How does Joe Public perceive bushcrafters?

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ranger

Forager
Nov 3, 2003
142
0
South East
It’s very interesting to note the various replies. I know from my own personal experience I have received the odd comment by wearing the more subdued/military clothing while out and about in the woods. I have also experienced extreme hostility from trespassers whilst out shooting, who just didn’t like people shooting, and would not/could not accept that they did not have a legal right to be on the land.

I think especially where knives and axes etc are concerned, if you’re encountered in the woods by “Joe Public” it is likely as not to cause some alarm, unless you are obviously a forestry worker. Unfortunately, all too often the media has portrayed anyone who would have use of the type of knife (let alone an axe) as used by a Bushcrafter as a potential threat to society. I hope very much though that attitudes are starting to change with the exposure people are getting to Mr Mears and the like.
 

MagiKelly

Making memories since '67
I took up wildlife photography partly to give me a legitimate excuse for being in the woods. It was not as bad when I was still shooting or had a dog to walk but a man on his own wandering about the woods would always get strange looks.

Of course now I look really strange. Setting of into the woods at 4am carrying a pack full of kit in camo from head to toe.
 

Kath

Native
Feb 13, 2004
1,397
0
It's so different to see a man's point of view about being in the woods. I don't feel any of this when I go into the woods ... but then as a female, I'm ultra careful to not be seen in the first place because you just don't know who might be around. :wink:
 

MagiKelly

Making memories since '67
It's funny. My wife is always concerned about me getting attacked in the woods. I have always thought of this as being a female point of view. To me it is generally an unfounded concern. As I point out to her a mugger is more likely to hang about the streets to find prey rather than a remote woodland. The people you meet outdoors are generally friendly with the odd gang of teanagers out for a drink but they are generally boisterous rather than dangerous. I am of course talking here about a woodland that is fairly remote as opposed to a tree lined alley or the like where I would be more concerned.

Still there is no harm in staying out of sight.
 

ranger

Forager
Nov 3, 2003
142
0
South East
Given that we are talking about the publics perceptions of people that are interested in Bushcraft - something that has always amazed me (I can’t categorically vouch for this) is that I’ve been told that the item that has generated the most ever public complaints to the television regulator, was when Hugh Ferrnly-Whittingstall shot, cooked and ate a squirrel!
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
ranger said:
... was when Hugh Ferrnly-Whittingstall shot, cooked and ate a squirrel!
You would have thought that he was the first and only person to ever do it ... :roll:
 

Kath

Native
Feb 13, 2004
1,397
0
MagiKelly said:
It's funny. My wife is always concerned about me getting attacked in the woods. I have always thought of this as being a female point of view. To me it is generally an unfounded concern. As I point out to her a mugger is more likely to hang about the streets to find prey rather than a remote woodland. The people you meet outdoors are generally friendly with the odd gang of teanagers out for a drink but they are generally boisterous rather than dangerous. I am of course talking here about a woodland that is fairly remote as opposed to a tree lined alley or the like where I would be more concerned.

Still there is no harm in staying out of sight.
Well it's easier to just stay out of sight, keep still and quiet and let people go on their way. Most people are harmless certainly, but I can't really imagine a situation where I was on my own somewhere remote and would start to chat with someone (unless it was a woman of course) to find out whether they were friendly or not. A female point of view definitely. Most women don't go out alone or just plain don't go out ... :-( I guess it boils down to our individual perceptions of safety and security.
 

Kath

Native
Feb 13, 2004
1,397
0
ranger said:
was when Hugh Ferrnly-Whittingstall shot, cooked and ate a squirrel!
I think the placenta episode got pretty high number of complaints too. Not surprising really ... :hurra:
 

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
2,251
6
48
Glasgow, Scotland
Unfortunately, most of the general public don't even know what the term 'bushcraft' means. Once you try and define it, they immediately either start asking about guns and knives or want to know if your a 'survivalist'. If they've seen Ray Mears or Bushtucker man, there's normally a comment to the effect that 'Oh, you're one of them. What's wrong with McDonalds, then?' or 'Do you camp in your back garden and eat slugs, then? Hur-hur!' (cue sound of knuckles dragging along ground....)

I think that, as a minority interest - and, lets face it, that's what it is - we will suffer from the same attitude as many other minority interests. Mind you, sometimes we don't do ourselves any favours - read the kit stuff and there is an out-of-proportion obsession with knives and bladed tools. Stand back a moment and have a look - we do go on a bit about knives, don't we? To most people, this is quite an unhealthy pasttime, even thoiugh the whole point is using a knife as a tool and not a weapon. Try explaining that to someone, though....

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leon-1

Mod
Mod
In my experience so far, I have come across two types of people, those who are of an open mind and those who have preconcieved misconceptions (or a closed mind).

Despite the industry that I work in most of my friends and colleagues appear to have an open mind on bushcraft, some will ask if a weekend went well and what we did and others ask that the next time I go out could they go along.

The others (with closed minds) tend to hide in thier own technological frightened world, sneer about something that they have little knowledge about, with less understanding of how to do things for themselves in the wilds and no idea why you would wish to do it.

Some people cannot appreciate the majestic beauty of the great outdoors and with that they also cannot appreciate that it can be a potentially dangerous place.

They would never be able to fathom the pleasure taken in turning out your first good spoon, being able to complete a task using manual tools and of course starting a fire without a gallon of petrol and a lighter.

I am afraid that this is symptomatic of todays society, this is really due to the lack of understanding/education on this subject, because these values are no longer taught. They can go theyre way, I will go mine.
 

