10 With Gayne: Cody Lundin

Cody Lundin
Gayne: My 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son love your show. They watch it as sort of a puzzle. They try to see if they can guess what you or Dave will do with the materials at hand. This from kids who's other favorite show has a super annoying yellow sponge. Why do you think survival shows are so popular? Cody: A variety of reasons. I think in America, especially with the terror attacks, hurricanes like Katrina, and the recession, we are starting to see just how bad things can get. How dependent we are on the grid. How fragile it really is. I think that draws up something deeper in us. Something unsettling. And it's reassuring to see how people can survive. Can make it. I think people also like to see indigenous skills, which have been really popular in Europe for quite some time. Also I think people like the adventure factor.
Cody Lundin
Gayne: My 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son love your show. They watch it as sort of a puzzle. They try to see if they can guess what you or Dave will do with the materials at hand. This from kids who's other favorite show has a super annoying yellow sponge. Why do you think survival shows are so popular? Cody: A variety of reasons. I think in America, especially with the terror attacks, hurricanes like Katrina, and the recession, we are starting to see just how bad things can get. How dependent we are on the grid. How fragile it really is. I think that draws up something deeper in us. Something unsettling. And it's reassuring to see how people can survive. Can make it. I think people also like to see indigenous skills, which have been really popular in Europe for quite some time. Also I think people like the adventure factor.
Gayne: Oh, and my daughter says you should quit using the "A" word. Cody: What "A" word? Gayne: [Rhymes with bass] Cody: [Laughs] Oh well. Yeah…
Gayne: I imagine you both end up swearing a lot though while filming on assignment. Cody: [Continues laughing.] Exactly. Two guys in the woods that curse a lot. That's us.
Gayne: Dave looks like he snores to me. If so, I bet that's real annoying out in the field. Cody: [Laughs] Some things are better left unsaid. Let's say he throws a lot at me during the night. We throw things at each other. But you know when you're sleeping on the ground, your hip just goes numb after a while and you end up rolling around a lot. That cuts down on the snoring quite a bit. Breaks it up at least.
Gayne: Where does the film crew stay during the filming of Dual Survival? Cody: They don't stay where we stay, that's for sure. Off somewhere else.
Gayne: Give us a tour de Cody from head to toe. The nose ring? You have a good story to go with that? Cody: Not really. I got it maybe 15 years ago. If I had my way I'd be covered in tattoos, buckskin and feathers. That's just who I am. I really like all that.
Gayne: The necklace? Cody: I made it myself out of things given to me. Some involving death. You know, death is not the end … It's all very important to me. All the items have a lot of significance and they're all very important … It has a Thor's hammer on it. The claws are mountain lion. I topped them in red ochre from an old Indian ochre mine out here in the wilderness where I live. [The necklace] represents symbology that is important to me. Author's note: Hearing Cody talk about his necklace, it became very clear from the beginning that it is very special to him. His voice didn't wavier or change, nor did his tone. But there was definitely something different about him as he discussed it. Something very, almost, "mystical," and that's not a word I use very often, if ever. I'm not sure what to compare it to.
Gayne: Bracelet? Cody: It's an old Navajo Indian sand cast that my mother gave me a long time ago. I wear it all the time. Pretty much 24/7. So much that I'm wearing the silver down on the back.
Gayne: Tattoo on your leg? Cody: Which one? Gayne: The big one. Cody: I got that in New Zealand, in Queenstown, a few months ago after we filmed an episode on the south island. It's a Māori design but the guy that did it was white. He does a lot of movie stars … what is his name? I let him pick the design. I nodded yes. Went with it.
Gayne: Was that tapped in? Cody: No. He used an electric needle. Very unromantic. But the Hohokam Indian horny toad on my ankle was done in the desert with a barrel cactus needle. My friend also used cochineal, a bug that lives on prickly pear cactus that when squished makes a red dye - same thing the British redcoats were originally dyed from - but I bled that part out.
Gayne: Of course in a survival situation no food that's safe to eat should be ruled out because of taste or aesthetics, that being said what's the nastiest thing you've ever eaten on the show or during your practice of aboriginal skills? Cody: Nasty is a relative term … scorpions are nasty. I never ate boogers as a kid but I bet they taste a lot like scorpions.
Gayne: In your book When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes! You state you hunt the cottontails that live on your roof for food. What's your favorite cottontail recipe? Cody: Grill 'em. Just grill 'em. Pretty much with nothing on them. I like to taste the rabbit. I don't even use salt. I eat pretty much everything that way. I eat the whole animal minus the GT. And the anus. I prefer rats over rabbits though. Pack rat tastes like duck. It has a very nutty flavor.
Gayne: What percent of your students would you guess are hunters? Cody: Very few. Maybe five percent. [Unfortunately] most hunters [think they] know it all ...
Gayne: So you think hunters should take a survival course before heading a field.
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Cody:** Oh yeah.
Gayne: You think it should be mandated? Maybe have it taught during a hunter education course? Cody: Survival is part of a hunter education course out here, but as soon as you mandate something you run into problems. I mean if it was required, where would they get the people to teach it? Who would teach it? Would it be anyone with a foundation of outdoor survival? Someone like me that's been living this way for over 20 years? More often than not, building a crappy foundation of survival skills from a knot-head "instructor" is more dangerous than having no training at all. But yes, I think it would be very important for people to take from a qualified person. Especially young kids just getting into the sport. They learn about hunting from their dad or uncle but do they learn how to take care of and provide for themselves if something goes wrong.
Gayne: Two more questions, you've been going barefoot for several decades now. But your show films all over the world. How do you board a plane with no shoes? I mean it must be pretty nice at the security check but after that? Cody: You don't [board a plane without shoes]. I carry flip-flops with me to get on the plane. Once you're on the plane most people don't care. Man, down in Peru though they were like the shoe Nazis. They kept after me hard. Even in the airport after the flight. Laos was good. They didn't care what I didn't wear. Plus, they've got really hot women there. [Laughs]
Gayne: Am I the only person that's ever noticed you resemble Sam Kinison? Cody: Who is Sam Kinison? Gayne: Oh, come on. You know who he is … 80's comic. He was in Rodney Dangerfield's movie Back to School as the irate history teacher. Cody: I'm drawing a blank. Photo: http://www.samkinison.org/index.html
Gayne: The first time I caught your show I said, "What the hell is Sam Kinison and Jesse Ventura …" Cody: He was the one that was a governor? Gayne: Yeah. Cody: I can see that. Gayne: Thanks for your time Cody. I'd love to make it out to Arizona for one of your classes. Cody: Absolutely. Photo: Cory Barnes