Follow TV Tropes


Context Main / ScarilyCompetentTracker

Go To

1->''"I know these tracks. These are white miners. Ten mules, two outriders. One of the outriders is fat. The other one has yellow hair. He dyes it."''˛-->-- '''Native American Scout archetype''', ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}''˛˛So you have a character in the group who is nature-savvy. Maybe he or she is an [[OurElvesAreBetter Elf]] or MagicalNativeAmerican or just some gruff WildMan or {{Ranger}}-type. One way to establish that character as being badass and not the GranolaGirl is to show him to be a good tracker. Of course, any moron can follow footprints in the mud. Since our character is so good, he'll not only be able to tell you how many people there were, but any of the following also:˛˛* Who amongst them was carrying the DamselInDistress.˛* Any injury they might have suffered.˛* How long ago they passed (precision can vary from "Less than a day" to "exactly 45 minutes 12 seconds").˛* What was their last meal.˛* The subject of conversation as they were walking.˛* Alternatively, a Scarily Competent Tracker might very well be capable of doing all of the above on dry asphalt or stones. He's just THAT good.˛˛There are two ways the Scarily Competent Tracker works his magic. The first is to crouch and prod the footprints with his fingers. The other is to stick his ear to the ground and listen. Or possibly TheNoseKnows, but that usually goes into SuperSenses.˛˛See also SherlockScan and HyperAwareness. May be [[RuleOfPerception represented]] via FluorescentFootprints.˛˛Compare TheyHaveTheScent, with which this trope can overlap. If the Tracker is non-sapient, then you may have a SuperPersistentPredator on your hands. Good luck with that.˛˛----˛!Examples:˛˛[[foldercontrol]]˛˛[[folder:Advertisements]]˛* Subverted in a car commercial where a hiker, hearing a car coming, demonstrates his scary-competency in tracking to his friends by putting his ear to the ground and identifying the approaching vehicle as a high-end sports car. The car that eventually passes by isn't a sports car, of course, but the point of the commercial was supposed to be that you shouldn't be able to tell the difference.˛* A British car commercial had a tribesman observing vibrations and identifying the animals causing them from a great distance. He then spots a car passing in the distance and seems to think it must be a ghost because it's so quiet that nothing is vibrating.˛* Another series of car commercials had random people placing their ears on the ground and managing to identify the brand, model, various specifications, ''and even the color'' of the car.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Anime & Manga]]˛* Either a case of terrifying competency or overlooked logic: in the ''Anime/SamuraiSeven'' anime, Kyuzo puts his ear to the ground and can hear the bandits approaching. Only one problem: the Nobuseri are giant mecha. That fly.˛** The vibrations from the sounds of their propulsion systems would still vibrate the ground, allowing him to hear something.˛* ''Manga/InuYasha'' has a preternatural sense of smell, keener even than Shippo's, though not as keen as his older brother Sesshomaru's. It's still keen enough to track someone by scent ''while running'', detect the clash of magical auras, and detect Kagome's arrival through a trans-temporal portal from at least half a mile away, especially jarring, since it is simply not possible to smell something unless the air that carries the scent comes all the way from there to you. He also has heightened sense of hearing, once shown comically when he overhears what Shippo is whispering about him from a distance of a couple hundred feet.˛* Ears from ''Manga/VinlandSaga'', courtesy of his...[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin huge ears.]]˛* Especially early on in the series, Gon from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' was talented at tracking, being able to locate shapeshifting foxes who specialized in stealth in the middle of a dense forest at night.˛* Shampoo from ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' managed to track Ranma for over a thousand miles, across at least two countries, and the Sea Of Japan. To make this even more impressive, at the time, she barely knew his name and only knew of his [[AttractiveBentGender female form]], which meant she could only follow him when he was in one form, completely losing him whenever he returned to normal.˛* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'': Mayaa found his way to Sakaki in what's apparently Tokyo despite the fact that she'd left Iriomote Island by boat, and then left Okinawa by airplane. Granted, the only boats he might've stowed away on would take him to Okinawa, but how'd he then manage to pick the right plane, much less find one girl in a city of millions (''and'' just in time for a BigDamnHeroes moment)?˛* Allen Bradford of ''Manga/TheFiveStarStories'', being both a member of a MagicalNativeAmerican FantasyCounterpartCulture (with some ninja influences) and a SuperSoldier.˛* Most of the characters from ''Manga/DragonBall'' are this given their ability to sense energy. Some like Goku's are so advance that they can find people from across the galaxy. Even before learning to sense energy, Goku [[TheNoseKnows could find and track people by their scent]].˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Comic Books]]˛* Laughed at in the Scrooge [=McDuck=] story "The Vigilante of Pizen Bluff" (a part of ''Comicbook/TheLifeAndTimesOfScroogeMcDuck''), where Scrooge's uncle Angus tries to act like one of these by trying to hunt down the villains by broken tree branches. Young Scrooge and Goklayeh point out that the villains would have to be fairly incompetent to hit the only tree in miles' reach and set out to mock him by 'tracking' the villains by noticing a single bent cactus spine and ''a disturbed grain of sand''.˛-->'''Scrooge:''' This clinches it! This '''shadow''' has been '''bruised''' on the north edge!˛** Donald's nephews demonstrate this skill often, though they can be tricked.˛* In Franchise/TheDCU, ComicBook/{{Tomahawk}} has this ability, unerringly following a trail invisible to everyone else across a dinosaur-infested jungle in ''ComicBook/TheWarThatTimeForgot'' mini-series.˛* Nearly all Native-American superheroes:˛** ''ComicBook/XMen'': Thunderbird, Warpath, and Moonstar˛** Arak˛** ''Comicbook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'': Dawnstar (who could do it IN SPACE)˛*** In this case, it's an explicit super-power.˛** Owlwoman˛** ''Franchise/SpiderMan'': Puma˛** ''{{WesternAnimation/Superfriends}}'': Apache Chief˛* The ''ComicBook/SilverSurfer'' has cosmic senses that allow him to (if narration is to be believed) track a single atom on the other side of the galaxy. That one just moves straight into AWizardDidIt.˛* The ''ComicBook/BlackPanther'' doesn't take it to comical lengths, but he can still track a robot through a devastated war zone by seeing how the rubble has been displaced from where the patterns of explosions would place it.˛* Lobo has an extremely good sense of smell in an atmosphere, and an additional sense that lets him track bastichs across the galaxy.˛* ''ComicBook/SecretSix'': Thomas "Catman" Blake claims to be [[InformedAbility the greatest tracker on Earth.]]˛** Turns out to be true in a later storyline.˛-->'''Catman''':"You'll run. You'll hide. And in the dark... I will find you." [[spoiler:(And he does find them.)]]˛* The original roster of the third incarnation of ''ComicBook/XForce'' consisted of Comicbook/{{Wolverine}}, Comicbook/{{X 23}}, Wolfsbane, and Warpath. The first 3 have heightened senses, the 4th is an Apache Indian (see RealLife below).˛* ComicBook/{{Sabretooth}} and Wolverine are both considered to be excellent trackers, even without their heightened senses.˛** Comicbook/{{X 23}} may be even ''better'' at this than Wolverine and Sabretooth. Her sense of smell is even better than Logan's, and she's demonstrably been able to locate individuals in a crowded city ''hours'' after they were last there. In one case it even allowed her to completely reconstruct a crime scene — including the movements of ''dozens'' of individuals — ''by scent alone''. Combine that with her extensive espionage and intelligence training. So when she threatens some mooks by telling them once she has their scent there is nowhere they can hide from her, ''she's not bluffing''.˛* Bullseye from ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}''. ˛--> '''Bullseye''': "I once tracked an Eskimo huntsman across 200 miles of frozen tundra on foot and killed him with an icicle made of my own frozen feces."˛* Parodied in ''ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon'' by Mortadelo, who tends to put his ear to the ground. Many times, he will miss the actual target. Other times, it does actually work, but it backfires on him.˛* ''[[ComicBook/LuckyLuke Tortillas for the Daltons]]'' features the Mexican governor's dog, a Chihuahua that is not only able to identify the Daltons just by sniffing an item of their clothing ("Let's see, four individuals of staggered sizes, brown-haired, ill-shaven, with mustaches and big noses, the tallest had a guitar around his neck"), but later can tell where one of them tripped and was very rude indeed. Unfortunately, Rantanplan was there as well, and seeing that it wasn't food, went the other way. The Mexicans believed they'd split up and followed Rantanplan.