Joe Brandl

Age: 55 years old
Occupation: Professional Hide Tanner & Survival Instructor
Current Residence: Dubois, Wyoming
Relationship Status: Newly Married
Survival Skills: Knots/Lashings, Shelters, Adaptability

Joe has spent most of his life learning and practicing the old woodcraft skills of both primitive people and through scouting. He says, "It was never really considered surviving way back then, just thriving with your environment." Growing up in Nebraska, he would hide away in the small creeks and rivers building shelters, trapping, hunting, and fishing. His father died when he was ten and Joe's scoutmaster and wrestling coach became his mentors, shaping him into the person he is today.

His love for the outdoors and wildlife led him to attend the University of Nebraska to obtain a B.S. in Natural Resources/Wildlife Management. Moving to Wyoming, Joe began working for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. As he built a life there, he began researching more about western history and the daily life of those who lived back then. Not satisfied with just reading the old journals, he recreated and practiced the same primitive and essential skills they used to survive. This included hunting buffalo off horseback with traditional weapons like the bow and the spear.

Joe continued practicing these old skills and teaching hem to his scout troop whom he considered the best and toughest group of scouts in the West. Joe believes, "survival skills should become life skills, especially when you live in Wyoming." His mantras in life and the ones he will rely on during his 21 days are: "When you fail - fail forward," "Expectations are the seeds of unhappiness" and "No plan survives first contact with the enemy."

While he does not consider himself an "expert" at anything, Joe continues to learn from others and improve his woodcraft skills which he, in turn, teaches to others. He is proud that, at the age of 55, he is the oldest participant so far to take on the 21 day challenge and feels blessed that he was chosen.

Joe's hope for the 21 day journey is to have a partner that is "positive, a hard worker and has a sense of humor." He believes both his mental and outdoor skills as well as a "never quit" attitude will guide him through this adventure. No matter what the outcome is or his final PSR score, Joe says he will be "satisfied he has done his best and treated his partner with the utmost respect."

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