Could you be dropped off in the wild and survive? Todd Jostes can. The winner of Discovery Channel’s Bushcraft Buildoff did it handily with help from a couple of old cowboys who’d never had the wilderness experience. He chose them because after what he’s experienced, he wanted to teach. Through his work through International Sportsmen’s Expos, he continues to share his wealth of knowledge and survival savvy with the world.
“I’ve always been the guy who tackled my dreams,” Jostes said. “I was a Chicago redneck growing up, wrestled in high school and it turns out, that set me up for a lot of opportunities. After moving to Arizona to wrestle, my family got up close and personal with tragedy. My baby sister was killed in a car accident and my father passed away. Both losses were devastating. My dad was my coach, mentor and ultimately biggest fan.”
Some people call them ‘false starts’. Survivors call those priceless educational moments. Jostes joined the U.S. Marine Corps to be injured and honorably discharged. He followed in the family tradition and became a firefighter and established a successful construction business. Always an avid outdoorsman, the most pivotal moment of his life was about to happen.
“I went into the backcountry by myself to hunt javelina and somehow got turned around. I wandered lost and hungry for three days and was finally rescued. It was embarrassing and life-changing. I knew then that I never wanted to feel that helplessness again.”
“I dropped everything and went to work with Cody Lundin, the survival instructor in Prescott, Arizona. It lit a fire in me that made me understand the quirky skill set I’d acquired could now be used for the greater good,” said Jostes.
“When the Discovery Channel contacted me about their show ‘Bushcraft Buildoff’, I jumped at the challenge. We were allowed to choose two people to assist and all had just one tool. I chose two men I knew were tough as nails but had no experience surviving in the wild. We were dropped in the high desert of Utah, took a deep breath and set about not just surviving but thriving. Those old cowboys stepped up and we won the contest.”
Today, Jostes can start a fire with just a piece of ice and some kindling. He can make rope from readily available vegetation. He’s developed a line of tools that are as tough as the wilderness itself. He learned to make medicine from available herbs found in the wild and markets those, but most importantly, he teaches others primitive living and wilderness survival skills that can be applied to not just life in the wild, but brings depth and value to everyday living.
TJ The Wilderness Man seminars at International Sportsman’s Expos have helped thousands of people gain vital skills and opened an awareness to natural living in ways never done before. He continues to learn while teaching, but most importantly, lives in a way that honors the Earth and his fellow man.
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