Primitive Skills Checklist

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by abo4ster, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. abo4ster

    abo4ster Banned Member Banned

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    The following is a Primitive Skills Checklist from an article entitled "Going Wild – Organizing a Primitive Living Experiment" by Alice Tulloch in the Fall 2007 edition of the Society of Primitive Technology’s Bulletin of Primitive Technology.

    Per the article, it is for discussion purposes only and it is not intended for one person to have every skill mentioned. Nor is it supposed to be a complete list. A person would bring a set of skills to the tribe and hopefully the tribe could meet its goals.

    Usually, every year I do a stint in the wilderness that kicks my butt as to just how hard it would be going primitive. This list reminds me of that reality check. I possess some of these skills – but not many, and I am surely not a master of them either. I hope sharing this with you increases your knowledge, awareness, perception, and/or provokes further thought and discussion.

    Social Skills
    • Ability to work in a team, for the common good
    • Ability to receive criticism and to effectively offer constructive criticism
    • Desire to work harder than others, and take the initiative to get things done for the common good
    • Ability to maintain a positive attitude
    • Knowledge of primitive games, fun, music and celebrations

    Travel
    • Ability to hike solo over unfamiliar terrain without getting lost
    • Ability to guide others, physically and verbally, to a location unknown to others
    • Ability to read the landscape to anticipate the easiest route of travel, and the location of water, game, plants and useful materials
    • Knowledge of safe stream crossings, snow crossings and rough terrain travel
    • Knowledge of long distance travel strategies and the economic calendar of the area
    • Good physical condition, moderate body fat, tough feet
    • Ability to hike 5-15 miles per day with a 30-lb. pack

    Fire
    • Consistently started fire by friction using a variety of materials
    • Made a successful friction fire set from materials on-site using stone age tools
    • Consistently made friction fire in the rain, snow and dark
    • Experience using fire for cooking with pottery, stone boiling and pit bake
    • Experience banking fire or other methods to maintain coals overnight
    • Carrier fire using a long match from one camp to another
    • Used fire to bend wood
    • Used fire to coal-burn a container

    Shelter
    • Made a nearly waterproof wickiup, lean-to and debris hut and slept in them
    • Made a coal bed and slept on it
    • Slept in a primitive shelter using only natural, local bedding and stone age gear
    • Made a primitive shelter in the rain or snow and slept in it
    • Made a woven or sewn tule or cattail mat

    Food (See also next two categories)
    • Has lived completely off the land for one week
    • Ditto, in each of the four seasons in your area
    • Proficiency with a variety of food storage techniques and pest controls, including smoking, drying, rendering, granaries, and caches

    Plants
    • Has a thorough knowledge of plant families and their characteristics
    • Has a thorough knowledge of original people’s plant uses, harvesting, processing, and storage methods in the area
    • Has a thorough knowledge of medicinal plants and their uses in the area

    Trapping, Fishing, and Hunting
    • Has a thorough knowledge of the habitats and habits of the fish and wildlife in the area. Has an understanding of sustainable harvesting
    • Has skill in reading animal signs and tracks
    • Has captured animals with primitive deadfalls, snares and traps
    • Can construct 4 kinds of triggers on site using stone tools
    • Can construct 2 kinds of snares on site using stone tools
    • Has caught fish using primitive line and lure, spear, fish trap and/or gill net
    • Knowledge of stalking and skill hunting techniques
    • Harvested a big game animal with stone age equipment
    • Made and is proficient with primitive bow and arrow, atlatl and dart, and throwing stick
    • Butchered and skinned an animal with stone tools

    Clothing
    • Made buckskin using only stone age tools and brains of the animal
    • Made a complete set of buckskin clothing including shirt/dress, leggings/skirt and moccasins
    • Sewn buckskin with only stone age tools and materials
    • Tanned fur-bearing animal and made garment from the fur
    • Knowledge of rawhide processing and construction methods
    • Knowledge of bark tanning process
    • Made clothing out of plant fiber (examples: tumpline, sagebrush sandals, cedar bark blanket)
    • Made and used winter footwear in wet or snowy weather. Knowledge of greased or insulated footwear
    • Knowledge of clothing, equipment and methods to deal with cold and rainy conditions

    Basketry and Cordage
    • Made baskets from a variety of materials and techniques including a burden basket and water-tight basket (without pitch and sealant0
    • Made baskets sealed with pitch or other sealant
    • Knowledge of netting techniques
    • Knowledge of stone boiling in a basket
    • Made cordage from a variety of materials and techniques
    • Made rope from many strands braided and multi-plied

