The reality-television series “Dual Survival,” aired on Discovery Channel, has made Dave Canterbury one of the most recognized survival experts in the world. His participation in the TV show for two seasons gave the viewers a glimpse of his extraordinary skills in getting out alive from several challenging situations in the wilderness. However, his rising star power halted temporarily in 2011, when he quit the TV series, presumably due to his decision to pursue other life goals, but later on it was revealed that his services were terminated by the TV network. Fans of the TV series weren’t shy back then in expressing their views on the decision – some couldn’t believe the reason given, but some felt that it was a justified move by the TV executives.
- 1 Dave’s life before becoming a reality-TV star
- 2 All about “Dual Survival”
- 3 Dave’s Two Seasons with “Dual Survival”
- 4 Did Dave Quit or was he fired in the TV Show?
- 5 Where is Dave Canterbury now?
Dave’s life before becoming a reality-TV star
David Michael Canterbury was born on 19 September 1963, in Florida.
He has always been interested in outdoor activities, and even as a child took after his father’s love for adventure, particularly with diving and hang gliding. When his parents divorced, his mother then remarried a woodsman who had an affinity with nature; Dave’s stepfather was into fishing and hunting, which exposed him early on in life to the world of outdoor survival situations.
After matriculating from his local high school, Dave enlisted in the military in 1981. After he finished his military service in 1986, he worked on a commercial reptile farm as an Animal Control Officer. Later on, he became involved with commercial deep-sea fishing, and was also a certified diver in Florida. His interest in wilderness survival training never waned, and when he had a chance again to go back to school, he grabbed the opportunity.
Dave graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Wilderness Ministry from Frontier Christian University, and also acquired certifications in Wilderness First Aid/CPR and Advanced Search and Rescue. To further enhance his wilderness survival knowledge, he finished basic and intermediate courses at the International School of Herbal Arts and Sciences. During his spare time, he would upload survival guides and self-sustainability videos onto YouTube; his official channel now has more than 700,000 subscribers, and gained close to 115 million views.
All about “Dual Survival”
When dangerous professions found their way successfully into the reality-TV genre, such as “Deadliest Catch” in 2005, and “Ice Road Truckers” in 2007, Discovery Channel explored other interesting topics, such as survival adventures. It spawned the TV series called “Dual Survival”, produced by Original Media, the same production company that created “Storm Chasers” in 2007.
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They hired the services of Dave Canterbury, ex-military who was highly-trained in survival strategies, alongside Cody Lundin, a naturalist and outdoors primitive-skills expert.
The series followed the duo, as they faced many challenges that required them to demonstrate their expertise in surviving the pre-arranged scenarios. It was an interesting combination of brains and brawn, as they disagreed most of the time on the kind of strategy they would apply in certain situations. The first episode premiered on 11 June 2010, and was filmed during the dead of winter on a deserted island somewhere in Nova Scotia, Canada. “Dual Survival” ran for nine seasons over six years, and gained a loyal following. However, for several reasons the producers made numerous main cast changes over the years, that left the audience confused and disconnected, which resulted in lowering viewership ratings. The TV show eventually aired its last episode on 12 October 2016.
— Dual Survival (@DualSurvival) December 7, 2017
Dave’s Two Seasons with “Dual Survival”
His extensive military training in survival techniques offered a certain authenticity to the TV show. Fans started to relate to him, and it only took a few episodes in the first season for him to attract a following. Here are some of his memorable moments in the reality-TV show.
Bogged Down in Brazil
It was one of the highly-rated episodes on IMDB, aired in August 2010, as Dave and Cody went to Pantanal, the largest freshwater wetland in the world, located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. They needed to traverse the Piranha-infested waters to get back to civilization, and that caught the interest of many viewers that night.
Lost hunters in Argentina
During the “Slash and Burn” episode aired in April 2011, the duo showed the viewers how to survive in the harsh terrain and weather conditions in Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina, which is just 500 miles away from Antarctica.
