Feeling connected in some way with our favorite reality TV stars is actually very normal. Sometimes it’s just their personality and charisma that we like, other times it’s their life’s story, profession or meaningful actions that attract us to them so much, that we eventually end up caring about their well-being and life off-camera.
Knowing all of this, it’s no wonder why the audience gets so worried when someone from a show they like suddenly stops appearing in it. Sometimes these disappearances are fully explained, but other times it leaves people with many questions unanswered.
The latter case describes well what happened to Jason Hawk from “Mountain Men”, in which he had been a recurring cast member for years.
So what happened to him? Is it true he’s seriously ill? Keep with us to know the whereabouts of this memorable “Mountain Men” cast member.
Why Did He Leave The Show?
Although the production staff of “Mountain Men” didn’t exactly announce Jason Hawk was out of the show, it wasn’t necessary. His last appearance in it was in early 2021 for the ninth season’s episode “Tornado Alley”, in which a storm pushed him to put his homebuilding plans on hold. Though back then there wasn’t any indication of Jason possibly leaving the show, a couple of months later he was nowhere to be seen during the then recently-premiered “Mountain Men”s tenth season.
Seeing that the episode was filmed several months before, it totally makes sense that in January 2021, Jason’s wife Mary Fricchione affirmed their contract with History channel wasn’t renewed. As expected, she didn’t explain the network’s reasoning for cutting her family out of the show like that, but her declarations weren’t meant as a demand to be taken back by “Mountain Men” either. Actually, it was meant to address a more pressing matter, which was Jason’s cancer diagnosis, and their family’s financial struggle to pay for his treatment.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if Jason would return to the series sometime in the future. However, while appearing in it would surely be economically beneficial for him, the wisest choice he could make is to recover fully first before returning.
What Is Happening To Him?
While we’re surely going to miss Jason Hawk’s appearances in “Mountain Men”, what truly worries his fans right now is his health.
Apparently, Jason had been struggling with severe pain for at least a year before being diagnosed with a malignant tumor in an unspecified place in late 2020. While his wife Mary assured that the cancer hadn’t spread, its advanced state made it mandatory for him to undergo months of chemotherapy to treat the tumor, and hopefully destroy it.
Later in January 2021, Mary affirmed Jason’s chemotherapy treatment had been hard to endure, and left him unable to move, or eat much. Despite the pain though, he apparently had good days in which he felt well enough to work or move around his homestead.
By starting an online funding campaign, Jason and his wife were able to collect enough money to afford the initial costs of his medical treatment. However, as not even half of their $130,000 goal was met, it’s very possible they’re still in need of money as of now.
Unfortunately, since early 2021, news related to Jason’s health hasn’t been known, as both he and Mary are absent from social media, leaving us to only hope his recovery went well.
What About His Business
It’s a well known fact that besides his salary from TV, Jason Hawk’s craftsmanship business – Outlaw Forge Works – also contributed a big part of his family’s income. However, seeing the Hawk family struggling so hard to pay for his medical treatment, people wondered what could have happened to his shop.
Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Jason’s health diagnosis is severe enough to push him out of his business activities, especially since his illness prevents him from performing his craftsmanship and knife making skills.
Mary also confirmed the malignant tumor in his body had made his job routine difficult to endure, long before his diagnosis even came to light.
As a second confirmation of this, the articles listed on his Outlaw Forge Works online shop are currently out of stock, in addition to the business’ Instagram page’s lack of updates.
Other Health Problems
Prior to being diagnosed with cancer, Jason Hawk had worried his fans for a while due to a seemingly serious hand injury in early 2020.
Despite how much of an expert blacksmith he is, accidents are always possible when you work with heavy or sharp tools. This is how Jason broke several hand bones while using a grinder to sharpen a knife he was working on, causing a fracture which prevented him from using several tools for a while, in addition to impeding him from working at his taller or doing other simpler activities with it.
Fortunately for him, Mary Fricchione was his perfect right hand while enduring the situation. Though as “Mountain Men”s audience saw in the show, Jason wasn’t one to just sit and wait for others. As soon as his injury became less hard to endure, he went on to set traps for wild dogs, and even resumed his work in the shop, not caring if the proven dangerous grinder hurt him again. In the end, his injury was simply left behind as an unimportant incident.
Who Is Jason Hawk
You might know him for his appearances in “Mountain Men”, but Jason Hawk’s actual debut on TV was back in 2014, in History channel’s show “No Man’s Land”.
Unfortunately, his path in the series was short, as the series only lasted a season before being cancelled, for apparently ‘not resonating with the audience’. Then Jason was given another chance to build his path as a reality TV star, from the fourth season of “Mountain Men”.
His first appearance saw Jason and his family packing up their belongings to move to an isolated cabin in Arkansas. They had been living near the Sonoran Desert, but their struggles to obtain food played a major role in moving to the distant Ozark Mountains.
