Film Review: Hunting Caribou in Alaska in Donnie Vincent’s Winds of Adak

Many hunters nowadays lament the days of how things used to be. Those “things” generally refer to lost places and ecosystems, hunting lands, and hunting experiences — most of which are now negatively impacted by more people, pressure, and what is often regarded as “progress.”

In Donnie Vincent’s Winds of Adak, Vincent travels to Adak Island in Alaska to hunt caribou, sea ducks, and ptarmigan and finds an area of the Aleutian chain that has recently been impacted by fewer people and less pressure. The loss of a naval base on the island vacated the region, and unlike much of the western United States, Adak Island has become more isolated and less impacted by more migration.

Credit: Les Kjos, Sicmanta

Prior to exploring the wilderness of the region, Donnie Vincent first explores a mostly deserted island. Always curious and introspective, Vincent’s journey through the abandoned base is surprisingly compelling. Certainly not what’s expected in a hunting film, fans of Donnie Vincent’s films tend to appreciate his reflective nature and his perspectives on human behavior and the impact people have on places. And as always, Vincent has a compelling perspective on the impact of places on people, and his exploration into the wilderness of Adak Island ultimately deepens Vincent’s understanding of himself and the natural world.

Credit: Les Kjos, Sicmanta

Donnie Vincent is not known to seek comfort. In fact, Vincent tends to find growth in discomfort, and it is clear early on that he won’t be cutting corners on this trip. Solo camping and hunting in harsh elements kick off his trip, and Adak’s harsh winds and challenging terrain immediately present challenges that Vincent is eager to take on. And along the way, Vincent deepens his appreciation for wilderness and nature while also revealing to the viewer a compassionate side of hunting that shows how a hunter can care deeply about the animals he is willing to kill.

Credit: Les Kjos, Sicmanta

In the end, Vincent harvests a nice bull caribou as well as ptarmigan and sea ducks, but the viewer is perhaps less likely to remember the trophies as the experience and what other aspects of the hunt are the true take away. And this is surely the case for Vincent as well. This is what makes Donnie Vincent films so special and why these films endure. Furthermore, this is why Donnie Vincent films are compelling for hunters and non-hunters alike. And as always, Donnie Vincent reveals to the viewer what it truly means to be a hunter, and it is clear to the viewer that a hunter is not a trophy or kill obsessed person who takes delight in death. Instead, a hunter is one who is part of nature and understands his or her role in it.

Donnie Vincent’s Winds of Adak is now available to watch online (for free). To watch the film, please click here.

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