National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

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.

76 comments
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.

M M
M M

'A lone primitive subsistence hunter'

I cry foul - Glenn always shows up with a fresh, styled haircut - the kind that can only be gotten in civilization. Short and freshly done - and (if I wanted to be really critical), nary a grey hair showing for a man of 44.. Not sure about that last part, but he is definitely hanging around civilization a lot to get that freshly cut short hair. I know I'm being nitpicky, but he calls himself a primitivist - but he does nor really seem to live that way. Even for the half year that he is in the wild (I know he lives near his kids for several months) - but even the time he supposedly spends in the wild, he looks pretty 'done' to me.... I would not say that about the others, but they don't style themselves as lone primitive types the way Glenn does...

Charles Vann
Charles Vann

First I wanted to say that I hope to learn at some point in my life to be part of the land (while alive) as you have .  I still have a lot of fears in the dark woods.  Second, I would like to know since you eat primarily a protein rich diet how do you come by fiber in your diet with the rarity vegetation?  Does too much protein sometimes affect your overall health.  P.S. I know you must be burning between 8 and 12,000 calories a day with your physical lifestyle. 

S. Lord
S. Lord

I don't like that they make it sound like he lives there all year round and how he supposedly doesn't like modern convince (like he won't even use matches). But I remeber an episode that he said he only goes there for the winter and leaves behind his family when he goes. He only goes there because he likes it. It doesn't seem that he does any trapping for income or hunting for massive amounts of meat for his family, like the others have to do to survive. He just goes there to go camping, so it's really annoying when he makes comments about not seeing people for 10 months or how he doesn't need modern amenities, really? So what about your Facebook and Twitter account? That seems very social and modern to me. Just sayin. www.facebook.com/Glenn.villenueve

Dave W.
Dave W.

I need to know something Glenn lives in a tent had guns, fishing pole, and a flying pan now everyone else is out gathering food preparing for winter already. Scurrying around like ants all busy never stopping and this Glenn guy is busy taking baths I'm the creek acting all tough not really doing anything except talking about himself. Now what what does he do for food? Where does he plan on putting things I'm telling you now moose marrow isn't going to go far You fake!

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

I'd have to agree with you and add the following. Glenn you're so full of crap when it comes to wilderness!! Alaska is not the only place to find that! Try asking the people here in Maine who got lost in the vast wilderness of the state...... if you can find them. This guy talks and talks and talks just to hear the sound of his own voice. One would think that someone who talks so much would have better command of the English language. Glenn is just a nuisance to my senses. Please excuse typos as a voice type.

Jayne Detweiler
Jayne Detweiler

Why when I watch this guy am I reminded of Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man)? Could it be the bending down to smell the wolf urine? I see this ending tragically for Glen as it did for Timothy Treadwell. Lets put it this way, Glenn is needs to read  Dick Proenneke's One Man's Wilderness. He was the real deal!!

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

we see lots and lots of outdoor activity which is fun to watch. But I would also like to see what it is like for them to live inside their houses when they can't get out or in the house and then they go out to take care of the dogs or what have you. cooking meals and what they do for activity inside. we have seen a bit of the hailstones but we have not seen anybody else pretty much. Please excuse all typographical errors as I voice type.

Elizabeth Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw

I see everybody acquiring plenty of meat and fish which is a good thing however, what do they do about vegetables where Alaska has such a short growing season?

Ben Watson
Ben Watson

This guy just doesn't seem to make sense. His whole attitude to survival seems to be romanticizing on every poetic detail but to me he comes off as a pompous tit who has read too many books. He casts of the shackles of society and 'civilization' and technology then he goes out hunting using a rifle and a shotgun. That is technology that he apparantly disagrees with. Logically it makes sense why he is using it however it contradicts his ethics that he goes on and on about. 
He uses a fishing rod and reel which is also technology and uses them incorrectly and nearly loses his fish. 
He frequently states how he can get some tool to do a job for him but that he prefers to do things the traditional way but then he makes huge gaps in his logic where he cherry picks recent and not so recent tools that contradict his ethics. 
Respect for him for actually going into the wild and living but other than having the balls to do it (or the lack of sense) he just doesn't seem to be well prepared and seems to frequently run into walls of his own making. As for entertainment regardless of the truth he just comes off as fake, like he has read about this stuff and has only been in the wild for a few months. 
It was a bit laughable when he went on and on about how he has turned his back on civilization then bragged how he hasnt seen a person in ten months, then you see hardcore sue who doesnt see a perdon for 9 months a year every year and just shrugs it off. 
He just doesnt seem genuine. Eric is way more entertaining and realistic. I wouldn't mind watching him if he just made sense but every time you see him he is bragging and preaching then he contradicts himself in the next shot. Just boring.

