MAN STUFF: Survival Expert on Life, the Wild, and Sharp Things

Written by Doug Giles on March 27, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 9.02.01 AMOutdoor Hub: What are the important lessons you draw from your time in the Army, being a fisherman, and wilderness survival instructor?

Dave Canterbury: Repetition. You just have to consider the type of skills you need, and hone those skills until you get better and better. So you hone those and have a personal toolbox for use in the wilderness. If you just fish them out a few times, you’re not going to understand them. Repetition is the key ownership of the skill. This proved true for me in the military and in life. If you can’t repeat a skill in your sleep, you don’t own that skill.

In your years of experience, what was the most-life threatening situation you had to go through? How did that strengthen you as a person?

Probably when I was stuck in a heavy storm out in the south coast, fishing a couple miles from shore. One thing I’ve learned is basically not to get caught in that situation. Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to weather, understand what’s happening, and predict what Mother Nature may do so you don’t get caught in situations like that.

It taught me a very valuable lesson in paying attention–to be proactive in things rather than being reactive. By the time you’re reactive in a situation, it’s nearly always too late.

What is your favorite piece of gear?

My Pathfinder Knife and my axe.

Do you have a favorite knife or brand?

Blind Horse knives. (Dave repeats this emphatically.) They’re my favorite. They make probably a hundred different styles of knives.

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