Lessons from Life Below: Family Comes First

Life in the Arctic is harsh. With freezing temperatures and dangerous threats from predators, every day is a struggle to survive. However, for Chip and Agnes Hailstone, family is the key to their existence.

ArmedForWinter_09_LifeBelowZeroIII (1)Even with the rising pressures to gather enough food to last this family of eight all winter, hunting season is used as an opportunity for the family to get stronger as a unit. Last week on Life Below Zero, the Hailstones prepared for their annual caribou hunt.

However, this year the youngest girls will all be taking shots to bag their own kill. Chip and Agnes lead by example and teach their kids to learn from their mistakes and lean on each other’s strengths to get the most out of the hunt.

It’ll be a challenge–but a necessary one–as the kids get hands-on experience and get to learn their traditional values. For the Hailstones, it’s more than just surviving, it’s about enjoying the present and appreciating the past in order to be happy in the future.


Tell us! What inspires you about the way these folks live off-grid and on their own? What are your favorite family traditions? We’d love to hear from you. 

Check out this clip of the Hailstones in action:

Don’t miss new episodes of Life Below Zero, Thursdays at 9/8c and be sure to come back for next week’s Lesson from Life Below!


  1. Diane
    April 22, 2015, 6:11 pm

    I have a deep respect for you and your family. Your family is so positive and know that working together is what is needed to survive. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I wish I was a student of yours. Your relationship with the land is beautiful.

  2. Nicky Nichols
    April 22, 2015, 7:02 pm

    Chip your family is my favorite to watch it would be great to come hang out with y’all for a while . Nicky

  3. richard popps
    syracuse new york
    April 23, 2015, 4:23 am

    thats nice that the parents show kids native ways

  4. dawn sarver
    April 23, 2015, 6:30 am

    Think the way they are raising kids is awesome. Not only will they know the past, they are equipped to deal with the future, and are living in the now ! Great job !

  5. Susan Semonin Semonin
    norton, ohio
    April 23, 2015, 7:38 am

    You all are an inspiration to me. You live by what is important. Family, hard work, giving. Thank you for sharing your wonderful way of life with us.

  6. debbie
    Henderson, KY
    April 23, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I love your family values and the way you instill your values and traditions to your children. While most of the worlds societies are falling to disarray, your family becomes stronger. God bless you all. Will be watching from the Grern River in Kentucky.♡♡♡♡

  7. Jim B
    Apple Creek, OH
    April 23, 2015, 3:40 pm

    You have a good family.

  8. Scherazada
    United States
    April 24, 2015, 12:12 am

    I enjoy your life with your kids

  9. Sam S
    April 24, 2015, 12:18 am

    I want to congratulate you on your kids attitude. I hope none of what we see on TV is fake. I just want to give you some advice concerning your girls. Begin teaching them that old saying ‘If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck’ you can be sure its a duck…
    Prepare them so they know what to look for in boyfriends and potential husbands. They need to only look for the ones that have their act together and living a good life and productive life even before your girls meet them. No alcohol no drugs, respectful of their elders, proving daily they are a good provider not only for their immediate family but for the community. Tell the girls not to fall for just any guys that give them some attention they have never had before. Don’t even entertain the possibility of nurturing any relationship or spending time with them.
    Keep them all safe!


  10. Travis Martin
    Loris, South Carolina USA
    April 26, 2015, 4:15 pm

    Really enjoy watching the skills of the Hailstones. My family lives on 50 acre farm with a lot of wild life that we choose to process ourselves instead of buying meat in stores. We hunt to eat and not for sport. We also have approximately 60 chickens. My granddaughters have an egg business that provides money for their futures. Hopefully they will do as your children and grow up appreciating the land. Thanks for letting us watch your family!!!

  11. betts
    Molokai, Hawaii
    May 19, 2015, 12:16 am

    Love the show, we too barter, today we received the halibut from Alaska that we had bartered 2 ladders for here on island, then we got the spin cycle in the washer repaired and paid for the repair with some of the fish! We love your way of life… Come visit! Aloha…..

  12. Ben Connor
    Bend, Oregon
    December 15, 2015, 6:03 pm

    Kill kill kill. That’s all the hailstones do. Not leaving any goose or seagull eggs behind, shooting helpless swimming caribo in the river. No sense of preserving some animals for the future and not teaching their children about only taking what they need so future generations have the same opportunity. I have never heard them teach their kids about the long term, just about killing everything they possibly can. Hope that will change

  13. jane cloutier
    sun city center fla
    June 16, 2016, 9:49 pm

    really admire your family and what you are about. Passing on life lessons .

  14. Dennis Wilde
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    July 7, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Thank you so very much for opening up your lives for others to see, enjoy, learn. I really enjoy watching how this family work hard together to survive in extreme conditions. Solid positive family values and tradition being passed on to the children, way to go. Be safe all. We are looking forward to many more episodes…