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The Pathfinder School Instructors

I Combing decades of outdoor self-reliance knowledge and primitive skills experience, our staff is made up of an array of talent and mastery. The Certified Pathfinder Instructors are highly trained in the skills and methodology of The Pathfinder System, anybody other than a Certified Pathfinder Instructor is neither endorsed by The Pathfinder School nor qualified to teach The Pathfinder System.


Dave Canterbury
Founder and Co-Owner


Dave Canterbury is an experienced & skilled survivalist, having over 25 years of experience in bushcrafting, outdoor self-reliance, and primitive skills. He founded The Pathfinder School because of his dedication to passing on the "tribal knowledge" of outdoor self-reliance and primitive skills to anyone and everyone who wants to learn. Dave firmly believes we can learn from each other and continues to be a student himself. Dave is also very excited that his family is involved in the business with him including his Wife, Father, Mother, Brother, Cousins, and other life long friends.

As a hunting guide, Dave started thinking about what a person should have with them and what they should do in case they became lost or stranded. Through study he developed his methodology for Survival on what he coins the 5C's of Survivability; these are the 5 items that have been used cross-culturally from ancient times to affect survival.  Along with methodology and vast experience, the Pathfinder System became the foundation for the teachings at The Pathfinder School.

Dave is the Co-Owner & Supervising Instructor of The Pathfinder School in Southeast Ohio, which USA Today named one of the Top 12 Survival Schools in the United States. It has over 1,500 students worldwide, including West Virginia EMS, Michigan DNR Law Enforcement & the United States Military. Dave is also a co-owner of Self Reliance Outfitters and has published over 900 YouTube videos on the Pathfinder School, LLC YouTube Channel. 

Dave is a New York Times bestselling author of Bushcraft 101, Advanced Bushcraft, The Bushcraft Guide to Trapping, Gathering and Cooking in the Wild, along with Bushcraft Illustrated and co-author of Bushcraft First Aid. He has also been published in Self Reliance IllustratedNew PioneerAmerican Frontiersman, and Trapper's World magazines. Dave is also an accomplished Archer, Dave took 1st Place (Men's Self Bow) in the Traditional Archery Nationals in 2006.

Dave's previous experiences include: Operated a Commercial Reptile Farm, Worked as an Animal Control Officer (State of Florida), Net Diver on Commercial Fishing Vessel (Florida), worked in Auto Industry as a Quality & Production Control Engineer (Six Sigma Black Belt Certification), Self Employed Hunting Guide & Survival Instructor, and is also a US Army Veteran.


Shawn Kelly
Lead Instructor


I spent 4 years as an 0311 Infantry Team Leader and Trainer in the United States Marine Corps (95'-99') and was called back after September 11, 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Once my involuntary tour was over, I began a career as a Structural Welder and eventually became a Certified Welding Inspector.

However, I missed being out in the field and after a few years I began to investigate the Survival School Options in my area. After attending a few "fly-by-night" schools and being disappointed, I found the Pathfinder School. I was immediately impressed with the knowledge and professionalism of the instructors and for the first time in 15 years I felt like I belonged to a legit organization/family. I completed all of the classes and made it my personal goal to teach there one day. I took the lead position at the Pathfinder School in January 2019 and for the first time since I left the Marine Corps, I feel like I am doing something that isn't beneath me.

I also operate a Survival and Bushcraft YouTube Channel called Corporals Corner.


Matt Mercer
Staff Instructor


Matt Mercer has been a lifelong outdoorsman developing a passion to be in the great outdoors since a very young age. His favorite pursuits are spending time with his wife and daughter, camping, fishing, outdoor cooking, bass guitar, martial arts and making videos for his YouTube Channel, Black Hat Bushcraft. For the past 22 years, Matt has been a full-time martial arts instructor and owns his own studio where classes are taught six days a week. He was certified as an instructor for the Pathfinder School in November 2017 and is also the Chapter Leader of the National Pathfinder Youth Organization in Elm City, NC.


