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Bush Craft Courses Guide

Choosing the best bushcraft courses for your particular situation can be quite challenging.  All outdoor survival classes aren’t created equal, and the school may not be a good fit for you.

So, you need to do research to make sure the course that you enroll in will suit your needs. For example, does the class focus on primitive skills (surviving with little or no store-bought wilderness survival gear) or does it teach you how to use standard bushcraft tools?

Personally, I think it best first to focus on using common store-bought bushcraft survival equipment before attempting to master primitive survival skills. Don’t get me wrong, learning primitive survival skills is important and fun. However, nine times out ten, you’ll be able to carry survival equipment when you are hunting, fishing, hiking, etc. So, the outdoor survival training needs to balance primitive skills with learning how to use fundamental bushcraft survival gear.

Below is part one of a list of the top ten US  wilderness survival schools and a description of their bushcraft courses. The list is not a ranking.

Survival Training School of California

California Survival Bush Craft CoursesThis is one of the better know survival schools. This school conducts outdoor survival training for the US Marines, Navy and of the US Department of Defense.  This school does not focus on a particular “Guru” instructor. In fact, it doesn’t even have a list of trainers. However, the website does show letters of recommendation from the US Marines, US Navy, and the Air Force.

I like the fact that the courses are a good mix of teaching primitive survival skills and also telling you how to use everyday bushcraft survival equipment. For example, their fire-making instruction will show you not only how to build a fire using sticks but also how to use emergency fire-making equipment.

Mountain Scout Survival School (“MSS”)

This another non-guru bases survival school where the instructors are not even Mountain scout bush craft courseslisted. This school which is based in New York provides multiple varied courses ranging from building a fire to stalking for hunting games.  Also, it has courses on urban survival.

The Mountain Scout School, as it is based in New York, does not have any overnight bushcraft courses or from what I can see on their website even classes are not even in the wilderness. So, if you want an immersive survival experience, this is not the bushcraft school for you. However, it does have a variety of specific classes. (Fire making is one class) Also, it is priced reasonably with four hours of instruction costing $75.

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Jack Mountain Bushcraft School (“JMBS”)

This is an advanced school founded by Tim Smith. It was established in 1999 and Jack Mountain bush craft coursesclaims to be college accredited and GI Bill Approved. It offers certification in fields, such as wilderness canoe expedition certification and also certification to teach the JMBS method of wilderness survival.

As I said, this class is based on total immersion. All listed classes have an overnight component. The courses have an excellent blend of teaching you primitive and the proper use of emergency equipment. For example, in one class you’ll learn how to use a dutch oven and one match fires. Also, how to make a fire by using friction.

This school is pricey though with tuition approved classes ranging from $7.100 to $2,500. However, you can enroll in a non-tuition based course for less than $1,000

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Ancient Pathways, LLC (“AP”)

This company is run by Tony Nester and has been in business since 1989. This Ancient Pathways Bush Craft Coursescompany specializes in Desert survival and primitive technology.  Tony Nester states that he was a consultant for the movie “Into the Wild.” However, the website says that either Nestor or his staff will teach. So, if you want to be prepared by Nester, make sure to get confirmation from the school that he will be teaching the course.

AP offers both classroom and, immersion-based training. This instruction, according to the website focuses on how to use primitive survival gear. For example, one course you’ll only bring with you a knife, blanket, water bottle, and individual food packets.

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Boulder Outdoor Survival School

This school has been teaching survival skills since 1968. This school offers BOSS bush craft survival coursesimmersion-based bushcraft courses ranging from three to 28 days.
The schooling is based upon primitive skills and modern survival methods. For example, you’ll learn how to start a friction fire, forage for edible plants and find out how to trap for wild game. Also, it teaches you how to make a proper poncho shelter and the correct use of a survival knife. The prices for these bushcraft courses are high. But, considering the immersive experience that you get they are reasonable. The seven-day field course starts at $1,595.

