Alone Week 4: Zach fashions a Duck Hunter 3000 out of driftwood

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 3:00pm

    We’re following A&E Networks' History survivalist show Alone series, Season 3, thanks to local survivalist, Zachary Fowler of Appleton, one of the remaining eight contestants on the unscripted show as they try to survive all alone in the Patagonia wilderness.

    We’re now on Episode 4 and it’s been about a month that Zach and the gang are toughing it out in the woods.

    Pilot: So, the big cliff hanger last week was that you shot a duck with your slingshot, but turns out...that didn’t happen, right?

    Zach: No, and actually, it was a cormorant, which tends to dive, so that’s what you saw just as I thought I’d gotten it. We each were allowed to 30 pieces of ammo and I chose to bring half-inch steel balls coated in hot pink, so I could retrieve them. And after practicing a lot using my slingshot with rocks at 30 feet, I took a crazy shot. It was about 70 feet out there, so I have to use up one of my coveted 30 pieces of ammo.

    Pilot: In this episode, you seemed to focus all of your energy on the duck and fish, while some of the other contestants were going after bigger game like fox and boar. Did you not want to hunt bigger game at that point?

    Zach: I’d actually been working on a little bit of everything. I had other smaller traps out there for small game, but you didn’t see that in this episode.

    Pilot: How did you come up with the idea of making the Duck Hunter 3000?

    Zach: I’d seen the original concept in an old book, which had a little floating platform with a fishhook and a large rock. But, I came up with the idea of making a paddle to go with it, so it could go way out beyond the reeds. After a day of it floating out there, I realized it could fish for me, as well. So I altered it a little more with this little spring pole that had a trigger on it like a primitive ice fishing trap. When the fish took the bait, the pole would spring up.

    Pilot: I was surprised to see Britt was the one to tap out (leave the show) this episode, because he was surviving really well. Twice, now the two guys that have tapped out because of extreme loneliness for their families. How did you continue to cope with this by day 30?

    Zach: It got a little easier after the first two weeks. I was doing pretty well catching a fish a day, and pretty focused on making cool things. Making stuff just made me feel better. When I made the Duck Hunter, it was not something anyone ever made before. It was something my dad made for me as a kid, these little paddle boats with rubber bands that swam around in the tub and I turned that into something pretty amazing for out there in the wild. I was like, man I can’t wait to get back and show it to the world.

    Pilot: What’s new in your Makers and Mischief video series this week?

    Zach: I made a new video [see video to the top right] in which I carved for my daughter, Abby, a magic wand out of driftwood in Patagonia and brought it back home with me. When she opened it at Christmas I made her think it was really magic, because we put a small explosive in a teddy bear and when she went to point the magic wand at it and command it to get bigger, it blew up. She though it was a real wand.

    Stay tuned to watch Fowler in History’s next episode of Alone, airing Thursday at 9 p.m.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at