The average person sure can learn a lot from the History Channel show Mountain Men. Hunting, tanning, trapping, tracking — if you're even moderately interested in basic wilderness survival skills, then Mountain Men is the show for you. But it's not just the incredible tips and skills that make the show so wonderful — it's the people presenting them. Tom Oar is one of the most beloved stars of the show. Scroll down for an update on the former rodeo cowboy!
What happened to Tom from Mountain Men?
After years of battling the elements in Montana’s remote Yaak River Valley, the 70-something-year-old was reportedly considering hanging up his hunting traps and moving on to warmer climates. Specifically, there were reports that Tom and his wife Nancy had decided to move to Florida. However, it appears as though the move may not have happened — we're guessing Tom couldn't stand the thought of leaving the Yaak River Valley despite its harsh, cruel winters.
The older he's gotten, the more challenges Tom has faced in the secluded region, which is located near the Idaho border. In a recent interview, he also complained about an increasing lack of privacy due to Mountain Men’s popularity.
"We live out here in the woods. We live four miles from the British Columbia border and about 15 miles east of the Idaho Panhandle. We live in the middle of the Kootenai National Forest. We had over 300 people that came to our house last summer to take our picture and shake our hand," he told Allegheny Mountain Radio. "We had honeymooners here two years ago from Switzerland!"
Though Tom didn’t love running into enthusiastic trespassers on his private property, he won’t be disappearing from the spotlight completely.
The outdoorsman will still be making public appearances.
In February of 2019, Tom attended a meet-and-greet at the Western Virginia Sport Show in Fishersville, Va. "The fans are real important to me, and that’s really neat to meet all the different people and talk to ‘em," he said. "There’s always somethin’ of interest, and there’s always interesting people to meet."
The mountaineer, who survived Yaak River’s often-unforgiving climate by harvesting his own meat, has had an eventful life, to say the least. "Half of my life was spent with a rodeo career. I rode buckin’ horses for 25 years, and I rode bulls for 18 years," he shared.
When he moved to Montana, he took up the hobby of "brain tanning," a labor intensive process that uses animal brains to tan hides. "That’s what the Native Americans did before 'the white man' came here to this country," Tom explained. "I mean, that’s what clothing was made with is brain tan deerskin mostly."
In an interview with American Cowboy, the trapper added of the technique, "Braintan buckskin is so far superior to any commercial stuff that they’re making nowadays. It’s a completely different thing… If you hold it up to your lips, you can blow through it. That makes it comfortable to wear. Body perspiration evaporates through it and keeps you cool."
Tom knows his lifestyle isn’t for everyone and believes he was born 150 to 200 years too late. "I always thought of the past and history. I’ve kind of relived it in a modern way," he shared, before hinting at his plans to retire.
"It’s just Nancy and me and an old Dodge pickup and 30-foot chain. We can’t keep doing this forever," he admitted. "I keep telling Nancy, one of these days you’ll probably just find me stretched out dead over the fleshing block." We’d say Florida is a much better alternative.
Watch Mountain Men on History, or stream all nine seasons of the show on the History app.