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Craig Caudill

Best-Selling Author, Backcountry Skills Expert and Instructor, Master Naturalist

Craig Caudill stands at the forefront of wilderness education as the Director and Lead Instructor of Nature Reliance School, acclaimed for his best-selling backcountry skills books and recognized as a certified master naturalist. His comprehensive online and in-person courses are among the most esteemed nationwide, catering to a diverse audience including corporate entities, government agencies, and the general public. Caudill’s expertise in tracking has made him a sought-after educator for first responders at all levels, enhancing their capabilities in the science of tracking both humans and animals. His influence extends to the academic field, where he has facilitated survival and wilderness navigation courses for students from 14 universities across the Southeast.

Caudill's media presence is extensive and varied, featuring prominently on Public Education Television through shows like Kentucky Afield, Kentucky Life, and Tim Farmer's Country Kitchen. His expertise has also been utilized by major networks such as the Discovery Channel and History Channel, where he has contributed as a consultant. Notably, his reach and recognition have been further amplified through appearances on prominent platforms such as America's Most Wanted, Fox News Live, Newsnation, and various regional and local news programs. These engagements have positioned him as a regular figure in national and regional news segments, where he shares his invaluable insights on safety, survival, and tracking skills. This broad spectrum of media appearances not only highlights his depth of knowledge and skill but also solidifies his status as a leading authority in the field of wilderness education and survival training.

He is the author of the books:

He has been featured or his work can also be seen in Field and Stream, Outdoor LifeKinute, Backwoods Survival Guide, American Survival Guide, Self-Reliance Illustrated, American Prepper, Wilderness Way, American Frontiersman, Recoild Off Grid and Ballistic. He has a very active blog containing his podcasts (host and guest spots) and guest blogs for Georgia Bushcraft, Rivers Edge Cutlery, LT Wright Knives, And an active Youtube channel providing education on all things outdoors. Craig has designed knives for LT Wright Handcrafted Knives, Outlier Knives, and Rivers Edge Cutlery.  Craig is forever a student and continues to train and grow in his skill set.


The following listing is a portion of the courses he has completed:
  • BBA, University of Kentucky, Emphasis in Statistical Analysis
  • FBI, Infragard Partner and Educator
  • Certified Master Naturalist, University of Kentucky
  • National Disaster Resilience Council Consultant
  • Level II Naturalist, Kamana Training Program
  • Master Naturalist Program Instructor, University of Kentucky
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Habitat Improvement Program Cooperator
  • Kentucky Division of Forestry, Stewardship Forest Cooperator
  • Lost Person Behavior, Tennessee Department of Emergency Management (no certification)
  • Basic Search and Rescue - Level 1, Kentucky Emergency Management
  • First Aid Certified, Red Cross, American Heart Association
  • Stop the Bleed Certified
  • Wilderness First Aid Certified, American Red Cross
  • Wilderness First Aid, Nature Reliance School (led by guest instructor)
  • 80 Hour Survival Training, Earth School
  • 80 Hour Tracking Intensive, Earth School and Midwest Native Skills Institute Combo
  • 80 Hour Scout Reconnaissance Earth School and Midwest Native Skills Institute Combo
  • 60 Hour Level 1 and Level 2 Mantracking, The Scott-Donelan Tracking School
  • 40 Hour Level 1 Building Tactical Acuity for Counter-IED, Enhanced Tracking Applications
  • 40 Hour Level 1 Mantracking, Tyr Group
  • 20 Hour Basic Human Tracking, Natural Awareness Tracking School
  • 20 Hour Visual Tracking Tactics, Hull's Tracking School
  • 40 Hour Low Elements Challenge Course Certification, Eastern Kentucky University
  • 20 Hour Basic Tracking, Nature Awareness Tracking School
  • 40 Hour High Course Elements Challenge Course Certification, Eastern Kentucky University
  • 30 Hour Basic Pistol Defense, Iron Sight Defense
  • 30 Hour Advanced Pistol Defense, Iron Sight Defense
  • 40 Hour Tactical Survival, Iron Sight Defense
  • 30 Hour Team Fighting Course, Iron Sight Defense
  • 10 Hour CQB Rifle/Pistol, Iron Sight Defense
  • 20 Hour Fighting Rifle Level 1 Iron Sight Defense
  • 30 Hour Fighting Pistol, Tactical Response
  • Certified Defensive Tactics Instructor, Force Options USA
  • 4 Hour Rifle/Pistol Transition Training Performance Edge Training
  • Certified Shooting Coach 4-H
  • Training in Judo since 1988
  • Training in Aikido since 1990, Certified Shidoin Shinjinkai Martial Arts Society
  • Occasional student of Krav Maga, BJJ and FCS.
  • 101st Airborne, Ft. Campbell Kentucky
  • FBI SWAT, Mantracking Instructor
  • DEA, Adjunct Instructor Backcountry Skills
  • DEA Pilots, Survival and Land Navigation Skills Instructor
  • United States Border Patrol, Mantracking Instructor
  • Kentucky Army National Guard, Mantracking Instructor
  • Kentucky Army National Guard Erad Team, Mantracking Instructor
  • Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, Disaster Readiness Instructor
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers, Backcountry Skills (survival and mantracking) Instructor
  • Georgia, Oconee County Sheriff's Office, Mantracking Instructor
  • Eastern Kentucky University, Wildlife Managers Instruction on Backcountry Skills
  • Bernheim Forest Land Managers and Naturalists, Wildlife Tracking 
  • 20 Universities Wildlife Managers Conclave, Wilderness Safety and Survival Skills Instructor
  • Kentucky Woodlot Owners Association, Safety and Survival Instructor
  • Department of Defense, MEAC Skills (Wilderness Safety and Survival) Instructor
  • National Disaster Resiliencey Council, Disaster Readiness Consultant
  • Electric Cooperatives of Kentucky, Active Shooter and Situational Awareness Instructor
  • Public Library Program Speaker and Educator, Backcountry Skills (30 various libraries in Kentucky
  • Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Situational Awareness Instructor
  • University of Kentucky, Adjust Instructor of Backcountry Skills
  • Backcountry Skills Instructor (Mantracking and Safety/Survival), Several area Sheriff's Offices and Police Departments
  • Kentucky Tactical Officer's Association (SWAT, SRT, SRU teams) Mantracking Instructor
  • Search and Rescue Teams to include several several Southeastern States, Texas and Utah.  


  • Mike Hull's Tracking School
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Fieldcraft Survival
  • The Bulwarks
  • MALC Training Institute
  • Georgia Bushcraft
  • Boone County Conservation District
  • University of Kentucky Master Naturalist Program
  • University of Kentucky 4H
  • Berea College Outdoors and Adventure Programs
  • Eastern Kentucky University Adventure Programs
  • Eastern Kentucky Ecology Programs
  • Kentucky State University Ecology Programs
  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Programs
  • Bernheim Forest and Arboretum

Craig was awarded the title of Kentucky Colonel and has also received numerous awards from the various military and law-enforcement agencies he has trained.  

Nature Reliance School was recognized as the Outstanding Business for Excellence in Environmental Education by the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education in 2021.