Bushcraft

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Knives, saws and axes are all popular bushcraft tools

Bushcraft is a popular term for wilderness skills in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The term was popularized in the southern hemisphere by Les Hiddins (The Bush Tucker Man) in Australia as well as in the northern hemisphere by Mors Kochanski and recently gained considerable currency in the United Kingdom due to the popularity of Ray Mears and his bushcraft and survival television programs. It is also becoming popular in urban areas where the average person is separated from nature.

Bushcraft is about thriving in the natural environment, and the acquisition of the skills and knowledge to do so. Bushcraft skills include firecraft, tracking, hunting, fishing, shelter building, the use of tools such as knives and axes, foraging, hand-carving wood, container construction from natural materials, and rope and twine-making, among others.

Etymology[edit]

Miniature bowdrill kit

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of bushcraft is "skill in matters pertaining to life in the bush".

The word has been used in its current sense in Australia and South Africa at least as far back as the 1800s. Bush in this sense is probably a direct adoption of the Dutch 'bosch', (now 'bos') originally used in Dutch colonies for woodland and country covered with natural wood, but extended to usage in British colonies, applied to the uncleared or un-farmed districts, still in a state of nature. Later this was used by extension for the country as opposed to the town. In Southern Africa, we get Bushman from the Dutch 'boschjesman' applied by the Dutch colonists to the natives living in the bush. In North America (where there was also considerable colonisation by the Dutch) you have the word 'bushwacker' which is close to the Dutch 'bosch-wachter' (now 'boswachter') meaning 'forest-keeper' or 'forest ranger'.

Historically, the term has been spotted in the following books (amongst others):

Promoters[edit]

The Irish-born Australian writer Richard Graves titled his outdoor manuals "The 10 bushcraft books".[1]

Canadian wilderness instructor Mors Kochanski published the "Northern Bushcraft" book (later retitled "Bushcraft") in 1988. He has[2] stated on numerous occasions that book title was an explicit reference to Graves' work.[3]

The term has enjoyed a recent popularity largely thanks to Ray Mears, Ron Hood, Les Stroud, Dave Canterbury, Cody Lundin, and their television programs.

Legal Controversy[edit]

On July 30, 2012 a limited liability company from Missouri with the name of Bushcraft USA LLC, owner of the Bushcraft USA forum applied for a servicemark on the word bushcraft. On August 27, 2013 the servicemark was published by The United States Patent and Trademark Office.Trademark registration for the word Bushcraft The registration can also be seen through a search of The United States Patent and Trademark Office for the word bushcraft. US Patent and Trademark Office

It is unclear what legal significance or enforceability such a registration would have. Given the definition of its servicemark, it's field of use is narrow and not likely to have any meaningful impact on the community.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ An on-line edition of 'The 10 Bushcraft Books' by Richard Graves http://chrismolloy.com/page.php?u=p131
  2. ^ Kochanski's webpage http://www.independent-adventurers.com/mors/
  3. ^ Mors Kochanski Interview, Equip 2 Endure Podcast www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd_s3xMUsAA

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of bushcraft at Wiktionary