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Sue Aikens

Sue Aikens searches the horizon for the wolf she believes is hunting her.

Sue Aikens (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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Sue Aikens is as tough as the grizzly bear that attacked her and left her for dead six years ago. “I had to sew my own head together, my arm, and before my hips popped out, I went across the river, found the bear, shot him, called the trooper, and there I lay for 10 days.” At that time, Sue did not know if the bears would come through the wall of her house and she knew she could not defend herself if they did.

Sue lives 500 miles from the nearest city and 80 miles from the closest road. She is the warden of Kavik River Camp, a base for hunting groups, that she also calls home. She has lived there for seven years, but has been in Alaska for 30 years. She loves to share the unique experience of her camp with people during hunting season, and it can house up to 83 hunters at a time. 

While some women collect shoes, Sue collects bullets, beer, blood and guts. Sue recognizes that she lives in bear country, not the other way around. The ground is frozen all year round, so there's no way to dig a well for water. Instead, Sue must treat the river water herself. And when the electricity generator goes down, as it often does in the extreme conditions, it is Sue who has to fix it.

During hunting season, she hosts the hunters with hot showers and food; but from October to May, she faces the freezing temperatures, penetrating winds, and savage bears all alone, holding fort. Time has no meaning to Sue. She is not lonely; she simply lives alone. However, Sue entertains herself and often cracks herself up. Although she considers animals her friends, she is aware that if something bad were to happen, there is no one to help her. Her motto: "If it hurts, don’t think about it."


Dive Deeper:

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion.

Sue's Life Below Zero Demands Perseverance

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion.
419 comments
carmen heath torres
carmen heath torres

You are awesome. I was wondering if you had any kids? if so what are their feelings about you living so far from anyone. thx

darrin coffee
darrin coffee

You are one tuff woman. Defiantly my favorite on the show but I cant imagine it being very fun to visit you there. You really don't seem like the type who likes company. It seems like it could even be dangerous depending on your mood. That's ok, I'm the same way just by nature but you wont see me running a bed and breakfast anytime soon.. Stay safe.

Shelia Benson
Shelia Benson

Love this Lady and the show. Stay safe and be careful. =)


tina erickson
tina erickson

I really admire the fact that you were not willing to leave a caribou calf motherless.  Even if it meant you may have to go without meat for yourself. It shows your respect for the land and the animals. You are a strong woman. I wish you the very best. You have made me a fan.

Mirnali Calderon
Mirnali Calderon

Hi Sue,

I  admire your courage and positivism.  Please, Stay Safe out there!

Al Havner
Al Havner

I think Sue could use some help up there, why don't you bring in people for a week at a time to see what sue go's through on a regular basis? I all ready have permission from my wife to go up and lend a hand for a week or so.

Matt Rustin
Matt Rustin

Hi Sue,

How come you don't keep the Ptarmigan gizzards? They are a good, just rip the lining out of them. Also, did you get your 22 zeroed in? I noticed you switched to a shotgun after missing a few of the first Ptarmigan you came across.

B. Ray
B. Ray

Hi Sue! My daughter, husband and I love watching the show. We would LOVE to come spend a few weeks with you for some fishing! You do amazing work and you are an inspiration to all women! :)

Richard Littleton
Richard Littleton

Hey Sue, How do you doooooo?,  I watch your segments all the time, got a hell of a lot of respect for ya. I've thought about signing up so I could email for some time, glad I did, here I am. I'm amazed at the armory of seemingly stainless steel you have up there. How many people find there way up there in a hunting season? And what is the animal that is the most popular to hunt? I would presume the brown bear? Do you do the guiding for parties, or are they self sustaining (bring there own guides, etc.)? I'm getting close to retirement, and I would love to spend time on the ground in AK, I stopped in Anchorage in the dark, at the airport, in the 60's on the way oversees to Vietnam, but didn't see much in the dark. I'm still wondering what, or how your business operates.Do you have a pamphlet,or something explaining your operation, with prices etc.? Does your business have a name? Well Sue, I guess I'll leave ya with take care, and above all else BE SAFE UP THERE! 'll be watching the show. ENJOY! Rick

