I don’t particularly like reality shows. I don’t care how “hidden” the cameras, those involved are aware of them and react accordingly. I do believe the producers will and do encourage certain actions/reactions to increase drama for the viewers.
I’m especially irritated with the alleged wilderness and survival shows. Those really get me. My husband loves the Alaskan shows—homesteaders, mountain men, and those that do trapping for the winter. I’m not saying all of them are bad but most of them aren't a good example of how to live in these areas or live off the land.
Anyone who lives in remote areas or in harsh climates has a lot of respect for just what these climates can do for unwary and unprepared. The people who live there are rather contemptuous of stupid. Long time residents never go out unprepared if they want to live. They have a good research library and a damn good medical kit and books and contingencies in place in the event there is a serious medical issue on how to handle medical situations, human and animal (there are several good ones including one put out by the US Army and also books on how to use plants for medicines). They know the terrain, they know how much daylight they have, and they know where they will be stopping and what’s available to them when they do. They dress appropriately and have extras in case they get wet. Accidents can and do happen but the smart woodman prepares for those possibilities and are aware that being stupid can kill you. Even the savvy can be killed in a freak accident.
Granted, there are some good pointers in these shows for when you’re camping out in harsh elements. How to create a shelter, make a warm bed, and keep you warm and hydrated. But, invariably, these shows play the whole scenario of there’s a storm coming and we’re one step from death and what WILL we do? Hello, if you've prepared like a smart person would you ride out the storm. If you haven’t prepared you shouldn't be out there or standing in front of cameras showing your stupidity. Feh.
Most trappers I've known through the years have used the summer to stock foods, lay in wood for the line shacks, plenty of blankets, and keep extra supplies to repair equipment. Even those who use winter tents know the likely spots to stop where there is plenty of wood and shelter from storms and winds. While I’m on irritations, I haven’t known a trapper to go out on the line unarmed. That’s for several reasons, one, to dispatch an animal that may still be alive in the traps, two, to protect themselves against an aggressive predators, and three, to hunt for food if necessary.
I caught part of one particular show recently. The guy is talking about a grizzly that’s been around and looking for food near his cabin. The grizzly had also caused some damage in its quest for food. Yes, he was smart to approach the line shack cautiously. Stop, look, and listen is a mantra for any savvy hunter or woodsman when approaching a place that’s unoccupied most of the year, or anyplace where dangerous predators are part of the population. You don’t know what’s there and it’s smart to be cautious. Surprising a bear, for instance, and particularly a grizzly (which can be territorial and nasty on any given day) isn't wise. But where the hell was this dude’s rifle? He knows there is a grizzly roaming the area and has been hanging around the cabin and he doesn't have a rifle in his hands and a back up pistol on his belt? Seriously? And then he walks up to the cabin door and guess what? There’s hair on the door (I guess the bears up there are taught to be polite and knock). How dramatic.
Then there’s the dude who likes solitude and lives in this cabin in the middle of nowhere and when he’s there, lives off the land. That makes sense. But then he’s just about starving to death? In the summer and early fall? How can you be hungry with all the abundant wildlife to hunt? If he goes to this spot regularly (and he does), how has he not researched edible plants and where they are? Oh, and here’s a novel thought if you’re going to live there from spring to late fall. Ever think of planting a small garden? Fishing is good, but one pole and line? Ever heard of a trotline dude? When it comes to putting food on the table you look for ways to maximize success.
Upcoming guest in June:
4th: Isobel Rey, 6th: Dawn Ryder
13th: Elizabeth Staab, 18th Emily Greewood
20th: Marie Hart, 25th Annalisa Crawford