Bush survival skills

When things go awry in the bush, staying alive shouldn’t be a matter of luck or relying on half-remembered tips gleaned from TV shows

What kind of name is “Bear” anyway? Sounds to me like a bloke who desperately wants to be famous, not someone I’d entrust my life to in the wilderness. Bob, on the other hand, now that’s the name of a bloke I’d listen to when it all goes wrong in the great outdoors. Bob. Dependable. Learned. Trustworthy. Yes, Bob. But surely, you’re asking yourself, if this Bob is any good he’d have a TV show, wouldn’t he? Like Bear used to have?

Well, no, actually. Rather than schooling the TV-watching world, three cameramen, a sound bloke and a field producer in how to jump off a cliff into an unknown depth of water (Survival Rule #1: just don’t), this survival expert, Bob Cooper can usually be found teaching small groups how to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

(Disclosure time: I’m caught in an ongoing ‘discussion’ with my father, who was my Scout leader for many years, about Bear Grylls. I reckon Grylls is a menace to outdoors society. Dad reckons the bloke is an outdoor oracle.)

So, I’ve set a challenge for my father: attend a survival course, led by a real expert.

West Australian-based Cooper is Australia’s foremost survival expert. Our military go to him for advice, big mining companies, whose employees work in remote areas, seek his counsel, people who have had close scrapes in the bush consult him, and those who don’t want to suffer close scrapes do as well.

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