Arctic Wisdom: Hunt or Be Hunted

The Alaskans on Life Below Zero lead very different lives. Sue Aikens keeps her Kavik camp alive, the Hailstones help their family thrive, and Glenn lives to scavenge in the wild. But on the season finale of Life Below Zero, the survivalists all share one common goal – thwart the land’s predators, or turn into prey.

On the season finale, the end of winter is in sight. The impending thaw will finally bring a reprieve to the Alaskans, who have battled extreme temperatures and warded off deadly attacks to make it through the grueling cold. In preparing for the thaw, hunting for food is foremost in the survivalists’ minds.

For Sue, the rising temperatures signal the beginning of visitor season at Kavik River Camp. She needs to start gathering fresh food for her guests and herself, so she decides to try something new: ice fishing. After a day spent unsuccessfully drilling through feet of ice, she comes up empty, but not before seeing a telltale sign of danger.


With only her close-range .44 with her for protection, she’s not equipped to take on a wolf. But after making her way off the ice and out of danger, she gets lucky and spots a bird on her trek home from the river.


Just like that, Sue has enough food for dinner.


For Chip and Agnes Hailstone, the end of winter signals their last chance to hunt for big game before the thaw. Last week, they set up a temporary camp in Kiwalik, eighty-five miles south of their home in Noorvik, in hopes of crossing paths with a herd of caribou.

It’s prime caribou hunting season, and the large animals can feed their family for days. After grazing in the dark winter, the caribou grow heavier, making them better targets for hunting.


Hunting caribou isn’t as easy as just shooting into their herds. Chip and Agnes spot caribou moving in the distance, and hustle to intercept the herd. Unfortunately, Agnes’ gun freezes up while shooting and the gunshots simply startle the animals, missing out on some valuable game.

Luckily, that wasn’t their only chance of taking down a caribou. When Chip and Agnes come across another herd, her gun works properly, and they hunt  some valuable prey to bring home to their family.

For Glenn, his solitary life in Chandalar means coming face to face with predators on the tundra. With the thaw weeks away, Glenn works on building a trail to the north side of his valley.

Over the course of winter, Glenn covers hundreds of miles of extreme terrain while hunting game, so maintaining a high fat diet is crucial for his body to keep up. For a lunch in the wild, he makes use of some boulders to chop a bone in half, looking to eat the marrow.


However, it isn’t long before he comes across the marks of a predator – suspicious-looking prints in the snow, the signs of a wolf minutes away. But just like all of the Life Below Zero survivalists, Glenn knows that he must always keep moving if he wants to survive.



Don’t miss the season finale of Life Below Zero on Thursday at 9P. 


  1. James Turner
    Arlington, Texas
    July 4, 2014, 6:46 pm

    I love this family. I was watching drugs inc. Alaska, and I have to say this is so much a better way of life. Love , life, family, living, dying and being a part of this great planet earth. I love this family. They are what I call a real tribe, family and this is how God intended . You and the family are so precious. Thank you for restoring my faith in this life. I can see why you have so many children. They are the sweetest kids and they love and want to learn. Your wife is so beautiful and tuff at the same time, and you are an awesome dad, I cant praise you enough. Can I come visit you and see what Alaska life is like. Maybe stay 2 weeks. I want to fish. If you ever want to come visit me in Texas I have a big place and you and your whole family is welcome.

    James in Texas

  2. Greg R
    July 5, 2014, 3:28 pm

    I am so disgusted watching “Dark Winter’s End”. The shooting by the Hailstorm is anything but hunting. You guys make me sick shooting aimlessly into a herd of animals. It was bad enough watching you shoot animals swimming in the water but to unhumanly shoot Willy nilly at animals should land you in jail with your hunting rights revolved! You can not accurately take an animal without wounding it with open sights at the ranges you were hunting. I dont give a rats behind if you are Eskimo or Indian or any other group. You both should have hunting privileges taken from you. You discussing people give hunters a bad name and o would spit in your faces you discussing pigs!

  3. Buck Owen
    July 12, 2014, 8:18 am

    She were shooting at the Fat ones that fall to the rear of the herds. Like raceing dogs, the skinnys go to the front, the chubbies fall to the rear, She was not blindly shooting into the herd. After the first shot, all Caribou run, so shooting at moveing Caribou is something that has to be done, and not much different than a Goose flying by, you lead them and keep swinging through as you squeeze the trigger. The cameras angle dosent convay what she sees through her sights.
    When they hunt them in the river, its not sporting at all, never was , never will be. Getting up very close , theres little chances of missing, and in the two or three days of that kind of hunt, we get alot of meat to get us along untill the sun comes back, so sportsmans ship is out the door, and the Hailstones are no different.You get to pick the exact ones you want, pop them in the brain, pithing them, and they float.Useing a .22lr up close, the bullets dont pass through to wound or kill other caribou in the tightly packed bunches. No wounded, no sick, no skinnys, no cows with calfs that way. The caribou litteraly emerge from the willows and jump in the river only to swimm across and get out into the willows again. They are eficiant and good at what they do, like most of us here in the NW of AK, i think they do well.