gail rillon
gail rillon

I think Glenn is the most sexy, intelligent, personable man I have seen in a long time. He is down to earth with nature and very humble. I have lived off-grid 12 years of my live ,.It's hard work, but satisfying.If I were younger I would love to share his life expierience with him. I can't believe he doesn't have a million offers to do the same! I think the negative posts are from very jelous men who are unsure of their own manhood. I live to watch him on this show1 If I were ever stranded in the wild with nothing but him , I'm certain we would survive. And I might add , have a good time doing it!!! You go Glenn, go!

hunter sanders
hunter sanders

I would like to know what caliber the 2nd rifle I see Glenn carry that has the suppressor on it is.  Also does he load his own sub-sonic ammo or buy it or even use sub-sonic ammo.  Additionally, what are the laws there regarding the carry of a class 3 weapon and do you have to be on your own property to carry it loaded and does he have a license to own it there or is it even required.  (Sorry to ask so much in one "question")

Anna Snipes
Anna Snipes

It is clear in this show who is authentic and who isn't.  Glenn just isn't.

Dan Mccraw
Dan Mccraw

I disagree Zippy.  Glen may be inept in your opinion ,but he's not in mine.   He is living the dream of many of us.  He's not  someone like Erik  and who is?  Erik is someone who is exceptional . Glen is starting out and is doing a fine job with the skills he has.   We can't all be Erik or Chip for that matter.

Please NG keep Glen.   Seeing him makes me have enough confidence to think maybe I could live in Alaska some day. And maybe I will.

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Most boring and irritating cast member. yes he eschews modern civilization but also his family. I suspect that the taxpayers have been taking care of his children while he lives his solitary life. Also he seems to go back to " civilization" when he needs supplies. Glenn also seems unfocused and unprepared in general. Guessing this guy is ADD. Who has supported him in his lifestyle until the advent of this show? Guess who? Erik is the single guy that is the real deal. As a guide and trapper he supports himself not the taxpayers. Plus Erik is really informative. Producers, please fewer segments with this dope.

Candace Noel
Candace Noel

This dude is too cool for words. Nice backup shelter... learning new info from you. Thank You

Christian La Salle
Christian La Salle

Just waiting for a bear to devour this D-Bag. He abandons his family for 1/2 a year to play Grizzly Adams !

CECILIA CASWELL
CECILIA CASWELL

I am new to LBZ...so far I love it!!!  Cannot imagine doing what these people do, each & every day.  Wow, what I take for granted blows my mind now :)  I don't want to post snarky comments so I shall refrain til I watch a little more (ha-ha.)  LOVE the Hailstones -- what a pair!  My gosh but Agnes is a patient woman.  (But really, nothing in the artic is rushed.)  Looking forward to new episodes.  BTW -- Glenn's so cool, very self-deprecating...just does his thing!

Candace Noel
Candace Noel

Glenn ... i find you present  a spiritual aspect built into your lifestyle. I appreciate it very much. its all a meditation.

john pappas
john pappas

Glenn is alright. He seems like a thoughtful individual. Of all the characters, he is the most relatable to people in the lower 48. He's an aesthete. His character complements the other unique characters on the show. TThe Hermit, The Family Man, The Crafty Musher. For those of us who watch the show and have no desire/intention to live in the wild, Glenn communicates the beauty of isolation and the Alaskan wilderness very simply and disarmingly. 

Steve Adams
Steve Adams

I am a new viewer and really like your lifestyle. Watching you make the items needed for a fire was very educational but I didn't see what was in your mouth that held the other end of the shaft that you spun.

