Discovery’s Gold Rush is the network’s top reality series for good reason. The thrill of finding gold ore in the dirt never gets old, and the dynamics of all the crews who compete for the ounces shifts year to year adding to the dramatic tension.
But it is the children of the show’s mining stalwarts, Todd Hoffman and Tony Beets, who appear to be ready to take the reins from their famous fathers.
Hunter Hoffman, the son of Todd Hoffman, is more than a handsome hunk. In a similar way to his co-star Parker Schnabel, he was groomed and mentored by his grandfather Jack Hoffman and his father Todd to sit squarely in the excavator seat.
But if you ask Hunter, that’s where any common ground ends with regards to the Hoffman crew’s biggest dissing tormentor, Schnabel.
We spoke to Hunter Hoffman in a rare interview and learned that he loves mining and his family, but has a serious streak of wanderlust and an artistic side too.
Monsters and Critics: I saw you went to the Middle East this past spring, can you talk about that trip?
Hunter: That was really cool for me, I think probably the coolest trip I’ve ever been on actually. And we did more on top of just a guy’s trip…you know, all the guys in my family, my uncles, my dad, my grandpa, my cousins and some close family friends went there and, yeah, we were there for a little bit under two weeks and…I don’t know, it was amazing.
M&C: What was the most profound place that you visited? What was the thing that really blew you away?
Hunter: I don’t know, we literally went everywhere in Israel. I really, really liked the Sea of Galilee and also the old city in Jerusalem, just walking around there and going to the Wailing Wall and…yeah, I think the old city of Jerusalem was probably the highlight for me.
M&C: You’re a Gold Rush millennial. I’ve talked to your dad more than once. Are you going to take the reins in the Hoffman crew soon?
Hunter: Yeah, I mean as you can see with this season and the few episodes that have come out, I’m kind of stepping up, taking charge, and kind of taking over my own piece of the company and the operation here.
I’m also only 18 and have a lot to learn. The whole thing’s a learning experience for me. In every episode this season I learn and grow way more than the first. So yeah, I’m trying to grow and just step up and get more and more responsibility.
M&C: Do you have any interest in going to college?
Hunter: Yeah, I do actually. Right now I don’t have any college plans but I’d like to go and take a few classes.
M&C: Do you feel like you want to emulate what Parker’s doing? Parker’s just a few years older than you. And so is Monica. What are your feelings about how Parker’s running his business this season and in general?
Hunter: In no way am I trying to mimic Parker at all. I just think we have different values and different character. But he does work really hard and he is still super young, running the full operation. He definitely doesn’t mess around, he knows how to gold mine. There’s no doubt about that. But I think I would run things differently. Just as far as crew wise…
M&C: What do you think of your dad’s [Todd Hoffman’s] singing career?
Hunter: Well, I don’t know. I used to always make fun of him for it and now he gets millions and millions of hits and everybody always asks me about it. So, I guess I got to kinda take it seriously now.
M&C: Do you like his voice?
Hunter: I think he has a good voice and I think he’s definitely talented in something that he’s always loved doing. So it’s cool that he can record songs and make a little video and put it out and everybody seems to love it. So it seems now…people run up to us, the first thing they talk about is his song that they see on Facebook or whatever.
M&C: Have you ever heard a song and said, “Dad, I want you to sing that, or try and sing this?”
Hunter: Yes, his last song I actually picked out for him. And he hasn’t put that one out yet because he’s still got to make a video for it. But…yeah, he has a new song coming out.
M&C: What’s the title of the song?
Hunter: I don’t know if I can share that. I don’t know if he’s already told everybody that or not. So…
M&C: Oh okay, but you picked it out?
Hunter: Yeah. I just listened to it and I just thought it would be a good fit for him.
M&C: What about your grandfather? He’s like the rock salt of the Hoffman crew. How do you view your grandfather and what are some of the things about him that you really dig and that you really absorb as a young man? And just observing how he’s lived his life?
Hunter: Yeah, I mean I fricking’ love my grandpa, and we started this whole thing on his dream of gold mining. So we wouldn’t really be here without him. I’m just really grateful for him, having him and my dad in my life.
I’ve learned so much from my grandpa, and he is truly a man of God. And, how does he stay in character in the way he treats people and the work ethic? I don’t know, he’s an amazing example for me and, I just think he gets…he’s a wild man, for sure, so I just like hanging out with him.
M&C: What’s a little-known secret about Jack that you can share with people?
Hunter: I don’t know, there’s not a lot of secrets with Jack. He just lays it out there for you, he’s kind of a no B.S. guy and…I don’t know, he’s pretty crazy.
M&C: What do you think about the Beets Crew and Monica Beets? How do you view that whole tribe?
Hunter: You know, the Beets were mining for quite a while and they all know what they’re doing, I think. Every time I hang out with Monica and Tony, they’re always super fun to hang out with. They’re always good times. So, I think they’re good people and they’re hard workers.
M&C: When you’re not on the show, when you’re not being filmed, what do you do? I mean other than travel, and I see that you do travel a lot and there’s a lot of cool pictures on your Instagram. What do you like to do?
Hunter: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m into all kinds of stuff…obviously I mine seven months out of the year, so it’s a lot of time lost. So when I’m home I do like to make up for lost time and I do a lot of different things.
