Howdy, and welcome! You’re holding the premier issue of American Frontiersman. We hope it pleases you like watching two ducks fall for one shot just as the sun sets. We hope it makes your eyes pop like a trot line with every hook filled. We hope it makes your heart pound like when great-great-great Uncle Jebediah found King George’s supply wagon turned turtle in a ravine with no Redcoats around but its cargo of powder, shot, muskets and trade goods intact.
We also hope you notice this magazine is about twice the size you’d expect for a “premier” issue, because it’s what you can expect every time. We hope you’ll find it twice as enjoyable, twice as useful, and twice as inspiring.
A frontiersman has the spirit, mindset, and grit to strike out on his own where others fear to tread, and to make it where others fail. 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.
The frontier spirit lives, and the goods we’re spreading on the blanket here are what you can use. Frontiersmanship is not limited by epoch, nor is it geographically, culturally nor technologically specific, and we cover it all—anything of timeless value and in the frontier spirit and mindset, from making and using historic weapons, to modern medicine, to living independently off the grid with high-tech.
You can expect every issue of American Frontiersman as somewhere between a barn-raising and a rendezvous. We’ll meet, learn, examine the trade goods, learn the news, parlay and maybe even party some, all to advance the art and science of frontiersmanship.
In this issue alone we build a dugout canoe, make buckskins, oak-tan furs and go trapping. We cook in tin, review timeless camp tools and modern-man tools. We build a trapper cabin and a frugal homestead, and drive a well. We fish bare-handed, eat cattail delights, harvest and serve up squirrels and get to the meat of dressing small game. We make bear lure and butcher big game, shoot nuts out of a prune tree, and share family recipes for venison heart. We take you panning for gold and hunting buffalo.
We build an atlatl, give a rundown on longbows, and show you how to fine-tune—or build—a muzzleloader. We test favorite Civil-War surplus rifles, modern packable .22 wheel-guns and a good-to-go pellet gun. We show you how to move over snow, send distress signals, how we dealt with self-medicine and snakebite. We show you how to start a fire, build a bench, build a debris hut, customize a classic folder. We tell stories of frontiersmen like Horace Kephart, Hugh Glass, John Coulter and the real Davy Crockett. And we bring you George Washington’s beer recipe.
We’ll stack the same on the blanket every issue: lessons from the past, or sometimes the front pages, on how to nourish the frontier spirit and apply the mindset to surviving, even flourishing, and having a jug full of fun, on our own. Where we are. Or off the grid. Or so deep in the woods that they bring us daylight on a pack mule.
The frontier is alive, and flourishing in the history, tradition and spirit of American Frontiersman. Every issue, we will feed that spirit of exploration, adventure and independence. Every issue we will bring you how-they-did-it-then and how-you-can-do-it-today stories that will mean something.
The jug’s on the blanket, fellow Frontiersmen. Pull that cork, and enjoy! —The Editors