˛* ''ComicBook/{{WITCH}}'' has lord Cedric: if he's after you, he ''will'' find you. It went to the point that Elias Van Dahl used ''time travel'' to escape him, going from Meridian at the end of the twentieth century to Earth in the seventeenth century... And then one day ''Cedric barged in with his men''. It's implied he had actually been there for a while and had just waited for the eve of his wedding out of sheer sadism.˛* Once upon a time in ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' Trip, the son of [[PunchClockVillain the Raider]], was taken from his home in the late 23rd century and brought into an alternative 2015 that, for the Raider, had never happened. Not only did the Raider track him down there, but it took him ''only a day''... Just as expected, as getting him there and [[spoiler:changing the future by preventing the Raider's death]] was the whole point.˛* In ''ComicBook/{{Cavewoman}}'', Meriem is this as a result of having lived in the jungle since she was eight. In ''Quiver'', she is able to track an archaeological expedition a month after it left (although this gets a LampshadeHanging when she comments that it was a miracle she could find anything after all this time).˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder: Fanfiction]]˛* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' has Agent Coulson refers to Harry Dresden as possibly the best magical tracker on the planet and refers to him as 'the Detective'.˛** Uhtred also proves capable of this in Chapter 58.˛** This is [[spoiler: Maddie/Rachel's]] function as [[spoiler: Sinister's]] Hound.˛* ''FanFic/TheBridge'' gives us [[HumanoidAbomination Enjin]]. Once it has locked onto an energy signature, no distance or obstacles will hide its prey from it. It was able to track down Aria Blaze while she's miles away, inside the second story of a building, and it is at the bottom of a [[SuperNotDrowningSkills frozen lake.]]˛* In the ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' x ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'' crossover, ''[[Fanfic/UnwelcomeStormsHunter Hunter]]'', Father Gascoigne chases Taylor this way. No matter how far she runs or how she'd hide, he would find her and kill her, returning her to the dream. Eventually, she got TiredOfRunning and settled the score.˛* In the''FanFic/AGreatAndPowerfulHeart'', the Great and Powerful Trixie has keen magic and observation abilities that she puts to good use, finding Jasper and Dinky. At one point, she is able to determine the location Dinky went in, simply by finding one of her hairs, and knowing which way it snapped off her. ˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder: Film - Animated]]˛* In ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', the Huns are able to identify the movement of the Imperial army simply by analyzing a lost doll (although it's a joint effort of four or five commanders and makes a reasonable amount of sense given the setting.)˛-->'''[[BigBad Shan Yu]]:''' (''throws the doll to his mooks, who take turns analyzing it'') What do you see?˛-->'''Mook #1:''' Black pine, from the high mountains.˛-->'''Mook #2:''' White horse hair. Imperial stallions.˛-->'''Mook #3:''' (''sniffs the doll'') Sulphur, from cannons.˛-->'''Shan Yu:''' This doll came from a village in the Tung Shao Pass, where the Imperial Army is waiting for us.˛* Parodied in ''Disney/TheAristocats''. Napoleon the dog is able to tell his sidekick Lafayette the size, type, and condition of the pair of squeaky shoes he hears, and then:˛-->'''Lafayette:''' What color are they?˛-->'''Napoleon:''' Why they're bla- now how would I know that?˛** Later, he correctly identifies the sound of a one-wheeled haystack.˛* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}}'', [[TheQuietOne Rango's deputy Wounded Bird]] can ''[[TheNoseKnows smell]]'' blindess. Or an enlarged prostate.˛* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/HotelTransylvania'' when the Wolfman's baby daughter, after a single sniff at an article of clothing from Johnny's backpack, was able to tell everything right down to the ''number and departure time'' of the flight he was leaving on.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Film - Live Action]]˛* Aragorn does this in ''Film/TheTwoTowers'' (book and film), first tracking the Uruk-hai, then later explaining how Merry and Pippin escaped them during a battle. That latter example is interesting because it takes him no effort to find the traces of both hobbits over a battlefield. To be fair, Aragorn discovers the footprints by accident while mourning them. Everything else he does after he chances upon them falls under this trope though.˛** Far more realistic in the book, where Aragorn is only able to notice signs because the hobbits had dropped their cloak-clasp as a sign on the way before they escaped and had been carried away from where the main battle was. Even then, Aragorn is only able to deduce fairly basic information from the signs and outright admits that a lot of what he sees doesn't make sense unless he acknowledges that a few pertinent facts will have taken place elsewhere, or will otherwise have left no visible signs. Nevertheless, he does have impressive tracking skills, which is justified by having been raised and lived as a Ranger of the wilds of Eriador. He does mention having limits, being unwilling to continue the chase across the plains of Rohan at night, as the trail is harder to see compared to when they were in the forest and the risk of losing it in the dark is too great. Also, the only reason he finds Pippin's lorien leaf clasp in the book is because Pippin ran from the Orcs to drop it away from them, so the clasp wouldn't be trampled and hidden. In the movie, Aragorn finds the clasp after it's been trampled and buried in the ground. At another point, he's completely baffled by what he sees, because he's never encountered Ent-tracks before.˛** The original novel also mentions how he tracked down and captured Gollum, one of his most impressive feats. It had been decades since the only solid clue of Gollum's location had gone cold!˛** For that matter, Gollum himself; following tracks and rumours allowed him to trace a lot of Bilbo's journey despite not starting to look until a year after it happened. He was able to pick up the trail of the Fellowship while they were all stuck in Moria, and maintained a pursuit of them all the way out of it despite their taking refuge for a while in Lorien, and then going by river. Even Aragorn admitted that he couldn't figure out a way to shake Gollum's pursuit once he was firmly on their trail. He even managed to track down Sam and Frodo again in the middle of Mordor. Part of this is implied to be a preternatural sense for the Ring, although Gandalf also once stated that long exposure to the Ring sharpened his senses in a way that made him good at things such as sneaking and following and finding secrets.˛* Prince Humperdinck does it on the location of the duel between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black in ''Film/ThePrincessBride'' (in the book, it is said that he can track a falcon on a ''cloudy day''), noting that both men were expert swordsmen based solely on their footwork. He does it again on the location of the fight between the Man in Black and Fezzik. And then again at the Battle of Wits site, where he is able to identify the colorless, odorless poison as iocaine powder by ''smell'', though this one was intended as a bit of a joke for observant audience members (though finding a man who'd been killed by ingesting poison and figuring out that it must be a colorless and oderless toxin based on the goblet lacking any discoloration or scent does make sense).˛* Hawkeye from ''Film/LastOfTheMohicans'' is a Scarily Competent Tracker in the same league with Aragorn and Humperdinck. Heck, ''all'' the Mohicans and most of the Indians are, too (the Mohicans also have [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway Super Running Skills]].)˛** Hawkeye's Dad Chingachgook determines it was Ottawa who ravaged the settlements based on the shape of the moccasin-print. Then they track their footprints down the middle of a ''stream''.˛** After the girls are captured, the Mohicans track them up the side of a solid granite hill after spotting a deliberately-turned leaf (see the Aragorn example [[OlderThanTheyThink above]]).˛** Creator/MarkTwain had a lot of fun lampooning the [[AdaptationDistillation original book]] for this. See [[ On The Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper]], possibly the world's first blog entry. It's troperrific.˛--> "A favorite one was to make a moccasined person tread in the tracks of the moccasined enemy, and thus hide his own trail. Cooper wore out barrels and barrels of moccasins in working that trick. Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was his broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one."˛* In ''Film/WithoutAPaddle'', one of the hillbillies figures out not only what they did and what direction they went with perfect accuracy, but what they were talking about when they stopped there.˛** Multiple times, in fact. All played for laughs, of course. The first time, he stops, picks up something from the ground, and chews it thoughtfully. A few moments pass in silence, and it looks like he's about to rattle off a detailed description and play this trope straight. When asked what's going on by his more mission-focused partner, he deems the object he's chewing cinnamon, and when yelled at, notes that the heroes have been through the area, because all of the broken branches and twigs.