…to find my soul.

This quote from John Muir is very popular today. I have always felt the truth of this statement. Recently, I finished a book by Albert Bigelow Paine titled “The Tent Dwellers” and his take on finding one’s soul in the wilderness is perfect!

I cannot state this any better than he. A person needs to look in the right place to find the things he seeks. If you are not looking for what the wilderness has to offer, you will not find it and will be frustrated in your attempt.

Albert Bigelow Paine 1861 – 1937
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A pair to Draw To…….

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Requirement #20 of the American Mountain Men

20. Must have made a study of the lifestyle of the mountain man, frontiersman or American Indian before 1840 and must submit a report of this study to the association Capitaine.

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

This is by far the most feared requirement of the Association. A paper report must be written based on your study of any facet of the life of the mountain men. This report will be submitted with your application for advancement. I would love to see these reports published in the Tomahawk & Long Rifle as well. That is strictly a volunteer proposition, but the information gleaned in one man’s study would be beneficial for all.

To advance to Bossloper, a man must complete requirements #1 & #2 plus at least 8 other requirements.

To advance to Hiveranno, a man must complete all 20 requirements. He does not have to repeat the requirements completed to attain Bossloper.

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Requirement #19 of the American Mountain Men

19. Must spend three days and two nights totally alone under primitive conditions and aux aliments du pays [“off the nourishment of the land”].

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

This seems to be one of the most feared requirements of the Association. I would recommend attempting your Aux Aliments du Pays during hunting or trapping season. Early fall can be good for gathering fruits and nuts as well. During your trip, you can possibly complete requirements 6, 9, 13, 15, & 17. Parts of requirements 2, 3, 6, 7, & 10 can be documented as well. I have heard of members doing an Aux Aliments du Pays in each season of the year and I applaud them! It is what we do! As previously stated, three days means the largest part of these days possible. “Primitive conditions” has been addressed in prior requirements.

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Requirement #18 of the American Mountain Men

18. Must have served as a Booshway for at least two activities of the AMM

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

This can be fulfilled with any activity of the AMM, from local party camps, 5-day trips, to a “National” rendezvous. To Booshway a “National” or “Territorial” event the following guidelines from the Standing Rules must be followed. For smaller events, these rules should be used as needed.

A. Duties of the Booshway and the Rendezvous Committee shall include:

  1. Location: The committee shall secure a suitable site for the rendezvous. When possible,
    it should be of historic significance to the fur trade. The National Rendezvous must be
    held in the Rocky Mountains. Permission in writing from the landowner must be
    obtained. Hosting the Nationals Rendezvous will rotate between the five Rocky Mountain
    Brigades. These Brigades are Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah/Southern Idaho, and
    Northern Idaho/Oregon/Washington/Alaska. (Amended 1999)
  2. Date: The membership must be informed when the beginning and end of the rendezvous
    is. If it is on private land, members may not arrive earlier nor stay later than the
    announced times. Rendezvous shall be considered as begun and all rules in effect when
    the first man arrives and ended when the last man leaves.
  3. Insurance: Adequate liability insurance for the event shall be obtained. Contact the Chief
    Clerk or Chief Purser and provide any information required to ensure that proper
    coverage is in place.
  4. Necessities: Sanitation facilities (outhouses, latrines), adequate for the numbers of
    people expected, shall be provided. Water for drinking and washing must be available.
    Enough firewood must be available for the duration of the event.
  5. Livestock: The site should have sufficient feed and water for any livestock that may be
    brought into camp. The water for livestock should either be of a separate source or
    downstream of camp. An area should be designated for picketing horses away from the
    main part of camp.
  6. Shooting: A safe shooting area, outside of camp, should be designated.
  7. Activities: The committee shall arrange for “Rocky Mountain Colleges” (field classes,
    lectures, and other educational activities), covering aspects of mountain man life. Other
    events, stressing education, entertainment, and skills development may also be
    scheduled.
  8. Parking: Sufficient parking must be available. If possible, the parking area should be
    located well enough away from the site so that vehicles may not be seen or heard. If the
    distance from parking lot to camp exceeds one mile, provisions should be made (pack
    horses, carts, etc.) for assisting members in transporting their gear into camp.
  9. Guest: If a non-member is invited for the purpose of making a presentation, such as
    giving a talk or demonstration of period skills or information or research, the Rendezvous
    committee shall make all arrangements for that person. An invited speaker, if not in
    possession of appropriate period clothing, should be provided with some. This should be
    done well enough in advance so that necessary adjustments and substitutes may be
    made.
    10.Information release: The Booshway shall provide information about the rendezvous to
    the editor of publications at least 4 months in advance. This information shall include the
    following: the dates of the event, a map and written directions to the site, notification if
    water must be brought in or purified, information about livestock feed and water, the type
    of weather that may be expected, the date of the Grand Council meeting, the dates of
    any “open camp” days.
    11.Medallions: If medallions are struck for an event, they should bear at least the following:
    what the event is, i.e., Territorial, National, etc., where the event is held, and the year.
    12.Finance: In the event that funding is requested from the General Fund, a budget for the
    event shall be prepared and approved by the Chief Purser before any expenses are
    incurred. All approved costs relating to the event shall be reimbursed out of the General
    Fund. (Amended May 2005)
    13.First Aid: Consideration shall be given about how to handle medical emergencies and
    how to evacuate injured persons. Basic first aid supplies should be on-hand.
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Requirement #17 of the American Mountain Men

