While doing the research for my current WIP (work in progress), I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a group of elite trackers who work perfectly into my next Isabella Mumphrey action adventure.
Shadow Wolves are a group of Native American men who are hired by Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help track down drug smugglers and illegals crossing the Mexico border on the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation in Arizona. Members of this team were even sent to the Middle East by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help track down Al Qaida leaders.
This team is made up of different tribe members: Tohono O'odham, Navajo, Lakota, and Blackfeet. They are the best trackers of human beings. There are nine Shadow Wolves at the Arizona. Mexico border. The border is seventy-six miles long and encompasses canyons and scrubland. There are few paved roads.
Not only are they there to find and capture drug drops and mules(the people who carry the drugs on their backs over the border) they are there to find the illegals. Especially, when they are left to wait for another "coyote" to get them the rest of the way through the desert. Many illegals die from heat and dehydration waiting for the next person who is to take them through the desert.
Shadow Wolves are so good at their jobs that Mexican Cartels have put bounties on them. The team not only is tuned to tracking but they have some military training. They carry M-4 rifles and semi-automatic pistols. Watching a documentary on them, they look like a military patrol as they wind their way through the mesquite, creosote, and cactus.
They not only have to watch the land for prints and the plants for fibers, but they need to keep an eye on the hills and rises for spotters. The spotters use night goggles and a mobile phone or radio to to deliver encrypted messages to the mules, telling them where the Shadow Wolves or other law enforcement are. Some mules will tie pieces of carpet to their feet to try and hide their tracks.
When the Shadow Wolves can't follow footprints, they look for fibers snagged by the thorny plants, studying directions of indentions in the soil and dislodged pebbles, and moisture from carelessly squashed cactus.
Disturbed soil and trees reveals how long since someone stopped to rest. They use the shade of the tree to determine the length of time. The person would have rested in the shade and if the disturbed dirt is now four feet before the shade, they can determine the time. They have been known to follow what looks to be a vanishing trail for twenty four hours and find their man.
The name, Shadow Wolves, reflects how they hunt like a pack of wolves. They may have high tech equipment like rifles and infrared binoculars, but they prefer using the same knowledge their ancestors used to find their enemies.
You can go here to watch the documentary I watch over and over to get information for my book.