This is a list of the introductions sent to the primitive skills group 
by some of the members.  The introductions are listed in the order
in which they were received.  This file can help you feel at home by 
learning about some of the people which make up the group. If you 
would like your name added to this list (or removed)
or if you would like to change the content, just let me know.

André-François Bourbeau
List manager

André-François Bourbeau

Hi everyone, my name is André-François Bourbeau and I'm a professor 
at the University of Québec, Chicoutimi campus, where I teach outdoor
pursuits in an adventure tourism bachelor's degree.  This 3 year 
program is in french, so unfortunately much of the material I have 
developped will have to be translated before it is useful to many of 
you- sorry about that.  I have been at the university for 15 years now, 
teaching courses such as winter camping, whitewater canoeing, 
wilderness survival, outdoor leadership, environmental awareness, 
philosophy ofoutdoor education and such.  I also have research duties, 
and my field of interest is "coureur de bois" and primitive wilderness 
survival.  I did my doctoral thesis on how to write clear instructions 
for primitive wilderness survival techniques in 1984.  Since then, my 
research methods have been largely experiential: basically, I put 
myself in simulated situations in order to learn about old ways and 
develop new knowledge.

I conducted two major trips, one was a 31 day experiment in 1984 
where I was dropped by helicopter on the 50th parallel without food, 
without fire, without tools, without shelter- just the light clothes on 
my back.  That was a pretty rough trip, details of which are to be 
found in a book I wrote about the experience entitled "Surviethon au 
Gré de la Nature"- sorry, only available in french for now.  The book is 
a day by day report on the trip, to which was added a scientific report 
on various subjects studied during the experiment.

The other major trip I did was in 1988, a 40 day reconstruction of a
trip along the fur trade route in the year 1838.  All the materials used
were authentic reproductions of the period's gear, including real
birchbark canoes and even handsewn underwear.  This trip is 
documented in a film by KEG productions of Toronto called "Man of the 
Wilderness" which has been translated into many languages and has 
been shown on many television networks around the world.

My main interests are in developping wilderness survival techniques 
for someone lost or downed in the boreal type forest.  All ideas I find 
from other parts of the world I try to adapt to materials found here.  
For example, fire saws are possible with bamboo- I try to find 
materials to make it work here.

I am really looking forward to all the fine discussions I am certain
will develop as the Primitive Skills Group grows.  By the way, I am 
the list manager for the group, so any concerns you may have about 
the way the group functions can be addressed directly to me.

I'm looking forward to exchanging with all of you.

Thank you,

André-François Bourbeau

Benjamin Pressley

My name is Benjamin Pressley. I teach primitive, survival and 
living skills. I write for several magazines like American Survival
Guide, Backwoodsman and
Wilderness Way. I co-founded an organization called TRIBE that now 
members in 46 states, Canada, New Guinea and Guam.I publish a 
for TRIBE also that many of you will find interesting, I'm sure. We are
a network that operates non-profit to connect people interested in
primitive skills with resources and other people. I am skilled in many
areas of primitive skills. Shelter building, fire making, water 
some edicble and medicinal plant knowledge (enough to get by), tools
from stone, shell, bone and wood, braintanning animal hides, traps and
snares, fishing technologies, cordage making, lighting methods, 
without aid of modern utensils, and much more. Hunting Weaponry is
particularly an interest
of mine. I teach classes year-round and do a lot of demonstrations for
schools, museums, etc.  The particular weapons that my research has 
in are
slings, bolas, atlatls, non-returning throwing sticks, blow guns. I will
be glad to help
out anyway I can with questions, etc.If you are interested in 
survival and wilderness living skills that I have please inquire. My
skills are based on skills used by primitive people for thousands
(more?) of years. If you want
more information about our organization, TRIBE, check out: Ted Bailey does this 
for me. As I get more Internet/Web page savvy I plan on putting out a
mini-newsletter for people interested. For now, check out that site 
it will tell you more about what we have to offer. Well, enough for 
I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone in the Primitive 
Group list. My thanks to Andre for getting it set up.   ---Benjamin
( or

Matthew Rapaport

Hello... Thank you to Andre for inviting me to participate. I am a
classical arm-chair primitive! I enjoy a good camping adventure, and 
had a fair number in my youth, but none for a decade or more now. Even
these were not primitive living the likes of which our host has
experienced, but rather late 20th century American style back-
which means NOT that you use what is around you to make your way, 
that you touch as little as possible! The object as much as possible is
to leave the environment as untouched as possible while you pass 

I am not a hunter, though I have fished (mostly in salt water). I know 
to prepare fish and other sea food, but would like to learn to dress 
even if I don't kill it. I do enjoy shooting with fire arms, and bows
however, and could hunt if I had to do it, even with a slingshot. Better 
round myself out gaining some experience with traps!

My real interest in bushcraft skills for now is not in wilderness 
but in living more or less comfortably though a period of normal
infrastructure and service disruption in my semi-urban environment,
typically as a result of some natural disaster like an earthquake! Here
what is important is having stocked the right materials in the right
quantities in places that survive the initial disaster. If the
supermarkets are closed long enough, I may want to fall back on some 
finding skills for a while...

I look forward to future conversations.

  matthew rapaport     Philosopher/Programmer at large        KD6KVH    In God we trust. All others we monitor!

Mark Bradner

Hello group...

I live in the Seattle, area, I've spent a large percentage of my 45 
backpacking and camping in the Pacific North West.  So I guess 
technologies have always interested me.  This year I have taken up
flintknapping, and I heard about your group from the knapper list 

Mark Bradner 
Chris Smith

Hello Skills Group,
   A very big pleasure and opportunity to learn from and share with you
all.  These introductory things are always very painful for me, so I
hope you don't mind me torturing myself a bit.