17. Must be able to properly skin an animal and prepare the skin for market.

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

You do not have to harvest this skin yourself to fulfill this requirement. You can use an animal given to you or even a fresh roadkill. Depending on the animal to be skinned, there are many different ways of preparing hides. For instance, a deer hide is handled differently from a mink. Being trappers in the Rocky Mountains, the target animal was beaver, however, most all marketable furs were harvested and prepped for market.

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Requirement #16 of the American Mountain Men

16. Must have at least three full years of membership in AMM.

This requirement is not applicable for advancement to Bossloper but mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

To fulfill this requirement, one must be a member of the AMM for three years. Full membership does not begin until a Probationary member (aka Pilgrim) attains his Bossloper status.

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Requirement #15 of the American Mountain Men

15. Must have hunted for and killed at least one game or fur animal with a muzzleloading firearm or primitive bow and must have used the skin and/or meat for food, clothing and/or accoutrements. The hunt must be made from a strictly primitive camp, the hunt accomplished under primitive conditions within the limits of local game laws.

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

This requirement is easily fulfilled during your Aux Aliments du Pays. “Hunted for and killed at least one game or fur animal” this includes everything from squirrels to moose. “With a muzzleloading firearm or primitive bow” does not include traps, snares, etc. Fishing is nowhere to be seen in this requirement. “Used the skin and/or meat for food, clothing and/or accoutrements”. Make something from the hide, make a meal from the meat. “From a strictly primitive camp” means just that. If I get up from my bed at home, grab my flintlock, walk out into my woodlot, and shoot a deer, that does not fulfill this requirement. “Under primitive conditions” means no pick-up trucks, ATV’s, motorboats, radios or other communication devices. “Within the limits of local game laws.” there is the admonition again to stay within the law. For example, if you are out with your smoothbore and a duck flies by, unless you are loaded with nontoxic shot and have all the proper waterfowl stamps, killing the duck would be illegal and therefore would not count toward fulfilling this requirement.

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Requirement #14 of the American Mountain Men

14. Must be able to converse using Plains Indians hand talk. The 200 words on page 64 of Tompkin’s book “Indian Sign Language”, will be used as a basis for conversation. To complete this requirement, you must demonstrate your ability to read the signs for 50 words, as well as to give the signs for 50 words.

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

Dennis R. Leonard with Todd Glover and Gene Hickman have compiled a book of signs that is in common use now. It compliments and expands on Tompkin’s book.

It is my goal to become fluent enough to carry on a conversation in sign language. I don’t want to cram at a rendezvous and put all of these signs into my short-term memory, only to have them fade away before I can make real use of them. I think a person should speak the words while making the sign. This would help beginners to learn the signs and help learn another language if conversing with a different language speaker.

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Requirement #13 of the American Mountain Men

13. Must be able to cook a meal of meat using only the meat, fire, a knife, and materials found in nature.

This requirement is optional for advancement to Bossloper and mandatory for the Hiveranno degree.

This requirement can be easily accomplished during your Aux Aliments du Pays. It is what we do. We live off of the land.

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