Those familiar with the goings-on of Discovery Channel’s docureality TV series entitled “Bering Sea Gold” during Scott Meisterheim’s stint, are well-aware that kindness wasn’t exactly his standout feature. The star frequently found himself embroiled in disputes with fellow cast members and the crew of his own ship called Wild Ranger, making a significant contribution to the tension.
Few also know that Scott’s issues with those in his midst also extended off-camera, proving invalid the theory that he might’ve just been doing it all for the extra screen minutes, as many celebrities of the series’ genre are recognized by. It was no secret, though it took time surfacing, that various altercations with the show’s staff took place throughout the entirety of the episode creation process.
Discovery Channel’s producers eventually grew rather weary of constantly having to keep the peace on set, so terminating Meisterheim’s contract and leaving him out of 2015’s fourth season. He did appear on the screen once more that year, but in an entirely different title, which was effectively the end of the captain’s presence in the entertainment industry.
No one would’ve spoken another word about him in 2016 and subsequent years, at least not without a very good reason. The negativity seemed to follow Scott everywhere and pervade his everyday interactions with most people, ultimately leading him into the grim present he had been carving out over decades of emotionally immature behavior.
In fact, one would be hard pressed to find someone criminally prosecuted with more frequency than Meisterheim had been, but the echo of most of his misdeeds has remained snuffed out by the air of irrelevance that has remained around him, ever since his fall from grace following the third season of “Bering Sea Gold.”
Scott Meisterheim’s not-so-enviable history
Scott Kevin Meisterheim was born under the sign of Cancer, in Kalamazoo, Michigan USA, on 8 July 1968. It’s known that he took an interest in handiwork at an early age, eventually becoming a part-time carpenter and construction worker in Alaska. Meeting the right people throughout his jobs allowed for an opportunity to enter the oil industry, which he readily accepted.
After digging for black gold over a number of years, Scott graduated to its metallic counterpart. He became a successful miner and eventually found himself dredging for gold across the many rich coasts of North America. Meisterheim’s accumulated experience eventually shone through when Discovery Channel’s producers came up with a series dedicated to offshore dredging.
His name was one of the first on the list, allowing a comfortable $160,000 yearly salary by the contract, which was signed for five seasons. Unfortunately for the production crew, few people at the time understood just how deep Scott’s issues really ran, and his occasional rendezvous with the bottle was overlooked as part of a lifestyle.
The captain’s drinking problem was, in fact, much more severe, usually involving bouts of violence and other intense emotional states, during which there seemed to be no concern whatsoever for the well-being of those around him. It wasn’t a negligibly rare occurrence either, as the star notably spent most of his free time in bars and pubs, more often than not engaging in heated discourse.
— nick iverson (@masterzulus) December 11, 2015
A great example of Meisterheim’s reprehensible behavior towards the production crew was captured in the second season of the series, by a member of the production team who had unwavering determination to show the fans who Scott really was, both on and off the ship. The footage came at great cost too, as the camera operator in charge of filming Scott at the garage was violently shoved away by his subject.
Discovery’s resulting upload entitled “Scott Meisterheim After Hours | Bering Sea Gold” showcased Scott bursting out of the pub in an alcohol-fueled rage, smashing his feet and fists into somebody’s door in the middle of the street. He was characterized by the crew as ‘an angry drunk,’ and they had no words of praise for the man whatsoever, displaying obvious signs of stress and disapproval from having to endure his antics.
The captain’s propensity for physical altercations while under the influence became apparent to everyone as time dragged on, but a ruined image wasn’t the only consequence he ended up suffering. Scott’s romantic and social lives were severely impacted by his lack of responsibility and emotional outbursts, leading to a life very few would envy, in spite of his significant earnings from being part of the show.
Failing to take care of his daughter
Legal troubles came knocking in 2015, when a judge in his hometown issued an arrest warrant in his name. Surprisingly, the reason behind this legal entanglement wasn’t as shocking as it might seem, as observant viewers may recall Scott’s candid mentions of his past, particularly the sacrifices he made, leaving his children behind while searching for gold in the unforgiving seas.