   My name's Chris Smith, I'm 48 and live in Coeur d'Alene (Core
duh'Lane), Idaho, USA.  That's near Canada and is a place of big lakes,
rivers and forest woodland.  I'm pretty happy, even when shoveling
snow.  I'd rather be in a hotspring than any other place on earth and
that's why I live in Idaho.  I still work irregardless, and have tended
'premie' babies, down to a 1/2 lb. that will fit in the palm of your
hand.  I'm a registered Respiratory Therapist with a 
clinical specialty certification and have similar credentials for
practice in Pulmonary Function Technology and Cardiopulmonary
Technology.  I've worked in the medical field for nearly 25 yrs, and I
guess I've also worked with more knife and gunshot wound victims 
most people.  Not my cup of tea, anyway, my educational record is
bizarre, with three 2 yr. Associate degrees and quite a few unrelated
subjects.  My transcripts read like:  motorcycle repair, biochemistry,
concrete, embryology, welding and mukluk making.  If their was a 
program in Irreproducible Studies, I'd have my Masters.  I've been
politely and personally asked to immediately leave nice places by elk,
moose, grizzly bear, rock slides, whizzing ball lightning and "the
buzzing of the bee's" -- I'm not ashamed to tell you, I am trembling at
the thought even now, which makes it all the harder to type.  I can't
rationally explain why I haven't died all the times I obviously
should've, but whoever you are, I want to thank you personally - I
recommend you highly to all.

   I've been a 60's Haight-Ashbury hippie, an American Marine with an
Intelligence occupational specialty (I can't say much about that), have
lived in a Zen monastery and used to be a fair rock climber.  I still
love my my old .45 and Ka-Bar Marine knife (well, it's true) and have a
warm fuzzy feeling for shotguns, ancient cultures and the wrath of
nature.  I like handling bullwhips and throwing knives, tomahawks and
axes.  I'm a member of the Wild West Arts Club, a 600 member
international stunt organization.  I'm not all that good, but I do
play.  I've wanted to learn multi-strand braiding since I was a child
and through the Thrower list have begun sling braiding which covers 
nicely.  Kind of a sportman's paradise where I live, so if you asked me
to spear you a fish, I probably could handle it.  I've been fortunate to
meet and sometimes carea few celebrities, including Groucho Marx, 
King and one large hawk in particular.   I have the highest respect for
people like yourselves (I know what I'm talking about here) and
appreciate your company and experience, which is considerable.  


Ted E. Bailey

Hi Everybody.  I just subscribed to the Primitive Skills Group today.  I
found Chris' introduction quite interesting.  I was a Haight Ashbury 
too and I just a year younger.  Chris, did we meet in the Fillmore West
over New Year's in 1968?

Anyway, I am quite straight now.  I even have short hair and I am an
Engineering Manager.  Now you know what happened to all those 
hippies!  My
favorite hobby is boomerangs and throwsticks.  I got into this 
skills stuff as a young child growing up in Panama.  The first toys I
wanted my Mom and Dad to buy were the blow guns and shrunken heads 
that the
Choco Indians sold at the border towns.  I used to spend all my time in 
jungle learning about the native animals and  surviving on my own 
minimal equipment.  When I was 17, I left Panama and went to Arcata
California to go to college.  That was the beginning of my hippy days.  
years later, I came out of the fog with a MS degree in Mechanical
Engineering and I have been stuck in a middle class rut ever since.  I
throw boomerangs and put out a boomerang newsletter to keep me 
busy.  I
belong to the boomerang rang_list and the thrower email subscription 
as well.  I look forward to hearign more about the other subscribers.
Cheers. - Ted

Alexander J. Pirchl

About me: I live in Austria (Europ), particulary in Kitzbuehle in the
Tyrolian mountains. I am 23 years old and married now for 1 1/2 
years. I
have always been fascinated by *primitiv* technology and weapons. 
Since I
was very small I have been toying around with knifes, spears, 
slingshots and slings. I also like all aspects of shooting, and owe quit 
number of firearms, but the power and accuracy one could get with 
made from the simpelest components have never ceased to amaze me. 
is also a topic which I find very interesting, and the question of 
member of this list stated in his introduction on what to stock up for 
naural desaster would interest me very much.

Merv Martin


I'm Merv (Mervyn Martin).  I was born in Red Bluff, California and lack 
strip between Izmir, Turkey and Taipei, Taiwan of having been around 
the world.

I'm ex-Navy (14 years, that's how I got to travel) and now work, when 
I can
find it, as an Electronics Engineer in Sacramento, CA. What else, oh, 
I'm 45
and have just taken on two more kids, a 15 year old boy and a 12 year 
girl.  What a glutton for punishment (that makes five kids)!!!  Ah well, 
half adopted too and I like my step dad!

I'm fascinated with anything I can do with my hands.  In
the past I've done well at surviving with a knife.  I say well, I gained
weight.  I'm a pretty good trapper and only scruple at swallowing 
bones.  They're a bit scratchy (in and out). I can't say that I've tried
grubs, but Caddis Fly larvae and Helgramites aren't bad.  I've fished 
but not eaten Stone Fly Larvae (Toebiters).  Always wondered who'd 
get the
most bites.  Salmon eggs aren't bad either, haven't tried frog eggs.

I've info that may be of use.  Like how to build a rope walk (a 
for the manufacture of rope).  I'll need to dig out the text for that, it's
an old Aussie book called "Bushcraft".

Wow! Primitive Skills!  Anybody wanna go fishing?  Hook, Spear or 

BTW, the main reason I can gain weight on a survival test is that I 
know the
area and trap!  Spinning cordage would be most important to someone 
like me.
I've used mostly grasses and 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  This stuff usually 
take a jack rabbit (1/2").

Whew, I'd better close for now!

Ya'll Take Care.  Looks like a _great_ bunch of crazys here.

Barent Parslow

Hello all,

I am very pleased to be a part of this group.  I am a 23 1/2 year 
of the US Army currently serving with the Virginia National Guard and
will retire in about 2 1/2 years.  I am wondering if we are seeing a
pattern develop here of the personality types that are interested in 

I was raised by both my own parents, Dad a forester and Mom a 
teacher and
librarian, joined the Army out of high school, was a linguist working 
intelligence, also served as a supply sergeant and in the infantry, was
literate in Korean and Chinese, semi-literate in French, barely 
in English (especially after 5 years in Korea) and now the computer 
for my Brigade (if only they knew how little I really know).

