How to Live Like a Mountain Man

How to Live Like a Mountain Man
The lifestyle of a mountain man is lonely and difficult. Mountain skills require training and survival in difficult terrain, and adverse conditions are a standard part of life. Fish and game laws are an issue for people who want to live like a mountain man, and Alaska is one of the few places in the United States where the lifestyle is a possibility. Traditional mountain men lived alone in wilderness terrain and used hunting and fishing skills for survival. These men also trapped and hunted for trade materials that were used to make profits.


Difficulty: Challenging


Things You’ll Need:
  • Knife
  • Hatchet
  • Flint-and-steel fire starter
  • Horse
  • Mule
  • Tack
  • Spring-loaded traps
  • Black powder gun
Step 1
Use flintknapping, the process of making stone tools, to create arrowheads, spear points and knife blades. The skill is valuable for a mountain man because blades can be produced at any time for hunting, processing hides and general camp duties.
Step 2
Use black-powder rifles to hunt big game. Use spring-loaded traps to hunt small game and fur-bearing animals. Bobcats, beavers, coyotes, muskrat, otter, mink and wolves all have valuable pelts that can be sold and traded by trappers.
Step 3
Use a horse and a mule for transporting supplies and traveling to and from trap lines. You must develop packing skills and understand the animals and the tack and packing techniques used by experts.
Step 4
Use spears and traps to capture fish. Mountain men fish with tools built in the wilderness and do not transport bulky fishing equipment. Many mountain men can catch fish with their hands by reaching under cut banks in streams and feeling for the fish.
Step 5
Build fires using flint and steel, and bury the coals to create a warm sleeping area in the winter. Build a lean-to shelter to block the wind, and lay down natural materials for ground insulation for your bed.
Step 6
Process and tan hides before attempting to trade them. Stretch the hides, and scrape off all excess flesh. Apply a brain-tanning solution, and continue to scrape the hide until the skin is supple.

Tips & Warnings

Mountain-man skills require practice to be successful. Any lack of skills can lead to dangerous situations.
Mountain-man skills require the use of firearms, livestock and sharp edges. The tools and the lifestyle are dangerous. Mountain men are cut off from society, and medical attention is self-applied in most situations.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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