ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER, Otto & Charlotte Kilcher, Discovery Channel

ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER Recap: Bowhunting Black Bear Not the Ticket for Atz Kilcher

Last night on ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER, the Kilchers were going in different directions, Atz looking for food, Otto and his family heading to the head of the bay.

The Kilchers have indicated in the past that it is getting harder and harder to find big game close around their homestead. So, last night, Atz hooked up with a friend to go bear hunting about 110 miles away on Nuka Island. Bears are hungry in the spring but, Atz indicated that since they have been just hibernating throughout the winter, their meat is tender and better to eat.

Atz and his friend, Brian Reid, were bowhunting for black bears. Bowhunting takes more skill than hunting with a rifle, and Atz demonstrated that his own bowhunting skills are not exactly at a high level, when he scared a potential kill away when he rested his bow during a moment of waiting, whiffing the bow into the ground and making noise, warning it of their presence and sending it away. He described his mistake, explaining:

I relaxed. And, right away, I lost it, and the arrow dropped to the ground. It’s like having a rifle and you take your safety off. Now, the gun can go off. You don’t take the safety off and start talking with your friends and forgetting your finger’s on the trigger. Big no-no. Big lesson learned.

Brian was clearly disappointed and annoyed, but they kept going.  Ultimately, they did get an approximately 4-year-old bear–that Brian ended up using a rifle to bring down, btw–and a lot of good meat. So, it was a successful trip–and next time Atz goes bowhunting, he’ll probably keep tension on the bow until he sees the shot through!

Otto wanted to head out and take an old-fashioned way of contacting others to the head of the bay, in case of emergencies–or just to touch base. “Sooner or later, something’s gonna happen, and having a radio could mean the difference between life or death,” Otto commented. No cell phone service out where the range rider stays, after all! If something happens, it is just a good idea to have a way to contact someone, and a lot of things happen during range riding. Now, thanks to Otto and son August’s ingenuity, creating a battery-solar panel power source, they have a radio at the head of the bay.

At the hunter’s cabin, Atz Lee was looking for a reliable water source, something that could flow in the spring-summer-fall, and be protected from freezing in the winter. Fortunately, it did not take much to to find a spring, and Atz Lee and a visiting friend quickly put in a spring box, insulated with dirt, and took the first bucket to water some freshly planted potatoes; he and Jane are well on their way to making the hunter’s cabin a home.

Otto and Charlotte were also concerned about their odd-colored, home-dyed calf, Bunny. It seemed the other cows at the head of the bay were ostracizing her because of her strange coloring (fans will remember that the reason for dyeing her was to help the white calf blend in and not become a target, but the strange fluorescent orange-white coloring that resulted apparently did not have the desired effect).

So, they decided to take Half & Half, Bunny’s mother, to the head of the bay, hoping that Half & Half would accept and protect Bunny. At first, it appeared that it may not work, when Half & Half head-butted her calf upon re-introduction. But, Charlotte quickly summarized that Half & Half was just establishing her dominance, and decided it was a good sign that she would do the same when they were both led back to the herd, protecting her calf from dangers, including bears.

It was a busy week on–and off–the Kilcher homestead. But, we are still wondering:  What’s up with Shane and his wife, Kelli?

ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER airs on Discovery Channel on Sunday nights at 9/8c.

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