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Glenn Villeneuve

Island Lake, AK: The newest cast member, Glenn, goes hunting for caribou.

Island Lake, AK: The newest Life Below Zero cast member, Glenn, goes hunting for caribou. (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Published

Glenn Villeneuve moved from Vermont to Alaska in 2000 to pursue his dream of living close to the land, hunting and gathering, in the remote mountains of arctic Alaska. His camp is located on a lake in the Brooks Range, 200 miles north of Fairbanks, and a 60-mile walk from the nearest road. While Glenn enjoys people, isolation comes with the territory; as he can often go longer than four months without seeing another human.

Preferring a simple way of life close to nature, Glenn lives in a one room cabin with no running water. The firewood he cuts with an ax and hand saw is his only fuel for heating and cooking. He uses electricity for only a few items, such as a satellite phone, headlamp, and camera. Traveling on foot and paddled canoe in summer, and by snowshoes in winter, he hunts moose, caribou, sheep, and small game. Glenn fishes in the lake and creeks and gathers wild plants for food. Glenn shares his hunting territory with wolves, which pursue the same game as he does, and he was once charged by a pack of 20.

Glenn values the autonomy that his wilderness lifestyle affords, the competence it demands, and the connection he experiences with the natural world that surrounds him.

128 comments
imran ahmed
imran ahmed

Yeah...people who would call the housing authority to report a slight break in heat/water/electricity supply, who depend on the government for the money they spend in buying food in the heated stores...they still complain about breave hujmans like them who are ready to venture out and fend for themslves

Lori Fergusson
Lori Fergusson

enjoyed watching you start that fire with all natural tools, thanks.

Neva Long
Neva Long

I am saddened that Glenn has left his two children on his pathway to fulfillment. The last paragraph in his bio says it all, "Glenn values the autonomy that his wilderness lifestyle affords, ..." While he's traipsing around in the bush for ten months at a stretch he is out of the lives of his children. Ten months is a long time to be physically out of your children's lives and it's despicable -- that is when he has a choice. 


I don't have any respect for him at all and I'm equally sad that National Geographic has chosen someone like him to represent Alaskan's way of life. Sure, he has some survival tricks he might share on camera, but all the time I look at him I think about his choice to not be involved with his children's lives and I end up fast forwarding through his segment so I can feel good about the rest of the show. 


Also, he is always clean shaven and his hair is always clean and coiffured. Hum...looks like Glenn is not as authentic as he and National Geographic claims. He is not a credible asset to the show. Quite the opposite. 

N B
N B

How is this guy not in jail for failing to pay child support? He doesn't work! He's a bum! Go raise your children Glenn. You made them. They didn't ask to be born into a world with no father. How incredibly selfish is this guy? How self absorbed can one person be?

Pamela Day
Pamela Day

Hello Glen.  I am not sure if you have a computer or a way to read this, but a pair of hip boots would really come in handy for you when you are messing around in that cold water.  They don't really cost that much.  You would really benefit from them.  God bless.

Paul beneke
Paul beneke

Great show! Some days ago at first on a german channel. It’s funny to read some comments here about the six people in the wilderness. As a German I thought most Americans are nearer to mother nature in this big endless country. But: two or three people choose this very hard life (in relation to all inhabitants of the country) – “pay they tax?” or: “he is a serial killer”, or: “be a man” – very funny! probably a guy who never made a step outside the city – or: “get a job in anchorage”. The same petty bourgeois like many people in Germany!

 

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

@paul beneke: Yes, darn all those "petty bourgeoise"---working, raising their kids and paying their taxes....so people like Greg (and you) can traipse off into the woods, knowing OTHER people have your back (like the "dumb fools" who joined the military and fought the Germans so that Gregbo HAS A "forest" to frolic in (Verstehen Sie?).....

Paul beneke
Paul beneke

@Gayle Loveland


Dear Gayle, of course I pay taxes! (you too?) I spent seven month in the wilderness of Yukon territory – best time of my life. How do you think was it possible to do this?


I understand that he lives his dream. 


