On Sunday’s The Last Alaskans on Discovery Channel, it’s a case of the hunter becoming the hunted as a scary moment is realized while cameras are rolling.
Moose season is here. It seems harsh to hunt Bullwinkle but the moose is a huge source of protein for people… and bears. As moose season opens, the hunt is on to get meat to sustain them through winter.
But today, Charlie Jagow isn’t hunting moose. He is hunting bear, the kind that eats not fish nor rotting carcasses, but fresh berries and meat, In short, a bear which is not a scavenger.
Charlie likes the taste of bear meat, and he knows exactly what he is doing as he quietly explains to the trailing camera that hunting a bear is unlike any other animal and that the risk is worth the reward. After all, he has done this before.
Charlie is a remarkable and experienced hunter and he looks for a kill, but that cold creeping feeling happens as he realizes he’s being stalked by a bear. We feel the tension rise in the clip as Jagow quietly crouches down and realizes the bear has moved on him, and perhaps another bear is stalking him while he is stalking the visible bear.
Charlie is still rebuilding after the summer fires. He is poised to re-establish 40 years’ worth of family traplines, which could potentially take two decades to rebuild. It’s an impossible task, but with instructions the late Bob Harte left behind, Charlie will follow in Bob’s footsteps and look to do well this trapping season.
We are trailing Charlie in this clip as he patiently explains his strategy. “Out here, having the healthy amount of fear for anything that could get you hurt or killed is a good thing. It keeps you safe if it keeps you aware of your surroundings,” Charlie says.
“Especially a grizzly, you’re pretty much guaranteed for [a] charge. I like their meat a lot so when I have the opportunity to take a bear that hasn’t been eating fish or hasn’t been eating a lot of carcasses, I will generally take it.”
As he stealthily moves in the brush, he adds, “I think he went down… I can’t see him anymore but he travels under there… I might get a shot…I have a lot of respect for a bear, they’re an impressive predator. It’s one of the only animals out here where you can quickly be put at the same level.”
The series takes place in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest protected wilderness in the U.S, and in 1980, the U.S. Government banned any new residents and left only seven permits for families and trappers.
These modern-day pioneers face obstacles brought on by the tough environment, including predator competition and the aftermath of forest fires, as well as the stresses of raising small children in the stark environs and the potential for any life-threatening illnesses needing medical care.
The series picks up after the passing of Bob Harte, Heimo and Edna Korth’s old friend. Their daughter Krin and her family will attempt to survive a winter in the refuge. Heimo has raised all three of his daughters here, and he hopes for Krin to carry on the tradition he and Edna have established.
Also tonight, Heimo takes Krin to his “best moose” hunting territory. And Tyler takes to the skies to assess the fire damage’s range.
The Last Alaskans airs on Sundays at 10/9c on Discovery Channel. Watch live or catch up on the Discovery Go app.