adventure has been in his blood since he was a kid. Exploring the woods of
Alabama, hunting and fishing was a way of life for him. He took his first buck
at 13 years old and he has not looked back. Hal Shaffer has been a recognizable
outdoor personality for quite a number of years. He is the host of Drop Zone
TV on the Outdoor Channel. Both Hal and Drop Zone have been on the air for
about fourteen years bringing us adrenaline filled hunting adventures from all
over the globe.
debuted his latest series this season. It is an Outdoor Channel, network original
appropriately named, Renovation Hunters. Renovation Hunters is dedicated
to preserving family traditions that are dedicated to the outdoor lifestyle.
Let’s face it, most hunting camps, are just that, hunting camps. A place to lay
your head down, share a meal and spend a few days out in the field. Well, Hal
Shaffer and his partners select a hunting, fishing or weekend family cabin and
do a complete renovation from top to bottom so families have the ability to
pass down the tradition of the outdoor lifestyle to the next generation.
Renovation Hunters is where the outdoors meets
Chris: Hal, I think our goals are the same.
We are looking to preserve our way of life for future generations to enjoy. Everybody knows about Drop Zone; you've had
that show for quite a while now.
Hal: Since 2009. It has been 14 years now. It's been a long
time. The great thing about Drop Zone is, I get to do the show with one of my
best friends in the world. He is
basically like my brother, Greg Zipadelli. He will be a Hall of Fame crew
chief. One of the winningest crew chiefs
of all time for NASCAR. Greg and Tony Stewart have been like brothers and
naturally we have all become friends and Greg still makes his living the hard
way. But if it had not been for Drop Zone and Greg Zipadelli, this new
adventure never would have happened. Renovation Hunters was kind of born off of
Drop Zone. We were at our hunting camp in Missouri, it is a hundred-year-old
house, and needless to say, the camp needed some
work. But hunting camp was always just a
place to lay your head down, eat a meal and go hunting. It never had to a be
But the truth of the matter is, we
need to make these places a little more relevant for the whole family. We thought that it would be such a great idea
if we could renovate the camp. Crescent
tools has been longtime partners at Drop Zone. I spoke to the people at Crescent
tools and said, “What if we renovated our camp on the show?” And they said, “Oh, my gosh, that is a great
idea.” We came up with a plan and we renovated the Missouri hunting camp. After
we got halfway through, I got to thinking, “You know what? There is a show here
that's worthy of the cause and is preserving the outdoors for generations to
come.” Because the problem is, as you
all know, that as these hunting camps, fishing camps and mountain cabins etc., as
they get past down through generations, sometimes they are just not taken care
When that hunting or fishing structure
goes away, it ends that generation's lineage of passing it on. Then it
effectively cut a whole family tree out of the outdoors. I can't live with the
thought that I didn't do something to help change that aspect and also to do
something to start reinventing the moral fiber that holds families together.
Sitting at the table, eating together, that's pretty much gone by the wayside.
All families, even extended families are meeting somewhere outdoors for vacation
and to have fun. That was the mission
behind Renovation Hunters.
After one season of doing this, it
has been amazing. There are so many cookie-cutter renovation shows and I said,
“Well, I don't want to be that.” Those shows
take six months to a year. The people
are paying for the renovation and they'll take up to six or eight months on a renovation
and put it into a 22-minute television show. There is no way you can comprehend
what really went into that. There's no
history about the family, there's no history about the structure and there's no
history about the town. So, that is why
we are doing what we are doing. We are
totally renovating the house and the property.
We even put in food plots. We will help with tree stand placement, and
build giant barbecue pits for them. The
whole thing is done in eight days start to finish, and during those eight days,
we are going to make three episodes so everybody sees the real story. We want
people to see the story of the town or property.
Our theme song, “Tiny Towns” is
performed by Matt Tucker. That song is everything about the people in tiny
towns. It's about rural America, and it's about Renovation Hunters. It is perfect. So, we do it in eight days, we do three
episodes, we tell you something about the history of the area, the history of
that family's lineage, and then the history of that structure. In Nebraska, a
lady, who was 94 years old, was born in the upstairs room. It was a 118-year-old house, she was born in
Chris: That is history.
Hal: It’s a wonderful thing. That
episode was in Hyannis, Nebraska, out in the middle of nowhere, population
under 200. But the most unbelievable
cowboy town that we have ever met.
Everybody only knows one thing and that is to help each other. It is not
like any place you've ever been.
Chris: Well, we have lost that it takes a
village mentality. Everybody is, me, me, me.
It was not uncommon as a kid running through the neighborhood that the
neighbor would reprimand you. And your
parents would say, what did you do? Not why did you yell at my kid?
Hal: Yes. Exactly. Everybody helped everyone. It was a “we”
thing. We have got to get back to
“we.” So, helping with the moral fiber,
we want to do something that makes people sit down at a table and eat
together. So, in every one of these renovations,
we do a custom, a hand-built dining table that goes in every home renovation. We find out about how this family
relates. Every one of them is a one of
the kind table to that particular family. The tables are art, beautiful
art. Our friends at Baird Brother Fine
Hardwoods came on as a title because they have the same passions that we
did. All of our partners are
amazing. We don't call them sponsors
because they're not sponsors. They are
partners. Not only do they help us pay
for all of this, but they show up and work for free.