Wolf Hunter
Wolf Hunter

what caliber is your rifle and how much does a box of ammo cost for it?

Pat Tea
Pat Tea

Anyone who lives this type of life sure has my respect. I won't even begin to think I could make it in this type of lifestyle. Yes I would like to think that I could and would do it but when I think about the hard work that these people have to do to stay alive and live the life of their choosing I go screaming quickly back to my electricity, my running hot and cold water, my computer and TV., etc. I have worked hard all of my life and am not a slacker but these people have to work harder at staying alive and warm than most of us and they can't call in sick or just goof off, like we do. No, I am sorry to say, I am spoiled to what most of us consider the necessities of life.

There is an old saying.....People who live in glass house should not throw stones. There is no reason to be rude. Maybe you would whine to if you weren't so spoiled to the easy life!

You go Glenn, you have my total respect for how you live. Taking time off to enjoy your children or getting a decent haircut ( I don't see a root line so I doubt you color your hair.) has no shame attached to it. You live the way some of us have to take vacations to do and we take our RV's, cell phones, etc with us. I hope you don't let any criticism  bother you. I think they are just jealous.

I am glad to see you are coming back! 

M M
M M

This guy is super-annoying, only lives in the wild half-time and looks like he has his hair professionally cut (and dyed - not a single grey hair and he's in his mid-forties. Won't use bug spray and whines about the bugs.... Argggh... Annoying!!!

Jeannie Rodman
Jeannie Rodman

Glenn is one of my favorites.  He lives a life similar to Dick Proenneke (sp?) as opposed  to  the many  thousands of dollars of high=end, high-tech  equipment some other members of this show use.  I don't know the situation with his family, and that is his business.  I am honored he has chosen to share a bit of his life with us.  He owes us no explanation of his personal life.  Thanks, Glenn, for sharing.  

Tom VanSlooten
Tom VanSlooten

Hello Glenn,

Love watching LBZ. I have hunted in Alaska in the past. Floated a river for a couple of weeks with my Father. It was one great adventure that will never be forgotten.

I own an internet sales company (Great Lakes Shooters Supply) and with ammo so very hard to come by these days I would like to send you some of what you may need free of charge. Just let me know where I can send it, what caliber you need and I will take care of the rest.

Best Regards,

Tom

tom@greatlakesshooterssupply.com

Donna Malmquist
Donna Malmquist

So this is what our world has come too. Some people need to keep their rude comments to themselves. Also he goes in the wilderness for a few months at a time. Why you ask? Because he has kids. And from the pictures I've seen of his children, they are happy and healthy. That's why he doesn't do it full-time. I hope when they're older he takes them as far away as possible from Rude people. I have had a few conversations with him. And he is absolutely one of the most friendliest persons I have talked too in many years. Glenn can't wait too see you on LBZ.

Dominika Toviel
Dominika Toviel

I love to watch Glenn . He has such a soothing gentle spirit. Besides Sue, he seems to be the only other person who really lives a very remote life on the show.  I know he returns to civilization when taping the show is over. I feel like he is probably the same type of provider and influence on his children as any other man who has a job that takes him away from family and friend for any extended period of time. Such as an off-shore fisherman and such.

Carolyn Egan
Carolyn Egan

I worry that he is abandoning his children for this lifestyle, and quite probably not supporting them.  Once you've had children, you've made a choice.

Kurt Halloch
Kurt Halloch

Glenn I totaly understand your outlook on society. The earth and people greed and self loathing sickens me. What the heck is life for anyways. ()% of all money is in 10% of populations hands. The rest of us are sheep or ants working the machine. Friend if you need held up there gathering food and buiulding stuff. Im a huge outdoorsman ...im an electrician bhy trade and have had enough of big cities and crazy people. Email me Id love to be free for one summer in my life. To truly live again before I run out of time. Im only 38 and feel like a slave to the man. let me know and keep fighting the good fight.Khalloch@live.ca

Wanda Torres
Wanda Torres

I get a kick out of the criticism I am reading.
Glenn is most polite and attentive with his fans and loves to answer questions. Those that he exchanges words with find him humble, simple and very pleasant.
We are hoping LBZ keeps him but if not, I am sure his doors to numerous opportunities have been opened and he has many friends who will continue to support him.

