Primitive survivalist, hunter, nomad.
Laura Zerra was born in Western Massachusetts, and spent her childhood exploring abandoned coyote dens, stalking deer,and crawling through swamps in whatever ”wild” lands she could find in her suburban hometown. Her love of animals and close encounters with them as a child led her to become a self-righteous vegan in high school. Laura studied Ethnobiology at Connecticut College, and began to seek a more hands-on approach to what she was reading about in her anthropology classes. In her spare time, she began studying bow building, ethnobotanical plant uses, and tracking. This eventually led to her scouring the local highways for roadkill to sustainably obtain skins for hide tanning.
After delving into her morals she decided it fit in with her beliefs to began processing the meat for consumption. Eating meat again was a huge turning point for her, and she decided she was going to learn to hunt. The very real connection this allowed her to form with the land led her to seek out more experiential learning than college could offer.
Laura began spending summers working at Great Hollow Wilderness School in Connecticut teaching primitive survival, and in 2004 obtained an internship with the Buffalo Field Campaign in West Yellowstone, Montana. Here she documented the slaughter of the last wild herd of bison, and continued to expand her knowledge in primitive survival in the harsh West Yellowstone winter. In 2007, she moved to Vermont to teach at Roots School, focusing on brain tanning and meat processing. During the winter of 2008, Laura bought a one way ticked to Mexico. She hitchhiked and hopped freight trains south to Oaxaca, then up the west coast of the country, studying jungle survival. When not teaching survival, she worked seasonally at various jobs including mushroom hunting in Oregon, tree planting for the Forest Service in Idaho, and leading horse treks at the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm. In 2010, Laura spent a year apprenticing as a farrier with Sharp Shoeing in Belmont, New Hampshire. She worked nights processing wild game at the Baker River Deer Farm, and had a brief stint on an offshore crab boat out of New Bedford, MA. In 2011, Laura moved to Colorado to further her knowledge of animal preservation at A Lasting Memory Taxidermy.
In 2013, Laura was able to put her skills to the test, spending 21 days in full survival in Bocas del Toro, Panama, as a cast member of the Discovery show “Naked and Afraid”. As an all-star cast member, she was asked to return to complete another 21-day challenge in the Peruvian Amazon, and again to complete 40 days in the Colombian savanna in Season 1 of “Naked and Afraid XL”.
Teaming up with YouTube sensation Andrew Ucles, Laura showed him the wildlife in her native North America before embarking on a journey to Australia to learn about Australian wildlife and live-catching animals. Here she became fascinated with learning the lost art of persistence hunting, a skill she still believes is the ultimate form of fair-chase hunting. Her adventures with Andrew were showcased in the documentary “North America: The Wild Meets the Weird”.
Laura is a true nomad who loves to challenge herself and is always looking for the next great adventure. By pushing her limits, she is constantly furthering her knowledge and loves to learn new skills. Her passions include primitive hunting and bow building, shed antler hunting, exploring wild places, processing her own meat, wild foraging, free diving and spearfishing, functional fitness, and teaching what she loves.
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