    Pottery
    • Made a fired pot holding 1 gallon from wild harvested clay
    • Knowledge of cooking with pottery on a fire

    Knapping
    • Competency in basic spalling, percussion and pressure flaking, pecking and hafting
    • Made uniform thin, straight blades, 5 inches or longer, using stone age tools (no copper)
    • Made and proficient in use of scrapers, burins and drills
    • Made and proficient in use of stone axe
    • Knowledge of heat treating stone
    • Made tools from a variety of stone
    • Knowledge of useful stone materials in the area

    Bone and Antler Tools
    • Made bone and antler tools with stone age equipment, including fish hooks, spears, awls, needles
    • Used bone or antler for wedges, cutting, stabbing, sawing, pounding and knapping

    Woodsmanship
    • Knowledge of security measures regarding wolves, bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, scorpions, etc
    • Awareness of weather changes and patterns
    • Awareness of wildland fire behavior and safety measures
    • Has developed their intuition and woods savvy
    • Awareness of changes in natural flow (bird and bug chatter, wind direction, etc)
    • Knowledge of collection, preparation and use of pitch and glues, mineral pigments
    • Knowledge of useful knots including fisherman’s, bowline, square, clove hitch, tauntline, and stopper knots
    • Knowledge of lashing and splicing
    • Knowledge of telling time by the sun and stars

    Healthcare
    • Knowledge of primitive hygiene concerns, preventative measures and remedies
    • Thorough knowledge of backcountry first aid, CPR and evacuation methods
    • Knowledge of infectious diseases, adverse syndromes, hypothermia, parasites and poisonous plants that occur in the area; preventative measures and modern treatment
    • Knowledge of how a wild diet and primitive activities impact nutritional needs
     
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  2. IdahoBackwoods

    IdahoBackwoods Guide

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    That's an interesting list; thanks for posting it!

    Now I'll mull it over, to consider where I'm most lacking....
     
  3. Trekon86

    Trekon86 Guest

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    Haha I'm most lacking in the social skills category...well for parts of it.
    I am beginning to dislike people in general...my mother's all worried that I'm going to turn out antisocial lol!
    PMZ
     
  4. IdahoBackwoods

    IdahoBackwoods Guide

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    Hey -- you're right! I just hadn't thought about it, living way out here in the woods as I do. It's a good thing my sweet wife loves me, 'cuz she's as generally antisocial as I am!
     
  5. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    The trouble with strangers is, you just don't know WHO they are!
     
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  6. IllicitDreams

    IllicitDreams Guide Bushclass I

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    That's a great list. I see some things I need to work on... I think I need to try that living off the land for a week.
     
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  7. Eagle

    Eagle Scout

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    Thanks for posting "the list" but.... am disappointed it lacked COFFEE consumption skills
     
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  8. ArmoredSheepdog

    ArmoredSheepdog Scout

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    For the general public, I'd say that probably applies to the majority of us. It's hard to tolerate idiots. However a group of us together, I'd say things would probably pan out well. Most people seeking out and understanding that sort of a skillset are not idiots ;)
     
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  9. Faol

    Faol Guest

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    Welcome to the club.

    Being a fan of the woods to the extent that most of us are, is not conducive to an active social lifestyle. A like-minded social ability, such as Bushcraft Balls or firearms range activity, is doable though.
     
  10. rik_uk3

    rik_uk3 Guest

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    First you advertise for a gun, then you post this, your not going post office on us Trek are you?
     
  11. abo4ster

    abo4ster Banned Member Banned

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    Old thread worthy of a bump...
     
  12. WI_Woodsman

    WI_Woodsman Tracker

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    This sounds like the making of an advance Bush Class... Sign me up!
     
  13. Zig

    Zig Guide

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    This is a great thread. I'm glad to see it getting a bit of a revival. I've got more than a couple sections to get to work on.
     
  14. RoadLessTraveled

    RoadLessTraveled Guide Bushclass I

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    Good bump. It's an excellent thread. If it's not integrated into an Advanced BushClass, I'm still going to use it to guide the development of my skills.
     
  15. Longbeard

    Longbeard Continental Drifter Bushclass III

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    Looks like the makings of the "aboriginal" skill tab, heh heh. I didn't see bacon on that list anywhere, just saying. Seriously cool skills though.
     