Per Ljungdahl
Lead Instructor, Pathfinder School Worldwide - Scandinavia


Per is the lead instructor of Pathfinder School Scandinavia and was the first non-American Pathfinder instructor. Growing up in the southern woodlands and lake districts of Sweden, Per was obsessed with bushcraft and survival training from a very early age. Spending almost all free time in the woods, he quickly became a proficient woodsman, hunter, and fisherman. Later, Per learned the skillsets of high-alpine mountaineering and has planned and performed an array of climbs in the Alps and the Norwegian mountains. He also planned and went through with a 6-month solo long-distance trek in the Himalayas. Per has competed in the martial art of Muay Thai and is a certified diver and a dynamic competition shooter. He has a university masters degree and is currently working on his second one.


Joe Price
International Staff Instructor


Specialties: All aspects of Outdoors and Wilderness Skills, Writing, Teaching, Organizing Events, Testing, Reviewing ... worldwide

Joe Price spends most of his time outdoors -- writing articles for various magazines, for both the bushcraft world and the military, testing and developing equipment for companies, and teaching a wide variety of wilderness skills.  You can find him at his happiest whilst amongst nature.

Joe is one of the founding members of the fast-growing, ever popular Living 2 Learn community, where he helps organize events and regularly shares his knowledge and experience.

As an Ambassador for some of the biggest outdoor brands, Joe knows what it takes to maintain high standards.  He strives to hone his skill sets and takes every opportunity to learn something from the practitioners of the outdoors worldwide.

Joe is currently involved with many global projects such as the pathfinder school Scandinavia, pathfinder worldwide and Bushcraft Denmark.


Jesper Hede
Associate Instructor, Pathfinder School Worldwide – Scandinavia


Jesper Hede is the owner of Bushcraft Denmark, the leading provider of Bushcraft, Survival and wilderness classes and expeditions in Denmark and the only bushcraft store in Scandinavia, Bushcraft Butikken. Jesper has an academy profession degree of outdoor education and more than 20 years experience in bushcraft and survival and is the lead instructor of his school. He is also a TV production consultant, working on, among others the Danish survival tv program “ALONE”.

He is also a writer of a book on Bushcraft in Denmark and for several outdoor magazines.


Kevin Baxter


Kevin has made “going to the woods” a lifelong activity. He began hunting and fishing with his grandmother when he was around 5 years of age. An avid outdoorsman since then, he can generally be found camping, hunting, fishing, trapping or just laying on the ground in the woods between the other activities.

He has been an Indiana Master Gardener for many years, certified at the Platinum Level, he has also completed training in the Indiana Master Naturalist program. He is a certified NASAR and ASHII instructor. Active in the BSA, multiple programs since 2008 in various roles from direct contact training to multiple Distract and Council level roles. He retired from the US Navy SEABEES in 1995 under the TERA program.

He has been with the Pathfinder School since 2012 as a student, volunteer, helper, associate Instructor and has been a certified Instructor since 2014. He can be found on Facebook under Salty Dog Outdoors and krb762 on YouTube.


Gordon Dedman
Associate Instructor, Pathfinder School Worldwide – Australia


Over the past 15 years Gordon has pursued his passion for bushcraft and survival and its many related areas and skill sets, through education via an extensive list of courses, both military and civilian, and practice of skills in a wide variety of countries worldwide.

He has had the opportunity to train at and complete numerous bushcraft survival courses at some of the leading schools in the world, such as Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder School (USA), Paul Kirtley's Frontier Bushcraft School (UK), Ray Mears Woodlore Bushcraft School (UK), Lofty Wiseman’s Trueways Survival School (UK), Bushlore Australia Wilderness School (QLD) and Bob Cooper’s Outback Survival School (WA).

Gordon is a former member of the Australian Army 1st Commando Regiment and is presently a survival instructor in NORFORCE, an Australian Army Regional Force Surveillance Unit (RFSU) which conducts patrols in the remote wilderness areas of northern Australia, working closely with Aboriginal communities. He is also a lecturer for Princess Cruises Scholarships at Sea program and has delivered his 5 part series of lectures titled “Bushcraft Survival Basics” on many of their ships.

Gordon also works seasonally as a tour guide for Territory Expeditions in Darwin, taking tour groups on camping expeditions into Kakadu National Park. He is also a keen martial artist who has cross trained in jiu jitsu, kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) for many years.

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