˛* They don't get any scarier than Anton Chigurh from ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen''.˛** Less scary, but just as competent is [[DeadpanSnarker Colonel Carson Wells, Ret.]] from [[Literature/NoCountryForOldMen the same]].˛-->'''Llewelyn Moss''': He won't find me again.˛-->'''Carson Wells''': Took me all of three hours.˛* In an ordinary movie, either [[BigBad Angel Eyes]] or [[DesignatedHero Blondie]] would be one. But in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'', everyone can track anyone like this.˛* Subverted in ''Film/NightAtTheMuseum''. Just by looking at a van's tire tracks in the snow, Sacagawea is able to tell that the man driving the van lost control of his vehicle and crashed. When the impressed onlookers ask how she did it, Sacagawea merely points to the wrecked van farther down the alley.˛* Billy, the MagicalNativeAmerican from ''Film/{{Predator}}'', does this several times throughout the movie. As does the Predator itself, but it has the advantage of technology.˛* Featured in ''Film/TheHunted2003'', in which Tommy Lee Jones' character tracks Benicio Del Toro's character, using footprints left by the "untrackable" moccasins Del Toro's character is wearing. Please note that no shoe is "untrackable" if someone is wearing it and walking.˛* ''Film/{{Maverick}}'': Maverick demonstrates this ability when he tracks the fake Indians and recognizes from near invisible tracks (the tracks were in the dusty layer covering a rocky path) that the horses are shod. He also parodies the "listen to the ground" approach, to get Miss Bransford to do the same. He can't actually do that.˛* Sniffers of ''Film/{{Push}}'' kinda qualify in that they can tell everywhere an object has been and who has used it by sniffing. Justified because it's a psychic power.˛* ''Film/VanHelsing'': "It's carnivorous. Whatever it is, it appears to be human. I'd say he's a size seventeen, about three hundred and sixty pounds, eight and a half to nine feet tall, he has a bad gimp in his right leg, and, uh... three copper teeth." The last clue subverts the trope in that he only knows this because the monster is standing right behind Anna, but the rest of his analysis is played straight.˛* The angel Gabriel in ''Film/TheProphecy'' is apparently one of these. The creepy part is how he does it: several times, he searches for clues to what he's looking for by...licking things.˛* Walter Crow Horse, sheriff of the Native American reservation in ''Film/{{Thunderheart}}'', tries to convince the FBI that a footprint left at a murder site was of a man who walked like a white man, which the prime suspect doesn't do. The FBI remain unconvinced, so he proceeds to tell one of them about his own weight, eating habits, and ankle holster from footprints. When the FBI agent sarcastically asks how much change was in the man's pockets, the sheriff gives that information too. Given that Crow Horse is a DeadpanSnarker, one assumes that he's joking.˛* In ''Film/RabbitProofFence'', the 'school' employs an Australian Aboriginal tracker Moodoo. When the girls run away, they do what they can to conceal their tracks, yet he manages to follow them. (It's implied that he deliberately lets them get away from him.) The DVD commentary reveals that the ''actor'' who played the tracker could do the same thing.˛** The same actor, David Gulpilil, played a similar character, called [[NoNameGiven The Tracker]], in a movie titled...''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Tracker]]''.˛* Etain (Olga Kurylenko) in ''Film/{{Centurion}}''. She tracks the Romans relentlessly through the whole movie, even after they use every trick they know, including riding river rapids. One of the Romans remarks, each time, "How does she ''do'' that?"˛* In ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'', Butch and Sundance are pursued relentlessly by a group specially outfitted to hunt them down and bring them in, dead or alive. The group counts Lord Baltimore, a famous Indian tracker, among its members. Lord Baltimore is talented enough to track Butch and Sundance across stone cliffs, and follow the right horse when they double up on one and let the other horse run off in the other direction, much to the pair's amazement. They only escape the group by [[spoiler: jumping off a high cliff into a river]], made doubly frightening for [[spoiler: Sundance because he can't swim.]]˛** ''Series/TheRoughRiders'', in a dryly hilarious parody of the ''Sundance'' chase scene, subverts the trope: the "posse" just happens to be going in the same direction as the outlaws. ˛* In the CyberPunk movie ''Circuitry Man'', there are these two cops who keep showing up in pursuit of the main characters, all the way across the U.S. They're clearly rather incompetent -- both the heroes and the villains are constantly getting away from them -- but ''they keep showing up''.˛* Part of the advertising for ''Film/{{Wolfen}}'' said, "They can track you by yesterday's shadow."˛* The title character of Dersu Uzala (subject of a book and two movies) is a real-life hunter and super-tracker in the Russian far east.˛* Spoofed in ''Film/YearOne''. After [[Creator/JackBlack Zed]] and [[Creator/MichaelCera Oh]] have been exiled from the village from Zed eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge, Zed thinks he's become smarter and all around "better". After happening upon a pile of crap, he proceeds to pick it up, lick it, ''eat it'', and draw random conclusions.˛--> '''Zed:''' One woman, maybe two... And a child. [eats] They ate some apples before.˛--> '''Oh:''' Yeah and did they eat some shit too? Cuz there's a lot of shit in that shit.˛--> '''Zed:''' My mistake. This is ''bear'' poop.˛* Two-Bob, an Australian Aborigine working for the colonial troopers, in ''Film/TheProposition''. At one point, he points out some distant smoke on the horizon that nobody else spots. Even after the camera cuts to the horizon, with him pointing out the smoke, you still can't see it.˛* In ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' (the Creator/EdwardNorton version), General Ross is able to track down Banner to South America, and the only clue that Ross had was elderly gentleman that was sick from gamma radiation poisoning. With that, Ross was able to trace the drink back to Brazil to it's processing plant.˛* In Paul Kelly's indie film ''Film/OneNightTheMoon'', a lost little girl dies because her racist father refuses to let an Australian Aboriginal tracker search for her. He searches for her for several days with a small army of his white friends, but they find no trace. When his wife finally goes behind his back and begs the Aboriginal man for help, he finds her in a couple of hours, but by then it is too late.˛* Victor Creed in ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'', where he somehow can find his former teammates to kill them.˛* In ''Film/JurassicWorld'', Owen's ''[[RaptorAttack Velociraptor]]'' pack, naturally. Owen himself? Not so much.˛-->'''Owen''': ''*to Claire, after she says he can track by scent*'' ...I was in the Navy, not the ''Navajo''!˛* The British-New Zealand film ''Film/{{Tracker}}'' is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin about exactly one such character]] . Arjan Van Diemen, a South African boer commando and tracker, pursues Keremea, a Maori fugitive, across New Zealand, using his expert tracking skills. At one point in the film, Keremea hides his tracks in the beach to throw off the posse trailing him. The posse's expert New Zealander tracker falls for Keremea's ruse, but Van Diemen isn't convinced, and follows the correct track.˛* ''Film/TheEagle2011'': The Seal Prince is able to hunt Marcus and Esca based on just a few things they left behind, like a strand of cloth on a branch.˛* ''Film/FairGame'': EvilPoacher Sunny. He is able to unerringly track Jessica across terrain that consists mostly of bare rock. At one point, he kneels, touches his finger to the ground and tastes ''something''. Whatever it is seems to confirm to him that he is on the right trail. Later, he spends a few seconds studying the approach to the farm and is able to correctly deduce that is trapped and decides to find another way in.˛* In ''Film/DeadAgainInTombstone'', Bull Dog has a superhuman sense of smell. He is able to use it to track Alicia cross-country and drag her back to Silver River.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Jokes]]˛* This trope is parodied in the following joke:˛--> A small group of hikers are walking along a narrow mountain road in the Rocky Mountains. Along the way they come across a man lying on the side of the road with one ear pressed to the ground. "What is it?" one of the hikers asks him. The stranger replies, "A horse-drawn wagon, traveling east. One of the horses is chestnut, the other black with a white spot on its forehead. The driver is a young man in a blue flannel shirt, and he has a passenger, a blond woman in a yellow cotton dress." "Wow, you can tell all of that just by listening to the vibrations in the ground?" the hiker asks. The stranger answers: "[[spoiler: No, they just ran me over half an hour ago.]]"˛** In a variation on the joke, an Indian presses his ear to the ground and says "Buffalo come." The non-Indian members of the party, impressed, ask him if he can hear the vibrations. "[[spoiler: No. Ground sticky]]."˛* In another joke, a group of hunters come across tracks in the woods. They argue about the details of the animal that left them until one mans leans down and claims he's determined the animal's age and zodiac sign. When the others join him, [[spoiler: they're all hit by the train]].˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Literature]]˛* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Aragorn, being a ranger, is this during the pursuit of the orcs in ''The Two Towers.''˛* ''Literature/DresdenFiles'': Harry Dresden is in the Yellow Pages as a detective/wizard. Despite admitting to generally struggling with subtler magic, his job as a PI has lead to developing remarkable skill as a tracker and detective, using both magical and mundane means, to the point that his testimony is considered for a crime that happened on the other side of the world from him. He eventually builds a voodoo doll of ''Chicago'' in order to track people with as little as a speck of paint from their car.˛* Creator/OrsonScottCard's MundaneFantastic AlternateHistory book series, ''Literature/TheTalesOfAlvinMaker'', has American slave catchers who are made much worse than their real-life counterparts by their supernatural knack for sensing people from afar.˛* Literature/SherlockHolmes did this ''a lot''.˛** In the very first story, ''A Study In Scarlet'', he provides this description of the murderer:˛---> "There has been murder done, and the murderer was a man. He was more than six feet high, was in the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore coarse, square-toed boots and smoked a Trichinopoly cigar. He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab, which was drawn by a horse with three old shoes and one new one on his off fore leg. In all probability the murderer had a florid face, and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably long."˛*** His explanation to Watson follows shortly:˛--->'''Holmes:''' "The very first thing which I observed on arriving there was that a cab had made two ruts with its wheels close to the curb. Now, up to last night, we have had no rain for a week, so that those wheels which left such a deep impression must have been there during the night. There were the marks of the horse's hoofs, too, the outline of one of which was far more clearly cut than that of the other three, showing that that was a new shoe. Since the cab was there after the rain began, and was not there at any time during the morning—I have Gregson's word for that—it follows that it must have been there during the night, and, therefore, that it brought those two individuals to the house...Why, the height of a man, in nine cases out of ten, can be told from the length of his stride...I had this fellow's stride both on the clay outside and on the dust within. Then I had a way of checking my calculation. When a man writes on a wall, his instinct leads him to write about the level of his own eyes. Now that writing was just over six feet from the ground. It was child's play."˛--->'''Watson:''' "And his age?"˛--->'''Holmes''': "Well, if a man can stride four and a half feet without the smallest effort, he can't be quite in the sere and yellow. That was the breadth of a puddle on the garden walk which he had evidently walked across. Patent-leather boots had gone round, and Square-toes had hopped over."˛--->'''Watson:''' "The fingernails and the Trichinopoly."˛--->'''Holmes:''' "The writing on the wall was done with a man's forefinger dipped in blood. My glass allowed me to observe that the plaster was slightly scratched in doing it, which would not have been the case if the man's nail had been trimmed. I gathered up some scattered ash from the floor. It was dark in colour and flakey -- such an ash as is only made by a Trichinopoly. I have made a special study of cigar ashes."˛** At the story "The sign of the four", Sherlock notices that a suspect has stepped on tar, so he uses a hound called Toby to follow him. He brags to Watson that he could have used "thousands" of ways to do it, but this is the most fast.˛** At the story "The devil's foot", Sherlock claims to have shadowed some suspect. When the suspect says he didn't see anyone, Sherlock answers that nothing [[StealthExpert is all the he will see when Sherlock tracks him]]. ˛* William of Baskerville does it too, at the beginning of ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'' (the book), in what combined with his name is an obvious ShoutOut to good ol' Sherlock.˛** In the film, he's a Scarily Competent Tracker, too, but he does not reveal his deductions till later on.˛* One of the guardsmen in Creator/DavidGemmell's book ''Literature/{{Legend}}'' does this. Basically, he retells how a fight happened, move by move, just from the footprints in an alleyway. Well, that and the bodies scattered around.˛* Praxas in Gemmell's ''Literature/{{Rigante}}'' novels.˛* Many of the Tanith First-And-Only from the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' Literature/GauntsGhosts novels can do this. It's their [[PlanetOfHats Hat]].˛** Mkoll is a ScarilyCompetentTracker ''even to the other Ghosts''. He's also a complete badass.˛*** The scene in Sabbat Martyr, where Mkoll [[spoiler:essentially has a 'Scarily Competent Tracker' CONTEST with a Dark Eldar. Mkoll WINS.]]˛* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'', Angua the werewolf is, in fact, able to tell what color coat a tracked person was wearing, by the distinctive smell of the dye.˛** Vimes parodies this in the same book; he picks up a clove and (having met the man who chewed them), describes him in perfect detail to the others' amazement.˛-->'''Vimes''': ''The trick is to know the correct answer beforehand.''˛** Gaspode might also qualify in ''The Fifth Elephant'', although admittedly, he ''is'' a dog.˛*** Dog or not, his highly-detailed description of Ginger (as discerned by smell alone) from ''Discworld/MovingPictures'' is surely a parody of this trope.˛** Granny Weatherwax parodies this trope in ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' by giving a very detailed description of a man who had recently traveled through the grass she and Nanny are clearing. The reason she knew all those details is because she just stepped on the man's body.˛* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', we're treated to Lord Gareth Bryne, whose grandfather allegedly could track a shadow over a river. While the grandfather never actually comes on-screen, the Lord manages to track Suian and Leane across at least half a continent, only because Leane insisted that they ask for directions barely a quarter of the way there. When he successfully finds them, a random soldier informs the women that he has arrived, which is the cue for Suian's priceless and dumbfounded reaction.˛** There was the line about the old soldier who could track yesterday's wind across stone by moonlight. Although it's obviously hyperbolic.˛** Then there's Nynaeve, who out-tracked a guy who is used to dodging dark creatures and magic assassins on a more or less daily basis.˛** Though Moiraine quickly realizes that she was actually tracking Egwene, who she had once healed with The Power and thus could now naturally sense the location of.˛** Although he was helped considerably by his sense of smell and being in a 'shadow world', Hurin tracked an army, not by following them, but actually finding out where they would be in the future, and arrived at the destination where the army was going to camp with time to spare in The Great Hunt.˛** Hurin in general has a paranormal sense for violence that he describes as having a scent. Even the Aes Sedai don't know how he does it. It's known to not be Channelling, so he's assumed to just be a Talent.˛* Alekhin from the Creator/LouisLAmour novel ''Literature/LastOfTheBreed''. Though it is [[ShownTheirWork fairly believable]].˛* Basically everyone from the book ''Literature/LonesomeDove'', but especially Deets, who is somewhat of a MagicalNegro. He can identify someone's horse AND that that person was riding it just from the hoofprints.˛** It should be pointed out that the person in question was an old trailmate of Deets and he favoured a certain type of horse and had a distinct way of riding it.˛* Creator/{{Voltaire}}'s character Zadig has an example at some point, but it gets him imprisoned due to what is either poor communication skills or smartassery (on his part).˛* In Andy Hoare's Literature/WhiteScars novel ''Hunt for Voldorius'', Kholte is angry because although he managed to detect a squad of the Raven Guard, famed for their ability to hide -- in time to prevent a fratricidal bloodbath -- he missed the company.˛* In Creator/RobertEHoward's Literature/ConanTheBarbarian story "Literature/BeyondTheBlackRiver", the Pict spies are easily able to track Conan and his company.˛* Famous Shoes the Kickapoo tracker in the ''Literature/LonesomeDove'' series can track pretty much anyone, anywhere. He can also walk further and faster than you can ride your horse.˛* In the ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'', the title character has Abbu, a Bedouin chief who is doing mercenary service as a scout with the Roman Army.˛** Rana Sanga has a Pathan who does this for him. In his case, Rana Sanga captured him in battle. The Pathan serves him on the grounds that any warrior great enough to capture him must be worth serving.˛*** The fact that Belisarius is able to fool the Pathans tracking him and escape makes him an instant legend among them.˛* Muldoon shows himself to be one in ''Literature/JurassicPark''. He finds the crashed tour car after the T-Rex kicked it, the last known place where Tim and Lex were known to be. After finding Tim’s watch left behind, he notices that while the face is cracked, the band is uninjured, deducing that given the toughness of watch face crystals, it could have only broken during the attack, but the uninjured band means that the T-rex didn’t tear it off the kid. So Tim must have taken off the broken watch after the attack, meaning he survived.