As an archaeologist, I spend a great deal of time thinking considering what life was like for people in Alaska throughout the last 15,000 years. Talking to Athabaskans who still hunt and fish in traditional places provides a great deal of context for the behavior archaeologists see recorded in stone tools and animal bones, but learning how to hunt and fish can also help to introduce a new perspective on past subsistence practices.
You can read about hunting and fishing your entire life, but until you do it yourself, you can never fully appreciate the challenges that people faced before you. Even with smart phones, ATVs, snow mobiles, synthetic clothes, and firearms, I have gained a deeper understanding of Alaskan subsistence by interacting with the landscape and animals through hunting and fishing. I've learned through my experiences in the backcountry how wiley caribou can be when they move across the tundra, where to go to find an excitable group of grayling, and what makes the biggest pike pounce.
Bree is an Alaskan Anthropologist pursuing her PhD at the University of Michigan.