Volunteers Needed – Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America – Mountain Man Rendezvous 2/18-2/20/2017

From Ann Specht, Mountain Man Rendezvous Committee:

We are planning a Council event next February 2017 with a Mountain Man Rendezvous theme.  We are looking for some folks that are “experienced” mountain men that would be interested in coming to our event and show the Scouts what life was like for mountain men.  We are anticipating 750+ in attendance.

We will have an area that is designated as the traditional Mountain Man camp where you would be welcome to set up tents, etc.

We will also have a traditional Indian Village.
We will also have several events based on traditional Mountain Man things – candle making, rope making, fire starting, archery making/shooting, various gun events, bullet casting, blacksmithing, and much more.

The Institute of Texan Cultures will be there also.

We have at least one Chuckwagon that will be joining us.

If you know of anyone that would be interested in helping us out, please let me know.


If you are interested in helping out by setting up a camp or demonstration, please do let Ann know!

She can be reached via email at spxtx@aol.com

The Alamo Area council is located in San Antonio, TX, so it would be in that area.


Feedback on the site and correction

I received some nice comments earlier today on the site and also a correction:

Great article on beginning buckskinning but I must say there is a small error on your explanation of a Caplock rifle.  You say a small cap is used, called a nipple…. Yes a cap is used, but it is placed on the nipple, the nipple is an integral part of the make up of a caplock gun.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

You might want to look at my webpage as well.

Wynn “Bears Butt”

I fixed the page, but who knows how long I had that incorrect information on the site.  I guess it goes to show it takes a village to edit a website.

Thanks for the feedback and comments, “Bears Butt”!

Would love to hear how he got that rendezvous name! 🙂

Two Great Vous This Weekend – Nov 18-20, 2011

Hey folks –

Looks like there are two great events this weekend. Ranger Springs Skinners are having their annual Fall rendezvous near Decatur, TX – and the lovely Three Jugs is hosting a “beginner’s Rendezvous” at Tanglewood Forest up near Corsicana.

The Ranger Springs event will have some great prizes up for grabs, including a custom portmanteau and camp kitchen box!

The Tanglewood Forest event features a pot luck dinner, a modern camp with running water and electricity available. Since this is a rendezvous for beginners to learn more about the hobby, period dress is not required, but encouraged for the old hands. Get some of those friends who have been on the fence about buckskinning out and get them to this event.

The weather is great!

Get outside and get involved with your local clubs!

More details – including fliers – are available on the events page!

Texas Free Trappers Get Mention in TPW Magazine!

Grey Wolf sent me over an article that was published on his group, the Texas Free Trappers, in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

Here are some excerpts:

Texas Free Trappers re-create state’s forgotten fur trade.

Grey Wolf stalked his prey, feeling every twig and acorn through the thin soles of his moccasins. Sunlight darting below the thick canopy of the woods glinted off the well-worn antler handle of the knife sheathed on the leather strap across his coarse, pale-blue linen shirt. Below it dangled a powder horn and a “possibles” bag, a handmade leather pouch containing lead balls, patches and a variety of items needed for hunting — or self-defense.

Grey Wolf spied something in the shadows of thick brush and tugged his leather-brimmed cap down tighter. His scruffy white beard bristled across the stock as he shouldered the long rifle, leaned below a limb, cocked the hammer and squeezed the trigger. Acrid blue-white smoke erupted from the muzzle. A loud clang rang out. Forty yards away, a small metal target swung in submission.

“My favorite thing to do is the trail walk. It’s a lot more like real life, when you’re hunting or being hunted, than paper targets,” says Grey Wolf, the name retired architect Joe Wolf goes by when he relives the colorful era of the mountain men of 1825–38 through the organization he founded six years ago, the Texas Free Trappers.

There’s even a few quotes from our friend Taylor:

Rendezvous are a continual learning experience for 23-year-old Taylor Tomlin, who began at age 9 in New Mexico with his grandparents.

“I’ve made hand-forged knives and made my own leather from hide,” he says. “It keeps me interested. I’m always working on a new project.”

Tomlin, a consultant on costuming and historical authenti­city for films and documentaries, attends other rendezvous across the country and, like some other members, participates in re-enactments of Texas battles, such as the ones this year that marked the 175th anniversary of independence from Mexico.