Dusty Lennon
Dusty Lennon

Hey Sue,  I've watched you a lot.  I have a suggestion for you on your guns.  I've been around guns since I was 4 years old.  I am now over 60.  I've watched you take your 22 or your single shot 410 when you go out.  Have you ever thought about getting a" savage" over/under 410/22.  Or you can get a different caliber besides a 22 with the 410.  Or maybe a" Springfield" M-6 SCOUT in 410/22lr or 41l/22 hornet.  With the 22 HORNET you can shoot coyotes, wolves or even small deer.  And one tip I can give you is to sight in your rifle better than you do, before you hunt.  If you need some help sighting in a rifle, I'll come up there and help you..  I hope you read this.  Dusty

Denise Tabor
Denise Tabor

Sue thank you for showing me Alaska through your eyes. Can't wait to come and Hubby and I are talking coming to Kavak!

Roy Sutton
Roy Sutton

I'm Amazed !...I'ved lived in the Yukon.....I needed to get back to civilization....Stay safe Sue

Matt Rustin
Matt Rustin

Sue,

Last season when you shot your Grizzly Bear, What caliber rifle were you shooting and what grain bullet? Thanks!

Reggy Sanchez
Reggy Sanchez

Hi Sue just wanted to give ya a quik hello I watch and root for ya every week,stay warm and safe.

Gregory Price
Gregory Price

Hello Sue,

   My Wife and I love the show and you are our favorite. We appreciate your respect  for all things in nature and your philosophy on life. We are retired teachers living in Connecticut and when we have a particularly cold spell during winter we always say, "Hey this is nothing compared to what Sue is going through". I do have one question. What do you treat your drinking water for, would it be safe to drink without filtration or additives.  Well we hope you have a safe and productive winter and we look forward to the new season.      Greg.

N. Wesner
N. Wesner

Sue, have you ever thought about running a self reliance school at the camp you just bought? I'm an outdoor instructor for Colorado Mountain College outside of Aspen Co. I thought about it looking at your camp and think it would be big. My wife and I are saving to buy some land here in Co away from the rat race to teach our daughters self reliance. If you need help during ur season let me know. I have a ton of wilderness experience and former member of El Paso county Co search and rescue/ mountain rescue team. I would love to work with you as well as learn from you. You are my favorite on the show you are alone and seem to be more sucluded then the others making you hard core in my book

Nick

Survival.35.nw@gmail.com

Email me if you need workers.

Mohammed Nipun
Mohammed Nipun

this life is amazing.... free life... i always want to live life like that... hope the time is come soon...

M M
M M

a 'Sue-B-Q'!

Love it!!

VeRn MoRin
VeRn MoRin

Hey sue i love the show me and my ma love you the best my mas question is Do your kids ever come to visit you?

Charles Vann
Charles Vann

Dear Sue, When I first tuned into the show I didn't understand you.  After reading your bio I understand you more .  I didn't  know you lived in AK for as long as you have that put things in context for me.  I'm sorry you had a bad bear event but I'm glad you survived.  I am a fellow hunter about to depart for the yearly ritual.  I wish you luck in the coming winter because luck is one commodity we can all use extra of.  

Glenn Hall
Glenn Hall

SUE my name is Glenn and i have been watching you for years.I have never wrote anyone that i have seen on TV but there is some thing about you and your life style.I would like if you could e-mail me so we could talk more Halls_homestead@rogers.com

Jason Runge
Jason Runge

Hi Sue,

I have to say "I take my hat off to you", .... what an amazing place to live. I hope before I die I get to sample even just a little of what you LIVE : -)

My partner and I are wild at heart stuck in a modern world, perhaps one day we'll grow balls to say F ... it and go do what we'd really love to do!

Stay strong and happy !!! PS My Mrs asks to please say "hi" to the foxes ::-)

Jason and Sarah United Kingdom Basingstoke.

