Woodsman Course: North Woods Bushcraft & Survival

First in our series of course profiles is our Woodsman Course.

The Woodsman course is a comprehensive introduction to all that we do at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School and is a good first course for someone new to bushcraft and survival. It’s designed to teach you the most important and practical skills of bushcraft and survival in the northern forest. While the flora and fauna covered are specific to these regions, the skills and techniques are transferable to other biomes.

The information covered in the Woodsman course is important for anyone who hikes, camps, paddles, or spends any time in the backcountry of the northern hardwood or boreal forests. Topics covered include:

  • Wilderness Survival 101
  • Introduction To Bushcraft
  • Fire Making: The Five Stages With An Emphasis On 1-Match Fires
  • Bushcraft Tools: Axe, Knife, Saw And How To Care For And Maintain Them
  • Basic Axemanship: The 4 Major Processes (Felling, Limbing, Sectioning And Splitting)
  • Safe Knife Use And Carving
  • Sawing Technique And Building Bucksaws
  • Shelter Theory, Design, And Construction
  • Navigation With Map And Compass
  • Open Fire Cooking: Hanging A Pot, Baking In A Reflector, Using A Dutch Oven
  • Cordage, Rope Making And Essential Knots
  • Group Sanitation And Composting Toilets
  • Purifying Water
  • Principles Of A Simple Solar Power System
  • Introduction To Field Ecology: Edible And Medicinal Plants, Mammal Tracking, The Night Sky, Weather Forecasting, etc.
  • Optional final 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 bucksaw, not arts and crafts items like a beaded necklace.

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.


  • 2011 Dates: 6/12-6/18
  • Location: Northern Maine
  • Maximum group size is 12.
  • Registration deadline: 5/1
  • Tuition: $800
  • Register online here
  • More information is on our Woodsman Course page

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