How does Joe Public perceive bushcrafters?

maddave

Full Member
Jan 2, 2004
4,177
33
Manchester UK
Jules and I took the dog out to Alderley Edge on saturday for a walk and whilst Jules was in the Ladies "freshening up" I was outside minding my own business. However there were hawthorn bushes just outside the loo's so I set about eating some of the new leaves. A couple and their 2 kids walked past and looked at me with complete disbelief, and when I said "would you like to try some" they quickly hearded their bemused offspring away looking furtively over their shoulders as they did.... I felt like shouting after them "The Beech leaves are even tastier" but thought better of it. I think a lot of City folk (or big 4x4 driving North Cheshire Nuveau Riche) have no idea what bounty they walk past in their rush to get to the nearest "Henrys Table" lol :-D
 

qweeg500

Forager
Sep 14, 2003
162
1
51
Hampshire
I'm not sure about the public in general but my work colleagues seem to think I'm some sort of special forces wannabe, which I have to say almost annoys me when the mickey taking gets out of hand.

Alas, some people will never quite get the point.

Matt
 

Gary

New Member
Apr 17, 2003
2,603
0
53
from Essex
I have two great loves, both of which in my mind are linked - one is re-enactment, the other bushcraft.

While I was on Woodlores payroll I was once asked, "Why do you do re-enactment? Its just a bunch of no life saddo's pretending to live a different life!"

"Odd," I replied, "All my mates in re-enactment think all bushcrafters are no life saddo's prentending too!"

Ray wasn't impressed.

But thats the truth of it - its all a matter of prospective. Like re-enactment we all do it for a different reason and get out of it different things VIVE LE DIFFERENCE!.

As for the public, well LIKE Dave, I think if you can only try to teach them something in the hope that they might just grasp the idea. Although I too often get 'the look' but hey, as with any minority thing I guess you just gotta learn to live with it.
 

RAPPLEBY2000

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 2, 2003
3,195
10
47
England
did you really need to ask the question? :-(

:cry:
woe betied anyone that actually advertises them self as a bushcrafter!

let me tell you about the course i just finished.

as a short history, in past years i used to wear camo, and evrything i had was military issue or camo/green! i have "grown up" and now I'm far more "ray mears looking (equipment wise)"

on my recent course i made a !00% effort to use only civilian gear, and not discuss "survival", ownly pice of army gear being the a Camo PLCE rucksack, which i bought because of it's simularity to the "berghuas cyclops" which i know to be good, also cos it's cheep and strong!

so what happens if you wear an army rucksack?
wait for it......hang on...... here it is....

"are you in the army then?" :shock: :-(

on one occasion my group was packing gear, i used my PLCE sack but with the pockets empty, a house mate used a 40l bag, he was addament that mine was heavier to the extent he tried to weigh them, they were just about equal, but he insisted i was carrying too much.

another time after a climb i was wearing grey rohan trousers, a green buffalo jacket and a black hat, with my rucksack and heard jokes from my friends they could not see me, infering that i was actually trying to hide.

several other occasions though i only wore camo trousers for casual reasons in class 2x in 8 months, it would always be assumed i would wear camo.

all this cos i have an army bag and have an interest in bushcraft.

sorry but joe public isn't ready to accept bushcraft yet! :-?
 

bigjackbrass

Nomad
Sep 1, 2003
470
3
Leeds
maddave said:
However there were hawthorn bushes just outside the loo's so I set about eating some of the new leaves.
How have we managed to get this far through the topic without anyone posting an "Eats, shoots and leaves" comment?
 

Viking

Full Member
Oct 1, 2003
961
1
43
Sweden
www.nordicbushcraft.com
People are always afraid of thing that they don´t have any knowledge of, in some countrys in the worls people get killed because they are diffrent. Here people shake their head and mumble something about stupid and crazy. But I don´t care what people think.

