Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert, filmmaker and musician best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman.
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Update 8:02PM - Hey everyone - Les has to head out but says thanks for another great AMA - Web Girl
My short bio: I’m Les Stroud (also known as Survivorman) — I’m a filmmaker, outdoor adventurer, singer-songwriter and performer.
It’s been a while since I was last here and a lot has happened. I’ve shot 14 episodes of Survivorman and Survivorman Bigfoot since we last spoke and while on my second to last shoot in Mongolia I had a terrible car accident which ended my Survivorman shoots for the season.
Since the accident I've performed with Journey on stage and shot a commercial on top of a glacier in the mountains of British Columbia.
I am currently planning my winter music tour and next seasons filming of Survivorman and Son (with my son Logan – who recently survived cancer - like father like son!) as well as an amazing new album.
You can find out more at LesStroud.ca, Twitter.com/reallesstroud,
I'll be back at 6:30PM EST to answer your questions!
Update 8:02PM - Hey everyone - Les has to head out but says thanks for another great AMA - Web Girl
In terms of urine, would Bear Grylls drink you under the table?
Hey Les, not so much a question but more a neat story to tell with you in it. I am an avid bushcrafter that was primarily inspired to get into bushcrafting by watching Survivorman. Back last year in September you wandered through a little town called Hinton, Alberta. I was on my way out to do a little bushcrafting but I stopped at the mall to pick up some things, I was going to make Rasher and Rum and I bought some bacon and i was on my way to buy some rum which I though was a tad bit odd because it was 10:30 in the morning and I thought "who the hell buys booze at 10:30 in the morning?" So I go to the liquor store, buy some rum and as I'm wandering out who walks in the mall? Les Stroud! The guy who inspired me to go out and do bushcrafting! You walk in the mall, see me and the first words you spoke to me was "Where's the Liquor store?" So who buys booze at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning? Bushcrafters! So thanks again for taking the time to shake my hand on your way to get alcohol, and thanks for inspiring me to go out in the woods and start fires.
i remember you!!
Do you think you've come close to actually finding Bigfoot?
does survivorman have a chance of coming back to netflix? is it on any streaming services?
i dont even like the outdoors but i love survivorman.
I dont know - thats part of the networks deal
How are you after your accident?
When are you and Joe Rogan finally gonna do an episode of Survivorman together?
Love the show, can't wait to see the new episodes
i would but i think he's worried about not being able to carry enough guinness and pot
What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while shooting an episode?
i once had a town of aboriginal Canadians come and visit me every day on snow mobile to get me to sign their windshields and pose for pictures
I just want to say I'm a huge fan. I don't really like reality TV, but I love watching your show.
My question is: was there ever a point where you just wanted to pack it in. Just when things got too heavy and you wished that there was a crew handy to take you home?
Also, what do you consider the most beautiful land scape in Canada?
not really - i got pretty down on a lot of shoots usually in the middle when i am out of food and tired and know i still have a few days to go - as for Canada: ALL OF IT!!
What is your professional opinion of Bear Grylls?
he's a tv host - good athlete - his rhetoric is second to none - his charm and smile win the day as he never truly answers your question (which is the same as lying) he knows the truth about how it all started - and he is very skillful at keeping that from you - but of course he is laughing all the way to the bank - good on him - at least he supports outdoor adventure - i hand it to him for that - but he is NO survival teacher and never has been - he wants to be james bond
Do you still live in the home you built in your Off The Grid documentary? Is there going to be a part 2!?
sadly i lost that in the divorce
Les, I have had a life long fear and nightmares of being caught in quicksand. They say that you are to fall onto your back and you will eventually float. Is it that easy and have you ever had the misfortune of being in that predicament?
