American Frontiersman

American Frontiersman


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.

United States
Athlon Media Group


wild & free times ahead?

Our country has been in a state of triage ever since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit our shores and the CDC started flooding cable news and the internet with death models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. People are suffering physically, mentally and economically due to some civil-liberty-infringing policies that were made in light of flawed models and misinformation. Hell, by order of the heavy-handed New York governor, it was illegal for me to share turkey hunting camp this May with non-family members. If I needed ammo to hunt with or to defend myself and loved ones, tough luck, as New York gun shops were labeled “non-essential.” Meanwhile, predictions, infection rates and mitigation guidelines bounce up and down like a Spalding High-Bounce Ball…

cumberland crusader

“Sizing Up The Enemy” By David Wright When most of us think of the frontier, our minds wander to the dusty streets of Western boomtowns like Tombstone and Dodge City. But there was an earlier frontier—that of the 18th century. This was a frontier where men in tricorn hats armed with tomahawks and flintlock rifles wrestled a living out of a vast and uncharted wilderness. A place beyond the reach of all civilizing notions, perhaps a place where no laws even existed. A wild place filled with immense forests, rivers and hostile natives. A place where men who were in the midst of a revolution to throw off the old government and rules would forge a new set of laws to govern themselves—laws that provided for the basic freedom of the…

true on the trails

“When Distant Dust Could Mean Trouble”By David Wright One major challenge when studying history is to learn it accurately. So often the sources that teach us this history mislead us. Books, movies and even friendly conversations can create false realities and lead us down a mistaken trail of understanding. Most historians agree that primary sources—journals, articles and tools actually created during the target time period—are some of the best sources to learn from. Although primary sources are best, we spend lots of our time learning from secondary sources, or those that have been prepared by people after using a primary source. For example, if you see a fender bender happen at your local gas station, you are a primary source. If you tell a friend about it and they tell the people at…

forging ahead

the past, blacksmithing often went hand in hand with a rigorous life in the outdoors. IN Frontiersmen needed weapons, fire strikers and iron implements for trade. Travelers depended upon horseshoes, wagon hardware and pots for cooking. Settlers and homesteaders needed nails, door hinges, utensils, chains, farm implements, plowshares, axes and knives as well as a variety of other objects. Most large farms in the past had a blacksmith or forge so that repairs could be made on site and work could continue. Blacksmithing today can be just as useful for the camper, traditionalist, homesteader or anyone else who is interested in survival, self-sufficiency or life off the grid. Many practical items can be created with only a small forge and a few simple tools. You can always buy a forge, but they’re…

hike & hunt like nelson

My FIRST BACKPACK wasn’t a pack at all but an old Washington Star newspaper bag that I used to deliver papers as a kid. At 14 years old, I needed a pack for a camping trip, so I filled the newspaper bag with canned goods, a canteen, a mess kit and a blanket and hiked into the woods to camp with some friends. In those days, the state-of-the-art pack was the Trapper Nelson, but since I wasn’t a Boy Scout, I knew nothing of it. In the 1970s, I became a backpacker when the aluminum and nylon external-frame pack dominated the market. Through timing and circumstance, I missed ever using a wood-and-canvas Trapper Nelson pack. Thankfully, that gap in my experience was eventually filled thanks to the Woodsmoke Symposium on Classic…

backwoods blades

discussion about knives can become a heated debate around any campfire where several real woodsmen gather. What one woodsman likes may not be what you like, and vice versa. The “best knife” makes for an interesting discussion. During my half century of being in the company of outdoorsmen who depended on knives daily and spending many hours researching those who came before me, I came up with a list of some of the better-known outdoorsmen and the knife that each considered his favorite. As you read down this list, you will quickly see that there is no one knife that fits all. FROM THE PAST Nessmuk: George Washington Sears (1821-1890), aka Nessmuk, is best known for being America’s first outdoor writer. He wrote for Forest and Stream magazine and was the author of…