The problem with eating gophers is there is just not quite enough meat on them to satisfy a full-grown man out in the bush.
The upside is there are plenty of them for the pickings, and they taste good, according to backcountry adventurist Greg Ovens. He and fellow adventurer Zach Fowler spent 30 days in the backcountry behind Canal Flats this past summer, filming a YouTube series now being released to the public.
“They taste like rabbit; they’re good. There’s just not a lot on them,” Mr. Ovens said of the gophers.
Mr. Fowler and Mr. Ovens met while they were both on a History channel show called ‘Alone,’ filmed in Patagonia. Mr. Fowler launched a YouTube channel following his win of that season’s show; his channel, Fowler’s Makery and Mischief, has 480,000 subscribers.
Mr. Fowler started a new series called ‘30 Day Survival Challenge,’ filming the first series in Texas. He brought the show up to Canal Flats for the second season to film alongside his Patagonia pal Mr. Ovens.
The goal of the challenge was to catch and forage for all their food and live in the backwoods for the month of July, filming the whole thing along the way. On the YouTube series, viewers will get to watch as the pair explore different backcountry locations, make bow drill fires, use primitive methods to trap animals, fish, and even watch as Mr. Ovens makes a homemade fishing rod.
There were some unexpected adventures along the way, like when they went to a hike-in lake, planning for a day-trip. However, they discovered that a vehicle bridge that used to take people much closer to the lake had been removed, so it was twice as far to hike to the destination.
“We get in there, it’s way up in there, and it’s too late to go back to the vehicle. So, we had to spend the night, but we didn’t bring any bedding or nothing. That was a rough night,” said Mr. Ovens.
What made the whole month adventure far more challenging, Mr. Ovens reported, was needing to pack the 20+ pounds of camera gear, and make sure to get footage of each activity. They used solar panels to charge the batteries, and packed drones and GoPros to shoot the footage.
Locals will enjoy the great aerial footage over the Columbia Valley and the scenic surroundings Mr. Ovens takes Mr. Fowler to over the course of the 30 days.
“I came up with three different locations, all fairly close together,” Mr. Ovens said. “I wanted him to see different kinds of terrain. We had the vehicle for the first week or so when we were going from spot to spot. But the last spot, we had to build roads and all kinds of stuff.”
Battling bad weather, risks of wildlife encounters, unexpected delays and the constant search for food make for an interesting watch. Viewers can follow the adventures on Mr. Fowler’s channel, and also subscribe to Mr. Oven’s channel, ‘Ovens Rocky Mountain Bushcraft,’ to watch his footage of the 30 Day Survival Challenge.
Mr. Ovens is hoping the channel takes off and gets to the point where he can get out of his day job of drywalling. After the 30 Day Challenge is released, he has some other video ideas to keep his channel filled with fresh content. For Mr. Ovens, the YouTube channel is a dream come true, filming and hopefully making money off what he loves to do.
“I like it,” Mr. Ovens said. “I wouldn’t do anything else.”
After 30 days of foraging, fishing, and catching their food, how did the friends celebrate the end of their adventure?
“We got the heck out of there. We came back, and we ordered pizza.”
To watch and subscribe to Mr. Oven’s channel, go to www.youTube.com and search for ‘Ovens Rocky Mountain Bushcraft’.