• Chip Hailstone is an American reality television personality, hunter, and fisherman.
• He is most popular for appearing in nearly all the seasons of the National Geographic’s documentary, “Life Below Zero” since its premier in 2013.
• In June of 2017, Chip was convicted of two counts of perjury and one count of providing false information in court under oath, and served a 15 month sentence in jail.
• His net worth is estimated to be over $250,000 as of 2023.
• The documentary series has won a number of awards, including Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program.

Chip Hailstone is an American reality television personality, hunter and fisherman. He is most popular for appearing in nearly all the seasons as one of the main characters in the National Geographic’s documentary, “Life Below Zero” since its premier in 2013. A frequent in most episodes of the documentary, he was notably absent for a while, during which the famous hunter spent 15 months serving a prison sentence. Why did he go to jail? What caused his arrest? Read more to find out why Chip Hailstone was in jail, and the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Who is Chip Hailstone?

Where did he learn his skills? How did his fame come about? Read on to learn more on Chip Hailstone’s background.

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His early life and family background

Edward V. Hailstone was born on 5th March 1969 in Kalispell, Montana, USA, the older son of Daniel Franklin and Mary Lois Hailstone; he has a younger brother named Willie. Not much is known about his early years, educational background or other personal details, however, the 52 year old Piscean is said to have had an avid interest in the outdoors since his early years, thanks to his parents. Growing up in Kalispell, he spent a lot of time playing sports, and exploring the outdoors. He learnt the valuable skills of hunting and fishing, as well as survival in the outdoors. Little did he know that his childhood interest would instill in him lifelong passion and skills.

Beginnings in hunting

Following his interest in hunting and fishing, a young Chip explored the areas around him and eventually travelled to Alaska when he was 19 years old. Despite his initial plan of exploring for a while then returning home, he fell in love with the state and decided to stay there – he settled in Noorvik, a small town near the Kobuk River just north of the Arctic Circle, with a population of a mere 700 residents. During his years in Noorvik, Chip further honed his hunting skills, and picked up barter trade with the locals; he traded various elements of bears, walruses and seals for his essentials, making a living selling his hunts and catches as he adapted to his lifestyle in Alaska.

Reality TV

Life Below Zero” is a documentary television series produced by BBC Studio and aired by National Geographic, which focuses on the lives of six families living in the remote areas of Alaska, and details their lifestyles. The series depicts various challenges the families face in the harsh, often sub-zero conditions, and how they survive off the land and water. Viewers get to see how these survivalists utilize their hunting and fishing skills in earning an income, and maintaining a functioning household with their families. A fan favorite, the show premiered in 2013 and has since had 15 (and counting) successful seasons. Chip was approached by BBC studios to star in their new documentary and accepted, eventually becoming one of the most famous faces in the series.

The Hailstones- Happy Holidays!

Posted by Life Below Zero on Saturday, November 29, 2014

Who else participates in the show?

Other cast members of “Life Below Zero” are both natives and migrators to Alaska. They include Sue Aikens, sole resident of Kavik River camp; Glenn Villenueve— sole resident of Chandalar and a Vermont native who migrated to Alaska in 1999; Jessie Holmes— a fisherman, hunter and dogsled racer— who lives in Nenana with his 40 sled dogs, while Andy Bassich of Yukon River lives with his 25 sled dogs. Previously, Andy lived with his wife before their divorce in 2016 and now resides with his girlfriend. There is also a young couple, Erik and Martha Salitan, who are natives to the wilderness and live in Wiseman.

What happened to Chip’s Brother?

In one of the episodes, viewers were introduced to Chip’s younger brother, Willie who joined Chip and his wife Agnes on a fishing expedition— it was the brothers first time fishing together in 25 years! The trio went out into the -31 degree weather, riding their snowmobiles and having fun together. A while later, Agnes realized that Willie wasn’t near them, and the couple went back to look for him. They found an hysterical Willie screaming in pain after a snowmobile accident left him with a fractured wrist.

Why did Chip go to jail?

The circumstances surrounding his eventual arrest began years previously. In July 2011, his stepson Jonathan and daughter Tinmiaq were involved in a fight against another Noorvik family. In the subsequent questioning, Chip claimed that Christopher Blitz, an Alaskan state trooper, abused his daughter; also claiming that during the fight, one of the residents pointed a firearm at his teenage daughter. He then obtained a temporary order against the trooper, stating that the latter had put his daughter into a choke hold during questioning. Additionally, Chip noted that the family had two confrontations with the trooper mentioned, and that they feared for their safety, hence the restraining order. Chip’s lawyer argued to the court that his testimony was authentic, and that the troopers had altered the audio recording submitted during court proceedings. Jay Hochberg— Chip’s lawyer— filed a motion for a new trial but was denied. The forensic audio expert revealed that the recordings had indeed been tampered with, due to an eleven second pause of the tape. Chip claimed that the troopers’ threatening of his family happened within those missing seconds, proving the inaccuracy of the evidence. However, around the same time, he was charged with owning and using contemporary weapons illegally.


