Hi to all. New to this site after stumbling upon it and reading many different topics and posts for the last several days.
Here's my questions to 'those-in-the-know';
I am a longtime muzzleloader hunter and would like to start attending some rendezvous. I do not want to be made the fool when I get there, so I need some advice now on gear. I own and hunt with a Lymann Great Plains Rifle in 50 cal. Is this rifle OK to use? Is it not correct because it has an elevation-adjustable buckhorn rear sight? I own Lodge brand cast iron cookware, but the Lodge Company was founded in 1896. Is this acceptable? What do you guys use to keep perishable food items cold?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hey "Uncle Zeb," Everyone is a greenhorn at first, don't let it bother you. There are some rendezvous that will welcome you and some that won't. I say that because the primitive rendezvous require that you be in costum before you even enter the camp. Do things the easy way and go to the doin's that make you welcome. Then proper duds and goods can be bought right on traders' row. Your rifle is just fine for most of those doin's and soon enough, I'll guess, you'll want or be gettin' another rifle, maybe a flintlock. Yes, a pistol and a smoothbored trade gun will be on your want-list too. That next rifle can have the primitive sights. And your Lodge cast iron cookware should be acceptable anywhere. For keeping foods cold, I just use a Coleman cooler but keep that covered with a blanket. Camp cooler coverings were a good subject in Muzzleloader magazine recently. See you in camp. Shoot sharp, Mike
Welcome to the camp Zeb. I'm doing the same thing, wanting to get into rendezvous, yet wanting to "do it right". I also don't want to waste money buying the wrong stuff. These people here will help you out. Mike has a great article in the recent Muzzleloader mag on sighting in. I used it this past weekend to sight in my CVA Hawken. I switched out the "modern" sights with period correct sights. Mike's article helped me get on target.
Welcome to the campfire, Zeb. I'm not in to reenacting so I stick to rendezvous that are welcoming and lax. I do, however, really enjoy being around those who look like they stepped right out of a mountain man movie. I do the shoots and have fun. The gents around this fire won't steer you wrong.
*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
Zeb, I am rather new to this forum but I can give you my 2 cents worth.
It depends on what you want to do. Are you getting into this to just have a social outlet or do you actually want to experience what the mountain man did? Most rendezvous are social events. Almost nothing you see at those rendezvous will be authentic, but they still can be a lot of fun. Just don't think that it will be an authentic experience. When I first got into this I went to rendezvous but as I learned I wanted more a more authentic experience. This finally led me to AMM. Why don't you tell us what you want out of this sport/lifestyle?
Zeb, ya didn't say where ya wuz.Here in central Va. we have a rendezvous coming up put on by the Olde Va. Primitive Riflemen. It is in Surry Co. and it is a good one. No matter where you are you can get an idea or two visiting thier website ovpr.org. Lots of photos. Between the hard core "stitch counters" and and the guys who sneak in charcoal bricketts when no one's looking you shoul fine a comfortable niche. Visit a rendezvous and talk to people.
Thanks to all that have responded to my questions.
Fancy-I am looking to do some shooting, hawk and knife throwing, and of course the primitive camping. I do want to dress correctly. Where can I get info about proper attire? I realize that my first rendezvous will be a learning experience, but I would like to go in with at least a little knowledge.
Bonedog-I currently live in Green Bay, WI. I am a member of the Fort Oneida Muzzleloaders. We do a monthly shoot and I attend as many as I can. I am relocating to La Crosse, WI this summer, so any info anyone has on muzzleloader clubs and/or rendezvous in that area would be appreciated.
Zeb, what I would humbly suggest is that you go to a couple of rendezvous as a "civilian" and look around, find the booshway or the dog soldiers, and ask a lot of questions. Most people there will be glad to help you out. They might not be the most well versed in authentic knowledge but they would be very well versed in rendezvous knowledge. That way you will get a good idea of what you want to do, purchasing for your gear or your presentation. Just be aware that if you decide to take that big step to authentic you will probably discard almost everything you collected. As I said, the rendezvous can be a lot of fun, a good family social event. It can be a stepping stone to greater knowledge or just a good experience in and of itself.