My hobbies include (when I can find the time):  archery, hunting,
shooting (modern and blackpowder), reloading, running (occupational),
swimming, biking, computers, reading (voraciously), history (was my
Brigade's historian), and community service.

I am now starting to build primitive bows (an outgrowth of my 
interest in
archery, I have been shooting since I was 10) which lead to an 
in flintknapping (led to this list by post on knappers list), which has
led to interest in the subjects this list should be exploring.

Many thanks for starting this list.  I hope to learn  alot.  Also, I
would like to say that I don't believe that there is such a thing as a
stupid question.  No questions, no answers.

I should also let you know that I am a little blunt  (not that blunt,
did that get sent, if so I apologize) No anger, just a little too
staightforward sometimes.  Tactless or so some have said.

Duty, Honor, Country

James E. Burdine

I am an R.N. that works in a Surgical ICU, but I also have past
experience in the E.R. I've been enterested in survival and primitive
technology ever since I made my first bow from a cherry branch at the 
of 5 and had the same bow broken over my backside after a shot went 
On my mother's side of the family is Hessian German, and my mother 
talks about the war years and things they did to survive hard times.On 
father's side is Scott/Irish and Am. Indian(either Cherokee or 
depending on who you ask) So I am quite happily a mutt. My Dad tell 
about the big depression, and humorous experiences from his 30 years 
in the
Army( but would not until recently talk about his experiences in the 
war) I've rubbed elbows with some of the finest survivalists in the 
from the Rangers, Special Forces, and Force Recon(who talked to me 
though I was a leg army puke) I messed about with throwing knives, 
firearms of various types and .38 cal blowguns. I learned to fish, and
camped with the Boyscouts. I learned how to make a warm bed in 
nothing but
a pile of leaves(pile them up,dive in gently, and wait until your body 
creates a pocket of warmth) What struck me as a disadvantage about
survivalism is that most people seperated from their kits would not 
be able
to survive, because older methods of survival had been lost. I felt that
one should be able to be dropped anywhere in the wilderness and be 
able to
scrounge up materials  needed to sustain life.Thus I started reading
everything I could find about primitive technology, including what I 
neo primitive technology. Neo- primitive technology is old techniques 
non-traditional materials. For example slingshots use traditional
bowhunting techniques with a high tech substance (vulcanized rubber) 
using steel tubing to make a blowgun. Well that's enough hot wind for 

 jburdine@PIPELINE.COM (James E. Burdine)
Russ Brownlow

Hey all,

I too came to this list from the KNAPPER list.  My name is Russ
Brownlow  and I've lived in Texas my whole life.  Just moved to 
after being in Austin for 8 years.  I'm pursuing a master's degree in
archaeology, possibly a PhD after that.

I've been involved in wilderness survival pursuits since I was a kid in
Scouts.  I became an Eagle Scout at 16 and have been roaming the
wilderness since.  I'm not a hardcore militant survivalist, but I
usually work deep in the woods, so I get along OK.  I haven't had to eat
any bugs to survive though.  I'm an archaeologist for a company out of
Austin, and we do surveys, testing, etc. across the country.

I wasn't around at any of the concerts you guys were talking about, 
I might have been conceived at one of them early in '69.  Although I'm
not a true hippie, I like to think that I would've fit in well back in
the day. 

I work for an environmental firm out of Austin, TX.  We do
biological as well as cultural resource management type stuff.  
a pipeline, a transmission line, well pad, coal mine, etc. are planned,
we go out and survey the area for any archaeological sites.  If we find
any "significant" ones, we test them.  If testing proves that they are
more than just the run of the mill scatters, we often excavate them.  
I've found all sorts of Native artifacts, its pretty much a daily 
occurrence when 
we're out in the field.  I also work in the lab were I do whatever has 
to be done.  
My main job in the lab though is the illustration of the artifacts for
publication.  I'm an archaeologist and an ARTaeologist I guess you 
say.  We find lithics and pottery, but no mummies down here.  We do 
the occasional burial, but rarely.  No signs of weaving since this area
of Texas has acidic sandy soil that pretty much dissolves everything
that is not rock.  As for my "time travels" as an archaeologist, those
hopefully lay ahead of me.  I've been doing this for a while now, but
only for about the past four years professionally (that is, getting paid
for it).  That is why I'm pursuing higher degrees, otherwise I'm
relagated to being a hired shovel bum.  I have run several projects, but
technically I don't get the credit since the law requires a Master's
degree to do so.  Soon that will be taken care of.  I did go to the
Middle East for a while.  You can find artifacts there all over the
place (just walking down the road).  I was chasing a herd of camels in
the desert once and found an area where the wind had deflated some
dunes.  I found several flint cores, some pottery (that dated to around
200 B.C. from Syria), mussel shells from the ocean, and two hearths 
burned bone in them.  People have lived there for thousands of years 
I guess it is no surprise that there are artifacts everywhere.  I even
found an old net weight made of stone washed up on the beach.  That is
about as extensive as my travels go (oh yeah, I hung out in Amsterdam
for a while :] ).  Otherwise, I've just travelled all over Texas digging
sites.  As for the tribes, that is hard to say.  Most of the stuff is
Archaic or Paleo so we have no idea who the tribes were that far back.
Of course some of the upper layers have artifacts usually associated
with the Karankawa, Cherokee, Apache, depending where you're at in 
state.  Other than that, I'm just the young hippie type trying to make a
living by having a good time out in the woods looking for stuff.  It's a
pretty "groovy" job.