Do you know something about the circumstances? For instance: May be he’ll write a bestseller about the time in the woods – and soon he will pay taxes for you. May be he works hard in the four month that he lives in civilization – and earn more money in four month and pay more taxes than you in the whole year. Who knows that? May be his wife said to him. “I love you, but leave me alone! Go into the wilderness! I only want to see you two month in the year.” And he escaped. ;-))))


Ah, you come from the south. I understand.  I remember the film “Love and War” ;-)


By the way: next time we’ll win the war! :-))


What is a gregbo?


Regards



ted s.
ted s.

@Gayle Loveland  Dear, uncle ted here, we believe it's time you take your meds, and get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning..

Oladiran Bolaji
Oladiran Bolaji

@Paul beneke 

Yeah...people who would call the housing authority to report a slight break in heat/water/electricity supply, who depend on the government for the money they spend in buying food in the heated stores...they still complain about breave hujmans like them who are ready to venture out and fend for themslves.

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

---Glen's "completely natural & minimalist" lifestyle obviously includes extensive personal grooming tools (I notice he is clean-shaven in every episode, has a clean & stylish 'do, and his nails are neatly trimmed and buffed)...In addition, his fur-trimmed "muck lucks" and matching fur-trimmed nylon parka look a bit too "GQ" for someone living "au natural".....

---And can someone PLEASE tell me what's UP with this guy stripping off his clothes at every opportunity? I really get the feeling that Ol' Glenbo is an exhibitionist---in addition to being self-delusional...."Glen values his independence and autonomy"...? Tell me: How does that work when you have two kids being raised back in "civil-I-Za-tion" ( as Glen calls it)?

---Glen's son: " Mommy, where's dad?"

---Glen's ex. : "You know, honey....He's out living alone in the wilderness..."

---Glen's son: "Why?"

----Glen's ex: "Because it helps him feel more free...more complete..."

--- Glen's son: "When will I see him again?"

--- Glen's ex : "Dad will have to come to town next Spring to restock his supplies....I'm sure he'll stop by to say, 'hey'.......And remember: you can always WATCH dad on TV!......"

Julie B
Julie B

i can't help but agree with gayle. you have 2 kids, then you should take care of them. imagine the mental damage to them knowing they have a father that would rather play in the woods than see them.

Julie B
Julie B

i can't help but agree with gayle. you have 2 kifds, then you should take care of them. imagine the mental damage to them knowing they have a father that would rather play in the woods than see them.

Julie B
Julie B

i can't help but agree with gayle. you have 2 kids, then you should take care of them. imagine the mental damage to them knowing they have a father that would rather play in the woods than see them.

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

----I believe Glen consumed one wild mushroom too many some time ago; to me, he's a cross between a Woodstock refugee and a serial killer.....While he undoubtedly is following "his" dream, I often wonder if his ex-wife is as thrilled with his lifestyle and refusal to get a paying job as much as he is...considering they have two kids---One presumes that while Glen wanders about, "following his feelings" into the forest, his poor ex is raising their kids alone (and without any child support from Glenbo).....

Bonnie-Lou Ferris
Bonnie-Lou Ferris

Wow! I am so grateful to watch this documentary. I would love to Join him on an adventure! Cheers Glenn! Way to live life to the max! This is where i belong out in the wild close to nature! Glenn you inspire me to try and live more simple. I have to many properties and so much stuff! I would love to sell everything and just be alone in the wild like you!! Bless you in the great outdoors! Watched all your NG shows! Very interesting how you follow the wolves and what you learn from them and all wildlife. Way to go!! I am a HUGE fan of yours! One day I plan to go to Alsaka and I will  see you out there! Going for a wildlife photography adventure. Maybe this summer?? Very cool the  way you built your bridge! It all came together for you!! Way to go!! You are living it! Way better choice of living the way you are! Health happiness and peace out there my friend!

Patrick McCartney
Patrick McCartney

I'm very impressed by Glenn's embrace of the natural world. 

