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How much did they actually carry
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Graybeard
posted
With all the hype on prepping n survival n such lately I started wondering exactly what a common hunter of the time were interested in actually carried for a three day or even week long hunt. I've seen descriptions of gear taken on long term hunts but what about the closer to home farmer ,settler townie would have seriously carried. Gun n its accessories, hatchet or axe n knife, blanket, food stuffs n something to cook it in. At the time all this would have been heavy. Curious as to how much it all weighed along with whatever else was carried. Hmmmmmm
 
Posts: 229 | Location: Southeast Pa. | Registered: 03 February 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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I can't really shed light on your question; but I'd suspect it would be more than what the Indians needed.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 3091 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Hiya Thom!

Back when I was doing backcountry treks in AK, we limited ourselves to 12-15 pounds of gear NOT including the gun, powder & lead. We were able to outfit ourselves comfortably for a two week romp within that limitation.

A blanket, extra wool soxs, extra pair of mocs. piece of canvas tarp, grits, dried deer or moose jerky, chocolate, some kind of dried fruit, tea, tin cup, couple of hooks & line, couple of snares, compass. That was about it.

Regards, xfox


The forest is a wilderness only to those that fear it, silent only to those that hear nothing. The forest is a friend to those that dwell within its' nature and it is filled with the sounds of life to those that listen.
 
Posts: 426 | Location: Bitterroot Valley | Registered: 23 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Depends on the season; depends on the geography; depends on experience; depends on the objective.

Some areas are much more extreme between late summer and late autumn and winter. Huge difference between the NY frontier in November and the GA frontier at the same time, eh?

Hunting in the mountains you may find lots of rock-houses, but in a valley like the Shenandoah...you're going to need to construct a shelter if the weather threatens.

An experienced hunter would probably take much less because that person knows the area where the hunt will take place, and knows exactly what was needed in the past, while the hunter on his first sojourn over the mountains might take a lot that isn't needed.

If the hunter is going for a few hides, he will need some salt, depending on the temp. IF going for meat, he will need some salt and a way to get it home, and if going for a lot of meet, he will need a good amount of salt, and a container and maybe a horse, and the horse will need some support gear too.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3645 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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quote:
find

I believe the image of the frontier hunter going out for several days with only his gun, shot pouch, and belt ax is a myth. I believe he loaded up a pack horse and set up a base camp for comfort.
 
Posts: 500 | Location: SC | Registered: 03 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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T. Roosevelt had this to say about an elk hunt in Montana's Bitterroot Range during the 1880's;

"We were camped with a wagon, as high among the foot-hills as wheels could go, but several hours walk from the range of the game; ... Accordingly we made a practice of leaving the wagon for two or three days at a time to hunt; returning to get a nights rest in the tent, preparatory to a fresh start. On these trips we carried neither blankets nor packs, as the walking was difficult and we had much ground to cover. Each merely put on his jacket with a loaf of frying-pan bread and a paper of salt stuffed into the pockets. We were cumbered with nothing save our rifles and cartridges."

He continues; "Clearing the ground of stones and sticks, we lay down beside the fire, pulled our soft felt hats over our ears, buttoned our jackets, and went to sleep. Of course our slumbers were fitful and broken, for every hour or two the fire got low and had to be replenished. We wakened shivering out of each spell of restless sleep to find the logs smouldering; we were alternately scorched and frozen."

On other hunting trips Roosevelt mentions carrying a blanket, small tarp or oilcloth, a small frying pan, a tin cup for boiling tea and a little more food than just a loaf of bread. Mostly, though, they lived off the land, eating mainly meat that they killed.


Know what you believe in. Fight for your beliefs. Never compromise away your rights.
 
Posts: 880 | Location: Cherokee Land, Tenasi | Registered: 06 January 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of Notchy Bob
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I think the importance of horsepower is sometimes underestimated. Even the eastern frontiersmen relied on packhorses. The gear a fellow carried on his person was probably the minimum necessary.

Original accounts of encounters with the indigenous people also indicate the native women did a lot of the heavy lifting and carrying, while the menfolk just toted their weapons and smoking gear, for the most part. I think dogs were recruited for carrying packs and pulling sledges and travois, also.

Notchy Bob


"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife
 
Posts: 309 | Location: Florida | Registered: 24 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Greenhorn
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Keith Burgess wrote about trekking in the winter, one may not be warm as comfortable is a matter of degree, you may not be warm but you may be better than freezing, one blanket is better than none, so it was a matter of circumstances on what is comfortable and or tolerable.
 
Posts: 15 | Registered: 06 January 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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While a hunter going for a long period aka a "long hunt" for hides would absolutely need pack horses, I think we should not often assume that all hunters used horses all the time.