     /  \
    /    \
   /      \
  /  Russ  \
 (_        _)
   )      (

 Russ & Rebecca Brownlow 
Greg Biddle

Heya all,

First let me introduce myself a little.  My name is Greg Biddle, I'm an
archeologist, currently working in Juneau AK.  I have worked all over 
a bit of the western and midwestern US.  I have been flintknapping for
about 7-8 years and have been interested in / practicing 'primitive' 
since my uncle taught me how to shoot a bow, bareback from a horse, 
and how
to cure squirrel pelts with table salt (Sorry Mom!?!)  I am really 
this group, although I was getting a little worried about the 'fish
bombing' thread!! 
Sherri Seer


Just a brief note to introduce myself.  My name is Sherri .  I am a
licensed emt, hypnotherapist, an ergonomist, scuba diver, licensed 
radio operator (kb8yxg) and am currently taking a course from the
Wilderness Awareness School called the Kamana Correspondence 
which will give me a certificate as a Naturalist. Have all of Tom 
Jrs. tracker books, many herb books.  I am interested in all of the old
skills.  I am attempting to teach myself to live in any environment, 
any length of time, starting with no more than a knife and piece of
plastic.  I love the earth, animals, the wind in my hair, the
wilderness, Native American teachings.  I am greatly saddened by the
mass distruction of the "modern" world ways.  It causes a great 
to rest on my soul as I walk along and view it.

I am glad I have found this list and the trackers list in which I can
learn & share information.

Many blessings upon us all,
David McMullen,

Hello fellow primitives

My name is Dave McMullen and I hail from Montreal, Quebec. I am very
interested in learning primitives skills of all types. I belong to a
skills/craft group called earthlodge (affiliated with a college in
the area). Some of the skills that the group has become active in
recently have been: flintknapping, atlatl, bowmaking, fire by
friction, cordage, native american spirituality.

I am very ghappy to have found a primitive skills group with roots so
close to home. Am looking forward to learning as much as I can

                                                Dave McMullen


Thomas J. Elpel

I am new to the primitive skills group.
We operate Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School (HOPS) in Pony,
Montana.  If you would like a brochure of our books and classes send 
postal address to  Mailing lists are expensive 
maintain, so please ask only if you are seriously interested.

Below is a promotional for one of my books:

Thomas J. Elpel's Field Guide to Primitive Living Skills

        Primitive living is a way of learning about  nature by
participating in nature.  Instead of merely camping in the wilderness  
passing through it, you can become part of the process.  You discover
nature by using it to meet  your needs for shelter, fire, water, and 

        Tom's guide will give you a direct, hands-on experience of the
world around you.  With this book you will have the opportunity to 
the thrill of staying warm and comfortable without even a blanket!
Experience the magic of starting a fire by friction. Learn about the 
plants of the Rocky Mountain region and the techniques to process 
plus "primitive gourmet" cooking skills. Tan the hides from your fall
hunting trip, and manufacture these into durable clothing.  Also 
are: primitive bows & arrows, sinews, hide glue, backpacking, felting 
wool, fishing by hand, stone knives, wooden containers, willow 
twig deer, cordage, stalking skills, trapping, and tire shoes.

        Thomas J. Elpel's Field Guide to Primitive Living Skills includes
dozens of innovative skills and 160 photographs, plus an 
philosophy.  Tom does extensive research and development of 
skills.  He places an emphasis on publishing new information that is 
found in any other source.  The cost is $17 plus $3 priority postage.  
check or money order to HOPS, Box 691, Pony, MT 59747 or use your 
Visa or
Master Card and call 406-685-3222.

Watch for more of Tom's writing in these publications:
The Bulletin of Primitive Technology - 2 issues per year, $25 - Box 
905 -
Rexburg, ID 83440.
BackHome - 6 issues per year - Box 70 - Hendersonville, NC 28793.
Wilderness Way - 4 issues per year, $18 - Box 203 - Lufkin, TX 
The Mother Earth News - 6 issues per year - Box 56304 - Boulder, CO 

        As for a personal history, here is a short chronology of my
primitive skills background.  I spent a great deal of time with my
grandmother as a child (I live 2 blocks from her now).  We took walks 
day and studied plants and plant uses.  She had Larry Olsen's book and I
linked up with Boulder Outdoor Survival School from there.  I went on 
26 day walk-about in 1984, at the age of 16.  My Grandmother and I 
went to
Tom Brown's Standard Course in 1985.  My cousin Melvin Beattie 
taught me
hide-tanning the same year (I've tanned 60 deer hides, plus elk, 
and furs).  My fiance (Renee) and I walked 500 miles across Montana in 
and married in '89. We worked with primitive skills programs for
adolescents for a couple years.
        I practiced primitive skills as often as I could, and finally
reached a point where I had tried most of the general skills, and was 
far from comfortable.  Since then I have been doing my own research 
        For example, I discovered that it was not enough to merely copy
shelters from a book, because every shelter should be uniquely 
designed to
fit the time and place and the individual's goals while staying there. I
developed innovative new shelter ideas for my area, and more 
importantly, a
thought model for building shelters in any environment.
        Botany/herboloby is another area where I have conducted new
research.  Most people are not willing or able to spend decades 
plants and plant uses.  The "plant patterns" approach I am using  
the beginning student to cut years off the learning process.  Instead of 
telling the students about each plant we come to, I give them some 
to watch for--and ask them questions about the new plants we 
        Another inovation I helped develop is a "tire sandal", designed to
be worn with moccasins. It is a modular system, so a person can wear 
the moccasins for stalking or around camp, or just the tires for 
wading, or
both for hiking and climbing.  Moccasins wear out too quickly, and 
weekend primitives do not walk barefoot enough to build up the 
necessary to walk barefoot all the time.  Tires may not be a natural
resource in the conventional sense, but they are a resource found
abundantly in nature.  The tire sandals with moccasins make the best 
I have ever worn, in or out of town.
        Six months ago we adopted three children, so we have been 
our energy into becoming a family.  The girls are ages 6 and 7, the boy 
2.  We are gradually introducing them to the primitive skills.  They 
to camp in the 23 foot diameter "earthlodge" we built on our place.  
We are
learning American sign language together.  After focussing almost 
on plants for the last two years, I plan to switch back to the "animal
skills" this summer.  I expect to do a lot of stalking with the kids (one
of the reasons for learning sign language).