Viewers learned how to cauterize a wound when Dave voluntarily inflicted himself with an injury so Cody could treat it using black powder. They also crossed a frosty swampland to reach the mainland, needing to plan their travel carefully to avoid hypothermia.
Stranded on one of South Pacific’s deserted island
The survival experts made their way to the South Pacific as two castaways drifting in the sea near a deserted jungle island; they needed to survive the island and reach civilization. It was disconcerting to see Dave barefoot, as he would often question Cody going barefoot. The episode entitled “Adrift” was aired in May 2011.
South Africa’s Wilderness Adventure
Also in May 2011, viewers were treated again to another fascinating episode entitled “Out of Africa”, in which Dave and Cody needed to survive in the backcountry wilderness in South Africa.
They were only given a machete to deal with any predator they would encounter, but of course the duo escaped the area without being eaten alive. They also showed viewers how to deal with dehydration issues in the wilderness.
Did Dave Quit or was he fired in the TV Show?
When it was released to the public that Dave wouldn’t be returning for another season of “Dual Survival,” fans wondered why, since the TV show was doing well, and he’d developed a loyal following. Initially, the reality-TV star told everyone that he had set his eyes on pursuing other goals, which basically implied that he left the TV series voluntarily; he even said that it was due to family and business reasons. Some fans thought that the accusation from other viewers that the show was altogether a sham probably got to him, that Dave decided he didn’t want to be associated with the series any longer.
Embellished military resume
It was only revealed much later that Discovery Channel discovered that Dave embellished his military record in his resume when he applied for the survival expert spot in the TV show. He claimed that he was part of the US Army between 1981 and 1988, and that he had extensive training from Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger, and Sniper Counter Sniper Schools during his service. He also claimed that through his years in the military, he was stationed in several bases outside the US, including in Korea, Grenada, and Central America. Dave shared that much of his time was spent as an instructor not only for the US troops, but also for some allied forces.
When interested parties investigated his background, it was found that Dave indeed served in the military, but for under six years and not the seven he claimed.
He wasn’t a Squad Leader 4th ID 1982 to 1983; he wasn’t a US Army Sniper, as he only participated in the local 4th ID Sniper/Counter-Sniper Class for two weeks in 1986; he wasn’t a 19D Scout as he only attended a Law Enforcement 95B Course; and qhile he served in the Military Police, he wasn’t an SRT member, which was the military equivalent of SWAT – there was no record of him being a member, or involved in any of its assignments. Dave also wasn’t an SRT instructor, as he didn’t attain an E-6 or SSG ranking or certification, which was a requirement for instructors. As for his military tours, there was no record of him being involved in any military operations in Central America, particularly in Honduras and Nicaragua from 1986-1987.
Dave indeed went to South Korea, but he only as an ID Badge Clerk, and was part of the security escorts for the military equipment in the DMZ areas between South and North Korea from 1983 up to 1985.
In fairness to him, he received military decorations and awards during his service, including Army Service Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Ribbon, Overseas Army Ribbon, and Army Achievement Ribbon alo,ng with Expert Badge with bars for auto rifle, hand grenade and pistol.
Cody Lundin’s official statement
Cody Lundin, his co-star in the TV show, was asked several times about it, and initially said that inquiries about Dave’s disappearance from the show should be directed to Discovery Channel. However, later on he released an official statement, because he said that he had an ethical responsibility to do so, and felt that the questions would continue to be thrown at him. A part of his statementsaid ‘In a profession where human lives are at stake, dishonesty about one’s background and experience is an inexcusable breach of trust.’
— Dual Survival (@DualSurvival) October 13, 2016
His termination from the show
It was reported that when the TV network executives learned about Dave’s duplicity, they didn’t think twice, and had him fired from “Dual Survival.” While Dave’s personality was perfect for the TV show, his exaggerated claims of his time in the military left the show’s integrity in shambles. Most of the reality-TV shows already had their share of accusations of being inauthentic, and if fans got hold of this information before the network executives did something about it, the rest of the reality-TV series’ on their TV network would suffer the consequences.