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  16. Trailwalker

    Trailwalker Scout

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    That list really puts into prespective the areas that I need to work on.

    Thank you for posting it.
     
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  17. Prof

    Prof Guide Bushclass II

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    Wow, the social skills are exactly the same as those needed in a 21st century research and development laboratory or a college mathematics department, except maybe the last one. Some things really don't change all that much!
     
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  18. WoodsJack

    WoodsJack Guide

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    Wherein "primitive" sure don't mean "simple" and much less "easy".
     
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  19. MiddleWolf

    MiddleWolf Guide

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    Good list. I'm busy tomorrow so I'll have to get those things done Saturday. <grin>
     
  20. wingryder

    wingryder Scout

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    Great list, thanks for the bump and to the OP.
     
  21. DarkXstar

    DarkXstar Guide

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    That list is great to show how little i really know
     
  22. SASBob

    SASBob Tracker

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    This is an amazingly thoughtful list.

    If I am honest with myself, I realize how little I am truly capable of on the list. Although I can honestly say that I have done most everything on the list, I am not fluent or generally at ease with the skills.

    Doing them once does not constitute familiarity, These skills need to be your first choice without hesitation in any given situation. Suddenly remembering how to start a fire with found material is not something to be thinking about as you are laying there freezing to death. Or wishing you knew how to "properly skin, and gut an animal" as you are dying of food poisoning from tainted meat.

    Practice, practice, then practice some more. (That goes for me too!)

    Great post!
     
  23. grizz

    grizz Scout

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    thanks for posting .... very interseting post
     
  24. evilbrojoe

    evilbrojoe Scout

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    this is a great list. really highlights the areas I need to work on and shows the difference between skills for surviving and those for thriving. I plan to save this and really use it to judge my growth and training.
     
  25. Panzer

    Panzer Prepared Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    Social Skills
    • Ability to work in a team, for the common good - NO!
    • Ability to receive criticism and to effectively offer constructive criticism -NO!
    • Desire to work harder than others, and take the initiative to get things done for the common good - Do I get extra credit?
    • Ability to maintain a positive attitude - I was going to try and be positive, but I knew it wouldn't work
    • Knowledge of primitive games, fun, music and celebrations - Does drinking distilled spirits count?

    LOL! Great list of some cool skills. Thanks for posting it up.
     
  26. BushBum

    BushBum Guide

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    This was a great thread, thought i"d bump it up for some of the newer folks
     
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  27. 4ager

    4ager Scout Bushclass I

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    Yep.
     
  28. nczo6

    nczo6 Scout

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    I got the moderate body fat part down. Lol
     
  29. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Chaotic Neutral. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks for posting, that was a great list. I can give a definite yes to about three of those things.
     
  30. Solphilos

    Solphilos Guide

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    Definitely saving this one for future reference. A few weak areas I need to work on.

    Sent from my SCH-R720 using Tapatalk 2
     
  31. OL' OutLaw

    OL' OutLaw Guide

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    Well, it's nice to know just exactly how badly I need to learn more stuff LOL

    great list....maybe by the time I'm 90 or so I'll be halfway proficient.... *SIGH *
     
  32. backwoodstrails

    backwoodstrails Narcoleptic Insomniac Supporter

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    Bringing back an old thread with a great list of skills to choose from and work on. It could take years to master a fraction of the skills on this list but
    so many are worth learning about.
     
  33. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Scout

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    Most excellent necro.

    It was like d&d,
    I rolled a social woodsman with +1 to plants, food, travel, shelter and medical.

    So.... basically a hypochondriac celebratory chef that travels to exotic places to cook dishes on site using locally sourced produce.
    No shame in that but I gotta grind and level up.
     
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  34. Derzis

    Derzis Tracker

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    This list is great, but something is missing in my opinion: capacity to improvise, which is beyond the knowledge of using something
     
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  35. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've got a very long way to go, but the learning process sure is fun.
     
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  36. OrienM

    OrienM Scout

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    Awesome list o' skills! As the OP noted, this is a village worth of skills...some of the craft skills listed, such as watertight basketry, are quite high level. IMHO you wouldn't quite need this level of craftsmanship for survival, but it would sure be nice.

    Personally I feel most lacking in primitive pottery and leatherwork, I've never tanned a hide or made a pot. I have a local friend who does both very well, maybe this year I can finally take the time to set up some lessons with him.
     
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