˛** The paragraph before, though, Muldoon subverts this. He remarks that it’s usually very difficult to track anything after an animal attack, and while most people assume the aftermath of such encounters are filled with blood and gore, the truth is that there’s usually nothing, since a predator can easily kill a child just by shaking them to snap their neck, making it look to the detectives as though the child just walked out.˛* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' has James, who at least justifies his skills by having "can track you anywhere" as his vampiric gift.˛** And the Cullens and Bella told him outright where they're going. They did so in an attempt to invoke reverse psychology, but obviously, it didn't work.˛* The titular rangers from ''Literature/RangersApprentice'' can track amazingly well -- even on horseback.˛* Lew Wetzel (aka "Deathwind") and Jonathan Zane in Zane Grey's ''The Last Trail.''˛* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' had an InsectoidAlien version of this, Taxxon trackers. The Animorphs had a very hard time losing them in the book they were featured in.˛* The ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' books have a number of these. One in ''Triss'' is able to keep tracking her target even after they go through a river by picking out broken reeds that they left in their path.˛* Vampires and werewolves both in ''Literature/WomenOfTheOtherworld''. Vampires have some sort of weird instinct that lets them always accurately guess which direction someone has gone or if somebody is near by. Werewolves have heightened senses of hearing and smell, and since they also possess human minds, they're basically tracking dogs that can make well thought out decisions and predict where a target they lost the scent of has gone based on human behavior.˛* In ''Literature/TheMostDangerousGame'' by Richard Connell, General Zaroff is capable of tracking down his quarry, through a forest, at night. What's more, [[spoiler:his target, Rainsford, is himself a competent hunter and tracker, and has the skills and intelligence to make himself as hard to track as possible. Zaroff finds him anyway.]]˛* Creator/TomClancy portrays sonar operators aboard US Navy submarines in much the same way; while they may have some very sophisticated sensor equipment backing them up, some of the most skilled can tell a hatch slamming closed from a dropped wrench. On the Russian submarine they're tailing.˛* We don't actually know how he did it, but in ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Rubeus Hagrid tracked Harry and the Dursleys around Surrey and at least another county before getting tired of waiting and showing up. Note that ''he didn't even know what Harry looked like''.˛* In ''[[Literature/TheWarGods Oath of Swords]]'', Bahzell turns out to be one of these. When he and Brandark set out after the party that abducted Zarantha, he took a few minutes to familiarize himself with the individual hoof prints of the horses they were chasing after. ˛* Jasmine from the ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' is an amazing tracker due to having grown up in TheLostWoods, and can also talk to trees. Her [[AnimatedAdaptation anime]] version is even more adept to tracking than her book counterpart due to fillers in the show. ˛* In the ''Literature/UkiahOregon'' series, due to his superhuman senses and wilderness experience, Ukiah is this. His partner Max tells a police officer that he has never failed to find someone who was on foot, and nearly 50% of the time has successfully tracked people who drove off in a car, on the road.˛* In ''Literature/TheSorcererOfTheWildeeps'', Demane is known as the best tracker in the band. Unbeknownst to everyone else, that's because he can use his [[TheNoseKnows superior sense of smell]] and HyperAwareness instead of just poking around in the dirt.˛* In ''Literature/MartinFierro'': At Song III of the First Book, Martin Fierro describes the Indians as this. At the Song X of the Second Book, Fierro describes how he and a captive woman flee an Indian town and cross ThePampas until they reach the Frontier. They were terrified of this trope because Fierro had killed one indian and they were after them.˛* In ''Literature/TheWitchlands'', Aeduan can smell blood (or some magical version thereof) across vast distances if he has something that belong to his target. With this, he can even track people ''across the sea''.˛* ''Literature/JediApprentice'': One side character is such a good tracker that she can follow the path a boat took across open water -- the trick is in diving down and studying how benthic life reacted to the boat's wake.˛* In ''Literature/LabyrinthsOfEcho'', a Master of Pursuit is someone who can magically follow a person's footsteps with their own feet (normally barefoot). Usually the Master has to run all the way until they bump into the person they're trailing; the more focused they become on the trail, the more oblivious they are to anything else - which means they're vulnerable to attacks and should never work alone. A common side effect from a gifted Master of Pursuit being on your trail includes mood shifts: Lady Melamori Blimm gives her victims terrible weakness and depression, while another (posthumous) character was able to fine-tune his target's sensations in line with the seriousness of their crime. ˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Live Action TV]]˛* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': ˛** Implied with Locke at first. Bolton refers to Locke as his 'best hunter,' and he locates Jaime Lannister (and Brienne) with little overt effort. He proves it in "The First of His Name" where he quickly manages to locate Bran while infiltrating Craster's Keep.˛** They call Sandor "The Hound" for a reason. He's an expert at locating and tracking people. He's even able to find and rescue Sansa in the middle of a riot in King's Landing.˛* ''Series/StargateSG1'':˛** Bra'tac and Teal'c sometimes do this, most notably in "Maternal Instinct." O'Neill, [[DeadpanSnarker being]] O'Neill, lampshades it. Bra'tac is not amused.˛*** Though it's more of a SherlockScan; two sets of heavy bootprints and a set of light sandalprints = two men and a woman. Men found dead in one place, woman found dead elsewhere with new group of dead men but with hands unbound = woman was carrying something important. ˛*** Later he states that the something important was a young girl. When asked how they could possibly know that, they point to a doll that had fallen to the ground.˛** [[HotScientist Dr. Frasier]] also pulled this off in "Allegiance" when describing in detail how a Tok'ra was killed from behind and with a blade of exotic design. Teal'c and Bra'tac are visibly impressed.˛* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': Ronon Dex from the spinoff show has managed this a few times. Once, he didn't even ''look at the ground.'' That could have been bad blocking, however.˛* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Locke and Kate do this. Kate is even able to figure out when someone has set up a dummy trail, or when someone has doubled back.˛* Benton Fraser in ''Series/DueSouth'', taking the stereotype of all Mounties well past the point of parody. This usually involves whatever the best gross out is, such as [[FingertipDrugAnalysis licking something horrible]] and [[AbsurdlySpaciousSewer diving into the sewers]].˛* The Huntsman ([[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep natch!]]) does this in ''Series/TheTenthKingdom'': after emerging from the Dwarf mines, he puts his ear to a boulder and is able to hear through the rock (complete with cool shrieking hawk sound-effects) all the way to the Royal Estate where Virginia and Tony are walking. Either something they say is indicative of their location, or he can tell how far the sound traveled, because he's able to know exactly where they are.˛* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'' has Lord Bowler. "Dirt talks to me, Brisco."˛** And Brisco himself.˛---> '''Brisco studies tracks from the saddle''': Hmmmm...˛---> ''Comet whinnies''˛---> '''Brisco''': No, I don't know why they left the road.˛** And there was the episode where they were being tracked by a U.S. army Black Ops team. Bowler knew the tracker and said that he was able to track anything over land, no matter what.˛* Parodied in ''Series/FatherTed''. When Ted has to locate a lost sheep, he tells Dougal that sheep instinctively head north and gives a long explanation as to why. When Dougal then asks which way is north, Ted [[IncrediblyLamePun sheepishly]] admits he doesn't know. He then tries to press his face to the ground and gets a face full of mud for his trouble, while Dougal is able to figure out where the sheep is simply by following ominous noises.˛* ''Franchise/{{Buffyverse}}'':˛** Connor, most of it learned during his [[DeathWorld Quartoth]] childhood and made possible by his Dhamypr like enhanced senses. He once said he could track anything anywhere.˛** Not only can Angel sniff the air and tell if the soil beneath him has been disturbed, he can glance at a spot of blood and immediately determine ''who and what it belongs to''. On one occasion, Wesley questions this ability, and Angel says flatly, "You had sex with a bleached blonde last night." This sort of blood hyper-analysis appears to be common to vamps. Spike mentions that you can tell if someone's evil by tasting their blood (it tastes like pennies).