Michigander Was Attacked By A Shark, Rattlesnake, And Bear, and Now He’s Opening Bushcraft School in the U.P.
Dylan McWilliams is either the luckiest, UNluckiest... or Tastiest person to ever exist. Three times within 4 years, he's been attacked by some of North America's deadliest predators - a rattlesnake in Utah; a Black Bear in Colorado; and a shark in Hawaii - and survived to tell the tales!
Now, he and his wife are hoping to open a homestead and bushcraft school in the Upper Peninsula to educate people on survival techniques.
Dylan is living now near Ironwood, right near the Wisconsin border in the U.P., but when he was making a career as "professional bait," he was living in Colorado. He regularly tours the country, though, teaching wilderness survival.
First came the Rattlesnake.
"I was in Moab, Utah, doing some search and rescue training, and we were in a canyon about 4 miles from a road. As I was hiking out, it was getting dark, I was in flip flops... I don't know what I was thinking... as I was walking by some smaller boulders, a rattlesnake struck out and got me just about my ankle."
Dylan said 60 percent of rattlesnake bites are "dry" bites, meaning they don't inject venom, so he waited to see if he showed symptoms. When none surfaced, he finished hiking out. But then got sick that night and the next day.
"I got through it alright, didn't have to go to the hospital or anything."
Then, came probably the most harrowing attack two years later. Dylan was teaching survival skills to a summer camp near Boulder, Colorado. One night, he was sleeping next to a camp fire - no tent. Just out in the open, in his sleeping bag.
"I woke up about 4 in the morning to a big crunch, a bear grabbed my head, and started dragging me out of my sleeping bag and into the woods. I started fighting back as hard as I could - punching it and yelling, just doing anything to fight. It dropped me about 15, 20 feet from my sleeping bag. Stomped on me... I can remember its nose comin' right down on my cheek and sniffing me and figuring out what I was... That was pretty scary. I thought it was gonna take another bite out of my face."
He suffered several bite marks and claw scratches across his head, but mostly made a full recovery from the incident.
And FINALLY, just before the pandemic, Dylan was surfing while living the beach life in Hawaii - sleeping in hammocks and spear fishing for his food, when he got a shock in the water.
"I had learned how to surf a little bit... caught a great wave, rode it in, and as I was paddling back out, something knocked me off the board. I started trying to figure out what was going on, saw a bunch of blood in the water, then saw the shark underneath me. I started paddling back to shore as quick as I could. I saw it circle around me again, started kicking at it. I kicked it once for sure. That paddle back to shore felt like a lifetime."
Dylan had been attacked by a tiger shark, approximately 6 feet long, and needed several stitches.
Despite his harrowing events, Dylan still loves the outdoors, and seems quite qualified now to teach his survivalist school. But until recently, he hasn't had a home base to set everything up.
"That's why we're trying to start a homestead bushcraft school up here. I want to teach kids, people, anybody that wants to learn how to live off the land, live simply, and wilderness survival skills."
He and his wife have settled on a spot in the U.P. to call home for the homestead. At the front of their property, they want to set up their survivalist school, and teach people how to live off the land.