Linda Waldron
Linda Waldron

I admire you and the role model you give others.  Even if we do not live off the grid as you do you inspire others to do what you have to do even if it is hard, unpleasant or dangerous.  I could never live as you do but I still think you are an amazing person and I enjoy watching how you approach your challenges.  Keep on being a role model for young people and maybe they will not give up so easily in hard situations.  MsLinda

Sandra Sheridan
Sandra Sheridan

Sue I just found the show.  KUDOS to you.. I could not do what you do.  
I have had the chance to be in Alaska 2 times and LOVED it.  BUT it was summer ;-)


Look forward to watching "the thaw"


Best wishes

Ian Case Taylor
Ian Case Taylor

hi my name is ian I am 8 I think you are very awesome I always want to watch only you on life below zero. I don't know why I like you so much but you are my favorite person on the show. I would like to meet you one day. if you ever come to Alabama come see me! some day when I grow up and graduate I will come visit! Kavik seems like it is a neat place. I got your address so I can write you a letter have a great day I cant wait to watch the new season!!!

Gary Woodley
Gary Woodley

Greetings Sue...My wife Nancy and I enjoy all that you share with us on the show. I am an Ice road trucker in NWT but I am only around the severe weather for 3 months of the year.....hats off to you and thanks for sharing your adventure with us....gary and nancy

Paul Delisle
Paul Delisle

Hi Sue, I am a 57 year old, 6'2" retire guy. am a hard worker and willing to listen and learn... I would love to experience your life. While I will not stay forever, I would love the chance to meet with you and spend time enjoying what you have... Thanks in advance, Paul Delisle

Linda Kent
Linda Kent

I really  love watching, wish you were featured more.  I would like to see more of how you live and survive

Bonnie Thompson
Bonnie Thompson

Sue congrats on buying your home,we have a lot of respect for you and how you live! what made you decide to live off the grid?

Louise Burt
Louise Burt

Sue, I discovered this show yesterday and watched all of Season 1 back to back. I cried when you cried! I was outraged at whoever stole your fuel and I empathised when you were worried about "fat and fifty and having to start a new career" and I was overcome with joy for you when you bought the camp!! Just brilliant, such an inspiration.

Agathe S.
Agathe S.

 I always loved winter and the cold...

 Admire your strenght, I never went to Alaska but wish someday to see it.. Perhaps, I will start with a cruise :o)

Take care...


Agathe



Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Glenn Hall Hi Glenn!! I am crushed at the moment with an overflowing email... but can answer an email when I get the chance. Thanks so much for watching me over the years and shows

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Jason Runge hello you guys!! The foxies have been petted in your honor and I think even in a modern world... there is room to plan a little wilderness :)

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Linda Waldron Thank you Ms Linda! I keep on being me, silly at times, tough at others. Rising to lifes challenges and overcoming them is an amazing feeling for me!

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Ian Case Taylor Hello Ian! Thank you so much for such a nice message! I think it would be awesome to meet you and your parents someday as well! I dont get mail often but will look for a letter from you!

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Bonnie Thompson The choice was made for me when I was very young, and as an adult I have lived in town and out, but prefer being alone.

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Agathe S. Thank you Agathe, I hope you do get to see Alaska someday, it has so many beautiful landscapes to offer!

Jason Runge
Jason Runge

@Susan Aikens @Jason Runge ...continued (sorry wouldnt let me send whole msg in one) part 2 or reply:

You know what you are a bloody superb role model ...I mean I have even spent more time out of house this week just as I didnt want to waste time sitting on my butt .... I thought if Sue can get off her butt in - degrees I bloody well am gonna get some jobs sorted! : -) YOUR ROCK Sue ...ps let us know if we can send you some Colmans English Mustard ( or anything else from UK) : -) respect and love Jason and Sarah.

if you'd like to email me/us direct my email is jasonrunge@hotmail.com

Jason Runge
Jason Runge

@Susan Aikens @Jason Runge Hi Sue - Wow you have really made our day with your reply. It kinda makes me think of "pen pals" from the 70's and 80's hahahaha .... Sarah and I just went to pub ...and had a good chat. I said to my Mrs ...mmm I wonder what Sue is doing ...Sarah said ...probably loading her riffle and polishing her revolver, or perhaps doing an oil change on the ski ... Mmmm Yeh spose so said I ...: -)