After a somewhat slow season premiere, the Browns are rolling up their sleeves, taking on some backwoods DIY, smoking salmon, and getting into seriously tense Grizzly encounters.
Bill Brown sets the action in motion with something of a real-life parable: In the winter of 1995, temperatures descended to 39 degrees below zero on Chichagof Island, with more than 120 inches of snow, and the family had to burn everything — including the paneling of their home, stairs, and furniture — just to stay alive.
The moral of the tale: Everyone needs to get ready for winter, now.
The boys respond in kind. Noah, ever the tinkerer, turns to building an industrial-size smoker (the last one was destroyed by bears) to preserve all that salmon caught last episode. Matt gets out a shovel and sets off to build a root cellar — he calls it an “Alaskan refrigerator” — used to store vegetables. Bear, the focus of this episode, arms himself and heads to the mountains to hunt for deer.
The mile-high ascent above Browntown to the crest of Chicagof Island’s mountains is steep, densely wooded, and full of grizzlies (Chichagof Island is home to more grizzly bears per square mile than any other place on Earth.) But Bear thinks it will be worth the summit since he has previously scouted “thousands” of grazing deer up top.
Before Bear leads the hunt with Bird — a serious shot — and Gabe (“he’ll be able to carry one deer over his back and another under his arm”), Bill offers an Alaskan Bush People’s take on an SOS system: three gun shots signals trouble; one answering shot is a confirmation; three more shots means they’re in need of help, at which point the whole family will storm the mountain.
Bear and crew set out in the complete dark of early morning, hoping to arrive at the site just as day breaks, but when they encounter a grizzly almost immediately, they have to opt for a different, longer route up the mountain. Above the tree-line, the group looks around: no deer. Bear investigates the surrounding forest and discovers something even worse — fresh, severed deer limbs. “This area been hunted in really recently,” he says, and “it’s like ringing a dinner bell for every bear that happens to be in the area.”
Just as the group tries to make sense of this new discovery, three loud gunshots ring off from the direction of Browntown. Bear fires back to make sure it’s a Brown, and three more warning shots answer back. The episode ends with them taking off running down the mountain.
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