Posted by Self Reliance Outfitters on May 12, 2013
While ‘backyard bushcraft’ may seem like an oxymoron to some, history proves otherwise. For those great men who passed down the traditions of bushcraft, it was their own backyards that made it possible for them to learn these valuable skills.
It was close to home where men like Daniel Boone became proficient in the art of bushcraft. These skills were then taken into the vast wilderness of the early west. Although times have changed, the opportunity to learn valuable skills has not.
Learning to accomplish more with less is not reserved for the dense forest of an unexplored landscape. Bushcraft can be learned and practiced just about anywhere.
6. KNIFE AND AXE SHARPENING – BE PREPARED
While it’s always a necessity to have a survival knife on hand, it’s equally as important to know how to sharpen and care for it. The same goes for a trusty axe. These are tools that require preventative maintenance and care.
Knife sharpening can be done at home and is a skill that once owned will give you an edge in the art of bushcraft.
7. TRAPPING – THE CATCH
One of the most intriguing skills in bushcraft is trapping. This is a skill that requires both patience and proficiency. It is also a skill that can be experimented with in your backyard.
Smaller animal traps; such as for birds, can be built right at home. Once you have decided what type of trap to build, assemble the necessary pieces and practice setting the trap. Being able to catch your prey requires an understanding of bait, proper tension and what it takes to ‘spring’ the trap. As unlikely as it sounds, most trapping skills can be learned in your backyard.
(Note: Some regions restrict or prohibit trapping of any sort. Please be sure to check your state and local game laws to make sure this type of activity is legal in your area.)
8. ARCHERY – TRIED AND TRUE
For centuries man has used the bow and arrow to fight off his adversaries and acquire food. This ancient skill cannot only be learned in the backyard, but can also provide fun for the whole family.
Today there are several companies offering economical archery equipment along with providing safe and reliable bows. Although it may seem intimidating at first, archery can be learned and greatly enjoyed with ample practice.
9. EDIBLE PLANTS – KNOW FOR SURE
Most persons with a backyard will have a dandelion or two. Even these pesky plants can help your family learn what types of plants are edible and safe for consumption. You may not have every edible plant available in the backyard, but you are likely to have some.
There are a host of resources available that can help you become familiar with edible plants like the Edible Wild Plants Guide. These resources can be studied at home and can be a source of learning for the whole family.
Learning about edible plants can also be a reason to visit various local parks or wilderness areas throughout the year. The ability to identify edible plants has always been an advanced bushcraft skill and it is sure to pay dividends if you’re ever faced with a long term self reliance situation.
10. TOOLS – MAKE IT YOURSELF
Daniel Boone may have had access to a trading post, but he was also skilled at making whatever was needed at the moment. Making your own tools can be practiced at home and does not need to be complicated.
What if you needed a simple spoon? Can you carve your own? Learning how to build simple tools is an art in itself. The lessons derived from this skill will help you think through situations where you may have to make your own tools instead of relying on store bought ones.
While there is no way to exhaust all the bushcraft skills that can be learned from home, these simple ideas will get you started. Bushcraft has been around for centuries and will continue to be a reliable source of long-term sustainment. The more proficient you are the more self reliant you will become.