In this book, Jim Lowery shows how to merge practical and intuitive tracking through this documentation of his two and a half year field study trailing 100 animals in challenging conditions. Principles, methodology and many case studies are included.
Link to Earth Skills' Walk with the Animal series
Free download of principles & assignments to "walk with the animal."
Intuitive Techniques to Share
Matt - Gut feeling
I have a 'gut' feeling just below my solar plexus where I've always experienced emotions, whether anxiety or excitement or eagerness. It’s a place I’ve always had a pull with other things in life. And with intuitive tracking that feeling comes up. That’s where some of the confirmation has been coming from. During an experience I had with two deer, I was getting this pull and this energy in this spot, and I knew I was on the right path with the animals.
Lori - Touching a track
A small trail of gray fox tracks came down the slope and into a wash. The wash was a hard-pan soil that gave no impression of any track, path or direction. I climbed up the slope and studied each track. I then made my notes; location, temperature, trail/track width, length, stride, etc. These are the things my logical mind plays with so it won’t forget. I write down these distractions so I can set them aside. Last, I draw the ravine, the slope and the existing trail/tracks. Then I put the notebook away. I put the logical mind away. I sat for a while where the fox stopped at the top of the ravine. I sat next to his trail. I did a “breath to heart” exercise until I was relaxed and then I added “wide angle vision". I wanted to just be a part of the place I viewed.
In that relaxed state, I reached over and put my hand into one of the fox tracks. What a wonderful feeling that surged through me. I have no words to describe it. I asked, “Where did you go?” I did not “think” of doing it. It just happened. I imagined the fox walking on the trail. He walked right by me! I saw his muscles flexing, his fur bouncing up and down as he walked by me. Then, without thinking, I reached out and touched him as he passed. I saw him cross to the other side of the ravine and then turn left to go up the far side of the wash. Then he was gone.
I just sat there for a minute. I could hardly believe what just happened. My logical mind came rushing in at the opportunity, but I could not deny what I was feeling. I ran down from the top of the ravine. I searched and searched. I walked up the wash on the far side of the ravine. The terrain was mostly hard-pan soil. I knew he went this way. I kept searching. Then, behind a log was a small drift of sand on the hard-pan soil. In the sand, I found what I was looking for. Two little fox tracks. Confirmation!
Kelly - Take the time
The hardest is trying to establish the correct mind set. If you’ve been driving or have thoughts of work or home in your head or you’ve been chit chatting with your other trackers you can get rushed and impatient and thoughtless about how you’re working, and nothing works for you. I have made the mistake of trying to start too soon before I’d established the right mind-set.
I find it helps me to just sit down on the ground and meditate or pray or talk to the animal for a good while. It’s not enough to take a deep breath, clear my thoughts, say “OK here I go". I have to take a long time and move into that other space. That’s the hardest part; dedicating yourself to that animal that you’re tracking, asking its permission. It’s really easy to shine over that. It can’t be perfunctory or it won’t work.
Juliette - Focus on the first contact
Once I find that first track, I get down and just really ask, "Who are you?" "May I walk with you today?" That first impression will be the place to return to whenever I get distracted further along, whether by outside mind matters, or getting onto a different trail, or losing contact with my animal during the process - so this first part has been pretty vital in my being able to have a strong line of connection through the day's journey.