“You can’t get anything out of a book like the experience,” Tomlin says. “A rendezvous veteran not only can tell you exactly how they would have lived but also how they would have felt because they’ve done it. I’m fortunate to have started so young. A rendezvous is one of the coolest things to take a kid to, to get away from video games, cellphones and computers and use your imagination, learn new things, work, sweat and be uncomfortable. Not a lot of people can camp in the woods for days at a time and perform essentially lost skills.”

Check it out – there are some great pictures and good words from some friends who are active in the Texas buckskinning community.

Here’s the full article!

Huzzah to you, Grey Wolf!

Texas Navy Day & Cannon School – 9/17/2011

Celebrate Texas Navy Day on Saturday, 17 September at the Home Port of the Texas Navy at Velasco, Texas (now Surfside).

Flag-raising at 8 a.m.

Cannon school at 10 a.m.

Ceremony at 4 p.m.

Primitive camping on-site (bring your own firewood) available Friday evening through Sunday noon. Restrooms available.

For those with ‘tin tipis’, RV camping is available nearby. Looking for cannon, crews, infantry (sorry, no horses or livestock at this time). School organized and conducted by the Brazoria Militia. RSVP to Jim Glover co3militia@yahoo.com.

We won’t be firing on the beach, but we’ll be real close!

Shipwrecked with the Aborigines in Australia

Gourmet Jack is a friend currently traveling over in Australia, visiting family and friends. He sent over this report on spending some time with a local Aboriginal elder, who gave Jack some colorful history on his great great grandfather – James Morrill.

It was a truly amazing day for all of us. Rusty Butler took us right through all the places where ‘James’ or, ‘The Old man’, as he called him had been. [This man, James Morrill, was John’s great great grandfather, who was shipwrecked there and one of the first white people the aboriginals had ever seen.] All the special spots that you had to be with an elder to even know where they are, let alone find your way to them. He showed us all sorts of medicinal plants and bush food. Amazing things like how they knew where fresh water was, even on the edge of a tidal salt pan. Us white folks just drive past so much stuff because we don’t know what’s there and we don’t see them … wild apples, figs, small yams, hearts of palm type of things. Mary has eczema on her arms and Rusty found the weed that grows everywhere beside the roads up here, showed her how to break the stalk, get the white sap out, and rub it on her arms …. said it would start to clear in a week.

Rusty had spears and boomerangs and we got a lesson on how to throw a spear with a woomera and how to throw a boomerang so it comes back or throw it straight to kill something. We all got a boomerang that Rusty had made, special for left handed and right handed.

There were a lot of areas he pointed out up on the range where there are very large galleries of art, but he couldn’t take us there, because they were ceremonial, and sacred areas for men or women, and whitey is not permitted to go there. We did see some amazing art though, the oldest was 5000 years old. We saw the James red ochre personal rock paintings. The St George Cross from the English Merchant Marine flag that would have been on the Peruvian , a pair of scissors (totally unknown to the aboriginals), a painting of his sailors’ splicing spike, that he was said to have with him all the time, and the strangest thing was a windmill with the lattice blades, like you see in Dutch paintings. Apart from the fact that Rusty knows they were done by James, they all obviously were done by a European, not an aboriginal.

The essential history from the aboriginal perspective is that if you go back in their history, to the time before the last big global ice melt in the northern hemisphere, they lived on the then shoreline which is where the Barrier Reef is today. The water rose and drove the people ‘inland’ to where the coastline is today. He says he knows where all sorts of art galleries are under water out on the reef!!

So, jump forward in time to when Jimmy got shipwrecked. When he was found, the tribe who found him and the others immediately though they were ancestor spirits (ancestor spirits are white, or depicted as white in dance) who had come in from the Reef. All aboriginal tribes have what they call ‘skin groups’. Because they live in small groups of about 20, they intermarry a lot, and they knew they could inbreed to some extent, but knew they had to swap women out regularly with another tribe to avoid the genetic defects. These women were known as the transfer group. Transferring women was the single most cause of fighting and killing between them. You would approach another tribe and offer to exchange a group of women. If they were recalcitrant, you would invite them to special fighting areas where you would fight it out. The winner got new women, and the loser got the winners transfer group. Go figger!!

