Bushcraft and Wilderness Activities

Course CodeBTR201
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Survive and Thrive in Wilderness Locations

The wilderness is an exciting place to be, but it is vital that you are prepared and ready for what it can throw at you. Once you are out there, it is usually not possible to return to get things that have been forgotten. 

If you are looking for a course which:

  • Provides guidance about climate and ecology 
  • Develops an understanding of different bush craft  and wilderness activities
  • Provides guidance on equipment for various scenarios
  • Helps to plan for emergencies

Then this is the course you have been looking for. This would suit a variety of different people including:

  • Ecotour Operators
  • Tour Leaders
  • Camp Managers
  • Activity Leaders
  • Support Workers
  • Anyone working in a wilderness area

Being prepared is crucial, this in depth course will develop your knowledge and understanding to feel confident being in a wilderness area. 


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding Wilderness Areas
    • Introduction
    • Living Things
    • Ecological Relationships
    • Climatic Zones
    • Climate/Soil/Vegetation Interrelationships
    • Plant Associations
    • Understanding Impacts of Weather on Wilderness Activities
    • Terminology
    • Participants Fitness Levels
  2. Equipment
    • Equipping to Survive
    • Clothing
    • Nutrition
    • Risk Assessment
  3. Protection from the Elements
    • Introduction
    • Hypothermia
    • First Aid Procedures
    • Hyperthermia
    • First Aid Procedures
    • Building a Wilderness Shelter
    • Lighting a Fire
  4. Natural Resources
    • Introduction
    • Finding Water
    • Bush Tucker or Survival Food
    • Animals for Food
  5. Navigation
    • Introduction
    • Navigation & Direction Finding
    • Map Reading
    • Longitude and Latitude
    • Scale
    • Contour Lines
    • Estimating Distances
    • Pacing
    • Navigation by the sun, moon and stars
  6. Dealing with Emergencies
    • Introduction
    • A Person can Live For:
    • Venomous Creatures & First Aid
    • Carnivorous Mammals
    • Poisonous Plants
    • Bushfires
  7. Camping
    • Setting up Camp
    • Waste Disposal
  8. Passive Wilderness Activities
    • Introduction
    • Observing Nature
    • Orienteering
    • Environmental Activities for Kids
    • Observation Activities
    • Collecting Activities
  9. Water Based Adventure Activities
    • Introduction
    • Water Based Activities
  10. Active Land Based Adventure Activities
    • Introductions
    • Activities
    • Motor Activities


  • Describe the scope and implications of ecotourism opportunities in wilderness areas.
  • Prepare for an excursion into a wilderness area
  • Determine appropriate methods of protecting against the elements.
  • Determine different uses for natural resources in the wilderness.
  • Navigate in a wilderness area using a variety of different techniques.
  • Deal with a range of emergencies in a wilderness situation, including developing contingency plans and determining appropriate first aid.
  • Explain campsite establishment and management.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for managing different passive wilderness activities.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for managing different water based wilderness activities.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for managing different active wilderness activities.

How to treat Spider and Snake Bites


Spiders do not attack in herds. Spiders do not lay in wait and attack people. Spiders do not lift the covers at night and crawl into bed to bite people as they are sleeping. Some spiders can jump but they are not intentionally jumping at humans to attack them. A spider generally bites a human because it was scared and bites to defend itself. Spiders generally prefer to live in undisturbed areas such as corners of the house or the eaves or in the garden where they can catch insects in peace.

Spider venom is a cocktail of many chemicals. Some are toxins, which evolved in order to kill or immobilise arthropods like insects by attacking their nervous systems; others help break down the victim's tissues so the spider can ingest a liquefied meal. Unfortunately, a few of these chemicals can be seriously toxic to people. But in general, spider venom causes us no more than mild local pain and inflammation. However, some species of spider can give a fatal bite. A handful of spiders worldwide are considered dangerous: widow spiders, recluse spiders, hobo spiders, and Australian funnel-webs are a few. The first aid for a spider bites is the same as that for a snake (there are some antivenins for spider bites worldwide). However, for Red Back Spider bites, compression is not advised, instead, cold should be applied to the bite site and general area and the limb immobilised with a sling or similar.

Both Funnel-web and Red back Spider venoms contain toxins that attack our nervous system (neurotoxins), usually by interfering with nerve impulse transmission, so disrupting many of the body's functions. In extreme cases, this can result in death due to respiratory or circulatory failure.

