Coyote Peterson is a wild man, or at least he plays one on his hugely popular Youtube channel, Brave Wilderness. Peterson, born Nathaniel Peterson, grew up in rural Ohio, about 20 miles east of Cleveland, and studied film at the Ohio State University. Today he describes himself as an “extreme field zoologist” and his show is part-Jackass and part Trials of Life. Many of his videos feature acts of sadomasochism. They bear titles like 3000 BEES ATTACK MY FACE!, QUILLED BY A PORCUPINE! and STUNG BY A BULLET ANT! the most painful sting in the world. The last video got nearly 25 million views. Now Peterson, father of one, can add another all-capped boast to his name: I TOOK THE FATHERLY QUESTIONNAIRE!
What is your name?
Animal adventure show host for the Brave Wilderness channel on Youtube.
How old is your child?
My daughter is nine years old.
What is her name?
I don’t say her name to the public, but we call her Pup. She actually got her nickname from her mom when she was about three years old. I would take her out on adventures and it’s like how a coyote has a baby and it is called a pup. I’m Coyote. She’s Pup.
Is she named after anyone in particular?
What does your child call you?
She doesn’t call me Coyote. Well, she does sometimes as a joke. But mostly I am just dad.
How often do you see her?
I see my family almost every day except for when I’m traveling. Then I go a couple of weeks of not seeing them, which is tough.
Describe yourself as a father in three words.
Compassionate, caring, and understanding.
Describe your father in three words.
Reliable, hardworking, and determined. He was a great role model. He was determined to make sure that his family was well taken care of. We had a pond in the back of our house and we would go back there and fish together. It was actually the same pond where I caught my first snapping turtle. It was a 40-pound common snapping turtle.
What are your strengths as a father?
I am very committed to making sure my daughter is well taken care of and has a bright future in front of her.
What do you think are some of your weaknesses as a father? Relatedly, which is your biggest regret as a father?
I am not there physically 24/7 for my daughter, although I wish that I could be. The fact that my job takes me away as much is my biggest struggle and regret.
What is your favorite activity to do with your daughter? That is, your special father-daughter thing?
Our favorite thing to do is to go hike around the pond in our local area and we look for frogs and turtles.
What has been the moment you are most proud of as a father?
Recently, we were at our favorite pond in our neighborhood. There was this huge bullfrog that was way out further then I thought she would be able to catch. She was like, “No. No. I’m gonna try.” I thought her approach was going to be to lean over and try and catch it and then tumble over into the water. I was like “Alright, if you are going to go for it, go for it.” I was already doubting her. Then on her own, she decided she going to lay down and she completely stretched half the length of herself over the water. Then she managed to reach out and catch this frog with one hand. I mean this frog was the size of her arm. It must have been one of the biggest ones she has ever caught. She was so excited to catch the frog and I kind of ate my shoe at that point. I went “Well, I guess I’m never going to doubt you again.”
What heirloom did your father give to you, if any?
Nothing really. I have an old baseball glove he gave me when I used to play sports. I used it for a while then I was like, this baseball glove is too old. I can’t use it.
What heirloom do you want to leave for your children, if anything?
We have a collection of the things I find on my expeditions alone or things that we find together. The biggest thing in the collection right now is an incredibly perfect condition buffalo skull hanging in our family room. I found it out on the prairie of this private land. I found it with Pup. When I did, she was like that’s mine too right. I said, “Well, maybe one day it will be yours.”
What’s the “dad special” for dinner?
Are you religious and are you raising your kids in that tradition?
I prefer not to answer that question.
What’s a mistake you made growing up that you don’t want your kids to make?
There was nothing I ever did growing up that I was like “Man, I wish I could go back and redo that.” I was given a lot of freedom, which led me to creating a lot of my own responsibilities. Honestly, it has correlated to where I have ended up with my career. It is very hard to stay committed to an artistic career that for a long time especially when I was not getting paid. However, I went years developing my dream projects all while attending a day job to make ends meet. I would even use my vacation time to pursue my dreams! I was raised by parents with an open mind, taught to follow my dreams and I was trusted to be responsible for myself which I ultimately attribute to my success as an adult.
How do you make sure that you let Pup know you love her?
I make sure I call her or text her every day when I’m traveling. When we do spend time with together, I constantly remind her that she is my best friend. I tell her that I am doing all of this work and this crazy travel to try to be a role model to kids. I want her to be proud of her dad.