Zeb: I can relate to your situation. Just a few years ago my interest in Colonial Frontier history got the best of me and I took the big step to get into the reenacting arena. First, you need to decide upon a time period to represent - there is the "Pre-Rev" period (say 1750-75), the Rev War period (1775-1786 or so) and then the later period. Not until after about 1820 do we see the beginnings of the "mountain man" era. Each is VERY different, has different groups involved, and different standards.
From what I have seen the vast majority of "fur trade" period (post 1820) events are kinda like "themed camping" with generally relaxed standards and are more of a party than a reenactment of much of anything.
As you go back in time, and eastward, you begin to see the hard core guys in action. This is what I vastly prefer. I want to "ride the time machine" to experience, as best I can at my somewhat advanced age (71) what it was like on the Colonial Frontier in the 1770's....not at forts or large settlements, but at the isolated outposts where folks were making a stand against the Indians who were trying to chase them out.
For these events you will find the jury deal rather strict, with good reason. Every reasonable element of your entire kit, from rifle to clothes, should be a reasonable example of a documented original item. Some folk go all the way - hand sewing all their gear, using only accurate replicas of old items, etc, etc. The result, if you are into this, is that when you are at such an event (especially in the right setting) you lose entirely the 21st Century....nothing around you disturbs the ambiance of that time period.
I attended my first major event last Spring at Martins Station, in far western VA, just east of the Gap....fantastic! No simple post can express the breadth and depth of that experience upon me. I am headed back again this May and really look forward to it. But, Martins is a juried event and you have to submit photos of yourself, your gear and camp for review.
Sure, the standards are high, but the rewards are great. The folks there were kind to a total newcomer, helped me immensely with my many questions, and provided living examples of how to do it right.
This whole field is like the most compelling habit you ever formed....I cannot get enough of it and hope you too find it as pleasurable, no matter the time period you select.
Col Boone, as a member of AMM, may I respectfully contradict you in your assumption that you have to go back east to find the "hard core guys". I have found nobody more "hard core" than members of The American Mountain Men.
I am sure you meant no slight to those of us who are in the AMM and live in the west.
Fancy: No slight intended - I was not implying that the ONLY hard core folk were in the east, only that "many" appear to be. Clearly AMM is a cut above and apart from the "themed camping" approach and should be congratulated for that...you are most needed!
I guess the effort was to call upon Zeb to look carefully at what he really wants out of this, the time period of interest (though given his lodation in Idaho I suspect it is fur trade) and then move from that point of departure.
As a sort of "hard core" guy myself, I sure appreciate the efforts of those, time period not withstanding, who attempt to "do it right"....
Welcome, and as Mike and the others said, don't worry too much at this point. I started out with a Thompson/Center Hawken, a ten-gallon hat blank, a calico shirt, and, well, that's all I want to say...
Since you're a Wisconsinite, I picture eventual interest in the voyageur set--meaning corduroy trousers, a trade gun, maybe a cheap short top-hat with fooferaw on it. Or an early American settler, maybe still with a tophat, but also a rifleman's frock (fringed linen), moccasins, breeches or probably trousers. But you get to decide that once you let the hobby take better hold of you. Go to some rendezvous and let it settle in on ya. Good luck.
"Est Deus in Nobis"
I came across this info awhile back.
Clothing, Accoutrements & Camp Items from the Fur Trade.
Research is essential when reproducing the clothing and accoutrements for the Fur Trade. The truth is, many rendezvousers haven’t done the research before making or buying something. Too many have put a lot of stock in the “If they’da had it, they’da used it” motto, while others have used movies like “Jeremiah Johnson” or “The Mountain Men” as their main source of documentation. As long as some “seasoned buck-skinners” have been attending rendezvous, you would think they would have read something by now.
Keep in mind that a lot of events have become juried; meaning that you will be judged according to everything you have. If you can’t document an item you have to the period, you will be asked to attend only as a visitor and not as a camper, demonstrator or vendor. All this can be resolved by doing the necessary research if you want to do things right. It’s better to do without it and be correct, than it is to have it and be incorrect.