You should see the faces of my neighbours when i come walking in full military uniform, rucksack and an automatic rifle in my hand. I wonder what they think of me then :lol:
 

al

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 18, 2003
346
1
kent
well i`ve been reliablly informed that i wear a swanni to atract attention cos i want people to look at me , this was by the same bloke who took the mick out of my footwear until it was all of a sudden trendy to wear the following year, i really try not to let joe public get on my chest but they seem to ge the better of me , but then we all live in a stressed out world of sorts so maybe they`re just venting ? i dont know but the man and his woman down the woods the other day were impressed as my daughter needed a swing to be made for the rope swing in the wood so daddy got his knife out and battoned some hazel and hey presto swing, oh yeah and mum warmed her hands on a cramp ball that i sparked for her, they looked on with big smiles but before that i`d wrongly marked them up as "joe public"
 

mojofilter

Nomad
Mar 14, 2004
496
6
44
bonnie scotland
you should see the looks i get from the familys with 100+ grand boats at loch lomond when they see me huddled round a small fire with bits of bacon draped over one stick and spirals of dough wrapped round another.

best of it is, anyone who has been brave enough to try a bit has been well impressed! :mrgreen:
 

Justin Time

Native
Aug 19, 2003
1,064
2
South Wales
With "Joe Public" I've found the best disguise is my camera with a longish lens. My patch is just behind the housing estate I live in so have to walk though a few streets to get there. Neighbours etc know I'm into wildlife and I tell them about the foxes and badgers I see and try and photograph. This helps explain the camo and green stuff.
Of course the kids who found my debris shelter wanted to talk about a whole bunch of other stuff, so I ended up showing them how to make feather sticks and how to use the fire-steel.

At work it's different, although I don't tend to use a name for what I do, some of my colleagues talk about me doing the " Ray Mears" stuff. I tend to just talk about what I did, what I ate, what I saw. Did get some funny looks from the secretaries when I was talking about skinning a rabbit with stone tools I'd made by bashing rocks together.....
 

Stuart

Full Member
Sep 12, 2003
4,141
43
**********************
unfortunatly to the public in general bushcraft means running around in the woods dressed in camo, hiding from an imaginary enemy and carrying and huge bowie

its an image given to the public by movies and survivalists

hopfully now that bushcraft is on TV and at the NEC etc the public will become more educated

can you imagine the day people ask you what you do as a passtime and you can say "bushcraft" with out having to explain what bushcraft is and then convince them your not a nutter :-D
 

Great Pebble

Full Member
Jan 10, 2004
775
2
50
Belfast, Northern Ireland
:evil: This is a topic which upsets me somewhat, it's the whole "attitude" thing that gets up my nose.

Not, I hasten to add, the attitude of Joe Public. I couldn't give a stuff what he thinks. What bugs me is people who should know better thinking about how they can go about disguising their lifestyle so Joe Public isn't offended or amused.

You can go ond and on "diluting" the way you do things. toning down your image and activities so people don't think you're weird.... They'll still think you're an oddball, right up until the point that you've "diluted" so much that you look and act exactly like they do.......

Wear what you want, do what you want (within the law) and if what you want to do is illegal, campaign loudly but constitutionally to make it legal.

Me, I think it's funny that people should be interested in who a sportsman sends text messages to or that they should have to consult a magazine before going shopping for clothes.
 

Justin Time

Native
Aug 19, 2003
1,064
2
South Wales
Great Pebble said:
:evil: This is a topic which upsets me somewhat, it's the whole "attitude" thing that gets up my nose.

Not, I hasten to add, the attitude of Joe Public. I couldn't give a stuff what he thinks. What bugs me is people who should know better thinking about how they can go about disguising their lifestyle so Joe Public isn't offended or amused.

You can go ond and on "diluting" the way you do things. toning down your image and activities so people don't think you're weird.... They'll still think you're an oddball, right up until the point that you've "diluted" so much that you look and act exactly like they do.......
I guess we all live our life according to what we value, and that makes it awful hard to tell other people how they should behave, well, for me anyway. One of the problems/advantages of small village life is that everyone knows your business and that can have a powerful social effect which is not easy to ignore. Even though I now live in a housing estate in a small town that effect is still an issue especially since I don't do my bushcrafting by jumping in the car...I'm the guy with the Flectarn trousers, swannie/ventile and rocket pack walking past their front windows.