Frank Lester
Frank Lester

Hi Glen,

what make and caliber firearms do you use?
Best Regards

Mike Bidochka
Mike Bidochka

Glen, I am hoping that you would communicate some information to me. I have always had the wanderlust of spending my life in the bush. I grew up in north ontario and have a cabin in the woods on 300 acres of land with a private little lake. I spend a good portion of my time there. However, I really want to get away from it all. There are people still around- I really need to get away from it all.   I have two children that have grown up and I understand the potential tear on you life between being with your children and living your life. Some questions- how did you choose your location? did you buy or lease from the government? how would one look for a place that you have? I would probably prefer to stay in northern ontario but have though about moving to the Yukon. What type of rifles and how many? Do you ever hear people where you are? 

 

Geoff Luce
Geoff Luce

Regardless how one may feel about Glenn's family responsibilities, he is on a NAT GEO show that is for entertainment purposes ONLY.   It is not like  Survivor where there is an eventual ending with a prize.  He chooses to live in isolation regardless if he is alone by himself or with a camera person filming him.   I have backpacked for many years in Yosemite with a few modern comforts and people that come along to aid me if needed.  A few days out and I am ready to return to real civilization.   Glenn's gig is so far removed and remote that few of us outdoors enthusiasts would dare to even attempt.  For this I applaud him.  The purpose of the show is for us to see the beauty of Alaska and way of life he leads   He is not using the show in the same way  gain attention or notoriety such as the Kardashians.  I don't care whether Glenn makes money or pays taxes. This is the responsibility of the IRS.


Unfortunately, there is a cost for whatever choices we make in life.  Whether he has children or a current or former wife it isn't really our business to criticize.  I am a kindergarten teacher and have seen many great single parent families along with some tragic 2 parent homes.  Although I do not condone being so far away from a child,  there will come a time when the pain from the effects of emotional separation will come into play.  It is inescapable.

L P
L P

@Geoff Luce Great...so your point is, let's watch him have a blast playing in his working years, let the gubmint (IRS?) pay for his kids, and then send them maladjusted into society after the emotional separation of their youth has taken it's toll?  I'm confused...sounds like a good way to make more convicts.  We have enough of those.


And the Kardashians pay TONS of taxes, employ countless people, and made Seacrest rich (who also pays TONS of taxes and employs countless other people...(see how this works?).

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

L P I could not agree with you more! I applaud you bringing that up. I brought it up last year but he used to go see them. He is certainly not somebody to be praised considering I was a social worker who dealt with damaged children, 90% were missing their dad in their life.

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

that was really uncalled for! Perhaps you should get up off your couch more often how dare you judge people on a message board? We have every right to judge somebody who is on television and his left two children for his fun time in the woods. Get out of junior high school why don't you? You sound like every bully guy ever met. My neighbors are not trashing me I'm a very kind caring and generous person and they know that. I'm also severely disabled so I used to be an RN and an LCSW. there are valid reasons to trash Glenn and leaving his children is the biggest of them is an able-bodied man who does not support his kids and very rarely sees them now. He is not to be celebrated!

L P
L P

The real issue here is a dad that walked away from his 2 kids.  That's reprehensible if you're an able bodied, grown man who chose to procreate.  You are no longer allowed to go play in the woods when you have humans who depend on you.  Sure, we'd all like to walk away from the "real world" and drop out of society when the going gets tough.  Shoulda thought of that before you found a woman, and gave her 2 offspring, dontcha think?  I lost all respect for Glenn when he said he "doesn't like the life" he has with his ex-wife and 2 kids.  Sorry, brother, we are not going to take care of your brats with welfare and food stamps so you can catch some fishing and a sauna in God's country.  Most of us work all year for one weekend like that...we call it vacation. We don't just dump our burdens on the rest of society so we can live like that.  Get back to Anchorage, and get a day job.


So sick of these deadbeat narcissists and the sychophantic half of our Country that finds romance in their selfishness.