Dave Canterbury’s public confession
After his military background became controversial, Dave released a video via his YouTube channel, and was man enough to admit his wrongdoing. However, he didn’t give any details on what he lied about, but gave an explanation as to why he did it. He declared that he padded his military credentials in the professional resume that he turned in when he auditioned for “Dual Survival.”
He said, ‘I didn’t do it to make things difficult for anyone in my family. I actually did it to number one, better my family.’ Dave further explained that he was quite naive about the TV entertainment industry, and thought that at the time “no harm, no foul” but he regretted doing it after reflecting on it. He also said that he knew that his action was a great disappointment, not only to everyone but also to himself.
Dave apologized to his family, his friends and his fans; he shared that he tried moving on from it as best as he could with his Pathfinder School. However, fans were divided about his apology. Some of them felt that he wasn’t sincere with his confession as it came a little late, and that he only apologized because he was already caught. There were those who felt that it was courageous of him to make a public confession, and since it was for his family, he was given a pass. Most of the fans expressed their displeasure and said that lying about his resume wouldn’t have been a huge deal if it wasn’t for his military background.
They felt bad for those who actually underwent hardships while training and serving in the Armed Forces, only to be trivialized like that just to get a job on TV.
When he didn’t go into the specifics, more questions surfaced, and fans were curious as to the extent of his duplicity; they also wondered if he did it with malicious intent or not. The only thing that was clarified in his confession was that his contract with Discovery Channel wasn’t renewed for the third season, because of the discrepancies in his resume.
Apparently, Dave’s controversial confession and apology about his military record was old news for some of the members of Bushcraft USA. Those who had been around for many years in the outdoor survival online community knew of his military embellishments, due to the profile that he created on the Bushcraft USA community site. Some people had already confronted him about it, way before he got involved in “Dual Survival.” When he was bombarded with questions in the online forum, he allegedly admitted to some of them.
For instance, Dave told them that when he said he was an Army Ranger, it was because he felt he was part of the group when he worked with them in the past. It was a lame excuse, but then he wasn’t a TV personality at that time, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Most of them thought he was just one of those people who wanted to feel superior in the community, by presenting fake qualifications.
Where is Dave Canterbury now?
After Dave’s last appearance in the “Dual Survival,” he capitalized on the little star power that he had, since initially no one really knew why he was no longer part of the third season. He continued teaching survival techniques through a school he founded and co-owned called The Pathfinder School LLC. According to its Facebook page, ‘It is a Wilderness Self Reliance School specializing in No-Nonsense down-to-earth lessons in becoming comfortable in Nature.’ The school can be found in Jackson, Ohio, and has three levels of training, including Pathfinder Basic Course, Mountain Scout Course, and Pathfinder Advanced Course.
The Wilderness Survival Instructor Training and Certification Program are being taught by Dave and four survival experts who centered their training on the 5Cs of Survivability – container, combustion device, cordage, cover, and cutting tool.
Aside from supervising the school, he’s also busy with his online store called Self Reliance Outfitters; it broadly offers outdoor gear for outdoor people, and has a wide variety of survival gear, cutting tools, outdoor cooking, and hunting gear. Information about his Pathfinder School can be found on the site.
Dave also became an author, and has written six books on survival. The first entitled “Survivability for the Common Man” was published in July 2010, when he was still active on TV. The other five books were published by Adams Media in series, which was focused on Bushcraft 101. The first called “Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival” became a New York Times Bestseller in 2014. They released a boxed set to those who wanted to get hold of the five books all-in-one. Some survival enthusiasts requested a visual guide, and so Dave released a graphic version in the form of a coffee table book called “Bushcraft Illustrated,” in 2019.