The camera gives a starting point to talk with people about what I do when I'm out and about, especially if I meet them in the fields and forests. I've often been surprised at how anxious people ( particularly women) can be at meeting a stranger in the forests, and I have to say that my clothing does contribute to that. Sure, they're responsible for their own emotions but I can make a difference with that by appearing less threatening. First impressions do count but once we start talking about what you can eat and use from the forest, what you can see there then people go away with a better understanding.
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,314
381
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
I'm guilty of "hiding" as well. It's just for an easy life. I think lots of people don't share their activities with others if they think it's not going to be well accepted. (ie Gary and his re-enactments) I actually discovered that one of my friends also frequents BCUK but since then we don't really talk about bushcraft in front of other friends, or if we do it's said in a slightly cryptic way.

Stuart said:
can you imagine the day people ask you what you do as a passtime and you can say "bushcraft" with out having to explain what bushcraft is and then convince them your not a nutter
I'm sure one day it'll be widely accepted but not for a few years yet. I can't wait!!

I must say that the image of people being shocked by maddave

munching on a bush did make me smile.
In fairness it's not what you normally see - they probably thought there had been a breakout from the local asylum! :)

I think that a lot of people percieve all plants as poisonous. On the 15 minute walk to the shops I pass Dandelions, Hedge Garlic, Cleavers, Hawthorn, Birch, Beech, Red Dead Nettle - and those are only the ones that I know. I'm sure there's more!
I bet if i made a "normal" salad and wanted to make it look a bit more colourful by adding some dandelion flowers, most of my friends would either refuse to eat them or have convinced themselves that they don't like them before they do.
A lot of it's the way we're brought up.
It's like Gary's thread about the EC ruling on rabbits. Most people wouldn't even consider skinning their own.
In my house we eat a lot of poultry (curries, stir fries, etc). Chicken breasts are expensive compared to turkey so, as we're not too well off at the moment, we buy turkey steaks.
Now, I was in the supermarket at the weekend and I was getting more turkey when I noticed the whole chickens. The large ones were costing just over £4 for 2.25kg whereas 700g of turkey steaks are just under £3. I decided to buy a whole chicken and joint it myself - before that it wasn't somehting that I had ever considered before because we've always bought breast meat.
I managed to get 9 portions of chicken and 2 portions of stock for £4, compared to 4 portions of turkey for £3. (Admittedly I had to put in the time jointing it as well) Crazy! how many people do you know that would be prepared to joint there own chicken?

Sorry for going on a bit! :roll:
 

Great Pebble

Full Member
Jan 10, 2004
775
2
50
Belfast, Northern Ireland
can you imagine the day people ask you what you do as a passtime and you can say "bushcraft" with out having to explain what bushcraft is and then convince them your not a nutter
Honestly, no. Any more than I can imagine anyone ever being able to admit to being a train spotter without hearing jokes about anoraks, and look at the size of the industry serving them. :wink:

I've no particular wish to be an object of anyone's derision nor do I particularly revel in being seen as a weirdo, but I've even less inclination to modify my behaviour in any way because of someone else's perception problem.
 

Ed

Admin
Admin
Aug 27, 2003
5,925
18
47
South Wales Valleys
unfortunatly to the public in general bushcraft means running around in the woods dressed in camo, hiding from an imaginary enemy and carrying and huge bowie
:rolmao: Yes it does seem to provoke that reaction. Karen (my other half) gets this all the time when trying to explian what I'm doing out in all weather catching rabbits and living from the land.... most of her work friends thought I was a big strapping shaven headed army bloke.... oooo there surprise when they met me ;-)
The image is slowly changing though. At college I have found alot of interest in the subject. Many mature students, especialy the parents among them, have a fairly open attitude. Most have heard of ray mears and seen the programmes, and these tend to think of us as grown up boy scouts who are very eco friendly..... I have been asked many times by parents if I teach children, they think it will be good for them.

:)
Ed