ya - its like falling into ice you gotta get flat - and no i haven't fallen in other than under controlled tests
What do you think about all the new survival shows on TV? Most specifically, Naked and Afraid and Alone? You're kind of the OG of this type of show so I figure you gotta have some opinion on them
what needs to be realized is that all of these shows were created to entertain (which is fine) and get as big of ratings as possible - they are not about true or real survival - they are not about teaching right skills - they are invented by tv producers - scripted in many or most cases - staged - set up - faked - folks I'm sorry - but they are just not real - anyone who producers television can watch those shows and show you the fakes a mile away - because to those of us who work in this industry = those things are obvious - or at least to those of us who teach survival....i haven't watched alone - but ask yourself - what are the odds that a guy who gets interviewed about his fear of bears has a bear near his camp - or a guy who in his interview talks about being afraid of wolves - has a wolf pack near his camp - its called - big budget = animal wrangler - and since the shot has to be right - we better move the people into position to get the shot.....the non disclosure agreements they sign are as thick as a phone book - and of course they love being on TV so - they are happy to go along with it and start charging big money for the keynotes they will do after .....i have said this before: i started Survivorman before all the rest with the purpose of teaching skills - the rest (including unfortunately some actually skilled men) just wanted to be on TV
1) Are you and Bear Grylls friends?
2) How does it feel to be related to Ron Swanson?
What are your thoughts about Amazonian shamanism and the healing powers of plants such as ayauasca?
lots - but - fully endorse them
Has your approach to surviving in the wilderness changed much as you have aged? I'm 57 now and I would love to sell everything I have and start a home stead off the grid. I guess my question is do you think there is an age that you would say "no way"? My family thinks I'm nuts for wanting to just start over but I'm really tired of being tied to all the luxuries that we have today. I want to slow down and enjoy this beautiful country we have that surrounds us!
not at all!!! keep going - 57 is as young as it gets!!
Do you think Bigfoot or is it bigfoots have a developed conscience? How else could they have evaded being seen all these years?
I understand you probably have to hold your cards close and save details for the show, but can you share your thoughts about it?
its way too much to type - its such a long and slow and demanding phenomenon to get a handle on - the patience it takes is otherworldly - BUT - have NOT seen one (yet)
Hi Les. My mother insists that you have an entire film crew on Survivorman because "all of those guys fake it".
So my question is: If you were in a survival situation where you are hungry for days, forced to forage and hunt for every last scrap of sustenance, but there's a full production crew with snacks and modern comforts mere feet away, what survivalist weapon do you fashion to kill the crew and take their food?
tell your mom - I'm the only one who doesnt
If you could have anyone on the earth right now who is alive accompany you, who would you think could a) handle it and b) would be fun for you?
a) clint eastwood
B) Rachel MCcadams
Can I buy you a beer next month at the London Music Hall?
Les- We've joked about Jeremiah Johnson on Twitter, but I have a serious question on the same subject. The idea of heating rocks in the campfire, and then burying them, or tucking them into your clothing to stay warm in cold temps...had you used that before you saw the movie, or did you learn it from Bear Claw? And more generally speaking, did you learn most of your techniques from trial and error, or did someone show you the survival ropes when you were a kid?
(watch your top-knot)
like those skills i leaned alot just taking survival course from various people around north america - but alot of what i learned i definitely also did by trial and error - going out with my survival buddies and practising - but of course i loved watching those skills on that movie courtesy of the great Larry Dean Olson
Under what circumstances should one resort to drinking their own urine?
while watching reruns of MvsW
What's it like being alone so much? When you're shooting..
Unless of course you're not alone. I don't really know.
yes i am very alone - and it sucks
Hi Les! Have you come across many archaeological sites or artifacts while out on your solo survival adventures? If so, what have you seen? -Aspiring archaeologist
I always miss your AMA's, so freakin glad I got home in time!
ALL the time i do and its freakin fascinating!! - especially in the deserts - always pottery
Ever consider surviving in northern Saskatchewan? Or looking for Bigfoot here?
Love your show. Is there anywhere you havnt been and would like to go still? It seems like with your show youve been all over the world and experienced all the enviroments at this point.
more time in the Himalayas
Hey Les, hope you're doing well following the car crash. My question is you always seem to talk about how delicious the wild foods you find on Survivorman are, but what is the worst tasting thing you've eaten while filming the show?
the grub i ate in Indonesia on the Survivorman: Beyond Survival series
I'd love for you to do a show where you have to survive for both you and an injured friend.... obviously someone playing the part of the injured. Think you are up to that sort of challenge?
thats in the running
Hey Les! I wanna know from an actual survivalist. Have you heard about Chric McCandless? What do you think killed him?
actually thats not right - he wasn't arrogant - mostly lets say over confidence
Huge fan of your shows. Sorry to hear of your accident. What location was the most difficult to survive in?
anywhere its cold
Hi Les, glad to have you with us today!
