Requirement #12 of the American Mountain Men

12. Must have spent at least five days traveling on foot, snowshoe, canoe, and/or horseback. One method or a combination may be used. Bullboat may be used in place of canoe. You are expected to gain as much distance as possible. This trip must be under primitive conditions, taking nothing that would not have been available to the mountain man between 1800-1840. Period weapon with accoutrements and knife must be along.

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

It is my opinion that it takes at least 7 calendar days to complete most 5-day trips. Unless you are travelling close to home, a person needs to have additional days for travelling to and from your site.

“You are expected to gain as much distance as possible.” This portion of the requirement seems to be lost on some people. When I did my first trip, what time I had out of the canoe or setting up camp was spent hiking the canyons along the river. Someday, I would like to get in my canoe and just paddle for 5 days to see how far I can actually go.

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Requirement #11 of the American Mountain Men

11. Must be able to show ability to tan or Indian-dress hides.

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

While putting together your clothing and kit from Requirement #1 you will need Indian-dressed hides. (Commonly called brain tanned) This requirement will give you a hide to use for moccasins, leggings, shirt or coat. I have found the book Deerskins into Buckskins to be an invaluable resource.

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Requirement #10 of the American Mountain Men

10. Must be able to start a fire in wet, as well as dry weather, using flint and steel or fire drill using tinder and wood found under natural conditions.

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

Keeping track of all the fires you start at your camps throughout the year should fulfill this requirement. Learning to start a fire is one of the most common and important skills you will need in wilderness survival.

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Requirement #9 of the American Mountain Men

9. Must be able to properly field dress (clean and skin) a game animal under primitive conditions.

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

This simple requirement is at the heart of wilderness survival. The ability to use the game we hunt and trap.

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Requirement #8 of the American Mountain Men

8. Must be able to demonstrate the ability to properly pack a horse, canoe, bullboat, or a man for distance travel under possible adverse conditions.

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

Again, the best way to demonstrate these skills is to do them. This requirement should be fulfilled on your 5-day trip. (Requirement #12) This requirement asks you to demonstrate “the ability to properly pack” one of the above listed methods of transportation. If you can demonstrate all of them so much the better.

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Requirement #7 of the American Mountain Men

7. Must be able to demonstrate ability to track man or animal under natural wilderness conditions.

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

The best way to demonstrate a skill is to do it over and over. This requirement can be demonstrated at each hunting camp and every time you set a trap. I was taught to track animals as a child by my father and grandfather. It is a skill I’ve used and honed over a lifetime in the woods. If you don’t have someone to teach you in person, I will recommend the following books.

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Requirement #6 of the American Mountain Men

6. Must be able to demonstrate trapping ability using steel traps, snares, and traps made from natural materials found in the area. As many states do not allow the use of some, or any, of these traps, the actual taking of game is not required, although it is suggested where possible and legal.

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

When possible and legal, traps can be set at every camp. It really isn’t a trapper’s camp without traps. Each state has different laws concerning traps, sizes and styles, etc. Be aware of the law.

Learn the technique needed to take furbearers in your area, the different sets, lures, and scents

Trap courtesy of Bill Bailey
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Requirement #5 of the American Mountain Men

5. Must be able to demonstrate the skills needed for primitive survival in the wilderness of his area and must be willing to teach said skills to other members when requested by a Party Booshway or Director of this Association.

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

The best way to demonstrate the “skills needed for primitive survival in the wilderness of his area” is to do them in primitive camp. Over and over. Most of these requirements are not “a one and done” thing. This is what we do, over and over again.

When requested to teach said skills at a camp, whether individually or at a college, we do it.

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Requirement #4 of the American Mountain Men

4. Must have spent at least one full week in a primitive encampment in the company of other members at the Territorial AMM Rendezvous (Eastern or Western) or the National (Rocky Mountain) AMM Rendezvous.

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

The hardest thing about this requirement for most men is getting the time away from work and family. Each of these rendezvous are held once a year in various places, sponsored by various brigades. The schedule varies from year to year except for the National rendezvous which is always held around the first of July. The announcements for the events are included in the Moccasin Mail newsletter and Tomahawk and Long Rifle magazine.

The spirit of this requirement is to participate in the large gatherings. These rendezvous usually start on a Saturday and end the following Saturday. To me “Must have spent at least one full week” means arrive on Saturday and stay until the following Saturday. Monday – Friday is not “one full week”.

The last National rendezvous I attended had too many uninvited guests. These “guests” caused problems for the hosting brigade and for the members in general. It caused a split between the AMM members present that continues to this day.

As listed in our Standing Rules – D. Any member sponsoring a guest must be a Bossloper or Hiveranno. He shall be restricted to inviting one guest and the guest in turn may bring only members of their immediate family. The attire and conduct of any guest shall be the responsibility of the person offering the invitation.

The Code of the Mountains should have been applied. 9. At any association activity I shall follow the rules set forth by the Booshway in charge or leave of my own free will.

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Requirement #3 of the American Mountain Men

3. Must have spent an accumulative time of two or more weeks in the wilderness under primitive conditions in the company of no more than one other member. Each stay must be at least three full days and two full nights.

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

This requirement embodies the Spirit of the American Mountain Men, second only to #19 Aux Aliments du Pays. That is time spent in the wilderness under primitive conditions.

To spend an “accumulative time of two or more weeks in the wilderness” is what we are all about. To get out on the ground in a wilderness setting away from the modern rendezvous and historical demonstrations is the goal here.

To be “under primitive conditions” means AMM rules apply. (See Requirement #2)

“In the company of no more than one other member.” means just that. It doesn’t mean you can go with a larger party as long as only one other member is AMM. The spirit of this requirement is to get out on the ground alone or with a partner. Requirement #19 Aux Aliments du Pays counts toward this accumulative time.

“Each stay must be at least three full days and two full nights.” There’s an old joke that goes “If you don’t start drinking in the morning, how can you say you’ve been drinking all day?” I say again, put in your time. The only person you are cheating is yourself. (See Requirement #2)

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