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Thread: Living off the land - alaska

  1. #1
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    Default Living off the land - alaska

    Here is a link to an experience by Buck Nelson, who spent two months on Admiralty Island, Alaska, with NO store bought food other than salt and pepper.

    For those who think that in a SHTF situation they'll just grab their bug out bag, AR 15, and head for the hills, they might want to read this carefully. Living off the land ain't hardly as easy as it sounds, even where game and fish are sometimes plentiful.

    It's a very interesting read.

    http://bucktrack.com/Alaska_Survival_Trip.html

    Note his "Gear List," also.

    Enjoy.

    S.M.
    Last edited by Seniorman; 09-21-2014 at 05:26 PM.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),U.S. statesman, scientist, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Interesting....and seemed like a p[lace with quite a bit of food.
    I gonna guess having a lot of one kind of food,.... then nothing, ....is season .....so on to something different, is something most of us don't have to deal with in normal lives.

    He eluded to that a few times.....

    Gear list was also interesting......
    Thanks for posting.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I haven't finished it yet, but good read so far. I'm pretty certain that a crab that was 1/8" too small would not have survived the encounter.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    On past trips I found that take along snacks went fast....then the eating the same foods everyday comes into play.....or pray you find something new.
    Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, 9 days old.

    Did sound like he did just fine.....lots of gear though.
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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    didn't have a 22lr though
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyt View Post
    didn't have a 22lr though
    Jeez - I wonder how he made it.
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    Wilderness Traveller Brooks Range's Avatar
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    Buck Nelson here. I did have a lot of gear. I was jumping in with both feet and promised myself that I wouldn't push the panic button.

    That is wet country, that definitely had a big impact on my packing list. Hypothermia, drowning and falls were the biggest dangers, with bears trailing way behind.

    Of course, it was a huge advantage being able to take lots of gear, like a nice tent and an inflatable kayak. There were a few disadvantages to this trip compared to, say, "the old days." Game regs, for example. I had to wait for deer season to open, and then could hunt only bucks. I couldn't shoot or club or spear salmon, and had to release snagged ones. I had to release small crabs. I couldn't hunt waterfowl at all because it was too early in the year. I couldn't shoot or harpoon any marine mammals. I couldn't use an axe or saw to build a shelter in that designated wilderness.

    Things are never quite like you think they'll be. When I started planning I thought I'd eat lots of shellfish, but I learned shellfish poisoning is a real risk. I thought I'd hunt a lot of small game. I never saw a single grouse, and there were hardly any small animals other than an occasional pine squirrel, and numerous mink! No beaver, no porcupine, no woodchucks. I fired ONE SHOT! At a deer. I could have shot another deer or two but the first deer lasted to near the end of my stay.

    SALMON, that was the BIG advantage of the trip, and that's why tribes gravitated towards good salmon grounds.

    A big lesson is it took a surprising amount of food to maintain weight. I was eating about 3 lbs of meat a day, plus berries and plant food, and I still lost about 20 lbs. I could have eaten more deer tallow, that would have helped considerably, I'm sure.

    It was a real learning experience, I wasn't familiar with that ecosystem. There's always a lot to learn.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Great write up in your journal. Looks like a great adventure.
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    Wilderness Traveller Brooks Range's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Great write up in your journal. Looks like a great adventure.
    Thanks crashdive!

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    Buck, that was a fantastic read.....you've done more or less the kind of thing I've been dreaming about since somebody gave me a copy of My Side of the Mountain when I was 10. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

  11. #11

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    That was a great write-up and sounds like it was a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing!

    Did you find that your weight loss was due to your body reaching an equilibrium with such an active lifestyle while you were out there, or was it due to eating such lean foods?

    I think I might have been tempted to start cracking those deer bones to try and get the marrow out of them. I think I would've been absolutely craving some melted butter to dip all of that crab meat into.

    Thanks again for sharing!