“ A friend proposed a deer-hunt, [1797] there being a fine tracking snow on the ground, to which I readily agreed, and off we went with dog and gun. After traveling a long time, in the evening we found a large buck. Having but one gun, and that being mine, I took aim, let drive, and off went the buck. We went to where he had stood when I had shot at him, and, from the hair and blood left in his tracks, we saw he was wounded, and pursued him with rapid steps; for night was coming on. We soon found him, for the poor fellow had lain down from excessive pain and loss of blood.

…..With all possible haste we severed the meat, when we started for the place of safety, which was about four miles. On we strode, with long steps….,"
Meshach Browning

Here Browning recounts a hunt and packing the meat back presumably within the hide of the animal. He and his companion actually ended up with frostbite during the walk back.

Browning in his book recounts men hunting for bees, as well as his hunting squirrels, rabbits, bear, panther, deer, not to mention his fishing for trout and sometimes he is mounted, and sometimes he is not. He not only harvests meat, but he renders tallow, and sells skins. He does sometimes, while afoot, camp overnight, and in fact spent several days afoot on more than one occasion....sometimes while hunting, sometimes while doing other occupations, and sometimes while traveling from place to place.

So there are lots of variations on what, when, where, and how one went about hunting in the last decade of the 18th century, and the beginning decades of the 19th century. It should be noted that Browning remained east of the Mississippi, and was never employed as an expedition hunter (although a surveyor tried to hire him as such at the tender age of 16), nor did Browning ever go on a year long hunt for skins nor did he trap, as those types of hunts had been part of the era prior to the AWI, and Browning was born in 1781. (Beaver were pretty much gone in the East by the time Browning was old enough to harvest skins.)

Browning though, seems to have made most of his civilian forays into the woods after game, day-hunts...and doesn't seem to have taken much with him, and a lot less than we do today, and as I mentioned, the end of the adventure where I extracted the quote... Browning and his buddy make it to a dwelling, but had to be treated for frostbite on their feet.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3645 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pilgrim
Picture of Laughing Bear
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I've been wondering this same thing. Part of my dilemma is caused by modern laws; specifically hunting seasons. I'm sure they relied on kills for much of their food, but in most areas, for us white-guys at least, relying on what we kill through most of the year will get us landed in jail. So we have to carry more weight in food. Then there's the question of safe water. If we KNOW there's water that's not infected with girardia (spelling?), or some other hitch-hiking bug, then we can go lighter. Otherwise, there's the extra weight of a water filter... and so it goes. After I have made those two compromises, then the real question is "How tough am I?" Up here in the Great White North, we can get snow in any month of the year (well, except July), so I'll want at least one blanket, plus a decent wool capote, plus...and we're back to the pack horse idea. So I end up making quite a few more compromises... It'll be interesting to see what others, with more experience than I, have to say about this.
 
Posts: 61 | Location: Edmonton, Alberta | Registered: 16 March 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Dick
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One thing to remember about cold-weather travel of any kind (hunting or just traveling) was that, while a man might have only one blanket, men traveling together would sleep under the same covers. This would make it warmer: 3 guys with their own body heat plus 3 blankets. Staying at an inn, one was often expected to share a bed, as well. Different times then.


"Est Deus in Nobis"
 
Posts: 2886 | Location: Helena, Montana | Registered: 10 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Dick makes a good point, if one is paired up, we even did this when I was in the service in the 1980's. Our unofficial motto was travel light; freeze at night, and we carried a thin, synthetic blanket called a poncho liner and of course the poncho to go with it. So sitting back to back, with both poncho liners wrapped around us, and using the ponchos to keep us dry, we could get some "sleep" when we had to.

Kephart does a pretty good job of documenting rockahominy from period sources in his book Camping and Woodcraft V.2 I highly recommend the modern reprint of both volumes in one tome to learn woodcraft skills if one does not have a mentor, though Kephart wrote in modern times, the skills documented are applicable to our period. Rockahominy being crush/ground parched corn, it will suffice as a trail ration, and even when there were no game wardens to enforce hunting seasons that didn't yet exist...., one might be out on foot scouting for Native Trouble, and not be able to risk a shot nor a fire, or heck there must might not be much game about. Eeker

Then there is this from Doddridge:
"The bosom of this dress [hunting shirt] served as a wallet to hold a chunk of bread, cakes, jerk…., "

So Doddridge is remarking about folks who day hunted or merely overnighted.

Doddridge continues:

"Subsistence by Hunting.
This was an important part of the employment of the early settlers of this country. For some years the woods supplied them with the greater amount of their subsistence, and with regard to some families at certain times, the whole of it; for it was no uncommon thing for families to live several months without a mouthful of bread. "


This might in fact be a picture of the average or common hunter. I write that because for one to be away for half a year or a year on a longhunt, one would need to have reasonable resources for the wife and children left at the home (assuming one is not a bachelor)

Doddridge describes how his family members hunted:
" A day was soon appointed for the march of the little cavalcade to the camp. Two or three horses furnished with pack saddles were loaded with flour, Indian meal [corn meal], blankets, and everything else requisite for the use of the hunter."

