Track Scene Investigation


Evidence may be submitted to us in the form of digital data, photographic prints or slides, and casts.

        Digital images may be submitted via e-mail or on disks or similar devices.  If images are sent by e-mail each image should be reduced to about 1200 x 1800 dpi. For legal cases, we will accept initial images via e-mail but require copies of originals on CDS or DVDs. If more resolution is needed, we will contact the originator.  E-mails should not exceed 2 MB and no more than 5 e-mails should be sent without consulting with us. Here in our remote location our band width is low and large volumes may crash our site.

Materials may be mailed by U.S. Postal service or sent by Fed Ex or UPS.  We suggest request and pay for tracking information.  If sent by U.S. Postal service, please send to P.O. Box 989, Gardiner, MT 59030 because we do not have street delivery from the postal service in our remote location.  If sent by Fed Ex or UPS, use the street address of 206 5th St W, Gardiner, MT 59030.  Please list the phone number (406) 848-9458 on each package.  If more than one package please mark each page with a number of the total number of packages, e.g. package 1 or 4.

For legal cases you must purchase signature verification from your carrier.  Please call us before shipping a package that requires a signature.


Upon receipt of evidence, we will evaluate its quality and condition.  If the quality and condition do not facilitate accurate analysis, we will document the evidence and return it to the sender at the sender's cost.



For all evidence, we prepare copies for our permanent files and our protection.  Usually copies consist of digital images.  If the evidence is a plaster cast, our duplication process uses rubber molds that may cause the plaster to darken but will not damage the original cast.  Casts, though, may be fragile, especially if the original technique was not adequate.  Therefore we accept no responsibility for breakage.

To facilitate good techniques, we provide several PDFs to use for guidelines and training of your personnel.

Track Plates

If the situation allows you to place a track trap, we recommend track plates. Track plates are coated surfaces, usually used with bait and directing walls, to cause an animal to leave a footprint. Track plates provide good records of what animal has passed and are excellent sources for footprint identification. The book Track Plates for Mammals: A How To Manual and Aid to Footprint Identification provides detail information about the various types of track plates and how to use them.

Click on the icon to the left to purchase a copy of Track Plates for Mammals

Quality Tracker

The Tracker: As a Naturalist, Scientist, Practitioner, and Teacher deals with how the evolution of tracking, since its inception, affects the role of quality in everything the tracker does. The tracker provides a thought provoking look at what it means to be a tracker.

Click on the icon to the left to view the Quality Tracker PDF

Minimum Outline

How Big Is That Track deals with the correct way to measure a footprint so resulting information will be reduced in variability and be as accurate as possible. For footprint data to be useful for biology, ecology, behavior, or legal evidence, tracks must be measured using minimum outline techniques.

Click on the icon to the left to view the Minimum Outline PDF


Making Casts of Footprints is a step-by-step procedure for plaster casting of tracks. Information is provided on how to make casts in snow, sand, and fine dirt. This article contains information on supplies, equipment, procedures and retailers.

Click on the icon to the left to view the Casting PDF



Forensic wildlife tracking is relatively new and the collections at the Track Museum and Education Center represent one of the more extensive available. We continually seek to improve the collections and our abilities to teach using these reference materials.

All samples are very important to their owners and to us for documentation and training.  We request your permission to use your evidence for training and reference materials in the Track Museum.  Please print and sign (click here for a PDF) the form to allow us to reproduce your materials in digital or plaster formats.  Your evidence may appear in classes but will not be sold.  If you do not wish your evidence used please state so on the form.  You do not have to allow your evidence to be used for training to have it analyzed and to receive a report.


For legal cases, we prepare copies of materials sent to TSI and keep these as permanent references.  In respect for the need of confidentiality, legal cases evidence is not available to the public.  Evidence will not be used for teaching purposes unless permission is granted (see above) and a delayed time frame may be specified before material is used for teaching.

Chain of Custody or Chain of Evidence

We request that any material needing a chain of custody be sent via signature required transportation through USPS, Fed Ex, or UPS.  We will keep all sealing, marking, and chain of evidence documentation in order, record its process at TSI, and return with the evidence and any reports.  You may download our chain of custody record form for your use in transmitting evidence to TSI by clicking here.