Joseph Lincoln
Joseph Lincoln

Most on this show I enjoy watching and seeing the different ways they live and attempt to problem solve through the life in Alaska . Glenn however; I have no use for, he has at-least one child he mentions on his hike out of the wilderness. I find it repugnant that he does not take care of his daughter, does not spend hardly any time with her and with that logic gives no support for her upbringing. It is Disgusting and moronic that in this day and age there are still  dead beats that  use their own pitiful excuse of an existence to attempt to rationalize  why they are who they are and not who they should be, why it is o.k. for them not to be responsible for a child that they took part in creating .  I commend those that choose to live the way most on this show live. It It is a very cool show  TELL GLENN TO GET A JOB  and be a real man and support his daughter with both time and funds to help her live.  

Peter Guidry
Peter Guidry

very interesting that people criticize Glenn when those could not last a week where he is.  That is what he has chosen.  leave the guy alone.   

P Stewart
P Stewart

He is not a cultural purist. He is a dead beat dad evading responsibility without sense enough to plan very far ahead.

Jay Bee
Jay Bee

This is absolutely laughable that you people think they care about your social mores.  THEY LIVE IN ALASKA MILES FROM NO ONE BECAUSE OF THIS PETTY CRAP.  Pretty sure Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever terrible form of social media you want to throw in there doesn't rank too high on their things to worry about.  Can't wait for the selfies that they send with the pack of wolves or the grizzly.  If that is now normalcy then consider my thumb in the air and I'll head that way too like SUPERTRAMP Chris McCandless.  I just won't eat the berries.  I can't wait to try to rationalize with a pack of wolves or a grizzly and we can discuss their views on the future of their species.  Our society is doomed...

gail rillon
gail rillon

@Zippy Miller Totally disagree! Eric is the one who sells himself out. Not Glenn. To survive without  civilization my moneys on Glenn.And, I might add he is so in tune with nature!

Stuff McBudley
Stuff McBudley

@Zippy Miller  I didn't think that much of Glenn upon first impression, but that isn't Glenn's fault, that was all NatGeo being incompetent story tellers. if you keep watching you will see that Glenn has some respectable hunting and survival skills. I am not privy to the info about his family and his situation. Either I missed something or you are making some bold assumptions. Erik might not be able to hack it in Glenn's situation and vise versa, you are comparing Apples to Oranges here, Erik is a guide and relies a lot more on technology, Glenn does not. 


And I am curious, are you with the IRS? And do you know anything at all about AK tax law? And do you know something about Glenn's family? If so, where is the link? Put up or shut up.

Scott W
Scott W

@Christian La Salle  Yep.  Don't wish him harm, but he's just playing.  I Fast Forward through all the Glenn segments.  Not interested.

Stuff McBudley
Stuff McBudley

@M M  I'm 45 and don't have a single grey hair and have a full head of hair. That may have to do with genetics or could also be because I choose to eat organic (including my organic meat... not sure why some tools think organic means vegetarian). I don't use bug spray either, I can't stand it... I do wear a mesh head cover when I am in heavy bug country hunting or fishing. Glenn seems like he knows what he is doing (although I am not sure why he doesn't just build a cabin, perhaps he likes the idea of moving to a different location)

Chad Boyce
Chad Boyce

@Ella Preuninger Fraud? Eating elk eyeballs and fat because he's hungary? You're a very rude person. He's simply living how he wants to, you act like he just robbed a bank for Christ's sake.

Stuff McBudley
Stuff McBudley

@Carolyn Egan How old are his children and what is the situation? Did they discuss custody, etc? I must have missed that part of the show.

Chad Boyce
Chad Boyce

@Ella Preuninger I wish you would go back to the wilderness for another 20 years so we wouldn't have to listen to your bitter uninformed comments.

Neil Villeneuve
Neil Villeneuve

@Joseph Lincoln  Words of advice

Such bold statements, after seeing a glimpse of someone’s life, are only advertising your own narrow-minded lack of intelligence.