Who Are 'The Woodsmen'? Meet the Men Living Off The Grid In History's New Series
History Channel is going back off the grid with new series The Woodsmen, which will answer the question of who are the woodsmen by shedding some light on a mostly unknown subculture of survivalists living off American land. It's not a Wizard of Oz prequel or a story about carving masters — the woodsmen shown in the series are a group of survivalists living deep in the otherwise uninhabited forests of the Pacific Northwest. And they're not just hanging out in treehouses, either. These woods are so deep and so isolated that these men have to do everything for themselves, from building shelter to hunting and foraging for food and supplies. They wear camouflage to better disguise themselves while hunting, have to be prepared for the heat of summer and frequent rains, and they even climb to the tops of trees 100 feet high with no climbing equipment. It's dangerous, difficult, and probably inadvisable, but the woodsmen manage to survive in these conditions, often with few, if any, companions.
According to History's explanation of the series, part of the reason these men have left their homes is to be "far removed from the trappings of modernity," so it's ironic that they're going to be the subjects of a reality show. And the show kind of reminds of a little bit of the survivalist portions of the Hunger Games series. But for The Woodsmen, this definitely isn't fiction. The survival of this cast depends entirely on their ability to beat back the wilderness. Here's what you should know about the woodsmen putting their perilous lifestyle on display.
Mike: The Walkabout
Mike's claim to fame is that he's a self-taught outdoorsman who gained his skills after heading to Montana. Before he decided to turn his back on the modern world, he used to be a carpenter and now, furthering the Hunger Games similarities, uses a bow — skills that will certainly be handy in the woods.
Steve: More Than A Sidekick
History calls Steve "Mike's right hand man," and they must be great partners, because Steve has everything Mike lacks. He's familiar with the land, since he's from the Pacific Northwest, and he knows just about everything about hunting and hunting weapons — he can even make them.
Ethan: The Building Prodigy
Ethan started building things with his father in their home is Western Idaho at the age of 12. Crazy. And his skills didn't stop with just using a hammer and nails. According to his History bio, Ethan's "jobs of hauling boards turned into bigger jobs of fabricating metal, running the sawmill and building barns." After a brief break, Ethan returned to Idaho.
Aza: The Mechanical Genius
If Ethan comes up with the plans, then Aza is the one who makes them reality, because he's an amateur engineer who can make "a bike powered elevator and zip lines" out of the limited materials available to them in the Idaho wilderness.
Jay: The Lone Wolf
Jay has lived on his own for 17 years. He doesn't live with anyone out there, and he doesn't want to. His whole life is one big puzzle, where he repurposes everything on his path into something he can use to help build his life off the grid.
All five of The Woodsmen's cast members prove that it's possible to survive anywhere, with the right supplies, the right smarts, and years of practice.
Images: Relativity Television (6)