Hal: Our crew is there every week. Every
week we have a build, all of these partners show up and want to be there to
give a hand. It shows you that there are
still people and businesses in this country who still
believe in family values. It is nice to go home, lay your head down on the
pillow and just say, “You know what? We did something good today.”
Chris: I was looking at the Facebook page
for Renovation Hunters and some of these buildout’s are really spectacular. I
like the bar that you built.
Hal: Oh my gosh, it was amazing. We're actually building a garage bar right
now for the premier show. We're doing a
big premier party for all of our partners.
It is going to be on the red carpet, the whole thing. We're building a big garage bar for
them. But yeah, and actually in
Nebraska, we took an old metal building and turned it into a beautiful speakeasy.
So not only did we do the house, we did the metal building also.
Chris: Did it come with a still?
Hal: No, no, no, no, no, no we don’t
have any of those. Every family that we have revealed, men and women have had
tears just running down their face. We had one in Virginia, and when all this
came down, they talked about how this project reminded them how special their
family was, and how much they miss extended family. I looked at Kevin Percovic
who is my cohort on the show, and said, “We can
never do another one.” Mission complete.
Chris: Well, I know from the experience
that hunting camp is a place where you throw your pillow down and you are out
in the morning hunting. It is not the
most female friendly place. But it is ours and we liked it. When we renovated it, it brought the family into
it, it made them feel at home, more comfortable.
Hal: Think about this. Going hunting all
these times and your wife is at home asking, you are going out again? You get a
nice place to go. A really beautiful place.
You get to go hunting more often.
Chris: She can come with you.
Hal: Yeah, exactly and have a hot meal waiting
for you when you get back. The great thing about it is, when you get both of
the heads of the family involved and loving and part of the heritage, then it's
a sure thing that it gets passed now through those kids.
Chris: Absolutely. Now let's take a giant step back. You started
with Carolina Outdoors.
Hal: Yes, sir. Actually, if you want to take a little
further step back into the 90s, there was Carolina Outdoors radio network. That's how I was born into Carolina
Outdoors. It was so funny. I guess I was going through a lot of changes
in life and my whole family thing got restructured with the divorce. I've been
in the car business for a long time and running a dealership and said you know
what? I want to do something that I love that I have more passion for. So, one
of the local owners of a small radio station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, came
to me and said, “You really have to do a radio show. What would you do if we
wanted to do if we put one around you, what would you do? I said, “I’d talk about the outdoors.”
Chris: I like that.
And so, Carolina Outdoors radio was born. Well, next thing you know, you hear another
radio owner that owns some radio stations down in Lower South Carolina and over
in Georgia was driving through and heard the radio show. He calls me up and says, “Hey, would you
drive down there and do a radio show here on a different night?” I asked if there was a way that we could do
it on the same night. I did some investigating and found Clear Channel. We put it up on Clear Channel. Everybody had their own code. And the next thing you know Caroline Outdoors
radio network is born, and it was really cool.
So, sort of like all the fishing reports I had, different guides and
charters would call and give us a fishing report so everybody could listen to
what was running on the fish and stuff.
We did the same thing with hunting.
And so, one of the guy’s down Charlestown, called me up and said, “There
is rumors that you are going to start a TV show in Carolina.” I said, “Yeah,
that’s going to happen.” He said, “Well, I got one of your biggest fans that
listened to your radio show and wants it to be on your
first TV show.” And I said, “Okay, who
is it?” He said, “Well, it’s Dan
Marino.” I was shocked. “Yeah, Dan Marino comes fishing every year, he listens
to your radio broadcast when he's here.”
When I told him that you were going to do a TV show, he said, “Well,
have him come down here and let’s do a fishing show!” The very first one. I thought to myself, “How
can I go wrong? I’m going to film my first TV show with Dan Marino!”
Chris: I had no idea Dan Marino was an
Hal: He is a big fisherman. He even stocked his lakes in Florida with peacock
bass from South America, because he loves fishing that much. He is really good
guy. He brought both of his kids. And one of his kids was autistic and we had
just a blast with him. And Man, it was a great way to kick off a TV career in
Chris: You really had a storied and an
Hal: Oh yeah, before that I was a tire
changer in NASCAR. Then after that I
decided I wanted to go race on my own. So,
I built my own race team and started racing a lot of dirt track races, and did
some asphalt races. I made a small
fortune doing that. Racing is an expensive venture. And then I purposely, I'll go to the NASCAR
races because I know I don't have the means to start a NASCAR team and I am too
old to start a racing NASCAR. But I’d
stay away from dirt tracks because I can still go do a dirt car. That's why I
stayed away from them because it's probably the only drug that I have ever had.
Chris: So, racing is very much like hunting. Just keep throwing money at it.
Hal: And hope for a return.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah.
Hal: And you hope your wife doesn't
catch all the money you're throwing at.
Chris: Right. Well, where can we find Renovation Hunters?
Hal: Renovation Hunters is on
Instagram, Facebook, soon coming to Tik-Tok.
You can find it only on the Outdoor Channel. It is a network exclusive original. Soon
you’ll find it on MOTV. But the great
thing is now with all the expansion that the Outdoor Channel is doing, you can
get it on Hulu, Sling, ROKU, Friendly. You name them, Samsung TV, Outdoors
America. There are 100 million connected
devices. If you want us, you can find
Chris: I appreciate your time. Thank you
for coming in.
Hal: I appreciate it. Thank you.