Ricko DeWilde is a hunter, trapper, television personality, and survival expert who most people will recognize from his time on Nat Geo’s Life Below Zero. He is a native of Huslia, a native of Alaska’s Interior Region. Growing up, Ricko was home-schooled by his parents, who also taught him how to fish and hunt.
Producers over at National Geographic first discovered him through a series of YouTube videos he did, which documented his adventures in Alaska. DeWilde offers a unique perspective to a show already crowded with exciting characters. Explore some fascinating facts about Ricko, which have finally been revealed.
Ricko DeWilde Fought for Salmon.
Last year, scientists and locals alike flocked the waters of the Koyukuk River to investigate the dead salmon that were floating along the bank. DeWilde was one such local. In a series of videos that he posted on Facebook, Ricko DeWilde documented the problem first hand. One of the videos saw him pick up a few dead salmon and gut them.
He found eggs and sperms in some of them. This was very worrying for the locals, as fishing was their way of life. DeWilde theorized that the fish were dying because the water’s temperature was just too hot. He went on to add that it could be either as a result of global warming or a problem in the water.
One of his posts caught the attention of the director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, who confirmed that the fish were dying because of heat-related stress. She pointed out that a few other locals had also reported that the salmon appeared very disoriented, which made them easier to trap.
While some may consider this a good thing, people with a little more common sense will point to the fact that some locals counted about 100 dead salmon scattered across just one bank.
He organized a protest back in Fairbanks.
Ricko DeWilde and a few other locals organized a remembrance in South Fairbanks on the 3rd of September 2016. This came after a young man was shot down by the police.
According to police reports, James Robert Richards put the lives of several people in danger after threatening them with a gun. The police went on to add that he took a hostage and refused to lower his weapon.
Police said that they tried to subdue him with a stun gun before Sergeant Foster was finally forced to open fire. However, eye-witness reports contradicted these reports. Ricko organized the protest because the native American community has always had a troubled relationship with its police department.
The victim was one of three native American men who were shot by the police. But this goes way back. Back in 1997, a few young men of native American descent were convicted of a murder they did not commit. It took nearly two decades for the men to be exonerated.
These have not been the only instances of police brutality. 2015 marked another dark day for the community as police killed two other locals. In an interview, Ricko DeWilde said that the community was tired of police brutality, hence the protest. The police department released a statement saying that the department was working with the community leaders to mend bridges.
Ricko loves to share his way of life.
Angela Gonzalez interviewed her cousin, Ricko DeWilde, in her blog. She said that the Koyukon Athabascan community was very proud of how Ricko represented them on television. It all dates back to the cultural moose hunting videos, which initially got him discovered.
Since he started featuring on television, viewers have had the privilege of watching Ricko explore his culture, diving much further into his past than he had done before.
In the interview, we learned that Ricko and his family frequented his cabin in Huslia. DeWilde revealed that one of the things he strives to do is teach his children to be proud of his way of life.
He wants them to not only appreciate the earth at large but also honor mother nature. Ricko DeWilde intends to do everything to ensure that we do not destroy the beautiful planet we have. To that end, he assumes the role of an educator.
He is a rising YouTuber.
Ricko started his YouTube Channel back on November 9th, 2011. Nearly a decade on, and it has gradually grown to boast 15.8K subscribers. His fans have given him over 6.8 million views in total. The channel mostly follows his day to day life in Alaska.
Ricko films himself as he sets out to perform some of the most exciting tasks we have ever seen. His most popular video, for instance, documented his Moose hunt back in 2015. As of 2020, it has a total of 5.6 million views.
Ricko DeWilde’s family.
Ricko DeWilde is the son of Amelia and Loyd DeWilde. His father was a man of Welsh descent and a native of San Francisco. Loyd found that a life caught in the hassle of towns was not one that excited him in the very least. This led him to move to Alaska in search of adventure. Ricko’s mother, on the other hand, is a Koyukon Athabaskan native who spent most of her life in Alaska.
Remarkably, Ricko’s parents had fourteen children in total! They were all raised along the Yukon River, about a hundred miles from the village of Huslia. Unlike most children, Ricko and his siblings received their early education from their parents. But these were no ordinary courses, as they were also taught the necessary survival skills which they’d need to get by in Alaska. These range from useful skills like trapping to hunting.
Ricko DeWilde’s family mostly lived in the wilderness at first, keeping to themselves. However, by the end of spring, they’d make the trip into town to collect some more supplies. The longest they’d stay was a month before eventually making their way back up to the homestead along the river.
Ricko DeWilde was raised completely cut off from modern technology.
Growing up, Ricko’s parents trained to instill in him the importance of sticking to the old way of life and respecting their culture. This meant that he grew up in a home that did not have electricity, televisions, and even running water. He and his siblings had to learn how to get by with all that mother nature could offer. The cultural skills they learned were the basics of survival.
Ricko DeWilde’s mother showed him to set snares, make fishnets with twine, as well as hunt animals like rabbits and grouse. Amelia even showed them how to turn their canvas bags into mattresses and fill them with moose hair, hats, and mittens.
His father made sure that they survived the winter.
Loyd DeWilde showed their children how to build boats, fish traps, and canoes. He additionally instructed them on how to trap beavers, wolves, and wolverines under the ice. These animals are essential, as their fur provide material for their warm clothing. Keeping warm was critical to surviving in the wilderness. Loyd even showed them how to make fire and a temporary shelter if they’d ever need it.
A look at the rites he observed for his deceased family members.
Over the years, Ricko DeWilde has lost both of his parents, his older sister, and his grandmother. In line with his people’s customs, the rest of the family held a traditional potlatch. Athabascan Indians view this as the final step in mourning their loved ones.
It shows that they are ready to let go and let their loved ones’ spirits wander into the land of their forefathers. They do this by finally giving away all of their possessions to other family members and friends. Leading up to the Potlach, the family members of the deceased sew things like mittens, fur hats, and skin-boots, which are then handed out during the ceremony.
On his part, Ricko designed sweaters to honor his loved ones. In June 2007, he distributed over twenty of these hooded sweatshirts to the rest of his family and friends. The rest of the community fell in love with them and asked him to make more.
His age and DOB.
Ricko DeWilde was born on the 4th of July 1976. It means that he is about to turn 44-years old in a few short days.
He spent some time in prison.
Sources say that Ricko DeWilde was incarcerated for two years after he was found guilty of drug-related charges. Law enforcement found him in possession of cocaine. Interestingly enough, Ricko said that this was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to him. It set him on the path of getting clean. Since he quit substance abuse, Ricko has been clean for about 16 years now. He is no longer the man who once fell victim to an oxycodone addiction.
Ricko barely leaves Alaska.
Other than the year he spent in College, DeWilde has spent the majority of his life in Alaska. In his words, ‘Alaska owned him.’