Michael O'Keefe
Michael O'Keefe

Glenn,

Forgot to mention, there is an old remedy called Birch Bark Black Tar Mosquito Repellent. Yes, it's made from birch bark that is all natural and effective for the relentless blood thirsty hordes of mosquito's during their season. 

After making the tar, try tweaking it with other natural oils from various plants until you have a repellent that works best for you.

Just as nature is our food store, so can she be our natural drug store and pharmacy for just those things as Birch Bark Black Tar Mosquito Repellent.

It is amazing stuff and has many uses. In fact 2-parts birch oil mixed with 1-part ash makes a fine glue also.

Give this link a try . . . 

http://www.primitiveways.com/birch_bark_tar.html

Michael O'Keefe
Michael O'Keefe

Glenn,

Keep up the freedom lifestyle you've chosen and enjoy every moment of it!

Of course you have a "real job" as any critical thinking person can easily see.

It's very amusing to read the critical comments some have written. I find it especially amusing that none of them have the courage to live as you do, but only judge you from an arm-chair.

I spend an awful lot of time in the rugged back country of Montana and know hard one works on a daily survival basis while continually staying vigil for dangers and avoiding injury. Danger is very real and is a constant companion in the wilderness; broken leg, slip of the knife or short-axe and dangerous predators. Nature is extremely unforgiving, especially to the unskilled or foolish.

Certainly finding or catching game enough to eat regularly is a very real challenge and is never guaranteed. Seems many days can be filled without enough calories if I depend entirely on what I can gather and hunt or catch. 

In reality, it is why people in remote areas engage in fur trapping for money to supplement the diet with store bought foods such as flour, sugar and other staples. 

I'm surprised people just don't get it?! It's certainly nothing new and goes back several thousand years between tribes and nations.

I've purposely gone into wilderness areas without anything but basic equipment for gather, fishing and hunting as my only means of eating. 

If folks think it's easy, I would challenge them to give it a try for one weekend. I venture to say they'd be crying for a McDonalds and their comfortable bed by the end of their ordeal. In fact, it would be entertaining to watch most of them put together a survival pack or even attempt to build a fire and  adequate shelter.

Keep living the dream as you work to survive each day you're in the back country.

Frank Lester
Frank Lester

Glenn,

you are the only person worth watching on the show.

I told some co-workers about you and now they watch the show bec. of you.

I would like to get more info on the tent cabin you live in.

Don't mind any negative comments, they come from people sitting in their under wear in their parents basement and live off welfare!

Best Regards

L P
L P

@Frank Lester That's the part that p_sses me off the most about these "free spirits."  We have an untamed, unadulterated, and completely free wilderness because of the volunteered sacrifice of the 1% of our society that stand guard in our military.  And how do these freaks thank them for their time?  By applying themselves, earning, and paying their fair share of taxes?  HELL NO!  They snub their noses at our heroes and wander out into the cocoon of our wilderness as though they somehow earned it.  

To all you hippies living off the land...YOU DIDN'T EARN THAT!  Now get back to giving back that we may have a strong and free Country.  And if you can't find something good to do with your time and talent, join the military.  They will show you how to really live off the land.  And it won't cost you one red cent.

Frank Lester
Frank Lester

@L P @Frank Lester 

You are a hate, fear and war monger.

What does the instrument of repression and death have to do with the TV show?


L P
L P

@Frank Lester @L P Brilliant retort.  You managed to prove my point with your sophomoric response.  Lest we forget, freedom isn't free.

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

@Frankie Lester/ LP----Don't mind Frankie, LP....If you've had the great misfortune to read any of his prior comments, you will have ascertained that he is a very angry, little man (emphasis on "little," as I guarantee he is short), who labors under a superiority complex, which is evident in every syllable of his condescending remarks.......in other words, a "holier-than-thou" liberal....

L P
L P

@Frank Lester Uhhh...he foists his kids and their mother unto welfare with his lifestyle???  Heck, I'm sure he is first in the unemployment line after treking back into town when the fish aren't biting.  Get yourself a new hero.  Start by thanking any veteran you may see, and ask about how much they enjoyed "living off the land."


