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American Frontiersman

American Frontiersman

Spring 2021
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The quintessential frontiersmen were those imbued with the new “American Spirit” who pushed the envelope, and the frontier, from one ocean to the other as they brought to its finest form, what we call the art and science of frontiersmanship. This spirit is alive and well 200 years into our nation’s history as our master practitioners offer timely and timeless articles on wilderness, survival, the land and the techniques that have been honed through generations.

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United States
Athlon Media Group
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
rough and ready

American frontiersmen were some of the toughest, most resilient men to ever walk the continent. There, I said it. I never really thought about that much until I became the Senior Editor for this magazine and took a deep dive into the contents of each issue. I was reminded of that fact again in a recent mishap involving a tall horse, a young dog, a long check cord, hard ground, and, in the end, five badly broken ribs. Thanks to an ambulance, hospital, good doctors, plenty of pain meds and a helpful, loving family, I’m well on the road to recovery. But looking back, I can’t help but think how a frontier trapper or buffalo hunter would have handled a similar injury. Perhaps, take an extra swig or two of whiskey before…

8 min.
hayden’s dog charge

THE SUMMER OF 1813 had been tumultuous for the new frontiersmen building homesteads along Bassett’s Creek located in the south Alabama wilderness in the fork of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers. These vast woodlands were claimed by the Creek Indians. British agents had enticed many of the Creeks to join them in the fight against the settlers as part of the British southern strategy to defeat the United States in the War of 1812. The British aided the Indians in trying to drive out the settlers, for British military purposes and to recover tribal lands as a benefit to the Creeks. As the threat of an all-out Indian war was rumored among the isolated homesteads along Bassett’s Creek, it was decided in early July of that year that the settlers would…

8 min.
buff busters

HE STORY of the American buffalo is an interesting one, indeed. When white explorers first came to the central and western United States, all manner of wild game flourished, from deer to elk to pronghorn antelope. None personified the prairie lands more, though, than the buffalo, or American bison. In the 1860s and 70s, buffalo darkened the western plains as far as the eye could see. The giant, shaggy beasts were a staple for native tribes residing in the same areas, with one buffalo capable of providing many, many meals, even during the lean winter months. Unfortunately for the buffalo and the Native people who relied on them for a large part of their diet, westward expansion led to a large demand for both meat and hides. The vastness of the herds and…

9 min.
tracker jr.

In the 1980s, the knife world was hit by a wave of new obsession with “survival knives.” After a particular movie of the era showed a disgruntled ex-Green Beret evading tenacious pursuers and surviving for days in the forests and mountains while armed with nothing but his trusty foot-long blade, every true-blooded American male knew he had to have one. The Rambo-style survival blade, complete with hollow handle for storing matches, fishing line and heroic dreams, was soon replicated and mimicked by all the major knife producers and bladesmiths. Not only did the movie First Blood create the prototype survival knife that would burn itself into common consciousness, but it’s also credited by many modern-day bushcraft and survival instructors as the inspiration and starting point on their journey to self-sufficiency. Fast-forward…

1 min.
who is dave wenger?

Dave Wenger was born to the anvil and the “riddle of steel.” As a young boy, he was obsessed with anything having to do with the Middle Ages, swords and knights. Early on, he began making shanks and dirks out of anything he could find with handles fashioned out of electrical tape from his dad’s shop. He made his first samurai sword by flattening out a metal conduit he “liberated” from his father’s tools, cutting a pointy tip on the end with a hacksaw and crafting an elaborate athletic-tape handle, creating a katana that any samurai would be proud to wield. His 99-year-old grandfather, who was a blacksmith, gifted him his first anvil fashioned from an old iron railroad tie, and set him up with a cold forge. This started young…

8 min.
a man & his horse

A horse is not an easy thing to turn into taxidermy, much less decorate it with equipment correct for the 1830s, but Drew Turner is a master of bringing history to life in three dimensions. Each step of the path from building his first log cabin at the age of 15 to the 21st century when he does living history with Caitlyn the horse has grown from events that have happened before. Drew Turner calls this building process “complementary creativity.” “My love of making things by hand started when dad brought home a Foxfire Book when I was 10 or 11,” Drew said. “There were so many ways to make awesome items in the book, I got inspired to try some of them. Then the movie Jeremiah Johnson came out, I…