Reality TV take note: Carrying a shotgun does not make you a survival expert

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The Daily Mail reports:

It promised to stretch reality television to the limit: one man pitting his wits against the Yukon wilderness with just a camera for company.

But hopes for an epic three-month contest between man and nature were dashed when adventurer Ed Wardle failed to go the distance.

Seven weeks after striding out into the rugged forests of western Canada armed with a rifle and a fishing rod, Mr Wardle had to be airlifted back to civilisation suffering from starvation.

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This first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the photo was the fact he was using an extended magazine tube on this shotgun. What use is that in the wild? I have no idea. Seems to me like extra weight and one more aftermarket part to break.

Jim Downey has also blogged about it.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Philip

    But it looks so cool. I’d rather look cool and starve then look like a big pussy and not starve.

  • http://communionblog.wordpress.com/ Jim Downey

    I also like the fact that the article author doesn’t know the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. Twit.

    Jim D.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Jim, why they cannot get a simply fact like that correct is beyond me!

  • CMathews

    It’s for the multiple follow up shots when he encounters a wayward socialist Lol.

  • Andy

    Hmm… if I meet a bear, I wouldn’t mind the extra slugs if I just gotta use ‘em.

    Of course, if he was really cool, he’d have it in a scabbard.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      lol, I considered that but bears bears don’t hunt in packs. I mean unlike zombies you can only kill a bear once.

  • Matt Groom

    I would probably bring a Shotgun, too, but mine would be a drilling, like a Savage Model 24, with a .22LR on top and a 20 or 12 gauge on bottom. I have Model 24C from the 70′s that works as a take-down model, .22LR/20ga. It is very light and recoil is murderous with 20 gauge slugs!

    Also, at least one Sub-caliber adapter for the shotgun would allow you to easily use it as a center-fire rifle in a caliber such as 30-30. That’s extra weight, but my 24C and a Sub-cal adapter would probably weigh as much as that Remington 870 that guy’s carrying, +/- 1 pound. The versatility of this set up would also be VERY hard to beat.

  • CY

    What? no bayonet? no wonder he starved.
    i agree with Jim and Steve. articles like that only further misinform the average reader.writers and editors should be required to attend a firearms safety course for basic education.

  • B Woodman

    Nice shotgun. What was he shooting through it? Slugs? Sabots? Anything else would be iffy up there.

    If you were to ask me what I wanted to carry in the wilds of Alaska, it’d be a nice scoped .308 & a rod-&-reel. And “hunting seasons” be damned. If you’re going to put me into a survivor program, then I’m going to survive.

  • Komrad

    If the only ammo he was carrying was the ammo in the gun then an extended mag makes sense. But even then he would only have seven to ten rounds depending on what size shells he had.

  • Regolith

    The guy brought a fighting shotgun when he should have brought a hunting one. I wonder what his ammunition load consisted of. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were nothing but buckshot and maybe some slugs. If that’s the case, it’s no wonder he nearly starved to death; big game kills are rare in survival situations, and even if you do manage to kill something like a deer you have to either find a way to keep it from spoiling or eat as much as possible in as short a time as possible. The majority of meat in such a situation should be composed of small game, like rabbits and birds, along with fish, which are best taken with a small-caliber rifle like a .22lr or a shotgun using birdshot (except for the fish, of course).

  • Simon_The_Brit

    Ah….I see what his problem was, he doesn’t have a Brit Special Forces mustache ;)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Simon_The_Brit, haha, is that the secret behind the British commandos?

  • maxpwr

    My brother-in-law works for the National Forest Service in Alaska and they issue him and everyone else a stainless steel Remington 870 with a non-stainless steel magazine extension. The more shots, the better.

  • http://www.tothelastditch.blogspot.com/ Stephen B

    Perhaps it’s a Canadian preference?

    I like Matt’s idea!

  • MrSatyre

    Shoulda brought a flamethrower. Kill your food and cook it at the same time. Mmmm… Petrol makes meat taste better!

  • jdun1911

    A shotgun is a good choice for a survival weapon. There are a large variety of ammo that can be loaded into a shotgun. I would make the shotgun as light as possible. No wood stock, no optic, nothing extra attached to the firearm except a sling. Something like the picture from above.

