ALWAYS pick up after yourself do NOT be a pig. If you have enough that you can throw something away, then you have stuff others may want to take from you. Or leavening trash is like the old tale of leaving bread crumbs as a trail marker. It is most always best to leave no trace that you were ever there. An example of this from my military days was that we did not carry TP as the locals did not use it, also we would go a bit off the trail and dig a ‘cat hole’ to go in and us leaves to wipe and then bury everything so it did not show. In that area it took less than a week for the worms to convert our droppings and remove all trace of us. As a side note, KNOW what kind of leaves you are making us of. Do not be like a relative who did not know what poison ivy looked like and use that to wipe. I am sure it was NOT fun recovering from that.
Travel on hard surfaces if possible as this will cut down on the tracks you leave. Travel single file to diminish their ability to count how many people are in your group, on the other hand everyone making their own path does not leave as much of a trail. You have to decide which you think is best in your situation. If you can wrap your footwear in rags to obscure what kind of shoe you have. Back when I worked Search and |Rescue we each had a laminated cheat sheet which had the common tread patterns on it so that when we discovered prints we could radio the info into command to log locations.
What are your thoughts on this?
What other suggestions can you make?
Typically the bigger issues with this come from children, dogs and Untrained adults which can be way worse than the kids and animals. EVERYONE should be trained in quiet mode operations. This is easier done IF a house hold member is a shift worker. My wife and I both had parents who worked other shifts so we were raised being quiet. WE both worked shifts [evening and nights] and so raised our kids to be quiet. This was so ingrained into us that on hard wood or tile floors walking ‘normally’ for us in combat boots we often got accused of ‘sneaking up on people. The grandkids’ donor was NOT raised to be quiet and even in stocking feet we could hear him walking in the house. He often bragged of what a great hunter he was [from the road] and ALL the things he learned in Marine boot camp.. [The whole WEEK [7 days] ] that he was in boot camp before he got the boot…
The short of this discussion on noise discipline is START early teaching the kids about it and it will be WAY easier to do. You can make a game out of it.
Along with all that has already been discussed is LIGHT discipline. Keep lights low and shielded so that it only extends at most a few feet from the source. Sound is hard to track due to echoing unless it is a constant noise like equipment [generators or music]. Light once seen can be followed EVEN if it was only a flash like from a camera. All they have to do is mark the direction and then plot it on a map. IF 2 or more people witnessed it your exact location is easy to triangulate. Along with LIGHT discipline is REFLECTIVE discipline which is light reflecting off of equipment and thus giving your position away. Remove or cover reflective items with cloth, flat paint or mud to cut down on this issue.
Conversely if you are trying to be noticed make noise, start small controlled fires which smoke a lot and use something reflective to catch the sun light and redirect it toward searchers.
All things being equal the one thing which attracts attention the most is MOVEMENT. If you are attempting to travel without being noticed move slowly and deliberately without acting as if you are sneaking about. Stop often and survey your surroundings.
OUTLINES disrupt your outline so that you do not look human [same thing for equipment make is so that the outline does not look like a car or truck or whatever. Also be very aware of your background so that you do not stand out such as avoiding the ridgeline of a hill or building.
Like noise and light discipline you have to watch the color of your attire and equipment. Avoid bright un-natural colors unless you WANT to be found. Reds and oranges are out for blending in. also avoid camouflage and tactical black as they shout ‘I have stuff, come and take it!’ Browns, tans, light greens, grays and cream colors work well for blending in in most places. Look to see what the dominate colors are around you and go with that. Some times a muted plaid or flower shirt works well.
Things that will give away your location both on the trail |AND at home
Consider these things when you have to bug out bug back or are sheltering in place. You do NOT want to stand out as someone who has ‘stuff’ that others may want to take from you.
Both from a fire [for warmth or for cooking] AND tobacco products. I have personally tracked people down from over a ¼ mile away who smoking a cigarette – of course the wind was blowing toward me. The odor that clings to smokers can also give away their location even if they are not actively smoking. KEEP this in mind if there is ANY possibility that you will ever have to remain hidden. One building that we had an office in a few years ago used to be a movie house. Part if it had burned down OVER 30 years prior and there was still the odor from that fire in parts of the building such as the projection room. IF you have a fire do it at night to hide the sight of the smoke and keep the fire VERY small and shielded so that people can not see the fire itself.
The odor not only from the fire but from the food itself carriers quite a way and will give away your location. Especially if the people around you are hungry. Back in the old west stories they talked of having ‘cold camps’ the term comes from not having a cooking fire. This is something to consider if you are ever on the move either bugging out or bugging home…. And even when sheltering in place. It is a good idea for most of your food n your BOB to be such that you can eat it cold or out of hand without preparation. That said – a good HOT meal sure does lift the spirits.
Back when I was in the military one of the things the medics [me] carried was Codeine tablets. Besides being good for pain control it also suppressed cough in case a team mate had one and we did not want the sound to give away our location while on patrol. Talk with your doctor if this is a concern for you. BTW there are other over the counter [OTC] medications which will help control cough ECT that can be used such as Guaifenesin tablets. This is a great topic for discussion with your doctor.