˛* ''Series/{{House}}'' took a different spin on this, but nonetheless subverted it all to hell. House's team is attempting to figure something about their delusional homeless patient's identity and their only clue is a sheaf of artwork she had drawn. House is able to take one look and interpret each of the details in one drawing to mean that the patient was in a car accident in Philadelphia on Oct. 22, 2002. The team's shock at discovering that House is a ScarilyCompetentTracker quickly turns to chagrin, though, when House finally concludes that the patient had broke her arm and the doctors had "fixed it - with '''this!'''" He holds up a surgical pin, the serial number on which he was able to use to track down their patient's name and medical history.˛** Played straight in the season 3 episode Whac-A-Mole. House tells his team that he knows what is wrong with the patient, but wants to give them a chance to figure it out for themselves. He writes something down and seals it in an envelope and tells them they can do one test each. After they fail to diagnose the patient, House opens the envelope which, instead of saying the diagnosis, says which test each team member had done and, in Foreman's case, ''why'' he had done it (too stubborn to take House's hint).˛* ''Series/ThePretender'': Jarod has a couple of episodes where he displays expertise in tracking people. In one he finds a child and in another episode about a military cover up he manages to find an elite team of soldiers who are supposed to be covering their tracks.˛* [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Daryl]] of ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' is capable of this AND SherlockScan.˛* Creator/ChuckNorris does this in ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger''. He is traveling through the forest, gets on the ground, sniffs some dirt, takes a lick, and then states in a matter of fact voice that, "A plane crashed here."˛* Lampooned during the ''Series/TopGear'' Small Japanese Car Hunting episode when Richard Hammond proudly uses his "tracking skills" to follow Jeremy's 4x4 through a forest.˛-->'''Hammond:''' *spotting the tire impressions in the mud* I can see tracks! I'm using my tracking skills; I'm not even using the hounds. *walks into a low branch* Ow, a tree!˛* Ian Edgerton, from ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}.''˛* The black tracker Fuller uses to pursue the bushrangers in the second episode of the ''Series/WildBoys''. Despite the bushrangers using every trick they know to lose him (riding along a creek, etc), he stays right on their tail. And he isn't fooled by the pig carcass they blow up in an attempt to fake their deaths either.˛* One episode of ''Series/CriminalMinds'' had an Apache tracker come in to consult on a case that had Native American themes. The man was able to deduce an insane amount of detail, including seeing from Hotch's footprints that he wore a gun on one ankle, because his footsteps were slightly deeper on that side.˛* Despite the show's title, the protagonist of ''Series/{{Tracker}}'' is ''not'' one of these, although he still has a number of superhuman abilities due to the fact that he's an alien EnergyBeing in human form. In one episode, though, he meets an elderly Native American named Wahota Keene (played by Creator/DonFrancks) whose son was killed by one of the escaped alien convicts Cole is tracking. Keene immediately recognizes his son's killer by simply looking at him and then shows remarkable skill at tracking his movements in the woods. Cole does find that he likes Keene, given that they're both trackers.˛* Hawk, the Native American deputy, can do this in ''Series/TwinPeaks''. However, at one point, he leads everybody to the wrong cabin in the woods.˛* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': Red Riding Hood [[spoiler: and her grandmother]] can do this because [[spoiler: Red is the current [[TheBigBadWolf wolf]] and her grandmother used to be one]]. Ruby, despite not [[spoiler: being the wolf]] and not knowing who she is in Storybrooke, shows similar capability when she manages to track down [[PrinceCharming David]] by hearing when he's in the middle of a forest.˛* ''Series/TheUnit'': Jonas [[BadassBoast boasts]] of being this, while they're tracking the President-elect of the United States.˛-->'''Jonas:''' "I track a man, I can tell you what he had for breakfast."˛* ''Series/JamesMaysManLab'': Real Life tracker [[ Ian Maxwell]] shows tricks of the trade for tracking down escaped prisoners while hot on the trail of James and Oz, who have themselves "escaped" from Dartmoor Prison and are on the run to show how to do orienteering.˛* An episode of ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'' had Hercules [[ItMakesSenseInContext turned into a pig]] by a ploy of Ares and had Iolaus and Autolycus communicating with him via a parrot who could translate for them, along with a female pig who Hercules befriended. A man was tracking them and was able to tell the female pig had a crush on Pig!Hercules as well as know the parrot was on Iolaus' shoulder.˛* On ''Series/{{Bitten}}'' all the werewolves are good natural trackers but Elena is specifically stated to be the best tracker in the Pack even though she grew up primarily in a city. Her senses seem to be better than those of the male werewolves.˛* The Cat from ''Series/RedDwarf'' can smell things ''in outer space.'' Subverted in the extended version of "Tikka To Ride" when he smells a dead body and lists off several details about him, such as being a big smoker and married. Lister pulls out the man's wallet, finding membership cards for both anti-smoking and gay pride societies.˛* The reality TV show ''Series/{{Mantracker}}'' is all about this. A team of two have to reach a certain point on the map with two trackers on horses on their trail. Even with a good headstart every time, and taking paths the horses can't, the contestants usually lose. ˛** It doesn't help the contestants that most of them fall into DickDastardlyStopsToCheat territory who will waste precious time trying to set up decoys and fakeouts that Mantracker will glance over and discard as obvious tricks before moving on in the correct direction.˛* In ''Series/TheWire'', it's implied that Major Colvin wants the cops in his district to be this, as in season 3, he's shown in his office asking two new cops to tell him which direction is which. One points west and the other points upward. These new cops probably do have a decent sense of direction for all we know, (only so many people can tell which compass point they're facing in an enclosed environment) but Colvin doesn't accept his patrolmen being anything less than this trope, so newbies get the fun of carrying around a compass until he knows which direction he's facing and where he is at all times. When the rookies leave Colvin's office, Herc and Carver can't help but mock Colvin:˛-->'''Herc:''' Hey Carv, where you at?˛-->'''Carver:''' I'm at a desk outside the roll call room on the first floor of 1034 North Mount. My feet are facing west and my dick is pointing south-southwest.˛-->'''Herc:''' Bunny Colvin's been giving that speech as long as you guys were sucking air.˛* ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' has [[KnifeNut Hanzee Dent]], a Native American criminal who works for [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether The Gerhardt crime family]]. He is able to easily track down the people who kidnapped [[spoiler: Rye Gerhardt]] and even finds clues at the crime scene that the police themselves missed.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]˛* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' comic, where a hunter spots some easy-to-miss signs that show a deer has slept there - completely ignoring the sheets, the pillow, a bedtime book, and a picture of a deer that's there also.˛** Another one featured an Indian listening intently at the ground, saying "I hear fifty, maybe sixty horses!", while coming up right behind him is an entire US Cavalry regiment.˛*** The best part about that comic was the dropped spear nearby; indicating that his "friend" already spotted the cavalry and high-tailed it out of there without telling him.˛* A cartoon from a magazine features a traditional Indian with his ear to the ground, reeling off the usual list of facts ("one of the horses is lame", etc.), concluding with "A satellite is passing over their position."˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Tabletop Games]]˛* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', it is technically possible to track a hamster across dry rock, one week after the fact, and just after having ''snowfall''. (DC 39). Depending on bonuses and equipment, this is reliably doable as a frighteningly low level.˛** This does of course only work if your GM let's you. He could as well (reasonably) decide that this would be nonsense and that there simply aren't any tracks any longer, independent from your skill.˛* A D&D spell, [[ Discern Location]], allows you to become one-nothing short of full out DivineIntervention or an equally powerful nondetection spell, Mind Blank, can prevent you from determining your quarry's current plane of existence, continent, country, state, city, and ''street adress''.