs. Based on his work, research and experience in survival, bushcraft, traditional skills and tracking, Tony also taught extensively for the graduate sustainability program at Portland State University, including founding their Naturalist Training Program. He has facilitated wildlife tracking, outdoor entrepreneurial and adventure education workshops for the Forest Service, Audubon Society of Portland, countless parks and interpretation agencies, universities, colleges and much more. Currently, he is a lead Tracking facilitator for the TrackersTEAMS Immersion Program. Tony is also authoring a definitive guide and workbook on tracking and naturalist training.