In the 1970s, this Chattanooga man spent five years living off the land in British Columbia. Now, he is a living legend.

Photo contributed by Jim Ledbetter / Design by Matt McClane

In Jim Ledbetter's opinion, wolverine meat was the worst.

And he tried it many ways: grilled, boiled, canned; ground into sausage.

"Even the dog wouldn't eat it," he remembers, describing its taste, 49 years later, as a cross between rot and urine.

But, he says, living in British Columbia's Coastal Mountains - where he was 60 miles from the nearest town and snowed in for months at a time - "it was meat, so you didn't waste it."

"I would have liked to stay there forever," Ledbetter then adds wistfully.


In 1971, Ledbetter and his college sweetheart, Jackie, had just graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. She'd studied music; he'd studied art and had aspirations of becoming a jewelry-maker. But Ledbetter had another dream, too: to leave society and live off the land.

"I've always been fascinated by mountain people that were able to make a living off their ingenuity," he says.