The biggest complaints I hear time and time again regarding ‘Prepper Reality Shows’ (shows that feature preparedness-minded people and their preps) is these shows always seem to go for the extreme, seeking out the most over-the-top prepper (sometimes bordering on … well, not being “all there” so to speak), to preppers that have elaborate underground bunkers, monster armored vehicles and weapons of huge proportions that create great big booms, at times spending thousands, if not hundreds of thousands on these preps. Unfortunately, this does not give the true depiction of what a prepper actually is or why we do what we do. In fact, most of us can’t relate to most of these “extreme preppers”.

sportsmanchannelIn comes the Sportsman Channel with “America Unplugged”.  In all honesty, I wouldn’t have given this show a second thought, as I am always being bombarded by email and messaging by obscure production companies crawling out of the woodwork requesting me to come aboard their show or in the least help get the word out on casting, in an attempt to cash in on the “prepper movement”. Then I learned that Scott Hunt; a well-respected man in the preparedness community was going to be the feature on the first episode.  Scott is a knowledgeable, highly educated engineer, Christian man who is a true example of what a “prepper” actually is.  I knew, there was no way Scott would jeopardize his family or their well-being for 15 minutes of fame.

America Unplugged features eight people; or families, each in a 30 minute show, who are living "off the grid" in one way or another; choosing to grow their own food, seek alternative energy sources, procure their own water and protect themselves and property.

After watching the first episode, I must say I had a few prepper-cringes. The first came at the opening of the show.  A cardinal rule of any preppers is “DON’T TELL PEOPLE WHERE YOU LIVE” … although it wasn’t specific on the show it was enough for every prepper watching the show to scream into the television set … “Nooooooo!” (Apparently this was relayed to the production team but the network didn’t get the memo, sigh.)  Another cringe was that fact that just because the camera is shooting in the forefront does not mean it is not showing everything in the background. I personally would have covered, removed or changed the angle of the shot to make sure that focus was only on what was being highlighted or talked about. Just sayin’.

The show had a good pace and didn’t drag. It highlighted projects and preps we could perform that are in reach and obtainable to most preppers. It also showcased the preppers as they really are - normal everyday people, unlike how some equate preppers - having a third eye or are tin hat wearers (yes, wearers could be a word.)courtly

I loved how the show’s, host, former U.S. Navy SEAL/Sniper Cade Courtley, pulled the show together by interweaving his personal experience and comments with those of the featured preppers making the show’s transitions smooth and seamless.

The host does not come across as an egotistical “its-all-about-me” type of guy; which was refreshing.  He also understands the show’s format and the need for preparedness for our survival.

I found this great interview with Courtley and Ammoland that proves my point:  

Ammoland:          Do you have a favorite episode? Tell us about it.

Courtley:            I really like the very first episode on electromagnetic pulse events (EMP) with Scott Hunt out of South Carolina. It addresses what to do in the worst-case scenario.  EMPs are naturally occurring, but it is the man-made ones that pose the most threats. Scott gives us a tour of his 55-acre self-sustaining compound and we’ll see his personal EMP bug-out bag, which is made of caged material specifically designed to protect from electromagnetic pulses. Oh, and he has a “Mad Max” vehicle that runs on wood.

Ammoland:          What is the key takeaway you want to convey?

Courtley:           It’s not a matter of if, but when, so change your mindset and start preparing.

Ammoland:          What is the most interesting aspect of the people profiled?

Courtney:           These people are not doomsday wackos. They are intelligent, caring folks who have made a choice. 

Ammoland:          What are the biggest mistakes rookie survivalists make? 

Courtney:              Getting in over their head. You need to start slow and take each step in pieces. Plan to live 10 days on your own, off the grid. Supply your own food, water, security and generator and see how that goes. Then, try it for a weekend. Did you get through it?  That holes need to be filled? What went right or wrong? You need to practice so that when faced with an event in real life, you know  exactly what you need to do.

(Read the whole interview with ammoland  and Courtley here: Click  (@AmmoLand on Twitter)

I have to say, it was refreshing to hear that someone associated with the show, other than the “talent”, actually knew something about the subject matter and understood why there is a need to prepare.

So, all-in-all, I’d say Sportsman Channel, you may be on to something here!  Preppers or preparedness-minded people are just like everyone; friends, family, neighbors, with the difference being that we understand we live in an unstable world and if the poo (whatever that might be) ever hit the fan, we would have a better chance than most to survive it.

America Unplugged airs exclusively on Sportsman Channel, All-New Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT

- Survivor Jane









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