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Cody Lundin’s Aboriginal Living Skills School, LLC (“ALSS”)

Please note: the ALSS bushcraft courses list explicitly states whether or not Lundin or one of his associates will teach the class. So, if you want Lundin’s instruction, be sure to pay attention to the course list. Cody Lundin's bush craft coursesLundin claims to have over 27 years as a professional survival instructor. Lundin’s website features that he has been interviewed by major news outlets like CNN and Good Morning America.

Day Courses/Skills Courses

Lundin has “Skills Courses” which there isn’t a formal overnight stay and an immersion “Adventure Courses.” Lundin also conducts prepper/self-reliance training. (It is expensive though at $2,699 for six days of training)

Particular survival techniques are taught in the “Skills Classes.” For example, the “Light My Fire” skills class teaches you how survival or emergency fire-making. Along with primitive survival techniques, most classes teach you how to use modern bushcraft survival gear properly. The skill courses range from $395 for the “Light My Fire Class” to $2,699 for the Self Reliance Symposium.

Immersion/Overnight Courses

The “Adventure Courses,” instructs using modern and primitive survival skills. Lundin offers winter and desert survival classes and classes where no modern equipment is used. He even offers a wilderness survival course where you are left in the desert with only your clothes on your back. The prices range from $695 for the three-day winter survival class to $3,499 for the “Desert Drifter” course.

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Wilderness Awareness School (“WAS”)

This school is based in Duvall, Washington and they have over ten instructors listed on their WAS bush craft courseswebsite. The founder is a naturalist. So, the classes have a focus on both wilderness survival and nature appreciation.WAS has a wide variety of bushcraft courses. WAS, along with survival training, offers educator classes where they teach enrollees to:

-Learn models for creating effective educational experiences based on the cycles of Nature
-Practice games, activities, and songs which draw people young and old into Nature
-Explore the role of story telling in the educational structures of nature-based cultures and draw out your own stories for mentoring youth and inspiring and teaching others!

Day Programs

WAS’s survival courses offer day programs which are either general programs focusing on basic wilderness Survival (using modern survival equipment) to specialized courses, such as learning the therapeutic uses of medicinal plants and learning to build a fire using friction.

The prices, for these day programs, range from $195 for the “Wilderness Survival Basics” to $95 for the “Awakening Fire.”

Intensive Programs

WAS’s intensive programs encompass a broad range of activities. In their, nine months, “Anake Outdoor School” they offer areas of instruction in naturalist studies, self-discovery, community leadership, and bushcraft. This course is college accredited and GI bill eligible.
WAS also offers a nine-month program ($1,775 to $2,550) that exclusively deals with wildlife tracking.

Survival Camp For Kids

WAS also has “Youth Programs.” They have classes for all ages of children. The “Nature Explorers,” day camp is a half-day nature appreciation course for children ages four to six. This course costs $275. They also have a “Knife and Knot Skills” day camp for ten to 12-year-olds costs $375. Their overnight, Monday through Sunday, “Wilderness Survival” bushcraft course for 11 to 14-year-olds costs $735.

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Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School (“Tracker”)

The tracker school was founded in 1978 and is based upon the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. who learned Native American wilderness survival skills from an Apache elder, “Stalking Wolf.”

Tracker’s bushcraft courses balance wilderness survival with lessons on Native American spirituality. For example, Tracker offers classes concerning the appreciation of Native American spirituality.Tracker Bush Craft Courses

Tracker has seven court pillars in his teaching: Philosophy, Teaching, Healing Prophecy/Vision, Scout, Survival Skills and Tracking.

Their “Tracker” which is their intro to wilderness survival course, according to the online syllabus seems to focus, exclusively, on learning primitive survival methods. For example, you’ll learn how to start a friction fire and how to make natural emergency shelters, like a mud hut and a thatched shelter.

Also, you’ll learn primitive trapping techniques. However, depending upon your philosophy, this may be right or wrong, no animals are harmed.

The price for the Tracker seems very reasonable with this six-day, introductory class costing only $800. The “Advanced Standard” class, which expands on their introductory bushcraft courses is also a six-day class, and it costs only $900.

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