Bushcraft is a long-term accumulation of survival skills and is a popular term for rough country skills in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term was popularized in the southern hemisphere by The Bush Tucker Man – Major Leslie James (Les) Hiddins – in Australia as well as in the northern hemisphere by a Canadian bushcraft and wilderness survival instructor, naturalist and author Mors Kochanski – “The more you know, the less you carry”. Bushcraft recently increased it’s currency in the United Kingdom due to the popularity of Raymond Paul “Ray” Mears a British woodsman, instructor, author and TV presenter and his bushcraft and survival television programs.
Bushcraft is about thriving and surviving in the nature and about the attainment of ancient skills and knowledge to do so. Bushcraft skills include: tracking, hunting, fire-craft, fishing, shelter building, the use of tools such as knives and axes, foraging, hand-carving wood, rope and twine-making, container construction from natural materials, and more. These are the skills known to our ancient predecessors, many of which are still practiced today as an everyday skill amid aboriginal and native peoples around the world.
What There is to Know About Bushcraft
The Cutting Blade
The most important tool to the Bushcrafter is the cutting blade. It is as important as the sword is to a knight or the teeth are to a Lion. An excellent Bushcraft blade is made from the highest quality materials is durable, and light with the tang running the full length of the knife. The Bushcrafter can use this exacting blade to cut, to stab or to give or take life. A Survival Knife and a Bushcraft knife are very similar discover what you need to know before buying a survival knife by clicking here.
An essential part of Bushcraft survival is the ability to make fire under almost any condition. There are countless techniques to build a fire with Firecraft; firesteel and scraper, a fire drill, plants and trees, sunlight and a magnifying glass, striking a rock with iron such as flint, and of course lighters and matches.
The ability to create, control, and use fire to aid in one’s survival is Firecraft. The ability to transport fire, usually by carrying a burning coal around in some type of dry sage grass to keep it smoldering is another critical skill in Bushcraft. The following links provide some of what you need to know about building and tending a fire. Start a Fire and Tend a Fire.
Knots / Ropecraft
A fundamental skill in Bushcraft survival is the ability to join two or more pieces of natural or man made material together not only to increase the strength of the material but also to change it’s use using ropecraft and knots. Like creating a shelter for instance by joining two or more pieces together, or a raft, a weapon and or even a sled.
Hunting / Trapping
Hunting and trapping drives a Bushcrafters in his or her pursuit of animals and fish for food. Mastering many skills including tracking, ropecraft, and trapping lead the ability to successfully hunt using weapons to stab and cut, nets, traps and snares.
Shelter is a significant part of every outdoor endeavor. The primary layer of shelter is the clothing on your back providing you enough to stay warm and dry for short periods of time. The next layer of shelter is a fixed structure whether it is a small tent or a cabin. One of the most important skills in Bushcraft is knowing how to make and sustain a proper shelter.
Another important part of Bushcraft survival is tracking. When read correctly tracks made by humans and animals on the ground demonstrate a pattern of the habits of the animal or human that left them. Establishing this pattern provides the tracker with the ability to relentlessly monitor the animal’s activities and patterns. It is important to distinguish that animals you discover in the forest are as habitual as human beings. When stalking a specific animal the bushcrafter will discover the same path to and from water and or to and from a specific food source.
A good buscrafter knows that animals will hunt and forage in the same area and only leave when they are driven out by force, fire, flood or drought. For the experienced bushcrafter this pattern forming characteristic of all animal movement makes it possible to predict the animal’s daily schedule, and therefore easy to select proper sites for traps or snares.
Have you ever wondered weather or not you could eat a particular plant or bush? Many have tried and died because they did not know for certain. For the successful bushcrafter, foraging is an important skill to master. All hunters and fisherman know that they would not call it hunting and fishing if it was easy – they would just call it catching. In foraging the difference between surviving or not means being able to accurately identify edible and non edible plants.