Atz Kilcher explains how seriously he takes the necessary task of killing animals, sometimes for food, sometimes for protection, on Alaska: The Last Frontier.
The rules are different when residing in America’s final frontier, and the Kilchers of Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier are living that dream day by day.
But, some viewers may have a hard time keeping their eyes open as the family goes through their daily lives, protecting their property and providing food for their tables.
As the producers warn as the show begins, as well as when it returns from a commercial:
Alaska is the last frontier.
Hunting is essential for survival.
Some images are disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
And, so it should be.
A Necessary Part Of Off-the-Grid Living
There is a large disconnect between most people and what it really takes to put food on their tables.
They are happy to go to through a fast-food drive thru and get a double cheeseburger or a basket of chicken nuggets, or maybe grill up a chicken breast at home, but the idea of someone killing a chicken or hunting for food is distasteful.
And, that’s fine—in most areas these days, we don’t have to hunt or fish if we don’t want to, and we can put meat on the table just fine.
But, some areas really are that rural, and hunting and/or slaughtering one’s own animals is simply necessary.
Sometimes it is also necessary to put an animal down when it becomes aggressive against humans and/or livestock.
In one instance in last night’s “Range Riding” episode, Atz Kilcher is watching a brown bear in the area of Otto’s cattle.
She has two cubs, and he is clear that the last thing he wants to do is to kill her. And, as he makes clear, he won’t, as long as she isn’t killing cattle.
“Usually they eat fish, grass, sometimes moose calves in the spring. But, if a bear stumbles onto a dead calf or a dead cow, they’ll eat it, then they get the taste of beef.
They see what it looks like, taste like, then they see other cattle out there, then they start killing them.”
To this end, he points out that it is just as important to get rid of a cow that has died naturally so that a bear does not eat it and get the “taste for beef,” which Atz does in the episode, dumping a dead calf into the river.
Respect For The Animals
Living off the land requires a true respect for the wildlife, and an appreciation of how life continues and how it ends—a respect that often is not developed when one simply buys food in a grocery store.
Is it difficult? Sure, for a lot of people, it is. But, if one is going to live a subsistence lifestyle, protecting one’s self from predators, such as the grey wolf Atz killed in last night’s episode, and killing one’s own meat, whether it be cattle, chicken or game, are just part of being in the wilderness.
“I never take it lightly when I have to take a life,” Atz said. And, he points out that everyone has a line to draw when it comes to having to take a life.
Some may draw that line, he explains, when the wolf is trying to kill their child. “I draw my line when that wolf is killing a cow.”
No doubt that last night’s episode will have its critics, but one thing is for certain: Alaska: The Last Frontier is giving viewers a good glimpse of what it really means to live off the grid.