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The Untold Truth Of Dustin Hurt From Gold Rush: Winter's Fortune

The "Gold Rush" franchise has become a cornerstone of the Discovery Channel's programming lineup. Stories of hard working, salt-of-the-earth, rough-and-tumble gold diggers scratched an itch that basic cable subscribers hadn't quite been able to reach up until 2010. Watching strangers point machines at the ground and hope that gold would come out became a pastime enjoyed by millions, spawning after shows, video games, and more spin offs than you can rush a gold at. It was like watching people play scratch-off tickets, but with the added thrill of diesel engines and the potential for life-altering injuries.

2021 sees the latest branch on the "Gold Rush" family tree budding up — "Gold Rush: Winter's Fortune" brings familiar subjects of the series dressing up nice and warm to try and mine during the off season, thanks to the 2020 pandemic's astronomical effect on the price of precious metals. Among these stalwart heroes is Dustin Hurt, an old favorite of the series with over a hundred episode credits across a handful of interconnected shows. Hurt looks to be a major player in "Gold Rush: Winter's Fortune," but what do we know about the guy?

Dustin Hurt: The early years

Dustin Hurt has maintained a nigh-impenetrable wall of mystery around his early life across his tenure on "Gold Rush," but a few details have managed to seep through the cracks.

Per his biography on the Discovery website, Hurt was born and raised in the great city of New Orleans, Louisiana. After high school, he began work building seawalls in the bayou, kicking off a career in construction that continues to this day. He estimates that he spent "eight or nine years" working for the construction company of his father, "Dakota" Fred Hurt.

Soon, Hurt the Younger was ready to explore his options and moved to sunny California, where he picked up a job as a wildland firefighter — a gig that he would describe in later interviews as "the best job a human being could ever have," thanks to the good exercise and constant excitement that it afforded him. "I took a lot of my construction work ethic and I put it into wildland firefighting in California, and I absolutely loved it," he told Nemo Power Tools in 2021.

His relationship with Fred is a rich vein of dramatic gold

As mentioned earlier, Dustin Hurt has been professionally involved with his father's business ventures since he was a teenager, working construction with Fred before taking off to fight fires in the Golden State. By his recollection, it never did go smoothly.

Dustin has never been shy about the struggles he's faced with his pops, who he's referred to as "Fred" since they started working together, owing to the inherent weirdness of saying "you got it, dad" at a job site. During their first year mining together in Alaska, Dustin remembered being brought on board "just to run a loader," but wound up being voluntold to take on more and more duties as the season progressed. He described working in the hole that he and Fred dug as "a death sentence" and lamented his inability to work cordially with his dad, stating that "he's hard to work with, and I find that when I'm working with him, I'm hard to work with, too."

Dustin isn't the only one who's butted heads with Dakota Fred over the years. Fred has always been vocal about times when his work as a television personality hasn't met his expectations, as a cursory glance at his Facebook page will prove.

Dustin's preferred method of gold extraction

In the pantheon of ways to yoink gold out of the ground, one stands head and shoulders above the rest in Dustin Hurt's opinion: Dredging.

Hurt was introduced to dredging while working with his father, and it wasn't long before he fell in love with this particular method of gold extraction. "I loved it," he's said of his first experience with the process. "It did well, it was simple, it was inexpensive, it was something I could afford."

Suction dredging involves the use of a vacuum tube to pull gravel from the bottom of a body of water. Dredgers in full scuba gear will dive to the floor of a body of water and try to suck the gold out of the dirt. Like any form of mining, it's dangerous work — Hurt describes white water rapids blocking the sun from reaching below a river's surface, or mud being kicked up into the water by the vacuum, leaving him in complete darkness. The risk is high, but so is the reward, and the experience of diving into a river to try and find a fortune sounds absolutely thrilling.