I’m into photography. I travel around, I just got back from visiting my friend in college down in Malibu. I have some other trips planned for this year. I’m actually going to Africa in December, I’m going to Uganda on a missions trip. And I think I have a trip planned to go to Italy, and maybe London, and another European trip this year.
M&C: What can fans expect or look forward to in the latest episode? I know that Parker’s clip that I got shows he has serious water trouble, he’s being swamped where he’s running his pay dirt. Is there any tease you can give us for the Hoffman crew?
Hunter: I mean, I don’t always know what’s going to come up in the next episode. I don’t ever get to see it before the viewers do so…I don’t know.
M&C: What about the season in general? Can you give us a kind of idea how things are gonna end up for your crew and how the gold race is going?
Hunter: This is an insane summer for me. This is one of our longest seasons we’ve ever mined. And, we really just kind of ground it out, and it gets really, really tough at some points. Especially for me. Just being more in the spotlight, given more responsibility, trying to run my own crew.
Lots of things I had to learn, a lot of challenges for me. I think throughout the season you all see me come full circle, and come into my own a little bit and see me go through things and learn from them and…yeah.
M&C: What’s your favorite large piece of equipment to run?
Hunter: Like, this past season, I didn’t run hardly any loaders. I just pretty much fed the plant. But I have a lot of hours in the loader and I did that for several years before on night shifts and other things. So I’m not on the trail, I was doing the night shift.
I have a few seasons in the rock trap, but I’m also good in an excavator. I mean, everybody wants to be in an excavator, that’s just kind of how it goes on the mine. But feeding the plant can be pretty mundane sometimes.
M&C: What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen pulled out of the ground? It doesn’t have to be gold. Have you unearthed anything interesting?
Hunter: Yes, some of my most memorable favorite times are up in the Yukon. You know, when we get to a certain layer and you start pulling out mammoth tusks and you start finding all prehistoric bones, and skulls from things, and stuff from thousands and thousands of years ago. I think that’s pretty interesting to me.
M&C: What do you do with stuff like that when you find it? Do you turn it over to someone, or do you keep it?
Hunter: Yeah, you have to get a special permit and go through some licensing and you can take some of the mammoth tusks back home. But you cannot take any bones.
M&C: I see that you like to hunt, what do you like to hunt? Do you eat what you kill?
Hunter: I totally eat what I kill and it’s kind of hard to make time to go hunting but I try to do it every year, and we always go out hunting and I’ve shot a deer with my bow.
The first deer I shot with my bow was when I was nine years old and we ate that entire deer. I did a hunting trip to New Zealand a few years ago and I picked up some red stag and ate that and that was a really cool trip. So yeah, I enjoy it.
M&C: You’re really intrepid, you’ve already been to New Zealand? And the Middle East? I mean, what brought you to New Zealand?
Hunter: That was just kind of a hunting trip, we did a guys’ trip. And, obviously the first time we’ve ever been down there so…I don’t know, New Zealand’s amazing. If you’d never been, I would highly suggest it.
M&C: If you could not mine, for whatever reason…what would you want to do?
Hunter: I don’t know, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of things I’m really interested in and I really like to do creative things, artistic, which I guess doesn’t really come off in the show. But I like shooting photos while doing videos, and I do a lot of that stuff with my friends. A lot of stuff that people don’t ever see but…I don’t know. That’s a good question, I’m not really sure.
M&C: Something creative? Your dad’s doing something creative in singing, it runs in your family.
Hunter: Yeah true, very true.
M&C: What’s a big secret about your dad that you can reveal in this interview that people might not know about him? Something that the fans have no idea?
Hunter: Besides his singing? He’s terrified of bats. I’m not sure what it is, but he’s terrified of bats and I…I don’t know. It’s kind of his one fear, his one main fear.
I think that something that a lot of people don’t know is, you know, it doesn’t come across in the show a lot of times…my dad looks like a jerk on the show, but he’s really not. And everything he does, he does for the whole crew and that’s for everybody else and he’s really selfless. It kind of sucks that sometimes he’s portrayed in a different way on the show.
But how he really is, he really cares about everybody else and wants to do right by everybody.
M&C: Right, so even though in the last show where you were frustrated and you wanted him to just let you to do your thing, you guys at the end of the day are rock solid?
Hunter: Yeah, I mean whenever we work we always get into arguments and I’ll get really, really frustrated but as soon as work’s over then we’re done fighting. And, I don’t know, we kind of leave work at work, we don’t actually stay mad at each other.
This is a really cool summer for me and my dad. I think we got a lot closer and just working on things together and working through them was really cool for us.
M&C: Anything you want to say about how your journey progresses, and if there’s anything else you want to say for fans watching, just to give them an idea of how things are going to fare for the Hoffmans?
Hunter: Every season’s pretty crazy but this is definitely a really, really crazy season. A lot of things that you aren’t going to expect and, I think, you’re just going to see us overcome a lot of hardships and not give up.
We had a really tough season, we had some times where it just felt hopeless and like we were losing at every turn but we hang in there and it just gets crazy.
Gold Rush airs Fridays at 9/8c on Discovery.