When we watch a survival show on our big television set under a comfy blanket, although it feels like we are actually exploring nature we do not have to face the danger of wild creatures or the life-threatening sub-zero temperature. Then again, the moment of nervousness when our favorite star barely escapes a snow flood or survives the seven-foot grizzly bear. We can see and experience it all, that’s the beauty of modern technology. But can you describe the feeling of those who put their life on the line? There are still people who like to lead a self-sufficient life in the wilderness where hunting, trapping and gathering food are some basics of survival. Meet, Erik Salitan and Martha Mae Salitan who once lead self-sufficient life and were residents of Wiseman, Alaska, which is 67 miles from the Arctic Circle, the place is as cold as it sounds. They were also featured in Life Below Zero between 2013 to 2016. So what happened to the pair? Are Erik Salitan and Martha still living in the cold wilderness? Where are they now?
What happened in Life Below Zero?
Eric Salitan joined the cast of the reality show Life Below Zero during the first season episode 1 premiere “End of the Road.” Meanwhile, his wife Martha Mae Salitan did join later during season 4 episode 1 “The Waiting Game” 2014.
In the show, Erik is seen as a lone subsistence hunter, trapper, and gatherer as he made living in a cabin home with no access to running water or a refrigerator to store meat. From time to time his wife also can be seen alongside him who is the second generational fishing operator and a fan of ice fishing.
Erik and Martha Mae Salitan left the show in 2016. Showrunners have not released an official explanation regarding their exit and the same goes for the couple who for some reason have been tight-lipped. Over the years, viewers have seen the departure of other cast members too which includes Kate Bassich and Glenn Villeneuve.
Life Below Zero season 20 premiered on November 15, 2022, featuring current cast members such as Sue Aikens, Agnes hailstone, Chip Hailstone, Jessie Holmes, Ricko DeWilde, and James Franzo.
Possible reasons for the exit:
Erik and Martha Mae have a family to look after. They have a son Lucas Salitan who is about 12 years of age and currently enrolled in a school in Alaska. Eric wants his son to choose his own path not necessarily a life of a subsistent hunter. Erik is the owner of “Bushwhack Alaska Guiding and Outfitting” and provides hunting guide service through the firm. Also, he alongside his wife owns two lodges one in the remote Brooks Range and another in Peninsula which offers accommodation and food services. During summer he runs a guide and outfitting business. It is clear the couple has business to look after. They also invest their time in community service and volunteer work. So maybe the show was too much to ask of the couple.
What are they doing now?
Erik and Martha Mae Salitan now live full-time at lake Iliamna on the Alaska peninsula tending to their business endeavors. The pair runs a hospitality service through “Talarik Creek Lodge” and provides a hunting service through “Bushwack Alaska Guiding & Outfitting.” During the off-season from his business, Erik can be found year-round hunting, flying, fishing, and trapping the Alaskan bush.
Erik also has taken membership in numerous hunting and conservation groups including the Alaska Professional Hunters Association, Pope & Young Club, Safari Club International, Dallas Safari Club, and the Northwest Sportsmans Club.
A quick wiki like a bio on Martha Mae Salitan:
Martha Mae Salitan was born in November 1985 in Iliamna, Alaska. The birthdate makes her 37 years old. She is born to Baechler parents. Martha grew up in her hometown picking up traits of hunting and fishing. By the time she grew up, she had learned to cook delicious meals. Part of the reason she acquired cooking skills is due to her involvement in the family business as she helped her parent run a Fishing Lodge. Martha is now married to Erik Salitan and shares a son Lucas with him.