The tribe that found them knew they were not their ancestors, because they had wrong facial features. James was white with red hair and a long red beard … not one of them at all. So, they sent out message sticks (about 6″ long and 1/2″ thick with dots, swirls and lines on them) to tribes all over Northern Australia and as far south as Ne South Wales, letting tribes know that some spirits had come ashore from the submerged lands, and that they should send some emissaries to check them out and see if they belong to their tribe. Amazing stuff. No one claimed them so the local tribe, the Bindal adopted them. The captain and his wife didn’t survive long, and the other survivor a cabin boy took a fancy to a girl in a tribe from down near Bowen and headed out with them. He also didn’t survive long.

James was a smart person and learn’t the ways quickly, in exchange, he was able to use his seaman skills and show them how to make rope, string and fishing nets. Valuable skills to hunter, gatherers, To stay and be accepted into the tribe, he had to learn all the foods, medicines, hunting and cooking knowledge. Once he had done this, he was permitted to marry, which he did, and had several wives and some number of kids … number not specified.

So we went to places he camped, favorite fishing spots, lagoons where they would go and catch wild ducks and gather eggs. A place and story noe of us had heard, was one of the places they would snare ducks, also a favorite place for crocodiles.james was showing one of his sons how to et a duck out of a snare and the son was attacked by a crocodile. James in turn attacked the croc with his splicing spike. He killed the croc, but not before he got badly bitten on his left leg. The son died of the injuries and James injuries were healed with bush medicine, herbal wraps and stuff. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

When the white people came, there was the famous exchange of ‘Don’t shoot me I am a British object’ This got his life spared, but the cattle people were afraid of the aboriginals and thought of them as animals and started to hunt and kill them if they were anywhere near Europeans or cattle. The guy Townsville is named after – Robert Towns (Towns Ville}, was a ruthless bastard apparently. James had many meetings with him and his people arguing that the aboriginals were a proud people with thousands of years of history, meant no harm, and simply wanted to live in peaceful harmony on the land they knew. Nothing would be accepted by Towns, and even at the end when the Bindal asked to be left alone on the tidal flats and mangroves, no one would agree. They were seen as savages and best hunted down. The massacres started in earnest apparently, and the tribes took to pretty rough and difficult to get to land to avoid being killed.

Rusty, other tribal elders and descendants are constantly protesting any memorial, street naming, development etc, planned to be named after Robert Towns, As far as they are concerned he is a murderer and a criminal not to be honored.

When we got back to Mary’s place, we all sat under Mary’s mango tree and Rusty told us dreamtime stories. The kids were fascinated. Things like Why curlews call out at night, Why owls only fly about at night etc.

Gourmet Jack is originally from Australia and is a self-described foodie and self-taught chef. You can read more about Gourmet Jack and his food adventures at http://gourmetjack.com/.

There is even a great recipe for ANZAC biscuits, which is sort of like and upgraded hard tack. =)

– Many Rifles

Historical Trekking Venue for young adults

An open call for volunteers!

Interested parties should contact Mr. Jarman directly at the provided number/email . . . My emphasis below:

On Monday August 2nd and Tuesday August 3rd the Alamo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, in San Antonio, TX, is holding a Venturing International Camp. This Big Event will be held at Bear Creek Scout Ranch located approximately five miles north of Hunt, TX. This property shares a common border with the Patio Ranch.

As apart of the camp activities we are looking for historical trekkers who would be willing to set-up a camp and who would also be able to be range officers for the black powder venue. A key factor to this is that all volunteers would need to be either NRA or NMLRA certified range officers, and we are also asking if there could be a controlled loan of four firearms, with the appropriate flash-guards in place, for this venue. The loaned firearms need to be less than 50 caliber in size. All volunteer officers will be in complete control of the range, the equipment, and their final word is law.

The range will be open from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and then open up at 1:00 pm and close at 5:00pm for both days.

The youth who will be participating in this event are young men and women between the ages of 14 and 21. We will also have two Scouting groups, one will be from Mexico and the other will be from England, who will be in attendance.

