Survivorman fan found dead in Muskoka wilderness
Published On Wed Mar 3 2010
Just before dawn on Thursday morning, Richard Code disappeared into the darkness and lit out for the Ontario wilderness, bringing little more than a few supplies and the skills he had learned from watching Survivorman, a reality show about subsisting in the bush.
The 41-year-old left behind a note, asking his landlady to call police if he failed to return by Sunday night. On Monday, she reported him missing and on Wednesday afternoon, Code’s body was found in a marshy, snowed-in area just north of Huntsville.
Police say Code’s death is not considered suspicious at this time and his brother Stephen Code said OPP have informed him that the cause of death was hypothermia.
It remains unclear if Code has ever received formal wilderness training but relatives say much of his knowledge came from watching Survivorman. The Discovery Channel program featured survival expert Les Stroud living in the wilderness without food, shelter or equipment and Code would often attempt similar trips, venturing into the Muskoka backwoods without food or tents.
For some outdoor education experts, “survivalist” reality shows have skewed the public’s perception of how dangerous it really is to live off the land, prompting inexperienced campers to venture into the woods with a bolstered sense of confidence.
For survival instructor Gino Ferri, shows like Survivorman make for excellent entertainment but should never substitute real-world training.
“TV abstracts the real ugliness of survival,” said Ferri, who runs a school called Survival in the Bush and trained Stroud back in the day. “They make the wilderness look like it’s a romantic place. Well, it’s romantic, as long as you have all your gear and you’re camping and enjoying it. In a survival situation, it’s a nightmare.”