Always Peace,
Thomas J. Elpel
Wanita & Joel Sears
Hi, I'm Wanita Sears. Found out about this group from the knapper list.
Sorry for the semi intro. It's hard to pin down my hubby, Joel for the
computer other than to look at the messages. He is a knapper and 
spent much
of his boyhood in the woods learning survival skills. The medicinal 
threads interest me on this list.

Wanita Sears 
Kevin Reeve

I have seen a number of intros flying around and guess I should give a
little background about myself.  I am approaching my 40th birthday 
trepidation. I live in San Jose California with my wife and children,
and when I am not practising my skills, I am an organizational
consultant.  That may sound common, but what is unusal about my
consulting is that I apply wilderness skills to organization with
interesting and so-far, very positive results.

My interest in survival began as a very young man, continued through
Scouting. I was at BYU when Larry Dean Olsen began the program that
ultimately became Boulder Outdoor Survival School, and watched that
program grow with great interest.

I have been taking classes from Tom Brown for the past 6 years, and 
the past three years have edited his newsletter "True Tracks."  In '96 I
set up and ran his first Standard class (the beginning class) in
California.(He came out and did a lot of the teaching.)  I will be
setting up another Standard and his basic Philosphy class in 
in '97.  I am also working on other new programs for the school that
will be announced in 1997.

I love tracking, enjoy firemaking (hey Bob - I got a fire with a Cattail
handdrill!) bow making, tanning, knapping (amatuer), and various other
primitive skills.  I know several of you who have been posting, and 
seen some great stuff so far.  I consider myself fortunate to read the
postings of such experienced and talented outdoor people.  Please keep
it up.


Bill Blohm 

I'm basically a systems administrator/web-master-in-training at 
Packard, Boise, Idaho, USA. I grew up an AF brat, and my favorite 
were in Alaska, where I could run in the woods as soon as my 
homework was
done. I've done a fair bit of camping, although none of late. Among 
hobbies, the pertinent ones would be: navigation (celestial and 
back country exploring, kayak-touring, canoeing, back country XC-
slings, archery, knives, hunting, fishing, playing with whips (getting 
Chris!), walk-abouts, climbing, minimal-impact camping/hiking, 
astronomy, a
general interest in primitive skills, snowshoeing, tracking, outdoor
photography, stalking (animals and birds, not people! ;-), just 
boomerangs, crossbows. Like my wife says, I've got too many hobbies. 
If it's
outdoors, I'm interested.

I'm a totally deaf lip-reader and a ham radio operator.

Bill B. (Bill Blohm)
Karen Hood


My name is Karen Hood, co-owner of Hoods Woods Wilderness Video 
My husband, Dr. Ron Hood and I have just joined your group.  I have been 
Survival student and instructor for the last 7 years.  I'm also co-
and cameraman for our Woodsmaster wilderness skills videotape 
series in
which Ron teaches various wilderness skills.  Ron and I also run 
private and
summer survival trips in the Sierra through our company Hoods Woods.  
We are
very much looking forward to sharing information with others and 
learning as
well.  Thank you for inviting us on!!

If you'd like to visit our site and find out about our videos&/or trips,
we're at


Karen Hood
Ron Hood

Hi Folks!

Thanks to Andre for inviting us to join you! Andre was kind enough to 
us some bio information about the group. I guess that it's my turn to 

Like many of you, I'm a veteran. I was in the U.S. Army Security Agency 
from 1963 to 1967. I served time (literally! ASA training and duty was NOT 
romantic or pleasant) in Turkey (11 months and ten days, I counted 
every minute) assigned to several Kurdish settlers with an occasional 
rest in Sinop, Turkey. We trekked over much of the country, I still 
have the scars. On the positive side I gained a respect for some really 
tough and skilled survivalists.
Not wanting to waste my tolerance for pain, the US Army assigned me 
to Vietnam. I spent just over 18 months in-country some in the central 
highlands with the Montegnard tribesmen learning their brand of 
survival. Trekking in Vietnam is (was) very different from what I'd learned 
during my stay in Turkey. At the end of my 18th month I was evaced to 
In Japan, I was given an opportunity to study Judo at the 
Kodokan in Fukuoka, Japan. An altogether enlightening experience. At this point I 
was 22 years old. Finally, after much wriggling and whining, the Army let 
me go.
When I arrived in the states I was a wreck. Three years of hardcore 
survival certified that I wasn't fit for polite society, no tolerance for quick 
movement or loud noises. I ran to the mountains. I lived off the land in 
the Napa, Sonoma, Mendecino counties of California, for six months. My 
judo training and meditation skills helped me to find sanity again (THAT'S 
relative!). I entered the job market.
I repossessed cars for awhile. Rented out ski boats, and so on. Then I 
went back to school.
I got my AA in History 
My BA in History
I went to work teaching survival at UCLA and CSUN in 1974
I got my MS in Outdoor recreation
I Quit teaching at UCLA in 1982 and at CSUN in 1992. At that time I 
was head of the special outdoor programs at CSUN. 
During the intervening time I brought the paint ball war games to 
Southern California, ran our Hoods Woods programs for special groups and 
private parties and acted as the Technical consultant for a passel of films 
and TV programs.
In 1991 I finally met someone who could put up with me ...... My wife 
We were married in our hearts, during a spirit quest, at dawn on top 
of Templeton Mountain in the Sierra. I've never been happier. Survival 
skills bring many feelings but this is something I never expected!
I finally finished my Doctoral studies last year "A study of system operators 
in computer mediated electronic communication systems" Pepperdine 
University. Sorta bizarre considering my background.
Now we (my wife and partner, Karen) and I are producing a series of 
wilderness survival skills videos, the Woodsmaster series. We are at 
volume 3 now and working on number four. I've got all this STUFF from the 
Middle East and Southeast Asia to share. Though the setting for the videos is 
the Sierra of California, many of the weird techniques I learned will 
ultimately end up in the videos.
There's more but I don't want to over stay my welcome. There's an old 
saying "Fish and guests spoil after three days". We can also say that Email 
spoils after three pages........
If you have a chance, and the inclination, stop by and visit us!
Hoods Woods...

