HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 4, No. 1, 1985

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 4 No. 1, 1985

Role Playing
by Tom Brown Jr.

Role playing during a hunting, stalking, or hiding exercise is very important to the touching of an animal. Role playing helps one to gear down in body, mind, and emotion, making that person almost invisible. I don't know how many students have been stalking or awaiting an animal's passing only to have that animal run off at the last moment, spooked by some unforeseen fear. What usually happens is that the person hiding or stalking gets excited and this excitement is picked up by the animal in a physical-spiritual level, causing the animal to run off because of some gut level feeling the animal senses.

Once a person has mastered role playing, he becomes almost invisible to the animal in all respects. The Native American people took great time and care in this preparation before a hunt, and this age-old practice can be very beneficial to you, also.

The stage for role playing stems from daydreaming and pretending much as you did when you were a child. The actual stage or setting that we will be dealing with is called visualization. Unlike daydreaming and pretending, visualization is more controlled and actually puts you into the setting totally use all of your senses to feel, see, smell, taste, and hear the situation you are visualizing. First, we must prepare a way to this visualization by relaxing our body.

A relaxed body is an aware mind. A relaxed body is very secretive, almost to the extent of being invisible. First, we must achieve a relaxed body. Once you are settled in your hide area or in the process of stalking, you should relax for a few moments and concentrate on your breathing. Allow your breathing to become rhythmic and even, feeling the essence and sensations of the air passing through your lips, airways, and lungs. Then systematically relax your body by mentally going over all portions of it and making sure they are relaxed. I like to envision my mind working each limb separately, allowing my body to relax, sink into the ground, and become one with the earth. If stalking, simply relax as much as you can. Once you are completely relaxed, then set the stage for role playing, I envision in my mind that my body is an entity like a rock, a tree stump, or a tree if I am in a hide. If I am stalking, I envision myself as the wind or a shadow. I control my thoughts to a point where I let no outside influences in but fully concentrate on becoming that entity. I become so involved in becoming that entity that I can actually feel my skin as bark, my roots reaching deep into the earth, and my body becoming one with the landscape. I become so deeply involved in playing that entity that hours may slip by like seconds and the wait is not nearly so long or painful as I anticipated.

Miraculous things begin to occur once you have reached this complete state of visualization, where you actually believe that you are that entity. Your breathing is slow and shallow, almost imperceptible, you body doesn't move, and your thoughts and emotions will not betray you. In this inner stillness you become invisible, long periods of time slip by, and animals are totally unaware of your existence. Stalking becomes effortless, mindless, as you drift across the landscape, almost as if you were totally weightless.

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