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Hi, I’m Darrik Walker, and I’d like tell you about my journey to brain tanning and bush craft! I’ve lived in northern Minnesota most of my life, except for working in Montana for 2-3 months a year through my early teens and 20’s. My parents and grandparents were loggers, farmers, and outdoors people. Today, we would call them homesteaders and bush crafters. I was homeschooled in the early 90’s, which wasn’t common then, but it allowed me to have many older friends, who grew up in the 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s. Most of them were trappers and hunters.

That being so, and having been raised in this environment, you may think, “Does this guy think he’s an expert?” Not hardly. Like my old boss would say, “an ex is a has been, and a xpert (spurt) is a drip under pressure.”

In my mid-twenties, I wanted to go deeper with primitive skills, so I attended the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School. I went to the Basic class, followed by the Advanced Skills and Advanced Tracking classes.

Darrik Walker winter bushcraft class
Darrik and Stacie of Walker's Braintan Leather & Bushcraft

A few years later (2009), I married my wife Stacie. It was the best thing I ever did. She keeps me under control, knows a lot about plants, is a great cook, is my best friend, and is good looking to boot. In 2014, we began having classes for kids, ages 12-18, teaching basic bush craft, such as; map and compass, shelters, and fire skills. Continuing on the path of learning more bush craft, we went to Rabbit Stick Primitive Skills Gathering in 2016. I attended several classes on brain tanning. As a result, I tanned my first 9 deer hides that fall. The year after, it was 37. Last winter, it was up to 70 hides, and this year, I hope to shoot for about 100.

My goal for this website would be to not only sell the brain tanned leather I create, but that it become a “grubstake of information” (resource) for brain tanning, bush craft, and other skills from the past…not only for ourselves, but to mentor the next generation. Hopefully over the coming months and years, we will be sharing our stories with you of meeting tanners, bush crafters, foragers, and other interesting folks!