In June of 2017, Chip was convicted of two counts of perjury and one count of providing false information in court under oath. He was sentenced to fifteen months in jail, as well as a three year probation period due to the illegal weaponry. He served his sentence at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

His release

Ten months into his fifteen month sentence, Chip was released as the verdict was overturned and he was found not guilty of all charges. He went right back to shooting “Life Below Zero”, although he couldn’t shoot during the hunting seasons due to his probation. After spending months leading the family and filming in her husband’s absence, Agnes was glad to have him back, saying it was difficult surviving without him. Eventually, he was allowed to own and use sophisticated weapons in his hunting sessions, and life returned to normal. He continued to be a part of the series, relieving fans who were aware of his absence. As for the Alaskan troopers, they’ve assured the Hailstone family that they are in no danger as long as they follow the law.


Agnes Hailstone is a native Alaskan belonging to the Inupiaq tribe. Not much is known of her early years, family or educational background, however, it is known that she had an avid interest in hunting and fishing from a young age. As a result, she grew up learning how to survive entirely off the land, in Alaska. Prior to meeting Chip, she was blessed with two sons, Douglas and Jonathan, from her previous relationship.

More about their relationship

After Chip settled in Noorvik, he met Alaskan native and fellow hunter, Agnes. At the time of their meeting, Chip is said to have been mesmerized by Agnes— who is three years his junior— with her impressive hunting skills. He learnt a lot from the Alaskan native, and the pair became friends. Their friendship soon turned to love, and they married in 1992. Chip then legally adopted his wife’s two sons, and the couple was blessed with five daughters— Tinmiaq, Mary, Iriqtaq, Qutan and Caroline, making them the proud parents of seven children. Born to avid hunting parents, the skill became a family affair, with all the children actively participating in the process. They practice seasonal migration, where the whole family takes part in hunting, tanning, harvesting, skinning, amongst other activities. Both sons are now professional hunters, and have their own families as well, making Agnes and Chip grandparents. As of 2023, the couple have been married for an impressive 31 years!

Some interesting facts

  • Despite Agnes and Chip’s insistence on instilling essential skills to their children, they simultaneously encouraged them to complete their education. Two of their children were athletes during their time in school, and one child made it to college.
  • The Hailstone family make sure to use their hunts completely; they eat or otherwise use every part of the animals they hunt, meaning no wastage. The non-edible parts of the animals they kill are made into crafts, which are then traded as a currency for the essentials they need.
  • Agnes Hailstone is revealed to have family ties that go back thousands of years, showing that survival skills have run through her family for countless generations.
  • Chip has been registered as a hunter in Alaska, but unfortunately isn’t allowed to hunt marine animals. This restriction comes after a recent legislation meaning only locals are allowed. Luckily, Agnes is a local and qualifies for the hunt, however, despite his marriage to a local, Chip still does not qualify.

Chip’s Achievements

Since the premiere of “Life Below Zero” in 2013, Chip and his family have appeared in more than 130 episodes of the series, which is one of the most highly successful and most watched on the National Geographic channel, and has won a number of awards – in 2015, it was awarded a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Program, and again the next year, followed by an Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program in 2017, and won one or other Award in the following years to 2022.

It has remained a fan favorite, getting renewal contracts after every season thanks to its unfading popularity.

What is Chip Hailstone’s net worth?

Most of Chip Hailstone’s net worth comes from his work as a hunter and fisherman both on- and off-screen. According to authoritative sources, the whole cast of “Life Below Zero” earns a collective sum of $4500 for each episode, meaning about $750 per episode for Chip and his family. Another source of their income is their activities in hunting, fishing and trading with other locals. Unfortunately, the earning capability of Chip was briefly set back due to his prison time, but it can be predicted that their net worth will rise over time. As estimated by authoritative sources, the Hailstones are worth more than $250,000 as of 2023.

The Hailstones have showcased their strength in tough times over the years. Fans have witnessed their resilience, love and unity as a family living in exceptional conditions. As they continue living – some would say surviving – in the sometimes brutal Alaskan wilderness in unforgiving conditions, we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

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