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More About Eddie's Personal History with Primitive Skills

Eddie StarnaterEddie began cultivating his relationship with the Earth at an early age. He grew up in Texas where his father, a veterinarian and an avid outdoorsman, had him out in the woods almost as soon as he could walk. It was from his Dad that Eddie learned most of his stalking and hunting skills (he harvested his first two deer at the age of 10) along with his love of, and respect for, the wild places of the world and their inhabitants.

In his late teens Eddie discovered bow-hunting, and by the time the season rolled around when he was 19, he was using this primitive art almost exclusively. Soon after, he began building his own bows, fashioning his own arrows, and spending his lunch hours out at a nearby archery range where he would shoot about 100 arrows a day. By the mid-eighties he was competing in Traditional Archery tournaments throughout the United States, where he consistently placed well against some of the top long bow archers in the country.

Eccentric PointSoon after discovering bow-building, Eddie came across a book on Flintknapping, and a true passion was ignited. He broke a lot of rock (badly), read many more books, and broke a lot more rock. He started making rock runs and hauling thousands of pounds of stone out of the backcountry with which to work. It wasn't long before he was producing top-quality arrowheads, spear points, jewelry and other eccentric pieces, in the company of some of the U.S.'s top flintknappers. For years, Eddie got together every Wednesday night to "beat rock, drink beer and tell lies" with his knapping buddies. Joe Miller and Bob Thompson were regulars at these informal get-togethers, and on any given week you might have found a variety of the old-school flintknappers, including Woody Blackwell, D.C. Waldorf, Jim Redfern, Craig Ratzat, Dan Theus and many others. It was during these "garage knap-ins" that Eddie learned many of the finer aspects of the art from these legendary talents. Skills that he has honed over many years and, in turn, passed along to some of this generation's finest flintknapping teachers. Over 25 years later flintknapping is still Eddie's greatest passion among the primitive arts.

Primitive PotteryAs someone who believes that trial and error, experimentation, and hands-on practice are the best ways to learn any new skill, Eddie spent an entire year blowing up pottery in a primitive kiln before he began to turn out some beautiful pieces. While the story of his first braintanning experience is legendary (if you ask nicely, he may tell it to you around the campfire one night), he has since worked not only deer and other small game, but bear, moose and buffalo, to name a few. As an avid practitioner of all aspects of primitive living, Eddie has spent many years building baskets, making salves, soaps and tinctures, experimenting with many different styles of shelters, and learning how to find, identify, harvest and cook wild edibles in every season.

Even after 40+ years, Eddie’s desire to learn and grow and perfect new skills has not died. As he is often fond of saying to his students, “The farther you go down the rabbit hole, the deeper and wider it gets.” Eddie continues to build his repertoire, discover new aspects of his skills and refine those he has been practicing for decades. There is always more to learn, and Eddie will always be out there learning and internalizing, and passing on that knowledge to all who wish to share the journey with him.

To contact Eddie for Primitive Skills & Survival consulting,
speaking engagements or seminars, call 908-637-8137
or e-mail

Eddie Starnater ("The Instructor’s Instructor") has provided diverse and unsurpassed skills training based on his many years of experience in all aspects of survival and primitive skills, to staff and instructors of Primitive Skills and Survival schools and programs throughout the US, Canada, and overseas.
Below are just a FEW of the schools who have instructors on staff who were taught by Eddie:

United States
Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School
PAST Skills Wilderness School
Ancestral Knowledge
Mountain Scout Survival
Back 2 Earth
Adventure Out
Wild Earth's Children
Primitive Pursuits
Earth School
Primitive Arts Collective
Primitive Living Skills of Texas
Earth Native Wilderness School
Roots Vermont
Tribal Edge
Earth Tracks Outdoor School
Gone Feral
Alderleaf Wildnerness College

P.I.N.E. Project
Sticks & Stones Wilderness School
Les Primitifs

Bluegum Bushcraft
Nature Philosophy

Bushcraft Expiditions

7 Generations Outdoor School


Were you taught by Eddie and are now passing along what you learned
by teaching at a wilderness or survival school?
Let us know and we will add your school to the list!