- There is food here in the wild - berry, root, and herb, and I have some skill as a hunter at need.
- -Aragorn, Fellowship of the Ring
Woodcraft is the knowledge of animals and nature.
You learn about different kinds of animals by following their tracks and creeping up to them so you can watch them in their natural state and study their habits.
The whole sport of hunting animals lies in the woodcraft of stalking, not in killing them.
No Ranger willfully kills an animal for the mere sake of killing but only when in want of food — unless the creature is harmful. By continually watching animals in the open, one gets to like them too well to shoot them wantonly.
Woodcraft includes, besides being able to see the tracks and other small signs, the power to read their meaning, such as at what pace the animal was going, whether he was frightened or unsuspicious, and so on. It enables the hunter also to find his way in the Wilds. It teaches him which are the best wild fruits and roots for his own food, or which are favourite food for animals, and, therefore, likely to attract them.
In the same way in inhabited places you read the tracks of men or horses and find out from these what has been going on. You learn to notice, by small signs, such as birds suddenly starting up, that someone moving near, though you cannot see him.
By noticing the behaviour or dress of people, and putting this and that together, you can sometimes see that they are up to no good. Or you can tell when they are in distress and need help or sympathy - and you can then do what is one of the chief duties of a Ranger, namely, help those in distress in any possible way you can.
Remember that it is a disgrace to a Ranger, when he is with other people, if they see anything, near or far, high or low, that he has not already seen for himself.
(Adapted from Lord Baden-Powell's Camp Fire Yarn no. 2.)
- Arwen: What's this? A Ranger, caught off his guard?
- -from Peter Jackson's film Fellowship of the Ring
The jewel game
The Master Ranger collects on a tray a number of articles - knives, spoons, pencil, pen, stones, book and so on - not more than about fifteen for the first few games, and cover the whole over with a cloth. He then makes the others sit round, where they can see the tray, and uncovers it for one minute. Then each of them must make a list on a piece of paper of all the articles he can remember. The one who remembers most wins the game.
(Baden-Powell and Rudyard Kipling)