the history channel Only season nine episode five, “The Land Giveth”, finds that most of the survivors are quite successful at hunting and fishing. Episode five begins with eight people remaining after Jacques left the show on the 15th and Igor retired on the 20th. Not all of the remaining contestants finished their permanent shelters after 21 days in the wild, and by the end of episode five we have you’re down one more survivor.
Day 21: Benji’s pile of guts drew a bear as confirmed by his tracking camera. However, he has decided that this is not the right time to shoot a bear, as it is not yet cold enough to freeze the carcass. Although a bear will ultimately be a necessity, he is not capable of caring for meat at the moment. Benji is giving himself another two weeks before he even thinks about hunting a bear.
He finishes his new shelter before the end of the day and is very pleased with the result. You have room to stand up and it will be easier to keep warm inside than in your old structure.
Day 24: Benji sharpens his tools and cleans them. He uses his ax every day and wants to keep it in good shape. “If he’s not starting his day sharpening an axe, he’s missing out, folks,” says Benji.
Benji goes to work on a fleshing beam, a surface used for scraping animal hides. He wants to get as much meat out of the beaver’s skin as possible. He plans to extract the fat and preserve it.
Fleshing is very labor intensive and with primitive tools it is even more difficult. Benji can scrape up a lot of meat and plans to season it and cook it that afternoon. (The tail serves as a source). Once he has cooked the leftovers, he has a half tray of “amazing calories”. He places it in the burning bowl he built on the 13th and sets it aside for later.
Even though he has a lot of beaver meat, he can’t resist shooting a grouse. He misses twice but luckily he knows where his arrows fell. She shoots the grouse in a tree one more time, she stayed for some reason, despite the arrows flying at him, and the third time is the charm.
Benji thanks the bird and says, “May your spirit be free.”
He confesses that he never thought he would collect so much food with his bow. The earth has embraced him and he is eating well.
The grouse provides protein, phosphorus, and vitamin B12, and Benji cooks it that night along with some beaver fat. He loves the taste and describes the fat as exploding in his mouth.
Day 26: Benji wakes up with a stomach ache and needs to retune his body to Quigong, a Chinese healing practice. After performing Quigong, he searches for yarrow, an herb that helps with stomach ailments. He meets some by the benches and thinks that he is feeling bad about having eaten too much the night before.
Benji believes that he is a strong contender due to his versatile abilities. However, he worries that he will be out of the game for a while if he keeps getting a stomach ache.
Benji wakes up from a short nap on the river bank and his stomach is still sick. He burps and walks around a bit, and he thinks that maybe he ate something that went wrong or was contaminated.
Benji makes it to bed with a fever, chills, and stomach cramps. He too is nauseous but can’t vomit, and when he thinks of meat/fat his stomach turns. Still, he is hopeful that this will go away and he will feel better tomorrow.
Day 27: It’s 2 am and Benji definitely isn’t feeling any better. He comes out of his shelter and finally throws up as he curses. Benji thinks he has “beaver fever,” a nickname for giardia.
2:30 am and wakes up again, sore and exhausted.
3 am and your stomach is queasy. She describes the situation and it is not pleasant. (I’ll spare you the details.)
It’s 6 am and he hasn’t slept at all. She is not feeling better and can barely move. “That’s the end of the road for me,” says Benji.
He’s at the point where he’s worried he won’t survive if he doesn’t leave the desert of Labrador. Still, he got to experience the changing of the seasons before he retired. He is happy to have come to the series and to have learned a lot from being a part of it. Only.
Jessie, age 49, Pagosa Springs, CO
Day 22: Jessie goes hunting for grouse after hearing one near her lodge. She misses with her first arrow and doesn’t get a chance to make another shot. Her shelter is running great, but it’s a lot of work and she admits that she’s really hungry (and that she’s tired of the squirrels).
Jessie calls her place hodgepodge lodge as it is made up of multiple styles of lodge.
She strongly believes in listening to nature and divine timing. She refuses to set arbitrary time expectations on herself.
Adam, 36, Fayetteville, AR
Day 22: Adam describes his last squirrel kill as a perfect shot (it pierced his eye). He is satisfied with his hunting and fishing now and thinks that every day is a gift. He shoots another squirrel, this time in the back of the head. He hears a third squirrel screaming, but he doesn’t look for it because he’s already had a pretty good dinner and it’s only morning.
His structure is one of the best of the season and he sits inside, looks out the window and pretends to serve customers. The menu includes crispy squirrel, leftover grouse and berries.