"Doc" Ron

Mr and Mrs Veilleux

I was delighted to find a list closer to home on the subject. I have 
attended a couple
of courses with my husband at the Tom Brown Jr. survival school in 
New Jersey 
and am subscribed to their list but often I seek information here in 
Canada and 
find it sometimes hard to track down. ( very good courses: we have 
taken basic,
advanced and Philosophy I, friends of ours also have advanced 
Tracking )
My own personal area of interest is in primitive foods and medicine.  I 
wondering if anyone  knows of any? ( french or english ) My husband 
and I,
as well as some friends, are presently brain tanning some deer and 
beaver hides. 

We are looking forward to sharing ideas and information with 

 Wes Gietz 

Time to introduce myself, as so many others have done with flair and
impressive descriptions of experience.

I'm located in Victoria, BC (currently the snow capital of Canada), and
have rediscovered the old ways after about 25 years of focusing on
education, family, career, and competitive sports.  I spent a lot of
time in the bush around Kenora, ON when I was a kid, and it was back
there on a winter camping trip with my brother that I was first
introduced to Tom Brown Jr.'s books.

Since reading TBJ's books and attending some of his classes I have 
practising the skills and following the philosophical path he teaches,
and working with an Ojibwa medicine man who lives here.  I now teach 
ancient skills in workshops as well as occasionally teaching or 
at conferences, and I conduct sweats.

Wes Gietz 

 Vancouver Island, BC     Primitive skills workshops:
 Mark Zanoni 

Hi everybody,

I found out about this group from the Tracker list serve and so far I 
impressed by the quality of the discussion. I live and work in Northern
Wisconsin and run an outdoor program for special ed. (behavior 
primarily) kids that utilizes primitive skills as a major component. 
vision is to develop an entire curriculum using nature awareness,
tracking and primitive skills and other experienctial approaches, to
teach all areas of study across the board including social studies,
science, English, math, art, phy. ed. etc. I'm already well on the way
towards making that happen and, luckily I'm in a situation where I am
able to experiement and work out different aspects of this project as 
In addition to my this work I teach wilderness skills workshops that
include primitive skills, tracking and nature awarness as part of an
organization in Milwaukee called Medicine Hawk wilderness skills. My 
organization has given the go ahead for me to begin a series of 
at my Northern WI location also and so this spring I will be offering
classes for the general public, family programs and teacher trainings.

My training and background include lots of time playing in the woods 
kid (maybe the most valuable part of my training), a college degree in
Natural Resources/History, a secondary teaching certification and
attendance at classes around the country including Tom Brown's 
course, classes with Charles Worsham in Virginia and everything Tom
Hanratty at Medicine Hawk offered until he got tired of seeing my face
in class and made me an instructor about 7 years ago. I also learn 
I can and I am lucky to live in an area that has an abundance of skilled
crafts and outdoors people. My main and most important teacher, 
remains nature itself. I am lucky to have a job that allows me to be in
the woods everyday. In fact how many people on this list could say 
have a job that requires that they spend time in the woods? I am very
blessed I know.

I look forward to sharing with and learning from you all,

Many blessings,

Mark Zanoni

John Wiedenheft

Hi group!  I just signed on; heard about you over in the Tracker list.
My name is John Wiedenheft, I live in Norwich Connecticut USA.
I have always been interested in primitive skills and wild edibles,
ever since being introduced to this stuff by my mother on our family
camping trips.  She would walk through the woods and pick various
plants and we would bring them home and have them for dinner!

I have been camping and hiking ever since (I'm now 40 years old), and 
up new skills wherever I can.  Picking up new skills has been a 
thing to do because I didn't know of any other sources of information.
Then, about 5 years ago, I came across a book by Larry Dean Olsen.
A year later I was telling someone about that book and he handed me
"The Tracker" by Tom Brown.  I have now read most of Tom's books and 
several of his classes. Then along came the _Tracker_ list and now 
_Primitive_Skills_ list!  Will wonders never cease!

Now I would like to start putting into practice some of the skills I 
been learning.  I would really like to do some of those "walk-abouts"
someone posted about yesterday.

Thanks Dr. André, for setting up and running this list!

Great to be here,

John Wiedenheft
Bo Gulledge 


        I have been on the group for a few days and I am overwhelmed by
the great quality of information and the great folks that are
participating.  Many of you will know me from the TRACKERS email 
list, but
for those of you that do not know me, I will introduce myself.

        I started on this adventure when I read THE TRACKER, by Tom 
Jr.  I knew then that if I wanted to learn primitive skills that Tom 
be a highly qualified teacher.  I first attended a class at the Tracker
School in 1984. I took a 4-day Vision Quest that same year personally 
by Tom.  From that point on I have had a deep commitment to learn, 
and preserve these skills.

        Just this year while attending the Advanced Scout class at the
Tracker School I approached Tom's wife, Deb, about taking over the
webmaster responsibilities for the Tracker School and she said OK.  
today, I am finishing my Masters in computer science while pursuing
primitive skills on the Internet and in the woods. I am trying, in some
small way, to help promote these skills via the Internet.

         I am greatly inspired by the sharing spirit in this
primitive skills community and I thank you all for your contributions.  
am always happy to learn and practice new skills.  I am quite busy 
days working on my thesis but I am always happy to answer questions 
if my
limited knowledge may be of some help.

        As I said before, I have learned so much already from this group
that I cannot say how pleased I am!  Again, if I may provide some help 
anyone let me know.

