History Channel has a flair for bringing unconventional lifestyles and careers into the spotlight. While mainstream society might find these shows outlandish and bizarre, this brings attention to real-life struggles; History Channel’s “Mountain Men” is no different. Marty Meierotto is one of the lucky people featured in this show, able to supplement his income with that from the show. A husband and father, Marty splits his time between his home in Two Rivers, Alaska, and his cabin on the remote mountain. A fur collector, Meierotto has to maintain his animal traps year-round to make sure that his family will be able to eat.
“It isn’t all about catching animals; it’s about living the lifestyle.” -Marty MeierottoSHARE if you’re tuning in TOMORROW at 9/8c to watch Marty and the rest of the Mountain Men stay wild on HISTORY.
Posted by Mountain Men on Friday, September 13, 2013
Early Life and Family
Marty Meierotto was born in Northern Wisconsin, USA, to Thomas and Karen Meierotto. He has one sibling, a brother Jeff, who lives near him and works on aircraft for a living. Although his father’s main career is unknown, he too was a fur collector. In fact, it was when Thomas took Marty with him to check their trapline in Wisconsin that Marty first realized that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and enter the fur trade. He and his brother still have a close relationship.
Although details about his formal schooling are unknown, we do know that he learned all his survival and trapping skills from his father. Various excursions into the Wisconsin wilderness with his father taught him all the skills he would need to run a successful fur trading business.
Feeling stifled by the stiff competition in the Wisconsin fur industry and its limited resources, Marty and his brother decided to relocate to Alaska. The two drove up to Alaska in 1985 where they prepared to restart their lives.
The opportunities in Alaska were scarce at first, Marty having to work multiple jobs and initially living in a tent. He worked as a janitor in Fairbanks, as well as a logger and a construction worker. This allowed him to save enough money to eat, purchase fur traps, and then build himself a cabin.
Eventually, Meierotto was able to quit his jobs and dedicate himself to fur trapping full time. He built an additional three cabins along his trapping line, choosing the best locations for his work.
He works collecting fur during the winter months – November through to March – with a focus on lynx fur, considered amongst the best quality fur found in the wild. While it generally has a mixture of black and brown spots on a white background, its value rises exponentially the whiter the fur is. Despite the intense menial labor involved in the trapping and collecting process, a lynx fur only sells for approximately $70. This means that Marty has to make a substantial number of trappings to support himself and his family.
With the quality of fur heavily reliant on the weather, fur collecting is not a job that can sustain Meierotto all year round. During the summer months that generally run from April until October, Marty works as a smokejumper for the Alaskan fire service, meaning that Marty is deployed to parachute into the scene of fires where he can begin the process of putting it out.
History Channel premiered “Mountain Men” on 31 May 2012. The show initially had a cast of three characters, but has since evolved and changed.
Alongside Marty Meierotto were Eustace Conway – a survival skills teacher and firewood harvester in North Carolina – and Tom Oar, an ex-rodeo cowboy who lives in the Montana Mountains with his family. The show follows multiple storylines, exploring the impact and drama of life in various mountainous regions.
Marty Meierotto frequents his cabin on the Northern Alaskan Slopes near the Draanjik river every month during the winter. Flying his customized Piper PA-18A-150 Super Club aircraft to his cabin, he spends the winter combing his traps on the mountainside to turn a profit. He navigates the cold in his snowmobile with no assistance whatsoever.
There have been several hair-raising events in his history on the show, including a near ‘plane crash, and saving a crew member from frostbite.
Leaving “Mountain Men”
Marty decided to leave the show after the 7th season, saying that “I don’t want the rest of me to be on camera because, at the end of the day, I am just a trapper.” He wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter, and make sure that his life was about more than just television and entertainment. He will continue to work in the fur trade, but for now, his adventures will not be caught on camera.
Marty met his future wife Dominique Meierotto when he was in his late 40s.
In 2006, the couple welcomed their daughter, Noah Jane. Although his fur trapping takes a toll on family life – spending every alternate fortnight on the slopes during winter – he remains close to his family. By all accounts, his daughter intends to follow in her father’s footsteps. Marty seems to be looking forward to having some company during his forages in the snow.
In every aspect of his appearance, Meierotto is every bit a man of the mountains. A head of long hair and a virulent beard, both consisting of more grey at this stage than brown, he embodies everything one would expect from a fur trapper.
He has brown eyes and a fit figure, as would be required by the physical demands of fur trapping. His body measurements haven’t been revealed, but he is obviously fit and strong, and of generally average build.
Net Worth Salary
No longer a participant in “Mountain Men”, Marty now has to rely solely on his profit from the fur trade and work as a smokejumper to keep his family afloat. Fortunately, due to the show, he has been able to amass sufficient funds to keep him afloat for a while. In efforts quite impressive for a man in his trade, Meierotto has accrued a net worth estimated at over $150,000, as of mid-2020.