Hunting and Hiding Games
Two teams are designated as opossums and foxes. The opossum team has several minutes to hide. The fox team gets several minutes to seek. All the foxes have to do is see the opossums. Alternatively, they have to tag the opossums. Switch so each team gets a chance to hide.
- Suggestions for Framing: Talk about the amazing aspects of the opossum, as well as their relationship to dogs.
- Considerations for Success: A brushy area with lots of hiding places is a good area for this game. This game is also really fun at dusk or dark.
At an unsuspected time, an instructor yells out “Camouflage!”
Everyone gets about 30 seconds to hide. They have to be able to see the instructor from their hiding spot. The instructor tries to point out as many people as possible without moving.
- Suggestions for Framing: Hiding closer pushes the skill of invisibility, challenge the campers to see who can be the closest without being seen. Also you can ask them: how would a deer hide? Would it bury its head, or be looking at the predator?
- Considerations for Success: Play this game spontaneously in all kinds of terrain. Take advantage of thick areas.
- Potential Pitfalls: Some campers will hide so far away that it is hard to even call them back. Make sure everyone knows how to play.
“Pterodactyl!” is called out. Everyone has 5 seconds to hide under a bush before the giant pre-historic bird scoops them up. Should be played in an area that has a lot of bush coverage so that two people don’t have to huddle under the same bush. Alternatively, more time can be given so that “prey” don’t have to cluster.
Several campers run ahead down a trail and hide along it. The instructor or half the group then walks the trail and tries to spot as many people as they can.
- Suggestions for Framing: This is a chance to push your hiding skills by being as close to the trail as possible
In this game, the campers are a prey animal that has to go out into the wilds and gather hidden bandana balls (“food”). While they are gathering they are being hunted by a few instructors who are predators. If captured they must forfeit any bandana balls they have gathered and wait to be “unfrozen.”
- Considerations for Success: This game works best in areas with lots of places to hide. It can be played with a very large group or a small one. The predators should be very stealthy and ambush campers when they least suspect.
- Suggestion for Framing: This is an epic game reflecting the life and death struggles of wild animals as they forage and hunt.
- Potential Pitfalls: Campers will stay in the nest and not go out to forage. Predators goose guard the nest.
Coyotes and Deer
There are one or two coyotes to start. Everyone else is a deer. If a deer is tagged, they turn into a coyote and hunt for deer. Often only a few deer survive once the balance between predator and prey is gone.
- Considerations for Success: This is a good ice-breaker game to start a day, as it gets people moving. After the game ask which deer survived and how (running or hiding).
- Suggestions for Framing: Coyotes eat deer; the deer then turn into coyotes as they are digested. The animals that survive are not necessarily the fastest but those that hide. What do real deer do all day and night?
- Potential Pitfalls: Campers can fall and get hurt, as this game involves lots of high speed chasing. People become unsure of who is a deer and who is a coyote. Use a prop like a bandana or have participants use symbols and sounds to distinguish.
Quest for Fire
Before matches, before friction kits, people went on a quest for fire to find wild fires. The campers go on this quest to find matches or friction kits while they are hunted by prehistoric predators (saber-tooth tigers, dire wolves, cave bears, etc.).
- Suggestions for Framing: Get the campers talking about the ice age. What was it like to live in a place like that? What were the animals like? How dangerous was it?
- Considerations for Success: The hunters need good hiding places from which they can really surprise the campers. This is the key to most predator/prey games. When the campers are truly being ambushed, they use their awareness.
- Potential Pitfalls: The matches are too well hidden (to fix this, secretly move them during the game). The hunters don’t hide and chase enthusiastically and it becomes less exciting for the campers.
Run, Rabbit, Run
Make 3 large circles out of backpacks, logs, or bandanas. Most of the campers are rabbits in any of the circles. A few people are foxes who move around outside of the circles. When the signal is given, all the rabbits must leave their circle and find safety in another one. If they are tagged by a fox, they become a fox.
Hawks and Songbirds
There is an item(s) hidden in the forest. It can be a flag, a snack, friction kit, etc. The songbirds must try to find it while they are being hunted by the hawks. They cannot be attacked if they are all together and only speaking in bird language unless they get too close to an “unseen” predator.
- Considerations for Success: This game is best played in a large area with lots of hiding places where predators can observe songbirds unseen. The item hidden can be moved during the game if it’s in too hard of a place.
- Suggestions for Framing: Many animals survive by sticking together and watching for danger with many eyes. Prey animals that stray off on their own are vulnerable.
- Potential Pitfalls: The item is hidden too well, or the item is found right away. Predators are easily seen and avoided leading to a lack of surprise and chase.
Usually, this game is played with songbirds needing to hold hands or link arms to be considered together and thus safe. Instead have songbirds hold ends of sticks.