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The Pathfinder School Instructors

Discover an exclusive path to self-reliance with our highly trained Certified Pathfinder Instructors offering decades of outdoor mastery and knowledge. Our staff has mastered the skills, techniques, and methodology of The Pathfinder System, endorsed by The Pathfinder School and unavailable elsewhere. Be confident that you are learning from the best.

Only Certified Pathfinder Instructor are endorsed by The Pathfinder School & 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, The Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide, 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.

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Matt Mercer

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.


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.


Andrew Ogle

Andrew is a survivalist with nearly 17 years of wilderness survival and instructor experience. He enlisted in the Army serving across the world in combat and operational environments in nearly every climate developing his survival knowledge and field skills. Andrew is an expert infantryman and a paratrooper. He is Ranger qualified, Airborne qualified, a graduate of the US Army’s Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape School (SERE) - Level C High Risk, and a Combat Infantryman having served multiple combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq. Andrew has years of instructor experience, leading and training soldiers as well as partnered forces, and he is a former Combat Advisor. He is an expert at Land Navigation, Wilderness Medical Aid, and Small Group Leadership. He is skilled in swampland, mountainous, and desert survival. Andrew is currently contracted as an Instructor for the Pathfinder School LLC and can be reached via his YouTube Channel “Ranger Survival and Field Craft” and social media pages of the same name.

Vaskin Badalow

Vaskin Badalow has always revered the outdoors.  In his youth he enjoyed camping and hiking experiences with his family and considers himself a lifelong student across several different arenas.  The desire to learn more about wilderness skills and survival led him to The Pathfinder School.  His belief in a self-reliant lifestyle is resilient and seeks to apply his knowledge within the public safety community.   

Vaskin is a career Firefighter and Paramedic with over thirty years of service; a Wilderness EMT certified through NOLS, certified American Red Cross First Aid CPR/AED Instructor, and holds a Master of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. 

He has been a part of the technical rescue community for over twenty years and leads a fifty member county-wide Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) Team in southeastern Michigan.   He has specialized training in water rescue and is a part of his state's USAR Task Force having deployed to areas afflicted by natural disasters both in and out of state.  Further, Vaskin is a United States Marine Corps Reserve veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, serving as an infantry machine gunner from ’98-‘06.

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Bart Caudill

Bart has always had a passion for the outdoors. At a young age, he started hunting and fishing with his dad, granddad, and uncles, in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. Bart also enjoys camping on the river banks with family, while running trot lines for catfish. He started fishing bass tournaments in his 20’s. This is the 9th year of East Ky Bass Club, that Bart started in 2015. He enjoys trapping, both for land management, and also nuisance trapping, for those who need his services. Bart started his Pathfinder journey April 7, 2022. He received his Tan Hat as an Associate Instructor October 14, 2022, and received his Black Hat March 12, 2023. Bart enjoys learning, and considers himself as always a student. Also, he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, and loves seeing them succeed and accomplish their goals.

Growing up on a farm, he learned how to think outside the box, and make things work. After high school, Bart ran a bull dozer in his dad’s logging business for a couple years. Then at age 20, he started working for a natural gas company, and spent the next 23 years in the oil & gas industry. While there, he drove tractor and trailer trucks, ran heavy machinery, was a compressor technician, and held various other positions. Then he went back to school for 2 years, and received HVAC training. He currently holds Class A CDL, and Journeyman HVAC licenses.

Check him out at Bart Caudill Outdoors on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Kyle Sandborn

Kyle developed a life long enthusiasm for the outdoors with family camping trips in the western mountains as a child which continued into the Boy Scouts on the east coast. As an adult, hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and camping has become his lifestyle. Aiming to turn his passion into a livelihood, Kyle sought training in the rescue fields and held a career position as a Firefighter/EMT for years before continuing a pursuit geared more towards the outdoors. This led him to the Pathfinder School to learn and share knowledge among a likeminded community. He now uses his training and experience in ropes, water rescue, and as an EMT to teach others how to stay safe and enhance their time outdoors. Kyle is a certified Red Cross instructor in First aid CPR/AED and Wilderness First Aid and is consistently continuing to grow his skill set. Alongside a love for the outdoors and rescue, he’s working towards a self sufficient homestead. The backbone of his homesteading adventures is raising honeybees. Kyle’s been a beekeeper for almost 10 years, as well as, tending to various other livestocks and gardening as a means to produce food and resources in a self reliant manner.

Michael Johns
Associate Instructor

Mike’s passion for the outdoors was inspired by his family and the time they spent together fishing, hunting, and camping during his childhood.  Mike continued developing the skills he learned as a child into a lifelong pursuit to become an expert outdoorsman with a specific passion for bushcraft.

A teacher by profession, Mike finds the most fulfillment in sharing his knowledge and watching others learn and display new skills.

Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors together.  He also enjoys taking care of their extensive reptile collection.

He earned his Tan Hat in July 2023 and is an Associate Instructor at the Pathfinder School.

Ty Barker
Associate Instructor

Ty has led an incredible career in law enforcement and has experience serving on various specialized units such as the Central West Virginia Drug and Violent Crimes Unit, K9 Unit, detective unit, school resource officer, CIU unit, SEU unit and US Marshall task force. Additionally, he is a dedicated volunteer firefighter. Recently, Ty pursued a dream of teaching others as a Pathfinder School instructor and completed the program in November 2023, receiving his "tan hat". He now teaches at the Pathfinder School in Jackson, Ohio and loves sharing his passion for the outdoors and passing on valuable skills to both his family and students.



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.


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.


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