Jake Messinger

Season 11

Age: 42

Hometown: Fremont County, ID

Profession: Professional Falconer

Jake was born and raised in the greater Yellowstone Region of Eastern Idaho. He was highly encouraged by his father and grandfather to explore the Rocky Mountain wilderness, and its rivers and streams, from a very young age. Through their guidance and encouragement, Jake became a very good hunter, fly fisherman and woodsman.

At the age of eight, Jake discovered falconry, the art of hunting with trained birds of prey. He knew immediately that he would someday learn the skills needed to be a falconer. That day came a few short years later, and he has now been a licensed falconer for 29 years. Hunting grouse and waterfowl with his falcons is a highlight of Jake’s life. The skills Jake has for training falcons led him to eventually create a business using trained falcons to protect valuable fruit crops such as blueberries and vineyards from flocks of migrating birds that, without falcons to deter them, would destroy these crops. Rather than training to kill these birds, Jake trains the falcons to “herd” harmful birds out of the area. The method has been proven to be 100% effective.

For several years in his early twenties, Jake worked as a Head Instructor for a wilderness therapy program for at-risk-youth in the southwestern United States. These years were spent teaching teenagers and young adults how to survive in the wilderness. He got a big jumpstart to his life as a primitive survivalist while working in that program, honing skills such as trap making, friction fire, shelter building, navigation, water treatment and mental fortitude.

Jake is an avid fly fisherman. Growing up two hundred yards from the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, and being the fourth generation in a long line of fly fishermen, Jake could not have had a more perfect setting as an aspiring angler.

Jake’s father placed a bow in his hands at 5 years old and he has been a traditional archer and hunter ever since. As a teenager, Jake spent his summers working and playing on his grandfather’s ranch in Salmon, Idaho. One of his favorite activities with his grandfather was shooting bows in the back pasture at the end of the day. Jake is extremely grateful for the lessons he learned from these two men, not only about hunting, fishing, and the outdoors, but lessons about life in general.

Jake is a single father of three wonderful children who are the light of his life. He is a very dedicated father and they are his top priority. His children encouraged him to apply for the casting of ‘Alone’—one of their favorite shows to watch together—for five years before he finally did. They are Jake’s biggest cheerleaders, and are rooting for their dad during the biggest single challenge of his life.

Here are the ten items Jake selected to bring on his survival journey to the unforgiving Arctic Circle:

1. Axe

2. Saw

3. Shovel

4. Paracord

5. Multitool

6. Fishing Line and Hooks

7. 2-Quart Pot

8. Snare Wire

9. Bow and Arrows

10. Sleeping Bag