Bushman Course: Primitive Skills Intensive

Second in our series of course profiles is our Bushman Course.

The Bushman Course picks up where the Woodsman leaves off and runs the following week, making them available to be taken together. The focus here is on creating what you need from the natural materials available. We’ll still use a few simple tools for the sake of maximizing our time together, but there won’t be duplicate content from the Woodsman.

What we need to be comfortable as humans doesn’t change. What does are the raw materials used and to tools necessary to process and use those materials. In this course we’ll use natural materials to provide our shelter, make our fires, cook our food and make our projects.

The word primitive is derived from the latin root primus, which means first or original. We’ll focus on original skills, those that don’t require specialized kit or other gear. Nature is our gear store. Knowledge makes it accessible.

We’ll be harvesting and making a variety of items in order to build a comfortable life without modern equipment. This starts by separating our needs from our wants, then using items from the land to provide for those needs.

Topics covered include:

  • The primitive mindset
  • Fire by friction: bow drill and hand drill
  • No-utensil cooking using rocks, wood, mud, holes and coals
  • Primitive shelter: all-natural materials
  • Comfort: sleeping pads and blankets from the forest
  • The hot coal bed
  • Making and using basic stone tools
  • Field-expedient basketry
  • Pack frame construction
  • Primitive cord and rope-making
  • Wooden vessels and containers
  • Making nets
  • Barehand navigation
  • Atlatl and dart
  • Field Ecology: Edible And Medicinal Plants, Mammal Tracking, The Night Sky, Weather Forecasting, etc.
  • Optional exercise of spending the night in a shelter you construct.

As this is a hands-on course, there are various crafts that participants have the option of making. These are useful kit items such as a baskets for carrying your stuff, not arts and crafts items like sculpted figurines.

The course runs from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning. Friday night people sleep in the shelter’s they’ve made. Saturday morning we go out for breakfast at the Masardis Trading Post before hitting the road.


  • Dates: 6/19-6/25, 2011
  • Maximum Size: 12
  • Registration Deadline: 5/1/11
  • Tuition: $800
  • Register online here
  • More information is on our Bushman Course page

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