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    It's always good to hear from a been there did that, kind of write up...guy....Thanks.

    I was surprised to see and canning set up included in the gear.....just don't see or hear about that.....Interesting.

    So.....I have to ask....could you do it with just your knife?

    Eating lean meat does cause yearning for because of a lack of fat ....but would think that fish and sea food would add to that in a diet?
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    Senior Member Winter's Avatar
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    Hey, you survived.

    What a great read. I hope some of the info on SE I gave you helped.
    Last edited by Winter; 09-22-2014 at 03:59 PM.
    I had a compass, but without a map, it's just a cool toy to show you where oceans and ice are.

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    Wilderness Traveller Brooks Range's Avatar
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    Thanks Tundrabadger, Farmer_Al, hunter63.

    Winter, you had some good advice, sea asparagus for example. I looked for it based on your advice and ate it many times. Thanks!

    Canning is common among modern sourdoughs.

    Weight loss is really interesting because I was eating quite a bit. I DID miss quite a few meals when I'd get sidetracked fishing or whatever, but I still was averaging close to that 3 lbs of meat/fish/crabs a day.

    I enjoy long distance hiking. Most male long distance hikers, Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail etc, lose in the neighborhood of 20 lbs during a summer on the trail. They are likely burning more calories per day, but also eating much more high fat foods. For example, on town days a thru-hiker will typically eat lots of ice cream (I like the 1.75 quart cartons!) a large pizza, eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet if available, etc. On a 2000 mile hike, weight loss is often steep at first, then levels off, and near the end of the trail there is often a slight weight gain. I think it's the body adapting to harder work and less food.

    I was surely getting significant fat from salmon and some from venison (as mentioned, I discarded some large chunks of deer fat.) My ~20 lb weight loss supports the case of "rabbit starvation." McCandless, for example, was probably eating 1/3 the calories, or less, than I was. It's no wonder he starved to death (despite Krakauer's changing poison seed/moldy seed/lathyrism theories.) I think my weight loss had likely stabilized as my body adapted, and I would probably have gained a bit back assuming I continued to eat the same amount.

    Survive there for that length of time with just a knife? Probably, if I absolutely had to, but I shudder at the thought.

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    Awesome read. I must admit I'm extremely jealous. When I retire I do plan on an adventure much like this. Thanks for the post. I'm sure you have many stories. And as for a lot of beginners who think that a trip like this is a walk in the park should really read up on this journal. I know wilderness survival is not easy. Food is not always thrown at you and the entire time it is physically demanding. Great job and glad to see you completeled safe. Hope to hear more of your adventures.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xjosh40x View Post
    Awesome read. I must admit I'm extremely jealous. When I retire I do plan on an adventure much like this. Thanks for the post. I'm sure you have many stories. And as for a lot of beginners who think that a trip like this is a walk in the park should really read up on this journal. I know wilderness survival is not easy. Food is not always thrown at you and the entire time it is physically demanding. Great job and glad to see you completeled safe. Hope to hear more of your adventures.
    Please don't wait to "retire" to do what ever it is you want to do......it just gets tougher as you get older.
    Most every time I have had friends say "When I retire....".....it's like saying "maybe tomorrow..."...... Never happens.
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    And I've had a LOT of friends that didn't last six months after retirement. Just sayin'....

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    Very true guys. I'll be 37 when I retire from the military and 45 from my civilian job. Perhaps young enough. I would do something like this now as I'm in great shape. But a long trip, missing work and my family isn't easy. Perhaps plan for a few years and save the vacation time and do a 4 week trip is more practical.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Most people will find the time to di what they want to do, no matter what.....
    If it's important, you will do it.
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  20. #20
    Wilderness Traveller Brooks Range's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Most people will find the time to do what they want to do, no matter what.....
    If it's important, you will do it.
    That's true, to a point. It's easy to keep putting things off and putting things off. We never do everything we want to do.

    This is one of my favorite quotes:

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

    -- Mark Twain

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