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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.
491 comments
Teresa Howell
Teresa Howell

You bleep her filthy mouth until she uses GODs name in vaine, like the show dont like her mouth. So mute her

lisa haukos
lisa haukos

Sue your grandson is so sweet and I love how you are teaching him survival.  Its so great he gets to spend time with you. Family time is awesome.. good luck to you and stay warm.  I love your parts of the show as always...

James Kenneth Lupo
James Kenneth Lupo

Wow you are one tough woman. And you are pretty cool at the same time. By the way. Do you ever get lonely way up there in the middle of nowhere? By the way. I think that you are a very beautiful woman.

Denice Eads
Denice Eads

It's the middle of January and I was thinking about you. Hope all is well. Love your show. 

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

Happy New year Sue! I am sure you are not losing sleep over the smoking advice. I live with a doc with severe lung problems who never smoked a day in her life! I do not endorse smoking but vices/ addictions have some positive attributes as well, that is why they are addicting! Having had Near death experiences, it is often more important to just sit back and enjoy life. I promised you a bottle of single malt and a Cuban ( which is now easier to get) when we get up to visit Kavik. Take care and keep on being true to yourself, you are a hoot. A Michigan shoutout!

Arthur Strader
Arthur Strader

You are truly one of the last pioneers,and a very brave one at that.I also think that you would be an excellent candidate to colonize Mars.you have all of the qualities needed that's for sure.

Deborah Fraser
Deborah Fraser

I have watched every episode and your strength inside and out is truly amazing. I know that I could never do it. How old are you? I often wonder that. I am glad to see that you have grandchildren with you from time to time. God be with you Sue.

Gary Woodley
Gary Woodley

good day sue....I am packing up and heading to NWT to do some trucking...sending you a big wave and will check back in when I get home...hugs  from gary and nancy

N B
N B

Awesome lady! I really admire her as a person.

Kelly Loskot Seiler
Kelly Loskot Seiler

Sue, you are my favorite part of this show.  Your strength and tenacity are utterly amazing to me.  I envy the life you live.

Pamela Day
Pamela Day

Sue: I just love you.  You are a pistol.  You make me laugh with the things you say.  You are one funny lady.  I hope you are feeling better, because I feel sorry for you with your injuries.  God bless you, and get well soon. 

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

---Sue, you appear to be a woman who prefers "straight talk," so please take this in the spirit it is offered: You are FAR more likely to die of coronary artery disease, due to your heavy smoking, than by a bear attack......It is very uncomfortable listening to you gasping for breath with even slight exertion, and hearing the litany of ills (bad ankle, back, anemia), likely caused/exasperated by smoking (didn't any doctor ever tell you that smoking is the WORST THING an anemic person can do)??

---I believe we need all of the strong women we can get (as long as those women STAY strong)...Watching you physically age "beyond your years," due to self-inflicted behavior is unpleasant in the extreme....Instead of aiming for a bear, PLEASE take aim at that "monkey on your back".....

Gayle Loveland
Gayle Loveland

---P.S. : Many of your health problems can be reversed/halted if you quit NOW...Pills, patches, gum, hypnosis/therapy: if one doesn't work, try another (or combination).....It will help your body much better withstand the lifestyle you have chosen, and enable you to enjoy it more, with fewer physical ailments....

Hope Freeman
Hope Freeman

Hi Sue, Do you rent out the cabins that are seen around your property? If so, how would one go about renting one? My husband and I are huge fans and have always dreamed of living in Alaska.. Love watching your show, and your attitude is awesome!! :) 

Raymond Fecher
Raymond Fecher

Do you get any satellite services up there? What's on the menu during hunting season?

Raymond Fecher
Raymond Fecher

Watch the show and having been a hunter in the New York Catskill mountains for 30 years I know cold, however, you guys go beyond my coldest morning hunt of 10 below, admire your grit.

Raymond Fecher
Raymond Fecher

Hey Sue hope all is warm and well, I was wondering how you get the aviation fuel to sell?

Raymond Fecher
Raymond Fecher

Hey Sue hope all is well, I was wondering how you get the aviation fuel to sell? Ray

Lore Bennion
Lore Bennion

Hello,Sue,I love the show ,I truly admire you for your courage ,hope you had a merry Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year, 

Jennifer Glembocki
Jennifer Glembocki

Hi Sue! Merry Christmas :) on the last show I watched, I noticed you had a pink marine corps sweatshirt on, my husband and I are curious if you are a marine or were ever in the military? My son is a marine as well as my daughter in law and my daughter is in bootcamp for the marine corps. We LOVE your show, you are one strong woman! Take care, again Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

LeVerne Stiner
LeVerne Stiner

Hi Sue..........What type of rifle and caliber do you shoot for the Caribou

Thanks from a great fan of yours

Susan Berg
Susan Berg

HI Sue! I'm a huge fan of the show and love your stories the best. You are so relateable that I feel like I know you just from watching the show. I'd love to send you a care package of some creature comforts, reading materials, maybe some dog biscuits for your dog (do you still have him?) and the foxes, etc. Is there any way to get a package to you? Please let me know.  Wishing you a warm holiday season!!  

Marcy Isherwood
Marcy Isherwood

Sue, have a safe and happy New Year and a very safe and Merry Christmas. Please know you are an inspiration to many. I admire your determination and strong spirit! I look forward to watching your adventures in Life Below Zero! Stay safe!

brenton reynolds
brenton reynolds

Sue, have a great Christmas and happy and safe new year ! The Reynolds family !

brenton reynolds
brenton reynolds

Sue, merry Christmas and happy new year ! Stay safe ! Brent and Jill Reynolds

Elena Cass
Elena Cass

Hi Sue,  you are an inspiration to all women!!  Hope you are doing well.  