There are no records during the rendezvous period supporting the fact that acrylic ribbon shirts, painter’s pants, Minne-Tonka moccasins, oil lamps, turtle shell bags, painted chicken feathers, bone chokers, antler buttons, beaded medallions, inkle-woven belts, turquoise jewelry or canvas teepees were ever in use at the time. If you have these items, sell them. Just don’t sell it to those interested in the Fur Trade; that’s already been accomplished.
Internet sites provide documentation on the Fur Trade era. Common items supplied were, “dressed buckskin” from Indians, not commercial hides from Tandy’s; “tin cups/plates”, not blue speckle ware; “brass and sheet iron kettles”, not Dutch ovens; “iron bound/gourd canteens”, not corn liquor jugs; “3 pt. blankets”, not Mexican serapes; “checked cotton shirts”, not ribbon shirts; “Navy bread”, not fry bread; “silver earbobs”, not End of the Trail earrings; “blue pound beads”, not Crow beads; “scalping knives”, not big Bowie knives. The list goes on & on…
Investing money in this hobby can be costly, so take the time to read and spend wisely. The most commonly made mistake is buying commercial tanned leather. You can make or buy a brain-tanned hide for about $150 and have a pair of moccasins, leggings or a coat to wear. Remember, it’s just as easy to do it right, as it is to do it wrong.
By investing in the proper 19th century items, you will greatly enhance your appearance. Besides, you never know who will question you on your clothing, accoutrements, camp gear or personal adornment. You can save yourself from embarrassment by reading about what was actually worn by trappers and hunters in 19th century, instead of guessing at it.
According to descriptions and paintings, typical clothing available would have been a cotton, linen or woolen shirt; brain-tanned, wool, canvas or heavy linen pantaloons or knee breeches with buckskin half-leggings; moccasins, boots and brogans; a buckskin coat; capote of blanket or Melton wool; cotton, silk or woolen scarves, mittens & socks; a wide-brimmed wool hat, woolen or fur caps and the “wolf-eared” cap made from wool or buckskin.
After your clothes and footwear are made, next would be to put together a proper camp, including a shelter, cookware, utensils, blankets and a gun if you choose.
The common shelter of the period was canvas, Russia sheeting, oilcloth or a military-style wedge tent. Winter bedding was a buffalo robe, bear hide and a couple 2.5, 3 or 3.5-point blankets. Rolled up within were additional shirts, socks, moccasins, a journal, book or the Bible. A shaving kit and other hygienic items were also common. Many trappers were well shaven; a habit practiced while attending schools like West Point. It’s a noted fact from the journals written by trappers Zenis Leonard, Jedediah Smith and others, that most could read, write and had an excellent command of the English language. The hillbilly jargon heard at many of the events today was obviously created out of ignorance.
Men who hunted or trapped for a living favored brass buckets, copper kettles and tin or sheet iron pots. They were lightweight, heated easily and could withstand being dropped without cracking unlike cast iron, which was available, but because of its weight, found more use at settlements and posts. Sheet iron pans or skillets were common, too. Coffee pots were had, but their description is vague.
Several types of flintlock rifles, smoothbore guns and pistols were used, including makers Derringer, Henry, Kentucky and Leman. The English-made North West trade gun was one of the most widely used firearms of the period. The Hawken rifle was the first to introduce the percussion lock in 1832, but wasn’t favored as much as the guns mentioned. Military muskets, double-barreled shotguns and pistols are also documented.
A shooting bag of brain tan, vegetable tanned skin or cloth held shooting accessories; balls, shot, lead bars, mould, ladle, greased patches, flints and tow for cleaning the barrel. Flint & steel, a sharpening stone, folding knife and a sewing kit were also carried.
A butcher or scalping knife and an axe would have been carried in the leather belt.
These items were common in a hunter’s camp; far less than what is seen today and would be more acceptable and more realistic. In essence, less is more, because the typical hunter or trapper traveled light.
Pare, the only thing I would disagree with is your evaluation of how much brain tan it takes for the items you mention. If we are dealing with deer braintan one hide would give you moccasins, 2 hides would give you leggings, for a knee length frock coat plan on at least 6 hides.
I worked up to the level you describe but it took a while, learning as I progressed. Maybe we should bring old Zeb along slowly.
Since we're talking about getting started, I'm going to give you the advice I give everyone else.
First of all it starts with research. Number one start with the Book of Buckskinning series published by Scurlock publishing.
