Why Study Bushcraft, Or, What’s The Point?

One of the more philosophical individuals who’s taken our semester program over the years posed a very good question to me a few years ago, and since then I tend to pose it to others who engage in long-term bushcraft and survival practice.

It was a year after he had taken the course, during which he spent twelve weeks living outdoors and living the bush life full-time, and we got together for a beer.  He said he had a great time on the course and all but was trying to figure out what the point was, and to figure out what to do with it all.  He explained that it wasn’t as if there were a whole lot of people willing to pay him for this knowledge.  They’re more often suspicious than supportive of woodsrunning tendencies.

Our discussion made me think about it long and hard.  Very few, if any, people who get involved in bushcraft are going to forsake the modern world and live in the bush full-time.  In addiiton to there being very few places where one could do this, if any, it’s a lonely way to live out your days.

So his question of why, or what’s the point, remains.  Are the skills the means or the end?  An end in themselves?  Is it just a hobby?

This question has provided great campfire discussions over the years, and I’ve heard a lot of eloquent and inspiring answers.   But in the end it’s a question we all have to answer for ourselves.  Why do you do what you do?

For me, it’s about a connection to the land on a deep, non-superficial level as well as a connection to the past.  It’s about the real human experience, and a way of living that’s self-reliant.  Teaching provides me with an opportunity to share this, as well as to have the amazing opportunity to facilitate people’s “A-HA!” moments.

Maybe my friend Ben McNutt put it most eloquently last winter as we were traveling through northern Quebec in  the white tube of misery.  “It’s about knowing and experiencing, if only for just a little while, what it means to be a human being.”


Educational Philosophy



Our Sites
· JMB Field School – Long-Term Immersion: Semester & Expedition Programs
· JMB Trips – Classic Wilderness Guiding By Canoe & Snowshoe
· JMB Folk School – Short Courses, Crafts & Lodge-Based Programs
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· JM Outfitters – The World’s Smallest Outfitter
· JMB Master Calendar – Complete List Of Scheduled Programs

Typos, Etc.
Note: Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device that demonstrates his writing prowess.


Our Email List
Join our email list; it’s the best way to keep up with what we’re up to. We promise to never fill your inbox with junk and we never share or sell your information. We value your time and privacy. We won’t abuse either of them. More Info.

Featured In:
Jack Mountain Bushcraft Media Appearances Image

Life Member – MPGA
mpga graphic
Life Member – MWGO
mwgo graphic