Fans of Alaska reality TV were treated to another new episode of “Yukon Men” on Tuesday night. However, it seems that we do this serious show a disservice by including it in this sometimes-questionable genre of television programming. “Yukon Men” is widely-praised for the integrity of the storyline, and most fans are quick to mention the integrity of these strong, self-sufficient men and Courtney, the one young woman featured. This episode, in particular, showed the honor and intelligence of these interesting and admirable people through the featured narratives shown.
This episode finds the residents of Tanana still concerned about the growing population of wolves around the town and the resulting depletion of moose numbers. The people rely on moose as a steady part of their diet, especially since the United States government has protected the king salmon that had long been their principle food with limits and outright bans. The king salmon numbers have been so bad that commercial fishing of the endangered fish has not been allowed in over a decade.
Charlie Wright quietly and intelligently explained the sensitive balance of life on the Yukon and how important the moose is to their way of life. By listening to this wise and thoughtful man explain the ways of the wolves, viewers were privy to knowledge that may not have been available to them any other way. There was no “yucking it up” for the camera as the experienced hunter explained the sad necessity to kill the Alpha male wolf caught alive in his expert trap. Wright spoke of honor and family responsibility while visibly touched by the poignancy of the moment.
The Pat Moore kennel was the scene of some more in-depth narrative that painted a deep portrait of the life and people in this remote Alaskan village. The serious nature of the discussions of which dog should lead the team in the all-important race involved somber talk of honor and respect that had to be earned. The native people, as well as those who have formed families and friendships with them, seem to look at everything through a multi-faceted lens that sees many colors and nuances of life that others miss. They all seem to have a great sense of pride, not egotistical pride but the self-confidence and self-respect that self-sufficiency brings. Yet, in everything they do, they seem to consider the impact on everyone else and their way of life.
“Yukon Men” has won the respect of viewers, many of whom don’t even watch other Alaska reality TV shows. This show is downright educational and inspiring, and it has stood the test of time. In its fourth season, let’s hope it continues for many seasons to come.