Backcountry Skills for the Aspiring Hunter


“It showed me that I can overcome more than I thought physically. The mental challenges I faced on my expedition were impactful for me showing the growth in myself and the crew. I feel more confident with going backpacking with friends in the near future."
– Ashton, MWS Backcountry Skills Aspiring Hunter Student

Expedition Overview

Dates: July 3 - 12, 2021
Age: 15–18 years old
Group size: max 8-10 students/2 instructors
Length: 10 days
Tuition: $2,350
10-day adventure through a remote backcountry public land developing core outdoor skills in navigation, camping, backcountry cooking and wildlife knowledge.

**Note - There will NOT be any “hunting of game” on this course, nor will any firearms or other weapons be brought or used. This is an educational course building core backcountry skills for future adventures.

Questions? Send us an email.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking both on and off trail in a remote wilderness area
  • Traditional map and compass and GPS-navigation skills
  • Expedition team-building, backcountry decision-making and communication skills
  • Understanding wildlife patterns and behaviors
  • Understanding the history and importance of public lands for recreational access now and into the future

Expedition Description

The Backcountry Skills for the Aspiring Hunter course delivers all of the skills and theory necessary to pursue big game animals like elk and deer in wild public spaces. Over the course of this 10-day expedition, students will learn about wildlife habits and behavior, explore hunting strategies for big game, and learn valuable skills related to backcountry hunting logistics. The BSAH course aims to give, aspiring hunters all the tools they will need to plan, prepare for and execute successful hunts in remote settings. NOTE: This course does not involve active hunting or weapon use, only education and theory. Course curricula will involve using both traditional navigation and GPS map technology; learning and practicing Leave No Trace Principles©; traveling and camping in areas with abundant wildlife; and learning about wildlife tracks, scat, calls and behaviors. Hunting regulations and field care of game will also be covered. For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression see Expedition Life.

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Teamwork and communication skills

  • Learn positive communication skills with diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop an expedition philosophy, apply it to the course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision making

  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic

  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the conveyance of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition

Backcountry camping and Cooking skills

  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat

Technical Skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to remain composed and safe on exposed alpine terrain
  • Travel efficiently both on and off trail in the alpine environment using traditional map and compass skills and GPS-Map technology
  • Understand the backcountry hunting regions and how to identify public land areas of interest for future hunting pursuits
  • Learn specific wildlife tracks and scats and understand identified wildlife behaviors
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Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
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