Oh...and pay your taxes...in full...so the folks we put into the wilderness/harms way have the best rations, accommodations, weapons and armor in modern history.  You never know when you may have to use the army you have.  Best that you don't cheap out on them in times of peace.  Takes a few years to "tool them up," and the enemy often doesn't afford us much time when they choose to strike. 

Lori Fergusson
Lori Fergusson

Hi Glen. Thank you for all the amazing info that is shared on LBZ. I enjoy your section the most. The positive outlook that is communicated , and the great info on subsistance living is so interesting.I am living vicariously with all the cast members. I'm not able to even go hiking because of back, knee and leg issues. It gives me a lift in my spirit to watch the show. One of the main reasons I signed on to write this is that I wanted to add a POSITIVE post to your section. I was astonished at how many people take the time to write negative stuff on here. Made me feel sad for them and I want NG to keep you on with the others. Its a good balance. Ok, be careful and take care of yourself...my prayers are with you.


Steve Choiniere
Steve Choiniere

Glenn, do you own the land you live on? I love the show. Thanks, Steve Choiniere Massachusetts

Dvd West 65
Dvd West 65

Aside from being a "Deadbeat Dad"... 

This idiot, (Glenn Villeneuve), is a total freak... 

The main reason he's even out there is to keep from going to prison 

over not wanting any real job & being so far behind on child support, 

of which he had admitted to during the beginning of the series... 

& it's obvious "BS" that he was taught any of the nasty & stupid things he does... 

There's no doubt he's made it all up purely within his own small & troubled mind... 

It's very disappointing that Nat Geo would even profile such a disgusting idiot... 

How they would even think that profiling him fits within the context of the show is beyond me... 

My wife & I really enjoy the show, but we can no longer stomache this guy... 

We find ourselves going out of our way to skip or fast-forward through his segments... 

Though this is just our own opions... 

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that a big percentage of viewers feel the same.


Frank Lester
Frank Lester

@Dvd West 65 the only small troubled mind I see here is yours!

You & wife watch show? Combined 1000 lb and on social security, I bet!

Dvd West 65
Dvd West 65

@Frank Lester @Dvd West 65
WOW...how so very wrong you are... 
I count you in with all the others who think this guy is genuine... 
You're probably the one he has tucked away for all his lonely nights... 
waaaaa, waaaa, waaaa....OMG....boohoo

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

So Freakin SICK of seeing Glen The FREAK taking of his clothes. He REALLY sickens me.

ronald lally
ronald lally

while your trashing Glenn, your neighbors are trashing you. are you not better than that?

ronald lally
ronald lally

glenn, what brand of bear paw snowshoes do you use ?

Matt Rustin
Matt Rustin

I find Glenn to be an interesting individual. He uses no power tools for his building projects and I like that He hunts and fishes for his food. Don't quite understand why some folks on here are so down on Him and quick to judge. Alaska is not an easy place to live. Keep going Glenn!

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

while everybody else is killing themselves trying to get enough meat and fish for the winter and plant gardens Mr Glenn is building himself a sauna. he is done everything so far this season but bring in food for the winter or plant a garden. I remember the first season when he left every summer to go back to civilization where his family is in Alaska. Why don't you go back there Glenn and leave nature to its own devices just stay there instead. I'm surprised National Geographic hasn't thought of giving him a pass he's not even that interesting and from what I've read there were plenty of complaints about him. Bye bye Glenn!one can but hope.

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

hey MM, indeed! I just cried BS on Glenn and I've done it before.I go do something when he's on. The guy irritates me to no end along with his well coiffed hair.

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

hey Mr know it all, try a Celtic roundhouse. Tie them together to make an arch? I'm a disabled 50 year old woman who can build a Celtic round house! from what I've seen you don't know jack!please excuse my typos as a voice type.

Lisa Messmer
Lisa Messmer

Why do so many sites say you don't have running water? You do... you have the river and creeks and streams.. the best running water ever. What they should say is that you have no indoor plumbing. That would be more accurate. Love the show, especially your segments.