Bob Gleadall
Bob Gleadall

Hi Sue:

I’m a senior that has lost the use of my legs because of arthritis in my ankles, knees, hips and spine. I have had two knee replacements but even they hurt all of the time because of the wait I have put on. Needless to say I spend most of my life in a wheel chair.I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your show and all of the participants so much.I have watched your show over and over so many times and it is always fresh each time.

There used to be a time when I could hunt for deer and moose and spend at least two or three weeks in the bush at a time in the middle of winter and I miss it a lot.It means a great deal that I can at least see these things through your eyes even though I can’t be there.Thanks a lot and not all people are mean to each other as I have been successfully married now to the same beautiful woman for thirty-nine years now, but I do appreciate your expression.

Bob Gleadall

Bob Gleadall
Bob Gleadall


Hi Sue:


I’m a senior that has lost the use of my legs because of arthritis in my ankles, knees, hips and spine. I have had two knee replacements but even they hurt all of the time because of the wait I have put on. Needless to say I spend most of my life in a wheel chair.I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your show and all of the participants so much.I have watched your show over and over so many times and it is always fresh each time.


There used to be a time when I could hunt for deer and moose and spend at least two or three weeks in the bush at a time in the middle of winter and I miss it a lot.It means a great deal that I can at least see these things through your eyes even though I can’t be there.Thanks a lot and not all people are mean to each other as I have been successfully married now to the same beautiful woman for thirty-nine years now, but I do appreciate your expression.



Bob Gleadall


Pat Wright
Pat Wright

Hi  Sue,

Just shot my first deer a few days ago. I used a Mossberg 12 guage my husband had, iron sites, and a slug. He never got a chance to show me any hunting skills as he got very sick before I lost him, but you sure have. I think I have a few years on you as I am now 60 but as long as we keep moving, we keep moving. I did some study on how to butcher a deer. Man, it is allot of work. I can only imagine how strong your body must be to take on the big game to fill your freezers. Stay strong.

Deborah Killeffer
Deborah Killeffer

I'm addicted to watching Life Below Zero, and especially because of Sue....thanks for sharing your life and causing us wimpy ones to have more courage.  I have a question....are you truly a vegan and how does that work for you when you hunt caribou, bear, etc.  Is this food given to guests?  What is your diet like?

David Snyder
David Snyder

Love the show! You are one strong willed and determined woman.

barry campbell
barry campbell

I admire sue she is a strong willed woman, and smart she survives the smart way in alaska. Keep on trucking sue love watching the show.

Kassandra Perry
Kassandra Perry

Sue - I am new to the show and it was your experience that facinates me the most.  I am probably your worst nightmare (scaredy cat - took me years to learn to properly swim --so I wouldn't be so worried about my 6-year-old in the water, finally took her camping and now have been twice...yet the thought of bears scare me to no end).  I imagine being sent to Sue Aikens Boot Camp to toughen up.  That cracks ME up (I can already hear your comments on camera if I was there :-)..  Love your grit and sense of humor - send some of your edge and strength my way!  By the way, what do you miss most (if anything) being on camp? Does the camera crew ever get scared out there - and if so, what do you say to them?

Richard Dockery
Richard Dockery

Love you on the show ! If more people where like you in America we would be better off! Hope all goes well with you owing the lodge. Take care!

Gary Arivett
Gary Arivett

Hi Sue   I have to state you'r an amazing person and I love your views and efforts.  It appears things are really demanding in your life and I wondered if you could help me out with some insight.  In this show, are you employed to work at this locatoin.  Reason I am asking is that the fuel cost etc... is totally crazy and I wondered how in the world  could you make it.  I iwsh you the best and you're in my prayers.   Sorry for Typo's... the letters on the screen are white lol .... at my age I can't read them so well lol

Christine Martucci
Christine Martucci

Dear Sue, I think you are awesome there is a friend of ours here in NJ she is very similar to you.  I am a fan and wanted to know what is your favorite book to read over and over, and never get tired of reading it? Also who is your favorite band, and do you like rock and roll?

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Christine Martucci Hmmm I tend to read all my books over and over lol! I like many many styles and generally read every night before bed. I also like many formats of music the late 60's and 70's rock quite a bit, but also I love Opera.

Christine Martucci
Christine Martucci

@Susan Aikens @Christine Martucci Thanks for the reply, I am sure you are well read. 60 and 70's are the best music! And I bet a great Alaskan sunset with some Opera playing in the background is GOD like. I hope you stay safe out there and maybe one day I will come and visit and bring my guitar. I am a vegan though. :)

PJ Nelson
PJ Nelson

Don't think she is poor shot, just needs good rest!!!!!  Anyone who doesn't use a good rest misses!! 

PJ Nelson
PJ Nelson

@Susan Aikens @PJ Nelson 

awesome you will love them once you get use to them!!  ?? Since you are getting game for your survival, would the game rangers not give you a permit to get food out of season. You are really busy during spring and summer when you need to get your freezer filled, seems like you could get a special permit for that, no??yes?

Heather Stegman
Heather Stegman

My 4 daughters and I are wondering what is the house you are living in? Looks like an insulated canvas covered hoophouse. Whenever I get tired of the cold and self sufficiency here ( we only had 75 consecutive days of -30F and colder last winter), I remember how you are handling it and buckle down again!