Up your camping game: master primitive skills like a pro

Do you have what it takes to make it on your own in the woods?

If not, you can learn!

Bushcraft courses can teach you how to build a shelter and gather food using the primitive technology of our ancestors. Also called “re-wilding,” bushcraft skills focus on topics like survival, homesteading and sustainable living.

Get back to nature with bushcraft in the wild, wonderful Mountain State:

1. North American Bushcraft School

The North American Bushcraft School has classes year-round in Hedgesville. Learn valuable hunting skills like crafting your own bows and arrows, tracking, trapping and primitive fishing and — plus firepit cooking, to make your bounty edible!

And don’t forget basket making (so you can gather up all the plants to make that meat into a meal!)

There are also homesteading courses. Learn to make mead, and even how to raise your own bees to gather the honey up fresh. Food preservation and herbal medicine can round out your primitive dining repertoire, while soap making and wool processing cover household needs.

During the summer months, children and teens can take classes, too, with free camping for overnight classes. The bushcraft school also has a Primitive to Prepper Festival in spring, where you can watch blacksmithing and edible plants demonstrations firsthand.

2. West Virginia State Park Bushcraft Weekends

Head into the scenic West Virginia State Parks and Forests for Primitive Bushcraft Weekend Workshops. Pipestem Resort State Park and Seneca State Forest.Local guides from Forest Manna Outdoors leads classes at both parks regularly.

Try your hand at land navigation or field sanitation and hygiene. Nature lovers can put the bird and song or plant and tree identification classes to use.

Cover all your basic needs: build shelter, create fire, forage, find and purify water, make traps and snares, preserve meat and prepare bannock (flat bread) and pemmican (dried meat). You’ll even pick up the know-how to fashion tools and make your own ropes and cords to help you with your tasks.

3. Tracking & Woods Lore Workshop

Walk in the boots or moccasins of 18th century pioneers and Native Americans at Twin Falls Resort State Park’s annual Tracking & Woods Lore Weekend. Bring warm clothes, sturdy footwear, a camera, binoculars and a notepad.

Scout groups can earn merit badges and awards in history, nature study, American Indians, pioneering and woods lore. West Virginia Master Naturalist students can join the advanced classes: tracking (4 hour credit) and Medicinal/Edible/Useful Native Plants (3 hour credit).

What survival skills have you mastered?

Take them to the woodlands for some practice!

Explore WV’s wilderness >


This post was last updated on July 23, 2020