Ferro Sticks

how to use a ferro stick to start a fire

Sometimes The Deer Hunter uses a ferro rod to start fires when he’s out and about in the woods. I’d never even heard of a ferro rod until he showed me how they work.

how to use a ferro rod to start a fire

You can find ferro rods at places that sell camping, hunting, or survival gear. The Deer Hunter made a handle out of a deer horn for his so that it’d be easier to hold onto and he made a leather thong to hold it so he can wear the rod around his neck where it’s handy but out of the way.

Here’s a short video that shows how the ferro rod works (click on the video to start it and click on it again to stop it). When the rod is struck along its length sparks are created.


how to start a fire with a ferro rod

A lot of folks use a striker that comes with the rod to generate the sparks, but The Deer Hunter uses the back of his knife. He says the knife is easier to hold onto, works a whole lot better, and since he always has his knife its more convenient for him.

ferro stick

The Deer Hunter says the easiest way to build a fire is with a lighter, but as someone who spends a whole lot of time in the woods he says having a ferro rod as a back up fire starter makes him feel better.

To find out more about ferro rods and how they work jump over to Leon Pantenburg’s site Survival Common Sense.


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  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    July 11, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    What a great video . The Deer Hunter is no pilgrim. Turkey Hunting in these mountains is a “One Man Game” . I carry all three of these fire starters in my pack in the mountains , ferro rod , matches , and a bic lighter , plus a piece of fat wood. I have built many a little fire the size of your hat along about noon in the mountains on private land to warm up and boil my coffee water in my cup. Of course it is instant coffee rather than the good boiled coffee but it hits the spot in a long day’s hunt in the late fall and winter . Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    Jack Yates
    July 11, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I’ve got a nice little gadget, it’s a 1″ by 3″ by ¼”block of magnesium with a ferro-rod along one edge. The drill is to shave a few slivers of magnesium off the block then, after laying good tinder around the magnesium, downwind if possible, scrape the ferro-rod into the magnesium with a knife-back as usual. The magnesium will burn hot-hot-hot and catch anything that’s flammable around it alight. The brand name is “Cochlan’s”, US made, the best five bucks I ever spent..

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    July 11, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    WOW! How much more can we learn from the Deer Hunter? Maybe he needs to start his own Blind Pig classes. Never heard of this ferro stick, but sure can use one now. Thanks again for all the education.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    We use to Hobo the train. There was about 8 of us and the Conductor would see us coming.
    We’d run the tail end down and climb on, we wanted the Fuzees holding up the windows, so we could get jacket nests. All the time the Conductor was fussing at us to get off. One time we asked my 2nd or 3rd cousin where he got off, since we found him about a mile down the Nantahala Mountain. The train stopped at the Topton Bridge to check it’s brakes, so when we asked Gary where did he get off, he said “all along down thru there!” Those cinders musta been rough on him. …Ken

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    July 11, 2017 at 10:53 am

    We’ll have to get one. I worry about the hunters and fishermen when they’re out but try to keep them supplies with waterproof matches. Years ago on a canoe trip the canoe turned over and spilled my brother in law and a friend into the icy water. They were able to build a fire to warm them up, thank goodness.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I never heard or seen one of those Ferro sticks, but I like the idea. Back in ’86, I quit smoking, but I loved those Winstons, and I carried a Zippo lighter. I thought those things were the best until mine come apart and the lighter fluid burned my leg real good. I started using those throw-away type from then on.
    I know for a fact, that animals love the Deer Hunter. Topper was a Jack Russel and the Deer Hunter took up right off. He’s sneaky too, one time I was reading the Blind Pig and looked around and the Deer Hunter was right beside me, scared the Bejesus out of me. The dogs never barked and I didn’t even know he was here. …Ken

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    July 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Learned something new

  • Reply
    July 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I have never heard of a ferro rod. That just might be a birthday present for my deer hunting grandson.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Wow, that Ferro rod emits a zillion sparks when struck with the knife…
    We used to call those strikers…but I notice you call what you strike the Ferro rod with a striker…
    Ask Deer Hunter if he can make a fire with a flint rock?
    When we were kids there was a earthen mound left where rock and dirt had been moved from in front of it to flatten out an area for a small ball field. We would climb that little mountain. There were some gooseberries growing on top and we would pick those and search thru all the rocks. Especially fun, if we road our bikes there in the summer after a rain when new rocks were exposed…We would gather up flint rocks and shiny silica like rocks and hunt for round geodes..We would strike the flint rocks together to see who could make the biggest sparks…
    In Girl Scouts we were taught to use the flint rock with a striker…but as kids before we just struck the rock in a pile of dry moss. Never remember getting a real fire but lots of smoke. Ha
    Believe me that is a hard way to make a fire…nearly as hard as using the bow stick wood in a rock the Native way!
    Everyone should know how to start a fire without a lighter or match. One more thing…how often do you see boxes of matches of all shapes and sizes prominently displayed on the grocery store isle. Maybe at the big supply outdoor Bass Store types or at your campground supply store. The modern long fireplace matches are not easy to find. Our sons fireplace fire was started by pressing the “on” fire button…ha
    I had never heard of a Ferro rod…or at least I don’t remember it…only striker!
    Thanks Tipper and Deer Hunter for this post….
    I believe you have yourself a true mountain man that can take care of anything even to building a fire from “scratch” so to speak….pun intended! Ha

  • Reply
    July 11, 2017 at 6:48 am

    I’ve never heard of a ferro stick, so I learned something new already and the sun isn’t even up yet! Thanks for including the video 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 11, 2017 at 6:43 am

    That’s pretty cool! I love that he made his own handle and carrier. The Deer Hunter is a really talented and capable man. He can make anything he sets his mind to. He loves the out of doors, the woods and the animals. The animals love him too. I’ve never seen a dog or cat that didn’t love him instantly. Such a beautiful spirit in this world!

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