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Video Games]]˛* Apparently [[spoiler:Raiden]] turned into one in between ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'', [[spoiler:in addition to having [[TookALevelInBadass Taken A Level In Badass]]]]. In the latter, he [[spoiler:coaches Snake about tracking, including telling him to check the depth, shape, and stride of the footprints, check for broken branches, and something about the direction of the wind. You immediately have to use this advice to track down another character, and for the most part, it comes in handy.]]˛* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the hunter class can track things...which basically means they have radar. Confusingly, they can only track one type of monster at a time: if they're tracking humanoids, they won't be able to track beasts.˛** [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Druids in cat form]] can track humanoids. Warlocks can track demons.˛** Certain elixirs and [[HealthFood food items]] grant the ability to track specific creature types.˛** Through a certain combination of class, profession choice, and quests, it is possible to be able to track ''everything'' in the game. This is only possible if you roll a Hunter (Track Beasts, Humanoids, Dragonkin, etc, etc) who is an Herbalist (Track Herbs) and a Miner (Track Minerals), and who has also managed to fish up a "Weatherbeaten Journal" which, upon reading, allows you to Track Fish.˛*** And in previous versions, you could be a Dwarf and [[ track treasure]].˛** In addition, virtually any character can use tracking to get specific types of [=NPCs=] displayed on the minimap, as well as pets to battle once you completed the introduction quest.˛* Similar to ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', in ''VideoGame/EverQuestII'', a Scout class can track anything from land mammals to birds to fish to entirely stationary mushrooms. In fact, the tracking window even brings up the ''name'' of everything in the area, allowing the Scout to track specific [=NPCs=] (including ones they have never met before and know nothing about).˛* Geralt can be this a few times in ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'' as long as he swigs the right potion that heightens his awareness.˛* In ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'', Witcher tracking becomes much easier to enter, as it's a special mode called "Witcher Senses" available simply by holding down a key. It's crucial in a great many number of quests to investigate anomalous goings-on. Geralt's commentary on what his findings could mean fit the ScarilyCompetentTracker mold to a tee.˛* Ezio Auditore is the most prominent one in the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' series. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] by his genetic [[AuraVision Eagle Vision/Sense]] ability.˛** By the time of ''[[VideoGAme/AssassinsCreedRevelations Revelations]]'', he can actually ''follow a ghost image of his target'' with his Eagle Vision, seeing the image as clearly as if the person is still walking the path in front of him. You know how, in some games with Time Trials, you have the option to follow a "ghost"? Exactly like that. Oh, and if you're a guard who is on patrol with a set path, he can also see the paths you are ''going'' to be walking, and where you tend to stop. And where your path intersects with other guards.\˛His Eagle Vision can also pick out concealed doorways and passages, along with being able to find the ''one person'' in a crowd who has what he needs. Fifty guards wandering around, and only one of them has a key, which is hidden in a pouch where no one could possibly spot it? Disguised as a hooded priest in a monastery full of men dressed ''exactly the same way'', from whom you are indistinguishable to the point that your own mother couldn't pick you out of a line-up? If Ezio turns on his Eagle Vision, you will be lit up like the Holy Grail. Good luck escaping this man.˛** [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII Connor Kenway]] fits into this category as well, though in the traditional sense of tracking rather than Eagle Vision. ˛** Connor's grandfather [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag Edward]] has this as well, although lacking Connor's Native American upbringing. One would wonder why a privateer/pirate would need such skills, but they appear to be exclusively based on Eagle Vision rather than training. Once he's caught a glimpse of you, he'll even see you through a building.˛** Interesting enough, this is averted with Altair, who is acknowledged as the greatest in-universe several times. He had the simplest version of Eagle Vision (you couldn't even walk with it like you could with Ezio and the others) but was apparently [[MemeticBadass the most competent of them all]].˛* The Tyrant T-103 Type that chases you mercilessly throughout [[NewGamePlus Scenario B]] of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' and simply ''[[ImplacableMan will not die]].'' It turns out he wants Sherry [[spoiler: because her locket contains a sample of the G-Virus]] and he can smell it on her. He goes out of his way to attack Claire because he has Sherry's scent on her after they hugged, and ''[[NightmareFuel he's after Leon because Sherry's scent rubbed off of Claire onto him when they made contact]]''.˛* Both The Nemesis from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' and The Ustanak from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' have ''uncanny'' tracking abilities when it comes to chasing their targets. Ustanak at least has support and Intel from Neo Umbrella to help him out, but The Nemesis' ability to find Jill wherever she goes in Raccoon City is near supernatural.˛* Characters with a high Tracking skill in ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' are capable of estimating the strength of a warband numbering ''in the hundreds'' to within three or four people, can tell you ''exactly'' how many hours ago they came through, and can even differentiate between deserters and troops still loyal to their lord. On the other hand, the game fails to provide information that should easily be available to any decent tracker, such as if there are any cavalry present, or if they were escorting prisoners. ˛* The [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Revenant]] from ''VideoGame/NexusClash'' can examine any recently slain corpse and deduce the name and current location of both the killer and ([[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist if respawned]]) the victim. Used in combination with their animal forms' HyperAwareness, even total invisibility isn't a recipe for safety once a Revenant decides to "investigate" a killing.˛* Tyra from ''VideoGame/{{Paladins}}'' is a master huntress whose tracking skill is represented by her Hunter's Mark ability. This ability marks an enemy in her sights, revealing their whereabouts to the entire team even through cover and invisibility.˛* Aloy in ''VideoGame/HorizonZeroDawn'' is not only a highly-trained tracker, her Focus gives her an AugmentedReality interface that she can use to assist her while tracking (by doing things like highlighting their tracks), allowing her to track people and machines much more readily than anyone else can.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Webcomics]]˛* Parodied early in ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'': Fighter attempts to find a way out of the forest by following tracks. When asked to describe the ones who made these tracks, [[Franchise/WinnieThePooh he gives a perfect description of himself and Black Mage.]]˛* [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] by ''Webcomic/AbstruseGoose'' [[ here]].˛* This is known and ridiculed as "the [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Aragorn]] syndrome" in ''Webcomic/TheNoob''.˛* Subverted by Belkar in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', who, as a ranger, is supposed to be a scary-accurate tracker (and was hired as one), but actually has no skill at all at tracking and has, on more than one occasion, forgotten it's what he was supposed to be doing.˛** Well, actually, Belkar seems to have some tracking ability, but he is too distracted and uncaring to use it...until Roy points out (falsely) that the person Roy wants him to track has insulted Belkar.˛--->'''Belkar:''' "Oh, that's it! I'm gonna track them down and kill their whole family!"˛*** The next strip, however, Belkar forgets that he was tracking anybody.˛** Belkar is a parody of a combat twink who chooses to be ranger not for their class specialties, but for whatever perks they can exploit in combat.˛** The one time he does track, he uses TheNoseKnows.˛* In ''Webcomic/QuentynQuinnSpaceRanger'', [[ the hunting snorf]] [[ can pick up a scent from a description, admittedly of a distinctive being, and tell she's sick.]]˛* Sabueso from ''Webcomic/TheDreadful'' is able to track the protagonist to a location she hasn't reached yet in order to ambush her. He handwaves this as simply down to him being the best. [[spoiler: He's lying, but the authorities won't let him use magic in pursuit of Kit so he got them to hire him as this instead.]]˛* In ''Webcomic/{{Elf}}'', the title character notices she sounds scarily competent.˛-->'''Elf''': Something nasty is stalking a trio of halflings... and one dwarf with a gimpy right foot. It's hunting.\˛'''Elf''': I am sounding so pro right now.˛* Dhur from ''Webcomic/MeatShield'' can [[ read dirt]] He can tell a targets hair colour and dominant hand from their tracks but get lost if he tries to use a map.