Antivenins are produced by injecting horses, goats or rabbits with the particular venom. This doesn't harm these animals because they are either given only small venom doses or they have a naturally mild reaction to the venom. Antibody molecules are produced as a result of the reaction of the animal's immune systems to the foreign venom molecules. These are used to make life-saving antivenins for humans. Molecular research aimed at making synthetic antivenins is in progress.

Bites for scorpions can be extremely painful and which can sometimes be limited with an ice cube held on the area bitten. Morphine injections may be given but only if a doctor in present. Generally, a scorpion bite is treated the same way as a snake bite. The majority of scorpions are not deadly to humans, but medical opinion is best sought following a sting.

First aid

  • Those at greatest risk, as with any poison, are the very young or elderly and those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
  • Suspected funnel-web or mouse spider bites should always be treated as quickly as possible by applying a pressure bandage and immobilising the victim (do not cut the wound or apply a tight tourniquet).
  • Bandaging is not necessary for Redback Spider bites. Applying pressure worsens the pain that often comes with Redback bites.


Antivenins have been developed for most venomous snakes therefore there is little cause for death. However, the isolated location of some wilderness trips poses a considerable problem as antivenins are not readily transportable. It is important not to partake in any behaviour that may lead to contact with a snake (and a possible bite). Bites have occurred where people have tried to pick up snakes, or reached into hollows thoughtlessly. If you are in areas where snakes are present there are a few things one can do to avoid an attack:

  • Clap your hands occasionally (this may alert the snake and it will slither away - most snakes are more likely retreat than attack).
  • Avoid poking hands in hollows or burrows.
  • Avoid walking in areas of dense, high grass (if you can’t avoid it ensure adequate footwear is worn).
  • Keep an eye out for snakes on the track ahead and allow them to pass.


If a snake does rear to attack raise the toe of your leading boot and commence walking backwards slowly. Often the snake will strike the nearest object and in this case it will be the sole of your boot.

Symptoms of a poisonous bite

While each individual may experience symptoms differently, the following are the most common symptoms of poisonous snake bites:

  • swelling at the site of the bite
  • pain or weakness in muscles
  • coughing up blood or passing blood through urine
  • severe localized pain
  • diarrhoea
  • burning
  • convulsions
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • blurred vision
  • excessive sweating and saliva
  • fever
  • increased thirst
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty swallowing
  • numbness and tingling
  • rapid pulse

First aid

If a bite does occur apply a compression bandage to the bitten area and have the patient stay very still. This prevents venom travelling with the pumping action of the muscles. The patient must be taken to hospital as soon as possible and kept as still as possible during transport.

The lymphatic system is responsible for systemic spread of most venom. This can be reduced by the application of a firm bandage (as firm as you would put on a sprained ankle) over a folded pad placed over the bitten area. While firm, it should not be so tight that it stops blood flow to the limb or to congest the veins. Start bandaging directly over the bitten area, ensuing that the pressure over the bite is firm and even. If you have enough bandage you can extend towards more central parts of the body, to delay spread of any venom that has already started to move centrally.

Immobility is best attained by application of a splint or sling, using a bandage or whatever to hand to absolutely minimise all limb movement, reassurance and immobilisation (e.g. putting the patient on a stretcher). Where possible, bring transportation to the patient (rather then vice versa). Don't allow the victim to walk or move a limb. Walking should be prevented.

Removal of the bandage will be associated with rapid systemic spread. Hence ALWAYS wait until the patient is in a fully-equipped medical treatment area before bandage removal is attempted.

  • Do NOT wash the area of the bite!
  • It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits!
  • Bites to the head, neck, and back are a special problem - firm pressure should be applied locally if possible.
  • Do NOT cut or excise the area or apply an arterial tourniquet! Both these measures are ineffective and may make the situation worse.
  • Do NOT try to suck out the venom. It causes bruising and additional injury to the bite site and if you do ingest some of the poison yourself you will also become ill.


There are lots of reasons why you should study this course with us, here are just a few of those:

  • Having knowledge of how to plan and deliver wilderness activities is essential to ensure the safety of the group you are with, this course takes you though this in various scenarios.
  • Developing an understanding within a variety of different areas, not only ensures that you have knowledge but it also provides you with a level of confidence 
  • Within the course you will be required to apply what you're learning to specific settings that you are interested in, meaning you are applying theory to practice
  • Throughout the course you will be supported by subject specialist tutors who are there to share their knowledge and to answer any questions you may have
  • Our courses are designed to be studied flexibly, so that you can gain a qualification whilst enabling you to carry on with existing commitments 


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!

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