What would you say is the WORST commonly propagated piece of survival advise heard these days? (i.e drinking pee)
Where do you think you would have the hardest time surviving?
worst is the usually useless use of energy - tackling big stunt like movements.....the harder is always wherever its cold
Do you prefer summer or winter?
Can you tell us something about yourself that we probably do not know?
i am NOT an adrenalin junkie
is it safe to drink your own piss?
What do you think about the format of Naked and Afraid? Would you ever try surviving for 21 days with minimal tools and no clothes?
i think its ridiculous - and not interested in that
What was your first experience of surviving by yourself and at what age?
i was 24 - and i loved every minute of it!!
Les - what was the time you were most scared you've ever been in your life?
in the bush - the time i was chased up a tree by a bull moose
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with the reddit community. It must be physically and mentally exhausting filming Survivorman. Aside from a few obvious reasons what are your other incentives for continuing with these types of expeditions? Do you see it as a personal challenge?
Thanks in advance, Revol-
its all a part of my own personal mission to reconnect people to the earth - to get us all to celebrate nature again - to reconsider the earth and all its natural splendour and to protect it
Les, long time watcher of your show here. Awesome work.
Question: Do you ever plan surviving in my home country New Zealand? We have some pretty gnarly bush and terrain in the wops. It would be cool to see how you would go around living in there.
What books would you recommend as must reads for the fledgeling survivalist?
well - mine for sure Survive!....and Larry Dean Olsens - anything by John McPherson or Mors Konchanski
Huge fan of Survivorman, you're an inspiration.
I really like your prolonged stay in the woods in Snowshoes and Solitude. I know you're at a completely different point in your life, but would you ever consider filming a Survivorman offshot where you stay in the wilderness for a longer time? Something like 3-6 months?
no - i like people too much
Why not do a regular 7-day Survivorman in a Bigfoot hotspot? Maybe you get some evidence, maybe you don't, but they're still some of the most beautiful places in NA?
yep - did that
I'm a broke college student and live near a big park, any tips on finding food to survive?
subway, burger king.......or
take some mushroom and wild edible plant courses in that area!! :-)
Do you follow any survival blogs and if so, which ones?
Apart from a willingness to survive, what do you see as the most important factor in a solo-wilderness survival situation?
no - i try not to spend too much time online - and overall skill set acquired with groups BEFORE heading out alone - you gotta really know your stuff to go it alone
How do you feel about where you are in life?
extremely excited for the future
Do you still plan to film the episodes of famous past survival stories? If I remember correctly, you were going to talk about what happened and what you would've done differently if you found yourself in the same situation. I've been looking forward to those for a while now.
After that it would be great to see you return to the basic format of the show.
yes - those are coming out this winter
Les, I love watching your shows and as a novice outdoorsman I really appreciate all the survival techniques that you use in each episode. Would you ever consider bringing a group of people out into the wilderness, either on or off camera, to have the same experience to when you go out solo?
Whats your favorite breakfast cereal?
cornmeal made like cream of wheat - with blueberries bananas and maple syrup
Any plans on being on JRE again soon?
meh - maybe just go have a beer with him
Do you collect anything? If so, what and why?
What do you think the best part of doing a show with your son will
I'm glad you're okay after the accident. Have you fully recovered yet?
artefacts from around the world - music memorabilia - and of course simply being with my son is great enough reason of all
Big fan of your show, Les.
How many times did you have to walk back miles to do another shot?
OMG - too many to count for sure
I didn't know you were a cat person.
makes me wonder:
Pepsi or Coke?
Beer or Wine?
Pizza or Burger?
Tent or Hammock?
Fishing or Hunting?
neither, both, both, both, both
Les, any advice on finding references for edibles that may be native to an area in which you are surviving? Always enjoy your shows!
Peterson field guides are always great