Though the main reason the Hawks moved was to make their life less difficult, it didn’t mean they were abandoning their lifestyle. Saying no to any type of commodity, Hawk’s new homestead didn’t have electricity and even less a heating system. The lack of running water and so modern plumbing was also noticeable, but if Jason’s words hold any truth, then the cabin’s condition couldn’t have been more perfect for him and his family’s self-sufficient path.
Career Of TV
Jason Hawk’s skills as a hunter and survivalist are what gained him a spot in “Mountain Men”. However, craftsmanship is an important part of his life as well.
As it happens, his love for creating items started very early in his life. By working in his father’s shop, Jason developed the necessary skills to create all types of articles, including tools and leather clothes. His thirst to further his knowledge in the art also took him to travel the world, apparently even going as far as to visit Japan’s rural areas to learn new skills.
While his travels mostly happened when he was still very young, his passion for blacksmithing really set his path in the right direction. It was this specific art that motivated him to become a Master Smith, under the guidance of the highly awarded Tai Goo in 2016.
Defining his creations as a mix between usability and the traditional rusty look of old times, Jason surely lets his works express his character and creativeness.
While most “Mountain Men” cast members usually have certain enigmatic details about them, very few things take so much attention in the show as Jason Hawk’s face tattoos.
The meaning of these marks have been a mystery for long, leading some people to theorize that they have cultural implications.
As expected, Jason’s face markings have taken so many people’s attention, that it they’ve become a topic of discussion on fan forums. Although it’s suspected that the dark lines under his eyes are a Navajo tradition, there’s no proof of Jason’s connection to that culture, resulting in more speculation that whatever those markings are, they’re most likely not tattoos but scars.
Seeing that Jason hasn’t bothered to clear up any misconceptions about this, in addition to the fact there are several pics on the internet in which he isn’t sporting these lines, then it’s hard to definitely conclude what they are or mean.
As any guy who gives his best at everything, it’s normal to suppose Jason Hawk is a great family guy.
Though there’s no way of knowing everything about his previous partners, unless he’s forthcoming with information, but it’s known that his oldest son Kamui is the product of a relationship he had several years prior to meeting his now wife Mary Fricchione.
It’s not known when exactly Jason and Mary started dating, but judging by their Facebook posts from years ago, it seems their relationship dates back to at least 2008, when their first daughter River was born. What is known with certainty, is that the couple tied the knot in 2015.
Jason’s son Kamui, or Kai, as his father calls him, is actually learning blacksmithing skills from his father. As seen in a “Mountain Men” episode premiered in 2019, Kai openly showed his interest in following the family’s traditions, something his father appreciates dearly.
As it should be obvious, an ideal and experienced mountain man shouldn’t care about money.
The reason is that adopting such an out-of-the-norm lifestyle inherently implies that providing for themselves, building their own houses and living off the land are skills utterly necessary, leaving most modern commodities superfluous, but then with no expense.
Nonetheless, there’s nothing wrong with accepting a nice pay-check if it’s only for showing how it is to live in the most isolated mountains of the US.
However, while it’s rumored that Jason Hawk earned around $30,000 per “Mountain Men” episode, this number is most likely an exaggeration, especially considering the financial difficulties his family has recently been going through. Though his earnings from Outlaw Forge Works are unknown, it’s assumed that Jason’s estimated net worth is $400,000.
Is “Mountain Men” Real?
It’s evident that “Mountain Men” is certainly one of the less drama-filled reality shows out there.
However, this doesn’t make the series any less deserving of criticism when it comes to its authenticity.
Opinions are varied when it comes to determining if “Mountain Men” is a staged series, or if its cast members are actual survivalists. Situations such as Rich Lewis losing his dogs up in the mountains too many times, or Jason’s old Facebook pics which showing him living a seemingly comfortable life, are surely good reasons for mistrusting the show’s premise.
While it’s probable no one will ever openly say if everything we see on screen is real, Jason’s fellow cast member Tom Oar admitted back in 2013 that the post-production staff makes the series look more exciting than it actually was. In his words, he’s just ‘too boring’ in real life if compared to what “Mountain Men” made him look like, meaning the staff exaggerates his scenes for viewing sake.
Though this isn’t a conclusive answer to whether “Mountain Men” is completely real or not, at least Tom’s declarations will again make us think deeply of what reality TV is about.
Who Else Have Left The Show?
Besides Jason Hawk, there are many other “Mountain Men” cast members who have left the show in some way or another.
For starters, the veteran survivalist Marty Meierotto left back in the eighth season to spend more time with his daughter. In the sixth season, Rich Lewis abandoned the series, alleging that he was ‘too old’, a declaration which surely his fans didn’t agree with. Prior to it, Charlie Tucker left after season three, but never bothered to say why.
Though Eustace Conway is still part of the series’ cast, he has expressed his desire to retire from working in his Turtle Island Preserve as well, meaning that his presence in the show could be directly affected by this.
All in all, whatever happens to the show in the future, we surely remember the “Mountain Men” cast for their personalities, legacy and even for their questionable actions as well.