Ain’t No Rest for the Wild | Survive This

This week on Live Free or Die,” our favorite primitives are working hard to live free. Surviving in nature without the luxuries of the modern world all comes down to expanding your capabilities, perfecting your craft, and making the most of what nature provides.

Check out some highlights from this week in the wild. How do you think you’d deal with a day in the life?

Can you survive this?

In Georgia, the winter trapping season is ending earlier than expected. With only a few days left to trap enough pelts to last through a year of trading, frontiersman Colbert needs to step up his game.

The key to Colbert’s survival is constantly making changes.

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Colbert must know an animal’s behavior and habitat in order to adapt to the surroundings and construct the best trap possible. He checks back at least once a day to make necessary adjustments and ensure the traps are working properly. Thanks to this kind of flexibility, a thankful Colbert heads home with a successful catch.

What about this?

Meanwhile in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Thorn comes up with a new solution that could help sustain his wild lifestyle. He decides to go beaver hunting but with little prior experience and with no way of getting to the areas known for beavers, this task requires proper preparations.

The key to Thorn’s survival is improvisation. 


Thorn decides to build a coracle–an old Welsh fisherman’s boat–but with a limited supply of materials, Thorn must improvise with the natural resources he has. He weaves branches together and uses a cowhide he bartered for in the winter to cover the shell. To his excitement, the coracle successfully sets sail!

And this?

In the Blue Ridge Mountains, homesteaders Tony and Amelia are finally getting around to building Amelia’s dream outdoor kitchen. With their livelihood dependent on whatever they have to barter, the couple decides to make sycamore syrup to trade. However, neither of them have prior experience, making this task a potential waste of time and resources.

The key to Tony and Amelia’s survival is trying new things. 


Despite the unknown results, Tony and Amelia make bamboo shots and place taps in several sycamore trees nearby. The following day, the couple checks back on their taps to find them full of sap! They boil it down in their newly built outdoor stove and successfully produce the sweet syrup they hoped for.

…or this?

After a failed first attempt of getting his mules back home, Derik must regain the trust of his three spooked mules in order for them to cooperate. However, breaking in his mules is no simple task.

The key to Derik’s survival is patience. 

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By taking the time to read his animals, Derik can respond and command properly. After a long couple of days Derik sees some real progress, especially in one of his mules, and gains the confidence that the two are ready to take the trip home.

Do you think you have what it takes to live free? How would you survive in the wild? What is your key to life? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to catch the next episode of Live Free or Die: Killing Time, Tuesday 9/8c on National Geographic Channel.