Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Human Rewilding Works

        Adventure | Rewilding

Human Rewilding Skills
Skills like fire-building are often taught at wilderness survival programs.
Skills like fire-building are often taught at wilderness survival programs.
Russell Kaye/Sandra-Lee Phipps/Getty Images

One of the biggest draws of the human rewilding movement is learning how to survive — even thrive — in the wilderness without the help of modern tools or technology. These rewilding skills go by many names — bushcraft, primitive skills, ancestral skills, native skills — but they share some common themes:


Before you can hunt, build a shelter or prepare a meal, you need to know how to make tools out of stone, bone and wood. How do you choose the right type of rock to serve as a hammer, hand ax or an arrowhead? How do you make a needle or fishing hook from animal bones?

Fire Starting

You won't survive long in the wilderness without fire. Learn how to make a bow drill to create friction and how to choose the right stones and tinder to spark and sustain a flame from scratch.


Identifying edible plants and berries is an essential skill for wilderness survival. Wild game isn't always available, so you'll need to know which plants are pleasant tasting, which are poisonous, and which provide vital nutrients.

Identifying Medicinal Plants and Herbs

There's no pharmacy in the forest, but ancient cultures have identified leaves, flowers, herbs and roots that can cure digestive problems, fevers, wounds and aches and pains. You need this information as well.


Wild animals don't advertise their presence. A successful hunter must understand the natural movements of animals and decipher clues — including prints, calls and droppings — to their whereabouts.


Native cultures around the world discovered that a well-designed and camouflaged trap saved precious time and energy. The classic deadfall trap uses the weight of a large rock to crush unsuspecting prey.


Learn how to make your own spears, bows, arrows, slings and other weapons from naturally available materials. And how to use them.

Wilderness Cooking

Find out how to cook over an open fire using roasting sticks, spits and buried pit methods.


With the traditional method called "brain tanning," you use the animal's actual brain tissue to soften the hide, which is then smoked and cured to use as clothing or food storage bags.

Rewilding skills are not easily learned from watching YouTube videos. On the next page, we'll highlight a few of the schools and programs available for rewilding your life.