P.S. I live in Tampa, Florida. If there are any of you close by, let me

Best Regards,

Bo Gulledge 
Mark L. Anderson


A short intro.  I am a project archaeologist involved with cultural 
management studies on Iowa Department of Transportation projects.  
my interest in arhcaeology and my degrees in Anthropology I have been
interested in primitive skills since I was quite young. I grew up in the
Duluth, Minnesota area and have had extensive outdoor time 
northeast and northcentral Minn., northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of
Michigan, and central Ontario.  Since leaving Minn. for other points I 
lived in Oregon, South Dakota, and Indiana prior to moving to Iowa.  I 
tried to practice the skill I already knew and learn as many new ones 
as I
came across.  I am a flintknapper of some 10 years and am branching 
out into
other experimental areas of prehistoric technology, it all helps me
understand and analize better the real archaeological stuff.  This 
is wonderful and I am glad to be a part.  I'll contirbute as I can and 
forward to learning Lots of new stuff about living in the natural 

To share a quick story....I was doing a flintknapping demonstration at 
University of Northern Iowa one afternoon and had checked in with the
director of the student union, who was the organizer of the 
Week of which I was a participant.  On walking outside to where I was 
knap, the director said to me...."So, when the powers goes off for good, 
computers all fail, and all of our industrial machinery grinds to a 
halt, we
should come and find you if we want to continue to eat and such, 
Needless to say I chuckled, agreed with her, and said that fortunately 
can learn to knap and survive if the desire and (perhaps more so) the 
were there.  Thanks for the list Dr. Bourbeau!        Mark.

Tim Rast


        I'm new to the list, and must say that I am VERY impressed with 
quality of the posts and the caliber of the contributors!  I'm sure I
will learn a lot from everyone, and will try to contribute when I can.
        I don't have years of bush experience -- my interest in primitive
skills springs from my interest in archaeology and prehistoric
hunter-gatherer groups, as well as a steadfast refusal to grow up.  I
was raised on a farm in southern Alberta and was always banging 
together or cutting down mom's caragana hedge to make bows and 
(it was the praries -- you do what you can in lieu of real trees :) Now
I'm going to school in St. John's, Newfoundland working on my 
(Predictive modelling of archaeological site locations on the south
coast of Newfoundland using a GIS.)
        This list and the skills discussed here are important to me for a
number of reasons.  Some are personal, but two relate to archaeology 
archaeologists in general.  First, the perspective gained by a student
of prehistory when he or she makes a stone tool or drills a hole with a
bow drill are invaluable. The weights and measures we make on 
can become abstract to the point where it is easy to forget why we 
studying the materials in the first place.  I think its essential to
have some sort of hands on understanding of the tools and techniques 
study as well as the properties, limits, and potential of the materials
being worked.  The second point is the fact that these skills are really
cool and are one of the most effective means of educating the public
about prehistory.  Atlatls, stone tools, bow drills and the like are all
pretty amazing the first time you see them.  Sitting behind glass in a
museum they are curiousities and the people who made them can seem 
alien and distant.  Its difficult to identify with them and its easy to
judge them against our own culture.  But when the hammerstone is in 
hand and you begin to understand how these tools were made and used, 
begin to identify with those past peoples on a very human level. Our
connection with the past becomes meaningful.
        Sorry for rambling on so long -- I do that sometimes.

Bruce Carroll


I am just getting around to my introduction, (I was swamped with 
several deer hides and a bear hide before it got really cold up here in
New England). I found out about this list from the Tracker email list
and signed up a few weeks back when the mad droves of about 60 
also signed up. I have been backpacking/camping for 25+ years, and
during this time got interested in primitive skills. I was looking for a
way to reduce the load in the backpack so I could enjoy being out 
instead of being a slave to my hi-tech gear. During my hikes, I would
use wild edibles for some of my meals, and learned some meager 
skills after dropping out of boy scouts. Many years have passed since
then and I have taken several courses with Tom Brown jr, and signed 
for several more in '97, in addition to tracking courses with Paul

I live on several hundred acres of woods, in a geodesic dome I built,
that is completely solar powered, and off the grid. I spend most of my
free time out and about. Up until last week, I was happily un-
but due to things like mortgage, etc, I had to take a short computer
contract to get the bills back in order before I can resume my favorite
lifestyle of unemployment, playing in the woods and creating music. 
camp outs now are mostly practicing to be the "happy wanderer" 
where I
go out for 4 days or so with just the clothes on my back (and front) 
a knife and see how far I get. Usually I turn into the dehydrated or
starved wanderer:( but have been getting fairly successful in the last
few outings where I'm able to get shelter, fire, water and food within
the first 2-3 days. Each time out is an incredible teaching! I recently
took up knapping and can now get good arrowheads/spear points and 
type items, so at some point I'll drop the knife and see how far I make
it then. I teach primitive skills to kids and am in the process of
switching my career focus from computers to primitive skills as my
firsthand knowledge increases, and now that I can finally afford to 
be a "slave" to some large corporation for my daily grub(s).

In Peace,

Bruce Carroll
Virtual Mountain
New Hampshire
Grant Goltz

This post will serve as a partial intro (more later as time permits)...

I live in north-central Minnesota and conduct archaeological and
paleoenvironmental research.  Much of my time is spent on 
researching and
replicating various technologies used by Native peoples of the region
(primarily prior to European contact).  My most significant speciality 
indigenous ceramics.  For the past 15 or so years, I have been 
and replicating these technologies.  My goal has been to attempt to 
the various technologies in as close a manner to that exhibited by the
archaeological record as possible, using the same materials as would 
been available.

In the process, I have made several hundred vessels of all sizes and 
and have used many of them for cooking and processing.  I can say that 
ceramics are amazingly sturdy and functional.

Grant Goltz
Native American Technologies
P. O. Box 121
Longville, MN 56655
FAX 218-682-3358
Mark D. Ball

I have just joined the list, and so far it's great.  

I am a plastic surgeon, living in Redding, CA.  I got to this list because
of a hunt that took place this past fall.  I shot a bear with my bow and
was unable to find him for 24 hours, though he had gone only 40 yds. 
into a
large willow thicket.  It became painfully clear to me that I had no
business hunting if I could not track what I shot.  I happened on the
brother of a friend who had taken Tom Brown's standard course here in 
last Aug..   That lead me to Tom's books, which lead me to the school,
which lead me to the web page, which lead me to the Tracker list, 
lead me here. This is great!      

Mark D Ball
Chuck Hudson 
Hi all:

I have been subscribed to this list  for about a month now and decided 
that it was time for me to introduce myself.

