It should come as no surprise to “Ax Men” fans that Shelby Stanga’s new spin-off series opens with a warning from the “Swamp Man” himself.
“Do not try any of the harebrained things I do. Don’t ever do it!,” the sinker cypress logger from Bedico admonishes viewers.
Stanga hasn’t given audiences a dull moment during his past four seasons on the History reality series, which also follows logging crews in northwestern Oregon, Washington and Montana.
Making his boat go airborne, biting the head off a snake, shooting bullets through his houseboat, Stanga is definitely the most colorful and unpredictable of the ax men. Not fond of shoes, shirts with sleeves, or riding in a vehicle, he’s lived and continues to live a simple life alongside the Tangipahoa River east of Ponchatoula. He’s seen walking down the center line of Pine Street, Ponchatoula’s main drag, in the first episode, airing Tuesday.
“If I can’t get there by jet boat or my forklift, I don’t need to go there,” the sun-weathered, expletive-spouting Stanga says.
The new series takes Stanga outside his comfort zone, indirectly thanks to 2012’s Hurricane Isaac. Accompanying floodwaters ruin Stanga’s houseboat and he’s forced to look for a new boat to live on. He enlists area boat broker Martha Pud’n Waller, puts ever-present big dog Willie in the rear of Waller’s BMW, and they set out in search of Stanga’s next home sweet home.
“I never go anywhere without Willie,” he says.
Score one for Waller, getting Stanga in a car.
After tours of houseboats in the area turn up nothing to Stanga’s liking, Waller thinks she has the perfect boat for him, only it’s in St. Louis. A first-ever plane trip for Stanga. “Oh, no,” as he might yell, or, just maybe.
The “Swamp Man” has been counting down the days to the series premiere for two months on his Facebook page.
Of course, Stanga doesn’t actually do his Facebook page, a friend does it for him. Stanga would rather be out fishing, hunting or pulling his next huge cypress log from the bottom of the Tangipahoa.
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