PEDRO

Member
Jan 26, 2004
45
0
53
NORTH YORKSHIRE
qweeg500 said:
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
I have the very same problem , I put it down to my use of X mil gear coz I aint got a lot of spare cash.......I am trying to move into the olive world though...I recently purchase a field shirt from extreme its goooooood....
:lol:
 

Andy

Native
Dec 31, 2003
1,867
9
34
sheffield
www.freewebs.com
I have heard about people getting attacked in the woods. If I'm out and about on our local common I stay away from groups as much as possible. As for what my mates think, a few are ex scouts who like the idea mst seem to like knives (then get cheap ones that are rubbish) so I don'rt getmuch trouble from them, they get me to get BBQs going when it's raining
 

BrutonW

Member
Jun 16, 2004
20
0
I find peoples perception of bushcraft quite amusing. I'm 15 and attend a secondary school. Most students have never eaten anything that hasn't come out of packet from safeway. Most seem to find the idea of killing a rabbit in the field and then eating it disgusting!

I find there is two main responses when people find out what im reading about on BCUK. Most find it sad and fail to see why it's so interesting and some are very interested.

The school has a combined cadet force and we are thinking of running a survival weekend. I can't wait to see the reaction of some of my fellow pupils when I show them how to kill and skin rabits lol.

Will
 

The General

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 18, 2003
300
1
North Wales Llandudno
About the most that anyone has said to me was when walking back from some nice camping in the hills over Rohan in N Wales a farmer spotted me. Now I was loaded up after a weekend camping and my Army issue poncho was covering everything as it was pouring with rain. He was stood by a gate watching me approach and as I passed he asked me what I was doing. I explained I had been camping for a few days in the fields and woods to get away from the rat race. He offered me a cup of tea and we chatted for about 15 mins about nature and the kit I carried. I went about my business with a handful of boiled sweets from the farmer. I think it helped that I spoke a bit of Welsh and his dogs loved me!

I am very much a dog person, never had any bother with a dog. My parents have two Tibbetin Terriers and they go wild when I visit. Most people they say hello to at best or just plain ignore.

In Wales, going camping is the answer to what you are doing. You mention bushcraft and you may as well say getting ready for WW3... :shock:

Lots of people 'go camping' round here, so it is not an issue. I am cautious though that a lot of my kit is not 'Millets' issue kit and may frighten some people.
 

ChrisKavanaugh

Need to contact Admin...
Nos Da from California where the fruits and nuts drive BMWs with a latte' in one hand and cellphone in the other. First and formost, everyone of you is an ambassador for bushcraft. Like it or not, you have to be positive with even the most negative reaction. Case in point: during our last election I came upon a train derailment. I was one of only 2 vehicles that stopped to help. I had just attended a NADER rally and wore a political button. The train was full of Republican party members returning from some big fund raiser. They were almost embarressed until I assured them we were both supporting the American political process. That, and being a 'survivalist' in the philosophy of our website with two cases of individual water, first aid kit and a few blankets made me very popular with crew,passengers and emergency crews. Do you think those people will be more receptive to some hippie Green party member in the future? Everything in our societies is a product; religon, mouthwash, Bushcraft. Be good salepersons and make eye contact with a smile.
 

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
2,251
6
48
Glasgow, Scotland
Chris,

What does the word 'Survivalist' portray in the US? I think from what we've seen on the TV in the UK, they are perceived as anti-government people who live in the mountains, armed to the teeth, and - more often as not - seem to be Christian fundamentalists.

Is this the case? Does it carry negative connotations? How are people into 'bushcraft' generally viewed in the US? Is it seen more as something quite sensible and useful there because of the great expanses of wilderness and the more extreme weather?

In fact, I'd be interested in answers to the last question from anyone not based in the UK.
 

ChrisKavanaugh

Need to contact Admin...
Mike, the www.equipped.org homepage has a link "We are not survivalists" that Doug wrote as an early disclaimer and explanation. It was an 'interesting' social phenomenon aside from the violence. In the post 60s there was a 'Homestead' movement with many people building log cabins, creating self sufficient farms or incomes through beekeeping etc. and generally emulating the Amish community. There were some marvelous books published, mainly by Rodale press and several magazines. There was the publication of various books, ie The Anarchist Cookbook and the infamous titles of Paladin Press. Ironically, some of these efforts came from the left political sphere as much as the right. The militia or survivalist movement was fueled by the old standby agendas of the american nazi party,KKK and their many cameleon incarnations. I always thought a real survivalist would keep his mouth shut and maintain a low profile. Their 'bible' is a piece of literary trash called The Turner Diaries. A racist blueprint for WASP males with assault rifles defeating evil negro communists. The militias pretty much got stepped on with various confrontations and have lost considerable numbers. Like any doomsday cult, when the mother ship doesn't arrive from the Pliedies as promised members leave. The media fuel this and any other social phenomenon for their own altuistic, detached, neutral journalistic purposes. In other words, when an ex marine goes berserk, kills his family and runs into the woods hes a "Marine Corps trained survivalist." Fortuitously, there is an almost equal amount of attention to accepted outdoor pursuits; camping,hunting,hiking etc. It can all get pretty muddled. My nightmare is hiking blindly into a civil war battle re enactment arguing with satanists over camping spots. :shock:
 

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
2,251
6
48
Glasgow, Scotland
Thanks for the explanation. I suppose, like any of these things, we get a 'media-tainted' view over here of what's happening over there!

I have to say, I think you are lucky in the States to still have enough room to get away from it all properly. Our wilderness in the UK is rapidly diminishing and increasingly crowded.

I like your civil war re-enactment horror - regardless of the outcome, it would make an interesting book/film.....