I am relatively new to the primative skills thing. In fact I had never 
heard of any of this until last spring when I became a volunteer at a 
living history park (Virginia's Explore Park) located just outside of 
Roanoke, VA.

The park consists of three sections:

The Blue Ridge Settlement, a reconstruction of western VA life in the 
mid-1800s. This area consists of  a farmstead, blacksmith shop, one-
room schoolhouse, and a large "bank barn". These are all original 
buildings which were disassembled at their original sites and the 
reassembled and restored at the Park. The farmstead grows crop 
varieties and raises animal breeds which were common during the 
early-mid 1800s. They also give demonstrarions of various 19th 
century life skills.

The second area is the 'Longhunter's Cabin" this is a reproduction of 
the cabins which were common in western Virginia during the late 
1600s through the mid 1700s. Again, the period costumed staff here 
give lifeskills demonstrations appropriate for their period.

The third area, and the one where my wife and I both work as 
volunteers is the native american village. This village is a 
reconstruction of the lifestyle of the siouan speaking peoples who 
inhabited the Roanoke Valley before the coming of the europeans.

This village, based on archeological finds, journals of the earliest 
explorers of the area, and other sources, is being constructed using 
the tools and methods these people had available to them prior to 
white contact. Most notably this means that we do not have the luxury 
of metal tools, nails, etc.

Since working there I have learned to make fire, bark baskets, dogbane 
cordage, cattail mats and cattail mats. I have learned to select, and 
prepare saplings for building, build circular and oval domed structures 
(wigawa) and remove and prepare bark sheets for use as a covering for 
our buildings.

I have also begun to learn the skills necessary to manufacture stone 
tools such as celts, knives, scrapers, fleshers, and drawknives.

I look forward to learning much more from the obviously highly 
experienced members of this list in the coming months.



"Charles E. Hudson" 

Kelly Harlton

Wow, an impressive line up! (I almost feel inadequate giving my intro)

Wont "clutter" this very busy list.

My name is Kelly Harlton, just a business owner in northern Alberta 
Slave Lake). Done a fair amount of Survival Camping (lucky enough to 
hundreds of miles of wilderness on all sides) I've been a Trapper, a
Prospector, (these two just for a couple years),  I've been snow 
spelunking, Skied on a glacier, (these last 3 not extensively though), 
recent excursions include 10 days on the Clearwater river in northern 
in 95, 10 days on 3 rivers in BC/Alberta (Kananaskis, Kootenay, Red 
and Sea Kayaking/camping of the BAJA peninsula Oct 96. (these last 3 
pretty "cushy" though). So another words, just gotten my whistle wet. 
some Fire making demonstrations for some schools. I Have not taken 
formal training like the rest of you, Just all from my Library of 85+
outdoor books. I'm at that point in my life where I've been there done 
as far as Workaholic, building a business thing (done OK so far too but
there's gotta be more to life).
I must confess doing the "demo" for the schools felt good! Is this how 
all got your "start"? I am looking for a place to start, maybe I'll book 
course from one of the "teachers" on this list (seems most of your 
something on the go) Needless to say I will be posting more questions 
answersso please show me lots of patience.

I am 34(male), started getting into "the bush" when I was in grade 6.
(first solo winter overnighter in grade 7!!)
Hobbies include;Camping, Back packing, Wilderness and white water 
Hunting /Fishing, X-country(back county), Archery.

"Primitive" skills include; Fire by friction, Fire by spark, various
shelters, Wild edibles, Cordage, and then feeble attempts at almost
everything else (eg basket making, hide tanning, rock knapping(no flint
here), slings, pottery, primitive traps, yes all the threads!, hence the
value of this list to me!) Initial and most Inspiring authors from 10 to 
years ago; Tom Brown (sorry Ron), Bradford Angier, Mors Kochanski, 
and of
course many more in the following years.

Oops, I broke my promise already
End of Clutter

Glad to be a part of the Primitive Skills Research Team!
At Your Service;

"Kelly Harlton" 
David Weinstock

Hello! I am David Weinstock, in Middlebury, Vermont. The first
"survival" book I read was Herter's Guide's Manual. I was a Scout
for many years, back in the days before nylon backpacks and
Polarfleece. I operate ham radio station WG1R, and prefer
the now obsolete Morse Code to speech communications. I am a
freelance commercial writer, and actually spent three years
as a writer for the L.L. Bean catalog. I came to this group
from the flintknapping list; as a knapper I'm without skills,
but with a great wealth of theory. We live in Vermont, in
sight of the Green Mountains. When my boys are older, we
plan to resume an  active outdoor life--  

David Weinstock

Ferrell A. Peterson

Hi Everyone!

I've been reading all the input on the various subjects and have 
enjoyed the exchanges.

I have been involved in primitive survival and skills for the last 25+ 
years.  My specialties have friction
fires, cordage, atlatls, knapping, rabbit sticks (non-returning 
boomerangs), and any other skills or projects
that have caught my fancy.  I recently finished a hickory long bow at 
Rabbitstick (a primitive skills
rendezvous held in Idaho each Fall by Boulder Outdoor Survival 
School). I've wanted to build a really nice one
for years.  I've tried to pass these skill on to whom ever would be 
interested and many of these have been
Boy Scouts.

I found the recent exchange concerning two very prominent primitive 
practitioners very amusing and sad at the
same time.  Both have contributed greatly to the advancement of 
primitive skills. That's probably all that
should be said.  I know Mr. Brown only by his good reputation and that 
he has helped open the eyes of many to
primitive skills and methods.  This is wonderful!  My eyes were opened 
by Larry Dean Olsen in 1969.  We have
been good friends ever since and I appreciate that he has been a 
mentor to me.  This is also wonderful.

What has been the result?  Thousands of people have been blessed 
with a new awareness.  That's what's
important.  Let's drive on folks and share our knowledge.

I have enjoyed the sense of humor connected with body functions and 
with napalm marshmallows.  More than 
that I enjoy the new perspectives on subjects that are near and dear 
to me.

Thanks,  See you on the net.  Ferrell Peterson, aka Fudsy.

JAN 15th, 97