Number two the Muzzleloader Magazine by Scurlock publishing.
And last of all the Campfire that Scurlock publishing runs!
As far as going to a rendezvous find the closest one to you, contact the boosway, or find the local club. Scurlock does have a list of clubs somewhere on their website.
On your equipment and stuff, start with your clothing. Mainly you'll need a shirt and a pair of pants that is of the proper design and material.
As far as guns go I shoot a Lyman Tradegun. My gun came with both a fixed and adjustable sight. The fixed sight is acceptable at the rendezvous I go to. You can just change the sight and it will work except at the hardest core events.
As far as camping gear goes most rendezous have what they call a tin-tepee (modern camping) area. Stay there until you acquire enough equipment to move into the primitive camp.
Most importantly, walk around and find someone doig it the way you want to do it, and ask him to help you and teach you along the way.
Scarhand, It is awful hard to find. Just go to the homepage and look in the white column on the leftside. Then click on "Find a Club." Pick out the State you are interested in and click on that. Yes, finding a club is probably easier than it sounds... Good doin's too! Shoot sharp's the word, Mike
To further the discussion and not scare you off, please remember that the material quoted by Pare, above, is what you might aspire to--no one starts off with it all. The idea is to do some research, don't waste money on things that won't be any good, but don't just jump in with a heavy debt-load on your shoulders. What if you made or bought all that stuff, then decided after a year or two that you'd rather do World War Two re-enacting?
Most rendezvous don't have that level of strictness. For those interested in the western fur trade of the early 1800s, the American Mountain Men is the strict, PC way to go. For those interested in more easten and earlier eras, there are other standards. But to just go to a rendezvous and shoot, and get started in this hobby, you can still maintain as much "historical correctness" as you can afford, without needing to conform to the highest standards out there. As you feel more committed, you may want to strive for those high standards. But allow yourself to take some time.
I personally am most interested in earlier eras than the 1820s, and, with careful selection of the stuff I bring, I could possibly get by a jury for a Rev War-era event. But at a general rendezvous, I'm probably even "too early" but would be quite welcome and might even raise the standard a bit compared to some others. But it's taken me years to get here. So, be cool. Just my 2 pence.
"Est Deus in Nobis"
Actually, when it came to finding a club, I went to the local gun shops and asked the people working there.
Though it did take me a while to actually find the club because all of them told me to contact Davy Crockett. Turns out they weren't teasing.
Zeb,all excellent advice so far.Your rifle will be perfect for most Midwest Rondys.You should have a primitive rear sight that came with your GPR,that most people like better.Some places will accept adjustable sights,but most will not allow "peeps".Your LodgeWare is accepted,I just don't like the fact that it has Lodge plastered all over it.Being you are coming to Lacrosse later I suggest that you try to go to the PrarieduChein Rendezvous June 14-17.Lacrosse also has a small one a few weeks later.Prarie rondy has a modern camping area if you don't have a shelter yet and want to spend a few days.Modern or Primitive camping is $40 for the 4 days with wood supplied.Go to their website for pre-registration and Rondy details.Or you can just come for the day and walk around for free.If you want to shoot or throw you have to be dressed in pre-1840 garb,and a Rondy token that says you are camping in Primitive or Modern camping.Can't come off the street and participate in the games[have to be a camper].Just buy cotton clothing starting out,Check or calico shirt,drop front trousers,period boots or moccs.Save your money for the leather after you decide how far you want to take this hobby.Prarie is a great place to pick up new and used gear.Some of the other muzzleloading forums online have classified sections new and used gear plus a ton of information on period reenacting.If you have any questions about anything else or want to meet me a the Prairie Rondy [I camp there all week]for a cold one,I can give you my E-mail addy.Just take it slow getting started,Good Luck.
Zeb welcome to the fire and as you have seen there are a great many folks here with good advice. Don't worry to much about dress and such. At my first rondy I had squat and a good friend helped me out. Matter of fact I showed up first at rondy just to look around and on the shooting trail someone let me take a shot with their gun. People are so friendly and willing to help both here and at rondys. There is much to learn but so many people to help you learn it. Just have fun!
"Better fare hard with good men than feast it with bad."
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