Yukon Men: Charlie explains basic realities of subsistence living in Alaska

In a Web Exclusive Yukon Men video on the Discovery Channel, Charlie comments on the necessity of guns when living a subsistence lifestyle in Alaska.

It is a solemn week on the Discovery Channel show Yukon Men, as the town of Tanana begins searching for a resident lost on a goose hunting trip. The lost Tananan, George, is the brother-in-law of the town’s jack-of-all-trades, Charlie.

In a Web Exclusive video, executive producer of Yukon Men, French Horwitz, takes time out of the actual show filming to learn about one of Charlie’s passions—his gun collection. Charlie owns over 30 guns, and Horwitz is curious as to how to choose which weapon to select from such an “arsenal.”

Charlie first teaches French how to sight-in a gun. Horwitz nodded a lot, but whether or not he was actually getting what Charlie was explaining was hard to tell. (UPDATE: Mr. Horwitz has since nicely informed me via Twitter that, yes, indeed, he understood perfectly what Charlie had to say--check out his Twitter page here.)

“How old were you when you first learned how to shoot?” Horwitz asked.

“I’ve been shooting a gun since I could pick one up, I think,” Charlie said. “Probably six years old, I started with a .22.”

“Could you live without guns in this part of the world?” Horwitz asked.

“No, not for very long; something would eat you,” Charlie laughed. “You could live in the middle of the town with no gun, but if you want to live a subsistence life, there’s no way you could survive without a gun to kill your meat and to protect yourself from being meat,” he laughed again.

Charlie makes an interesting point in that video: You could survive with no gun if you lived in the middle of a town, but not living a subsistence lifestyle. Perhaps that is a point some residents of Alaska do not even understand, because they are not all, after all, living a subsistence lifestyle. There have been criticisms of the show from people who live in Alaska themselves, indicating that the situations shown each week are a lot of hype, that there is no need for all of the guns and fear of being attacked by wild animals, such as wolves. And, perhaps, as Charlie indicates, if one lives in an Alaskan town or city, that is true. But, no matter where one lives, the rules for subsistence living are different, and the rules for subsistence living in Alaska are probably in a class by themselves.

Just a thought.

Stay tuned.

Watch the Web Exclusive video, “Charlie’s Gun Collection,” here:

And, watch the new episode of Yukon Men on the Discovery Channel tonight, Friday, September 21, at 10/9c.

Would you like to read more about Yukon Men? Search “Yukon Men” right here on Huliq!

UPDATED: George doesn't make it home, Tanana mourns his loss

Image: Discovery Channel

Video: Discovery Channel/Yukon Men

Comments

Submitted by Karen N63 (not verified) on
Yes, bears are a real threat in rural areas of Alaska. Your comment about guns being a lot of hype shows how ignorant you are about the real possibility of making contact with a bear. I have hike in areas right next to urban areas and have seen bears. I have been to Alaska and yes, it is common for everyday people to carry guns if they live outside of town. It would be foolish not to. I think if you had to walk in the brush where you knew bears visited, you would be very uncomfortable without self-protection.

I'm sorry, I'm not sure where you are directing your comment. If it was directly to me, please re-read the section of the article to which you are referring. I did *not* say that guns are a lot of hype; in fact, I *supported* the fact that, living a subsistence lifestyle in particular, one *needs* protection. Even where I reside, in Georgia, black bears are a huge problem, and they are a threat to people in various rural towns; I certainly never said they were not a problem in Alaska, as well.

Submitted by Rodgere1947 (not verified) on
I am disappointed to see Caribou and King Salmon "Harvested" to feed large packs of dogs. I am also disappointed in the conditions the dogs have to "exist" in. Dogs being kept that way in the "Lower 48" would be confiscated by the SPCA. I would think ten dogs per family would be more than adequate since they have their trucks, snow machines and boats.