All volunteers will be provided with ball, powder, caps or flints, and any other necessities for the range. For the loaned firearms we will need to know the appropriate calibers and any additional items that will be needed for proper maintenance (done by the owners).

Meals will be provided for Monday and Tuesday. If the volunteers arrive on Sunday they will need to provide for their own dinner. If the volunteers want to cook in period at the camp site they are welcome to do so. Please let us know the grocery items that would be needed and the quantity.

As apart of the venue all volunteers will not be charged the entrance fee. Due to Texas State Law regarding youth camps all adults will need to undergo a background check and will also need to complete on-line youth protection training. At the end of the camp all volunteers can request the return of all background checks and youth protection training certificates.

Also, we cannot pay for services rendered other than through what we are offering. If anyone who normally charges for their services are willing to donate their time and equipment they can give us a statement outlining their donation and we can issue a services gift receipt for their tax purposes.

This is a great venue for the historical trekking groups in our area to highlight their hobby and to connect with youth who would otherwise not be exposed to historical trekking. If some of the volunteers are from specific groups they can have pamphlets set out at camp for the youth and adult advisors to hopefully join your association.

Exhibition matches may also be apart of this venue, at the discretion of the volunteers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. All volunteers can contact me at 210-341-8611 ext 137 or e-mail me directly at ljarman@bsamail.org.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Lelen S. Jarman
Retention Specialist
Alamo Area Council, BSA
210-341-8611 ext. 137

– Many Rifles

Director Needed – Mountain Man Camp at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch

I got the below via email and wanted to pass the word on, if anyone is interested.

My name is David O’Neill, Camp Director for Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch. We are a 9,000 acre camp located in the Davis Mountains of Texas and we operate a nine week camp for Boy Scouts. We are the largest and most popular Scout camp in Texas, in both size and participation. We will have over 4,000 participants this summer, and many of them come to our camp to participate in our high adventure programs. The most popular of all of those High Adventure programs is our Mountain Man camp.

The Mountain Man camp is located 3 miles down the trail from our main base camp, and is designed to immerse the participants in the life and times of the Mountain Men and the fur trapping era. We have 30 participants a week at this program, living in period style tents and doing activities such as black powder rifle, learning about edible plants, tanning hides, taking hikes to see real Indian paintings and much more! I have attached a brochure for the program to give you an idea of what we do.

The reason I am contacting you is that we are looking for a new director for the program. The gentleman that ran the program for seven years is no longer able to come to camp and I have to find a suitable replacement that has the passion and the knowledge of this period in American History! We pay a weekly salary and provide the equipment and supplies needed to run the program. There are two other hands that work on this staff, for a total of three people. It is a great program and we need a good leader to make it a continued success.

If you would be willing to share this information with your membership, in order for us to help recruit a new director, it would be most appreciated. If anyone has any questions about the program or the position, I will be glad to answer them. You have my email address and my phone number is listed below. Thank you very much for your help, I appreciate it!

David O’Neill
Field Director
BTSR Camp Director
Buffalo Trail Council
(432) 570-7601

If interested, contact David directly at the above address/number.

– Many Rifles

Taylor’s Ride – In the News!

Taylor Tomlin’s border to border period ride has a write-up in a Silver-City paper.

Below is an excerpt and a link to the full article.

Modern-day mountain men making their way to Canadian border

SILVER CITY – They were just passing through, the three buckskin-clad riders traveling on horseback along Route 35 in the Mimbres Valley on Tuesday afternoon, heading “short-term” for the Gila Hot Springs and “long-term” through the Grand Canyon to the Canadian border near Glacier Park.

Outfitted like mountain men of the past, complete with long guns and pack animals, they said they are riding for freedom and independence and they call themselves, with neither apology nor bravado, freedom riders.

“We’re trying to hold onto the real America,” explained 52-year-old Rick “Hawk” Hawkhurst of Montana. “Freedom and independence were the cornerstones of America. They were what this country was built on. And every law that’s passed takes away more of our freedom and independence.”

“The last time this type of border-to-border mountain man ride was done was 25 years ago,” said 22-year-old Taylor Tomlin of Mineral, Texas. “We figure in another 20 years, what with more laws and more fences, a ride like this won’t be possible.”

More here.