Win the Wilderness: Alaska serves not only as a pleasant alternative to reality TV competitions, but it reveals the unique history behind the last-ever homesteader in Alaska.
The series, which launched to BBC Two back in January 2020 and was released to Netflix worldwide in April, follows six British couples as they compete for ownership of Ose Mountain.
Duane Ose is this last homesteader, who trekked to Alaska back in the 1980s to stake his claim in the wilderness. He did so with his wife Rena, and the couple have since become icons of exploration and self-sufficiency in the wild.
Duane is known on the show for his signature eye patch, but how did Duane lose his eye?
Get to know Duane Ose
Duane Ose grew up on a farm in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota. He was born on January 26th, 1942 which makes him 78 years old.
When Duane was in his early 20s, he served for the US Army in Korea from 1964 to 65. When he returned from war, Duane opened his own cement business.
In 1986, aged 44, Duane headed out on a 57-mile trek with his 15 year old son to find a patch of land in Alaska which he could claim as his own under the federal Homestead Act of 1862. Duane and his son settled on the land which now houses Ose Mountain.
In 1990 Duane met his wife-to-be Rena, who is originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Together, they built up Ose Mountain from the ground and remained there until 2019, when they decided, out of health concerns, to move back to a town. They are currently settled in Redwood Falls, Minnesota.
- UPDATE: What happened next with the Win the Wilderness: Alaska winners?
How did Duane Ose lose his eye?
Duane was shockingly shot in the head from a close-range by his ex-wife. Duane lost his eye when she drunkenly pulled out a rifle and fired.
There have been different reports with some saying Duane has lost just his eye sight, or his actual eye. It would make most sense for Duane to have lost his eye considering that he wears the patch.
Win the Wilderness participants Bee and Theo reported that “the bullet is still in his head,” in their Q&A about the show. They also claimed that production encouraged the participants to ask Duane about his eye patch, so there is no confirmation on why this part of Duane’s story was cut in the edit.
- SEE ALSO: Could Win the Wilderness be renewed for season 2?
WATCH WIN THE WILDERNESS: ALASKA ON NETFLIX NOW