SEARSMONT, Maine — After spending three months alone in the wilderness, 6,000 miles from his off-the-grid homestead, a local man has been declared the victor of the third season of History Channel’s survival show “Alone,” bringing back $500,000 to his wife and two daughters.

Zachary Fowler has been back in Maine since August, but he has been sworn to secrecy ever since filming for the show came to an end. With the airing of Thursday night’s finale, the news was finally public that he outlasted 10 other competitors and won the top prize.

Throughout the series, Fowler contended with cold, rainy weather, a shortage of food, and crushing loneliness on his way to becoming the last competitor standing.

“Being alone is not how life was meant to be,” Fowler said as he reflected on his family during the episode. “Eighty-seven days is a long time to be alone. I missed my family so much, but they were my drive and my reason for being there.”

On Thursday evening, about two dozen midcoast Maine residents took shelter from the snowstorm in the tasting room at Threshers Brewing Co. in Searsmont, where they watched the finale and rooted for the Appleton man. Threshers has been hosting viewing parties since the show started, with Fowler and his wife, Jami, joining as guests of honor.

During commercial breaks, Fowler shared stories of his survival — how he took great pride in taking down a bird with a rock fired from his slingshot after many failed attempts, how he built his shelter, and how he spent the first two weeks of his trip sick as his body adjusted to the unusual diet.

“Getting that bird was my zen moment,” Fowler said during a recent interview. “I rode that high for days.”

When Fowler was revealed as the winner at the end of the show, the Searsmont audience broke out into applause and one man shouted, “Appleton’s on the map now!”

Fowler, 37, spent 87 days alone, fending for himself on the shore of a lake in the wilds of Patagonia in South America. His only contact with the outside world was an occasional visit from a medical staff, who periodically checked in on the show’s contestants to ensure they weren’t in danger of starvation. One by one, they left because of loneliness, injury, illness or severe weight loss.

When a film crew showed up at his campsite 87 days into the competition, the day after one of these medical checkups, Fowler was convinced he was about to be pulled from the show for losing too much weight.

“I was ready to protest,” Fowler said during a recent interview. “I knew I could keep going, maybe for a few more weeks.”

He had no idea that a day earlier, his only remaining competitor had been disqualified by the show’s medical staff because her body mass index dropped to dangerous levels.

As he talked to the crew, Fowler’s wife, who he hadn’t seen or spoken to for more three months, snuck up and grabbed him from behind.

Fowler turned around, gasped, and grabbed her. She was the one to tell him, “You won! You out-stubborned them all!”

When Fowler stepped onto a helicopter alongside his wife to head home, he was 70 pounds lighter than when he arrived.

Fowler went into the competition weighing a “husky” 223 pounds, he said. Fowler tracked what he ate over the course of those 87 days, and it wasn’t much. He survived on 63 fish that he caught from the river, two birds, grubs and limited edible plants plucked from the area.

“The fish head soup diet isn’t one I would recommend,” he said.

Since he got home, he’s been able to put 25 pounds back on his frame.

Fowler said he plans on using the prize money to improve his family’s homestead. Fowler plans on building a home to replace the yurt his family currently lives in, building a new studio for his wife, putting in a better driveway, and installing solar panels.

The boatbuilder and craftsman said he plans to continue working with his hands, and he wants to make a career out of creation and invention.

Fowler is the second Mainer to win a major survival reality television competition. Bob Crowley of South Portland won “Survivor: Gabon” in 2008. He was 57 at the time and became the oldest winner in the history of “Survivor.”

If you want to learn more about how Fowler survived in Patagonia, he has a YouTube channel called Fowler’s Makery and Mischief and posts videos about his experiences he had on the show and some of the creations he made to help him make it to the end.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.