˛* In ''WebComic/SecondEmpire'', the Phonar operator in the Imperial Dalek ship is skilled enough to hear a tool dropping in a different spaceship, deduce its composition, and from there, what kind of tool it most likely was. ''In the middle of a nebula.''˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Western Animation]]˛* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in the ''WesternAnimation/AceVentura'' animated series: Ace finds a footprint and gives a detailed description of the owner's age, size, health, and appearance. Turns out the guy dropped a drivers' license next to the footprint.˛* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':˛** Sokka does this in the season 1 episode "Bato of the Water Tribe". He spots some scuffmarks in the dirt and some broken branches and one water tribe artifact. He's able to determine what happened and make an entertaining story out of it until they get to the beach. He also knows you can amplify vibrations by putting your ear up to a knife stuck in a tree.˛** He's nothing compared to the Combustion Man, however. That guy can track a flying bison (disguised as a cloud) across an island chain.˛** Azula also counts. At one point, she even realizes that the heroes are trying to get her off of their trail after they split up into two separate directions.˛** Well, Zuko tracks the airborne Gaang up one side of the world and down the other throughout season 1. From sea. And then there's Jun and her Shirshu, Nyla, who is the living embodiment of this trope, capable of tracking ''anything, anywhere'' on the planet by ''scent'' alone.˛* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', being a mix of Batman and Sherlock Holmes, knows how to locate villains with one seemingly inconsequential clue. For instance, he is able to determine the location of Negaduck's hideout from the composition of a single tiny bread crumb left behind at the crime scene... [[FailedASpotCheck all the while completely ignoring the giant flag with Negaduck's face on it]] [[FunnyBackgroundEvent being raised in the background]]. In fact, Negaduck planted the crumb there deliberately in order to lure DW to his hideout, knowing full well that he wouldn't notice the flag.˛* The Map of ''WesternAnimation/DoraTheExplorer'' knows where everything is [[FridgeLogic even before it gets there]].˛** May be a JustifiedTrope in that it's, you know, a map.˛* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' where Peter and Chris are out hunting deer in the woods (it's winter). Peter sees some tracks, which he then begins to follow. Chris points out that they're SNOWMOBILE tracks, but lo and behold, they eventually come across a deer, drinking coffee from a thermos. It hears them, gets on its snowmobile, and drives away.˛* Principal Skinner displayed this ability in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much". [[NonGivingUpSchoolGuy He even tracks Bart across a river.]] [[DeTerminator By walking]] [[ImplacableMan straight]] [[RuleOfFunny through it.]] Also, Homer is capable of [[TheNoseKnows reading messages on cake by smell alone]] and, according to Bart, can hear pudding. Bart himself does it in the episode "Days of Wine and D'ohses"; he can tell a person's country of origin by smelling their cut off hair.˛* Scourge (whose very title is 'tracker') and his huntsmen, the Sweeps, of ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1''. Scourge's sensors are so good that given a general direction of travel from their current location, he can find people who are ''on other planets'' without taking a step. He's reportedly capable of picking out a single amoeba in the ocean, or a wind-up toy in the Sahara Desert.˛* ''WesternAnimation/TheWildThornberrys'': Nigel Thornberry, despite his slight BumblingDad appearance, is a formidable tracker -- even when trying to catch up with a rare rhinoceros who left footprints that led in the wrong direction to try and fool him.˛* In ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk'', Gobber is able to tell how long ago the tracks were made. Stoick [[LampshadeHanging openly asks how he is able to do that]].˛* Tracker Smurf, a Season 2 character in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'', is one of these.˛[[/folder]]˛˛[[folder:Real Life]]˛* TruthInTelevision: the Yung!Sang tribe are actually able to define the age, sex, and health of their hunt, as well as how long they've passed by, by the footprints. According to some accounts, they're even able to identify people by name only by looking at their footprints.˛** The Lipan Apache of North America could also do this, plus more, such as identifying various psychological states, body positioning, specific injuries, and fullness of stomach and bladder. They could also follow tracks across solid rock.[[note]]As explained below for the Shadow Wolves article, experienced trackers can do this by spotting pebbles and debris that have a side sticking up that is significantly less weathered than the other exposed surfaces, which is a definite sign someone or something disturbed them.[[/note]] Tom Brown Jr., who learned tracking from a Lipan Apache, has demonstrated many of these skills.˛** From [[ Richard B. Lee's]] book on the Dobe Ju/'hoansi:˛-->...both men and women are able to identify an individual person merely by the sight of his or her footprint in the sand. There is nothing mysterious about this. Their tracking is a skill, cultivated over a lifetime, that builds on literally tens of thousands of observations (see also Liebenberg, 1990).The Ju hunter can deduce many kinds of information about the animal he is tracking: its species and sex, its age, how fast it is travelling, whether it is alone or with other animals, its physical condition (healthy or ill), whether and on what it is feeding, and the time of day the animal passed this way.˛** The [[ Shadow Wolves]], a law enforcement group composed largely of Native Americans that falls under the Department of Homeland Security, largely rely on traditional methods to track illegal aliens and drug smugglers who try to cross the U.S. - Mexican border. Their track record is quite impressive indeed, as they're often able to track and catch their quarry using only the slightest of clues as to their presence.˛* Terry Grant from the Canadian reality show ''Series/{{Mantracker}}''. Each episode consists of him using his expert tracking skills to hunt down the "prey" (contestants), such as immediately identifying a stump that was freshly cut by observing that the dirt used to attempt to camouflage it included a small pebble that couldn't have gotten there naturally.˛** An extreme example: About every other group will try to "trick" Mantracker by doing something sneaky, like walking backwards through mud, or attempt to double back on their footprints. And almost without fail, Mantracker will take one look at their work and ''instantly'' spot the deception.˛*** Even accounting for the time he spends explaining to the camera how he spotted the trick, [[DickDastardlyStopsToCheat it still takes more time for the prey to set up the trick than for the tracker to see right through it.]]˛** The show also provides a demonstration of the part of tracking that isn't usually mentioned: not merely looking at the tracks, but anticipating ''what'' your target is likely to do, so you know where they are likely to go or have been and can pick up the trail after you've lost it.˛** He also explains using other environment clues such as the behavior of the local wildlife in reaction to people walking through. In one episode he notices a pack of wild horses NOT walking his way to investigate him and his horse, thus deduces that something ''else'' must be holding their attention. He quickly finds his prey surrounded by the horses.˛* [[ Jim Corbett]] was a [[GreatWhiteHunter hunter]] famous for killing man-eating tigers and leopards that terrorized villages, some of them with victims numbering in the hundreds. He could tell how old tracks were, as well as the sex, size, and condition of the animal that made them. He could even identify individual tigers he had observed before.˛* As shown in [[ this]] Behind the scenes segment for Lone Target/Manhunt, The [[UsefulNotes/FilipinosWithFirearms Philippine Army Scout Rangers]] are an ''entire BadassArmy'' of trackers that can operate with ''[[WeakButSkilled nothing more than their wits, determination and a couple of jeeps]]''.˛* More generally, human beings. Our large brains are very good at taking in details, and in turn tracking. Couple this with our impressive endurance, and we can literally [[{{Determinator}} chase things to death.]]˛* While we can talk a lot about specific humans, the real scarily competent trackers are Bloodhounds. All they need is a little of your scent and then it becomes basically impossible to get away from them. The Series/{{Mythbusters}} even busted a myth that's it's possible to baffle one even through ridiculous circumstances.˛** Pureblood (and trained) Bloodhounds are one of the few non-humans that can be used as witnesses (instead of as evidence) in a United States trial and, along with their trainer, are considered expert witnesses.˛** Dogs in general. The reason why Humans and Dogs get along so great is both are persistence hunters, which required this trope to work properly and both could track in ways the others could not (Humans do have a good sense of smell, but nowhere close to a dog's, which in turn do not have the visual senses a human has).˛[[/folder]]˛˛----


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: