Just Asking – A conversation with reality TV star Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the star power of Duane “Dog” Chapman.
His A&E reality series “Dog The Bounty Hunter” has turned him into a star, much to his surprise.
But it has not been easy getting to this point. Last year, his son Tucker sold a tape to the National Enquirer of Chapman using racist language in a phone call. Chapman quickly apologized for his comments, calling them inappropriate but also claiming they were taken out of context. A&E suspended the reality show last November, but announced in February that new episodes will air on the cable channel soon.
Today and Saturday at Mooseheart’s Child City and Home, Chapman will speak about his triumphs and challenges and how his faith has pulled him through. Also appearing will be his wife Beth and children Leland and Lyssa.
Music acts Echoing Angels, Inhabited, Will Duvall, Emery and Flatfoot 56 also will perform. A portion of the proceeds will go to Mooseheart.
In a recent interview, Chapman spoke about his bounty hunter exploits and what fans should expect from his show’s new season.
– Eric Schelkopf
Why did you want to come to Mooseheart?
The kids of course at Mooseheart do not have any parents. So they don’t have someone like I had to go to, like my mother. Now that I am an orphan, because my mommy and daddy are dead, it hurts very much, like when you do something really good and you want to tell Mom and Dad. I cannot imagine how it would have been without my mother. I would never be the guy I am, I would never love like I do. I just want to see the kids and give them words of encouragement.
I suppose there will be a few kids in the audience thinking that it would be cool to be a bounty hunter. What advice would you give them?
It’s a good living. In my life, it’s been terrific. It’s a good job to pick. I would encourage it.
So how did you decide to become a bounty hunter?
Dog Chapman was made to be a bounty hunter. From my toes to the top of my hair, everything about me, my breathing, my eating, everything about me pumps and beats that blood of a bounty hunter. God has called me to be a bounty hunter. I’m in it to free a lot of people. I’m going to free them from drugs, I’m going to free them from captivity, I’m going to free them from desperation. I’m going to free them from death.
Have some of the people you’ve captured thanked you for what you’ve done for them?
Probably 47 percent of the people we’ve captured, which is well over 6,000, have changed their lives. It’s not because of Dog. It’s that when you meet Dog, you are at the end of your plank. You are at the end of your rope. That’s it. It’s all over. I get their attention a lot more than a lot of other people have.
When is the new season going to begin? What should people expect in the new season?
I don’t know. That’s all A&E. We just work as the camera rolls. I know that it’s coming this year, though. I have quit cursing. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done. There’s some personal challenges in that. It’s actually hard to do.
How is it like being able to work with your family on the show?
I’ve been a dad since I was 15 years old, so I think it’s fantastic. I know where they are all the time. I’m surrounded by people who love me. I had a large family so I could be around a large family. I’m living the life of Riley. I love it. It’s fantastic. I don’t have to say, “Beth, did you see that? Did you see how I got that guy?” Because she’s like, “You got him, big daddy. You did it.”
Did you ever think your show would have this kind of impact?
I wanted to show America that everybody isn’t damned for hell, that people can make mistakes, they can rebound, they can come back. And then the show blew up into what it is today. I didn’t know what this word celebrity meant. I had no idea that every word you said, every thought you thought, everything you did would be analyzed, re-analyzed and dissected. I am now learning that.
How is your relationship with your son Tucker these days?
Tucker is in jail right now. We’ve spoken a couple of times. Of course, forever in a day, I love him. That’s about all that we’ve had time to say, that we love each other.
– Eric Schelkopf