    With that said if I had a choice I would take a .22lr rifle instead of shotgun or a light weight hunting rifle. Most .22lr rifles are ultra light weight and the amount of ammo that can be carry on the trip is more then enough.

    http://rpginn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1070&Itemid=1

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=17&t=626840

  • Blackwater

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having an extended magazine in the wild. More bullets is always better in my opinion. And If it’s factory installed then it should be plenty reliable. Shotguns are also versatile. You can use buckshot for smaller game and slugs for bears. It might not be an ideal gun for the wilderness but it definetly isn’t too terrible either.

  • Simon_The_Brit

    Sorry mate if I told you I’d have to kill you.

  • Mu

    That always got me with the “Alaska Experience” shows on Discovery, they “survived” according to hunting rules, with one guided hunt. You missed it, your starved, bear roaming outside be damned.

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    So how will more rounds in the magazine make his load heavier than if he carried them in the pack instead?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Heath, I think anyone who goes into the wild with a riot gun is probably the kind of person who would want the magazine full ;)

  • http://towhichireplied.com ErnestThing

    I was going to criticize his selection of firearm too, but then I read the article and found that this man was simply a cameraman with no survival training. From the low heart rate he had, it sounds like he had rabbit starvation, which is starvation by eating too much lean meat, and not getting enough fat. Every human understands they need to eat food, and they understand that animals are made of food, but not all realize that you can starve while eating every day.

  • MrSatyre

    “animals are made of food”

    That’s my new slogan!

  • noname

    I guess the Rambo video marathon prior to embarkation wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      noname, LOL ha ha, well said.

  • merckywaters

    If ONLY he had the BFMB on the end of it he cud have deafened to death or scared some “animal food” to death

  • hadzis

    i like it how they wrote “one man pitting his wits against the Yukon wilderness with just a camera for company.”
    how did he take the photo of himself there? with his prosthetic 4m 90degree bent angle leg.
    look at the terrain behind the guy.. it looks like the perfect habitat for vermin/animals. wanna play army boy- stick to call of duty on xbox. or next time take a stack of baked beans with u

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Thanks all for the correction. I have updated the blog post with the correct revolver.

  • komrad

    Anyone who starves deserves it, its called social Darwinism. If our cave man ancestors could survive with spears and clubs then we should be able to do it with a full frame pack and a shotgun. He should have taken and M6. One .22lr and one .410 barrel is enough for most situations.

  • Belbe

    hahaha! poor dude! I where out I’d bring a very fat (equiped my me) medical kit, some snow clothes and waterproof sleeping bag, thin rope, saw, knife and my lighweight 20 calibre ladies riffle. But what makes u survive is actually knowing how to hunt, not the equipment. My dad can catch fish and rabbits with nothing but his hands! I hope i could, but I still need at least a fishing net or some rope to build traps… wonder about veggies though, does Canada have anything edible? we have some plants, roots and fruit in the wild here all year long, but not every wilderness is as forgiving…

  • Records straight

    Sorry if this is very late, but I just want to say that although I know very little of firearms or wilderness survival, Ed Wardle also bought a small calibre scoped rifle with him, the fact that that is not mentioned in the above extract is irrelevant. I have also seen the program, and feel I should also mention that being in the Yukon(Canada), he was not allowed to shoot big game, which he sees and gets close to numerous times in the program.

  • Records straight

    Oh sorry, in the above extract it does say he took a rifle, though the daily mailis typically inaccurate on this.

  • Records straight

    If you look at the top right of his backpack you will see the end of a rifle barrel, he also bought a scoped rifle with him (I couldn’t tell you what type).

    I presume the rifle was for small game and the shotgun was loaded with buckshot for hunting as well as slugs for defence against large animals.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that because he was in the Yukon (Canada), he wasn’t allowed to shoot big game, I.e. moose, caribou deer, etc, which he spots and gets close to numerous times in the programme. The fact that he wasn’t carrying an appropriate large calibre rifle for this was Probably because because he coulsn’t he didn’t need to, so didn’t.

    Sorry that this is very late.