Canadian Bushcraft

Caleb Musgrave

TheBurger.jpg

Caleb Musgrave’s background in wilderness living began soon after birth, when his parents flew up to Kashechewan; a small Swampy Cree native reserve just south of Hudson Bay Canada. His father was a Mississauga Ojibway man, working as a police officer within the Cree community, and his mother worked as a teacher there. His first year of life was steeped within Swampy Cree culture. Caleb as a young baby was often unable to sleep due to colic. To try and calm her son, his mother would take him to the drum-house (where traditional native singers practise) to ease him into sleep by the sound of the large pow wow drums.

Caleb’s father had been raised hunting, fishing, trapping and tracking his entire life, and this lifestyle was passed onto Caleb at a very young age. The family still talks about the meals of snapping turtle and bullfrog that Caleb’s father and uncles served up. Caleb’s father taught him the ethics of the hunt, and tracking techniques. Because of this, Caleb knew the ways of the wildlife intimately. So well that at the age of nine, he tracked -to the chagrin of his parents- a mother coyote back to her den. Needless to say he didn’t do this again… until he was sixteen and it was a male black bear.

At the age of eleven, Caleb spent several nights out in shelters, catching fish and cooking them over an open fire while living on his father’s reserve on Rice Lake in Ontario (where Caleb now resides permanently) during the summer. This, coupled with programs at local museums of his hometown of Southampton Ontario began to deeply influence his passion for the wilderness. He no longer focused on other subjects, but devoted his time (even in school) to learning all he could about survival, bushcraft and primitive technology.

At the age of thirteen, Caleb met a man who would later become his mentor and eventually his “Grandfather”. Dr. Gino F. Ferri, of “Survival in the Bush Inc.” met Caleb when looking for volunteers to construct traditional wigwams on the island-based Ojibway reserve of Georgina Island. Caleb spent three weeks in mosquito-infested cedar bush, peeling and bending ash pole frames and using the bark from elm trees as shingles. He also stretched skins onto frames and shaped bone tools for demonstrative purposes. This type of work later became one of Caleb’s longest running sources of income; making replica Primitive technology.

Dr. Ferri began teaching Caleb with more and more focus, educating him in subjects as vast as fire by friction, all the way to flintknapping. Eventually he began pushing Caleb to understand the mindset of a survivor, by playing mind games and drilling Caleb through scenarios under stressful situations. Overtime he chipped away at Caleb, shaping little details to Caleb’s psyche. Molding him into a survivor; one made to be comfortable in all wilderness settings.

His experience with primitive technology and native culture earned him the duty of being his native reserve’s Archeology Liaison. This job has taken him throughout Ontario on field digs. He has surveyed along the French River and performed 1m-by-1m square pits on Rice Lake.

In 2008, Caleb decided it was time to begin teaching as much as possible, to as many people as possible. Caleb founded Canadian Bushcraft under this ideal, and to this day teaches people from as many walks of life as possible. His experience with northern survival skills, and Native culture has lead other people and organisations in this field to him for advice. He has advised the likes of; Chris Caine, Robert Munilla, John “Arizona Bushman” Campbell, Wilderness Essentials, Camp Pathfinder, The University of Guelph Outdoors Club, and the Scarborough Outdoor Education School.

Throughout all of this, Caleb continued to have a passion for the wilderness. On whims he would just take a knife and blanket and head off into the woods for a weekend. On other occasions, with a light pack loaded with just water and very basic essentials he would execute an 80 kilometre walk to Haliburton Ontario, to spend a month camping from the comfort of a hammock. He never ceases to surprise people with that trek.

From tracking moose and bears, to sleeping in traditional birch bark covered wigwams, Caleb has shared his love for the wilderness with literally thousands of people, taking them on an incredible journey, either in reality, on video, or by his writing.