What's interesting about this is he does not mention the hunters riding to their camp, but merely packing the supplies to their camp. I don't know if this meant they were then using the horses, when they arrived and established the camp, to ride bareback when they went out hunting. It is possible to have horses that will carry both packs or a human, and I don't know if that is a common thing back then or if pack horses were just that, for packing gear and supplies, and the men were absolutely on foot.

So...., at least along a portion of the Appalachian Mountains, some of the hunters apparently did "trek" out from their base camp to hunt, and there are also accounts of groups or lone scouts patrolling the borders of settled areas or leaving forts to make patrols.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3645 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Let's not forget traveling by water. The rivers and streams were the highways of long ago. Travel by boat or canoe is my favorite mode of transportation.

Coastal areas were first explored by means of small sailing craft. Both Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies are known to have sent out shallops to explore their respective coastal regions. Rafts, keelboats, flatboats, and bateaues floated the larger rivers and streams. Canoes, both dugout and bark, traveled streams both large and small.

I, myself, have done quite a bit of traveling by canoe. Naturally, you can carry a lot more in a canoe than you can on your back. More stuff to make your camps more comfortable.

Just remember that you have to carry all that stuff over the portages. I remember a long portage that I had to make in Ontario. The distance was over a mile, however a storm had caused a lot of trees to blow down across the trail. It took me most of a day to get my canoe and all my gear over that mess.

I think the longest portage that I ever did was about three miles. I would carry my canoe about 1/4 mile, then go back and bring up my pack. Once when going back for my pack I discovered a moose track that was on top of my own footprint.


Know what you believe in. Fight for your beliefs. Never compromise away your rights.
 
Posts: 880 | Location: Cherokee Land, Tenasi | Registered: 06 January 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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Heh,that'll give you a chill....


Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
 
Posts: 1452 | Location: Oreegun Territory | Registered: 24 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of MountainRanger
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I guess how and what they carried might well depend on where they were going, how long they anticipated being out and what was available for them to take with them (dried vegetables, soup base, the 18th century equivalent of hot sauce, etc) and what they might expect to be available to them while out... These things would be light and could go in their haversacks, trek rolls, etc. There would be a pan or two in a group of any size from two up to a brigade, to cook down meat taken while out and the additives available to them, whether fresh from an Indian's field or longhouse, or wild greens harvested (onions, poke, dandilions, etc).

Thinking about this makes me appreciate my Alice bag from "over there" even though we hated them as being uncomfortable while being carried, hard to pack, harder to access almost anything, but able to take just about everything from back at the team house compound up to and including the kitchen sink either inside the bag proper, in one of the zillion pockets, or hanging on one of the many places on the outside... certainly a poncho and liner, LRRPS when we could get them, lots of magazines headed and ended with tracer, a claymore or two, socks, lots of socks, 2 extra canteens on the outside of the Alice bag, and the occasional 60mm mortar round when the Montagnard Major decided to have the tube and base humped along with us. I'll bet those old fellers were looking down at us (or maybe up hehe) and telling one another that we really had it made!

I guess one could say, they were the best of times, they were the worst of times. Seems like that could be said by anyone humping a load all the back to the cavemen.


Sua Sponte
 
Posts: 460 | Location: SW Virginia (New River Valley) | Registered: 13 August 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Funny you mentioned "cave men".
It appears that Ötzi, the iceman mummy found in the alps and dated to about 5100 years ago....had a framed pack..., and carried a lot of gear (though probably not much weight).

Here's the Ötzi Wikipedia Entry and here is some stuff on him, including his gear, in a museum exhibit

Interesting to note....the leggings function as did those of the Native Americans at contact though 4500 years and a different continent was between them.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3645 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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birdman61, I just might have a source for the answer to your question,,,
I have 60 back issues of " On The Trail" magazine,"The Journal for Historical Trekkers,Reenactors and Students of Living History" going back to Volume 3, 1996 ,not all of them from 1996 to date,32 are N/A ( not available) . If you ordered all 60 + S/H it would cost $222.00.They can be sent USP MEDIA rates about $13.00 +-,,
They are "on the Blanket" want to move them all at once. Any interest.I got them off the Blanket so I'am putting them back.
Not interested in selling them,swapping is my want,,that is why they are ion the blanket. Swapped "Back Woodsman" for them and have a large pile of Muzzleloaders Magazines taking up space.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Walking Crow,
 
Posts: 1728 | Registered: 11 February 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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