Survival In The Canadian Wilderness

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 10 months ago

Toronto Sun:

Outdoorsman Marco Lavoie, rescued Wednesday after three months in the deep woods near James Bay, made the heartbreaking decision to kill and eat his beloved German shepherd to stay alive.

A source close to the amazing story told QMI Agency that Lavoie, 44, sacrificed his dog when he became stranded at the Nottaway River, roughly 800 km northwest of Montreal.

A bear had eaten Lavoie’s food and destroyed his boat in mid-July, leaving him alone with the dog.

A few days after the bear attack, the person who spoke to QMI on condition of anonymity said Lavoie used a rock to kill his dog before eating the pet.

By the time provincial police airlifted him out three months later, Lavoie was barely able to speak or eat. He suffered hypothermia and dehydration and had lost about 90 pounds.

Survival expert Andre Francois Bourbeau said Lavoie did what he could to live.

“He survived because he made ‹good decisions. Eating his dog was one of them,” said Bourbeau, author of a survival guide.

Bourbeau has researched hundreds of similar stories, some of which include cannibalism.

“You have to be desperate, but there’s no shame in (eating the dog),” said Bourbeau. “He had to use reason.”

The survival expert says that after 30 days in the wilderness with no food, Lavoie’s body would have gone into shock from starvation.

“Hunger squeezes you so much that you would accept food that’s not normally possible,” said Bourbeau. “You can crave slugs and bugs.”

Lavoie is an experienced hiker who often spent weeks in the wilderness by himself. But the Nottaway River is considered too dangerous even for the hardiest outdoorsmen.

Andre Diamond, a Waswanipi Cree who lives on an island at the mouth of the river, said he warned Lavoie to stay away.

“He said it didn’t scare him, but it’s not a river to travel alone,” said Diamond. “Other adventurers have gone there over 20, 30 years and never came back.”

I don’t want to sit in judgment of the fellow for what he did.  My dog is one of my best companions, my friend, my partner on hikes, camping trips, and walks, my travel companion, and partner for playing at night time and on the weekends.  She is sad when I leave, and overjoyed when I return.  I would have made a different decision concerning the dog, but as I said, I don’t want to sit in judgment of the fellow.

But I do have one bone to pick, and it has to do with the downright obscene and objectionable expectations of people who travel into the wilderness.  As to the statement “he survived because he made ‹good decisions,” I would respond, “he almost died because he made awful decisions.”  My demurral goes farther than the dog – it goes to preparation for the trip.

Had he carried weapons (a good, scoped bolt action rifle and large caliber handgun such as a .44 magnum revolver), the bear would be dead and eaten, the gentleman would still be alive, and he would be hugging his dog.  Instead, he apparently had to watch as a bear nearly cost him his life.  Furthermore, if he had access to firearms, it is quite possible that he could have killed game (fowl if he had carried a shotgun, small game, or even large game with a rifle or shotgun with slugs) to eat instead of eating his companion.

Let’s suppose that Canadian law prohibits the carrying or even ownership of weapons such as the ones that I mentioned, and let’s further suppose that shooting the bear would have been illegal (or in other words, there is no such thing as a bear tag in that Province of Canada).

It doesn’t matter.  The trip nearly cost him his own life, and it is immoral for the Canadian government to make or enforce such laws.  Immoral, obscene and unrighteous laws not only need not be obeyed, but they must be disobeyed.  When a government makes unrighteous laws, it has become unrighteous.

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Comments

  1. On November 6, 2013 at 1:37 am, Justin said:

    We share the same views on the subject. Not being armed cost his dog its life, and almost cost him his.

  2. On November 6, 2013 at 9:04 am, Paul B said:

    I would have been armed with something. Stick and string if nothing else.

  3. On November 6, 2013 at 10:47 am, Ozzie said:

    When you read about the Lewis and Clark expedition, you understand how much men have relied on their dogs as food in the wilderness. They used to haggle with tribes for batches of 30 dogs to eat between hunts. I remember the journal entries complaining when they left the village and the dogs dispersed into the woods that they lost all that good meat.

    Regarding the article though; poor planning often yields poor results. The fool managed to survive his own incompetence. The ability to think, plan and act is critical to survival and it sounded like he finally started to do it while holding a rock and looking at his dog.

  4. On November 6, 2013 at 11:29 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Whatever. I think you may be missing the point Ozzie. He carried enough food for himself and his dog. Critical decision-making never obtained. He acted animalistically. He could have done it differently by planning ahead of time to defend himself and his dog. His failure to do so ensured that one of them (or both) would perish.

  5. On November 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm, GunRights4US said:

    A commenter on the source article summed up my feelings with this gem:

    “Pity the smell of the K9 roast didn’t bring the bears back so his green hippie ass could have been returned to nature with some berry seeds.”

  6. On November 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm, Roger J said:

    I wouldn’t want to go into the wilderness with M. Lavoie.

  7. On November 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm, ragman said:

    This guy was a complete idiot! Anyone that travels this far “outside the box” should save his money and purchase a Sat Com phone and GPS before he ventures outside said box. If he gets in trouble, he would have the capability of calling for help with his exact location. Along with a serious weapon that he could defend himself with.

  8. On November 7, 2013 at 8:20 am, Mark Matis said:

    Why NOT go into the wilderness with M. Lavoie, Roger J? Then the only weapon you would need to carry would be a .22 pistol. After all, when you’re with him, you don’t need to actually KILL the bear. All you really need to do is wound him in the leg sufficiently so that YOU can outrun M. Lavoie…

  9. On December 21, 2016 at 6:25 pm, Marie said:

    This article is all crap. This is proof of medias changing what actually happened. The man had guns, but he was not there when the bear stole the stuff. He was not worried, after that, because he had weapons to hunt, and he also had traps. He was sure he was all good, but then he hurt himself and tried to survive for two whole months eating mushrooms and what he could found around him, but his injury made him too weak. The dog was in an even worse situation. The man finally killed the dog after 60 days, when he was about to die, with a shotgun he had, not a rock. He loved his dog very much. He brought him to parties, to dinners, and even to work. The dog went everywhere with him. It was hard for him to do, but in those situations, after two months of barely surviving, he did what he had to do in order to live. Here is an actual interview with the man, from an actual journal from the region he is. It is in French, but at least it says the truth and it isn’t inventing horrible stuff on a poor man who could have died and on top of that had to sacrifice his best friend. He was not cruel, he is simply human and did what he had to do to survive.

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You are currently reading "Survival In The Canadian Wilderness", entry #11489 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Guns and was published November 5th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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