Day 25: Adam didn’t sleep well the night before and his tummy feels horrible. He eats some blueberries in hopes of calming down and worries that he has contracted a parasite. Adam hopes it’s not that and instead it’s just a screwed up system due to the weird diet he follows.
Adam chooses to spend the day at his shelter, resting.
Adam thinks he has everything he could want at home. The money would help his family tremendously (his mother needs new teeth), but he has a happy life overall. He plans to build a safe and comfortable house with the prize money. Adam chokes up talking about how grateful he is for his life and the people in it.
It’s 10 p.m. when he accepts the fact that he has an intestinal parasite. She thinks he has giardia and it makes her nauseous and in pain. She wonders how long she can live with him and if she can treat him. Adam is hopeful that he’ll get better on his own, but it looks like he’s getting worse.
Day 26: Adam rested long enough to have the energy to harvest birch bark for tea. He thinks that will help with his intestinal problems and manages to harvest the inner bark of the tree. He is supposed to stimulate and calm the stomach. He doesn’t know the correct dosage, but he is hopeful that it will work.
That night he drinks his birch bark tea and waits for it to affect him. A short time later, her stomach is much better and she is not worried about having to tap.
Juan Pablo, 30 years old, Pinawa, CAN
Day 22: Juan decided not to boil the water anymore because it takes too much time and energy. Also, he reduces the amount of wood he has to collect. He has done this for 10 years and hopes to stay healthy, well aware of the potential to digest parasites.
He has been eating berries and does not think his prospects are good for hunting grouse or hare because he has not seen any droppings. His options: fishing…and…fishing.
Juan Pablo is going to spend energy building a dock since it will apparently be his main source of food. A seal swims by but is protected and you are not allowed to hunt it.
Dock complete, Juan sits down to fish.
Day 24: Juan hopes that the dock will make a difference. He is definitely a better place to cast, but his first fish of the day slips away. Luckily he pulls out a decent sized brook trout and that seems to turn his luck around. His second fish is also medium in size, as are the third and fourth. At the end of the day, he has caught six fish.
“I think I’m getting used to fly fishing,” says Juan.
This is more of a real life survival situation than a competition for Juan, and he has no plans to tap. Tapping would never be an option in real life.
Juan cooks three of his fish and decides to save the other three.
Karie Lee, Water 57, Sandpoint, ID
Day 23: Karie wakes up to tea, warm sun, and thinks about finishing her shelter. However, she needs food first and has lost 20 pounds since day one. She heads out to hunt, hears a squirrel and shoots. Although she initially believes she got it, she is unable to locate the body.
The rain comes and Karie sings “Waniska”, a Native American Cree song, inside her unfinished shelter. The songs she sings keep her in a place of gratitude as she learns and listens to the land.
A large trout escapes but does not give up. A short time later, he pulls out a 13” brook trout that will provide him with 800 calories. He cooks it and eats the eyeballs, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
While food is obviously important, it’s more about peace of mind for Karie Lee.
Tom, age 34, Earlysville, VA
Day 23: Tom is busy cheating, including a lucky bone drop. It’s a tricky trap to make and explains how to set one up carefully.
A flashback shows that Tom began work on his permanent shelter on the 17th. He describes his outdoor home as a combination of a log cabin, a mine shaft, and a giant basket. (Tom is making it up as he goes.)
On day 20, he has it in pretty good shape and builds a workable fireplace and stove out of rocks, clay, and mud. “A home is comfort no matter where you are,” says Tom, impressed with his work. He throws down the tarp as a roof to stay dry and sets out to find food.
Day 23: Tom hasn’t had any luck with his line of traps, but he insists that he has to check his traps every day, even if they aren’t around. There is a responsibility to do it every day and it is inhuman not to do it.
His first two traps didn’t trigger, but he scores big with his spring trap which got a decent sized snowshoe rabbit. (Rabbits average 875 calories.) Tom is ecstatic and has to remind himself to calm down. He was only a foot off the ground and something might have taken him if she hadn’t bothered to check his traps every day.
Tom is a little worried that he’s been dead since last night, but he hopes the meat is okay since it’s been cold. He will cook it much longer to make sure he doesn’t get sick. The rain begins as Tom prepares the carcass, describing the rabbit’s feet as small but sinewy. Tendons are a good source of collagen and help keep joints healthy.
Confess parts of Only they are much easier than he thought and the parts are much more difficult than he supposed they would be. However, he feels good physically and is not alone in nature.
Tom has to be whistled when he takes his first bite of rabbit. It’s delicious.