Recently I was talking with a friend who was in the process of organizing a tracking match for his club. The question came up as to how much land would be needed for the test. In the back of my mind the figure of 10 acres per track kept coming up. I thought the AKC had suggested this number but I could not seem to find it anywhere. So I plotted a few tracks to calculate the amount of land needed for the tracks.
An acre equals 4840 square yards. The track alone (150) yds x 100 yds) in figure 1 takes up only 3.1 acres. However, there are several regulations that must be kept in mind. A track cannot be within 75 yards of another track and a track should not be within 15 yards of a boundary. These two regulations really eat up land.
Figure 1 is a very economical track as far as use of land. If we assume tracks to the left and above this track, it requires 30881.25 yds. or 6.85 acres. This would represent the least amount of land provided all other factors were ideal. As one can see, including boundaries and the distances between tracks nearly doubles the amount of land needed for just one track. Unfortunately, we often have fields of between 10 and 15 acres, which hold only one track because of the way the field is laid out.
Let’s now consider the tracks in Figure 2. This field is not unlike many. It is bounded by roads at both end and the front and a fence at the rear of the field. The three tracks take up about 35 acres. The three tracks alone use 18.2 acres, again half that needed when boundaries are included. This field is limited in that the only way tracklayers can leave the field is to the main road or on the other side of the roads at either end.
Getting the track layer off the field can limit the number of tracks a field can hold even if there is ample room. Consider the tracks in Figure 3. At a recent teat we were faced with these fields. Tracks 1, 3 and 5 were all in the same field. To get the track layer out, track layer 3 had to leave the field through track 1; track layer 5 had to leave through track 3, and track layer 4 through track 2. To accomplish this, tracks 1 and 2 were walked. After dog 1 had run, track 3 was walked with the track layer leaving through track 1. After track 2 had been run, track 4 was walked. After track 3 was run, track 5 was walked. Had track 6 not finished where it had, tracklayers 3 and 5 could have reached the road by walking through the woods and the tracks could have been run in a different order? Had track 3 been designed differently, possibly only one track would have been in the same field with track 1 because of how the track layer would have had to leave the field.
©1987 W. Herbert Morrison, III