That year it came to light that Meisterheim owed over $20,000 in child support for his teenage daughter, with records showing that he had ceased payments the previous year, following the termination of his contract for “Bering Sea Gold.” He had maintained up-to-date payments prior to that, but the sudden loss of income evidently took its toll, rendering him unable to meet the $900 monthly commitment outlined in the child support agreement.
As for the resolution of his legal woes, it appears that things may have eventually improved through Scott’s uncommonly seen willingness to deal with his problems. He initially evaded arrest by staying away from Michigan, and managing to pay off $10,000 of his arrears, with the funds borrowed from a friend he had been staying with in Arizona.
While the arrest warrant remained active, the judge signaled a willingness to reconsider his case if he fulfilled the remainder of his payments promptly. Scott was also facing charges of desertion and abandonment, which just added salt to the wound, causing him to insist to Michigan Live that such allegations are far from the truth, as he has a great relationship with both his ex-wife and child.
With the crew of Bering Sea Gold Season 5
This wasn’t Scott’s first encounter with child support payment issues, however, as following his 2006 divorce from the same woman pursuing him in 2015, he had fallen behind on payments, amassing a $10,000 debt by 2011. He caught up with the duties after joining “Bering Sea Gold,” maintaining timely payments for the subsequent two years before facing financial difficulties yet again.
He pledged to Michigan Live that he would return to Alaska to secure employment in the sea dredging industry in early 2016, aiming to fulfill his remaining child support payments. It’s unknown exactly at what time and using which methods the star managed to cobble the funds together, but it seems that the issue was ultimately resolved as the court case was dismissed in 2018.
Charged, acquitted, sentenced – sexual and domestic assault
Scott was arraigned on 27 December 2017 by the Kalamazoo County district court yet again, this time facing charges that included three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion, as well as three counts related to domestic violence.
The woman he subsequently married, and to the media’s knowledge has no children with, accused him of committing various despicable acts involving sexual and physical violence. While the details on the case have never been officially published, a Reddit user by the name of Bluewind916 alleged being part of the jury.
He stated that Scott is on trial for crimes thought to have been committed in a drunken state, whereby he took advantage of the intoxicated state of his partner, and indulged in various unsavory acts. The user made note of the fact that the “Bering Sea Gold” star had erectile dysfunction, most likely brought on by years of uncontrolled drinking, due to which he resorted to using various objects with which to assault the woman.
His way out of custody was blocked by a bail set at the substantial sum of $50,000 – a financial burden he had no means of alleviating at the time. The unidentified victim filed for divorce on 5 January 2018, having been permanently disillusioned with the man she thought would be her protector.
The Reddit user’s comment can be dated back to 11 August 2022, which rather complicates the timeline of the court process that is supposed to have started more than three years prior. The reason for this massive delay was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the fact that Meisterheim kept changing his legal representative throughout the trial.
He had spent the first 228 days of the ordeal behind bars, due to his inability to produce $50,000 for bail, after which the judge found it sensible that the defendant continue his legal battle from the outside, and lowered his bond to $5,000. Scott supposedly took that time to get some semblance of order back into his life, but the details on his actions out of jail remain inaccessible due to his general media irrelevancy.
The sentencing process was not carried out during the trial that the Redditor had been involved in, and their verdict only established Scott’s culpability for domestic assault due to the presence of reasonable doubt regarding the other allegations. The offense for which he was convicted turned out to be a misdemeanor, which carries a much lighter sentence, but the judge told the jurors after the fact that the defendant was perhaps looking at additional time due to previous convictions.
One particularly memorable aspect of the entire trial occurred when his defense attorney repeatedly referred to him as ‘an a**hole.’ Nonetheless, as the representative articulated, incarceration cannot be imposed solely on account of someone’s disagreeable character. The commenting juror said they personally wished for Scott’s full conviction, but even then weren’t sure of his guilt regarding every single charge.
Meisterheim was thus exonerated on one charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and three in the third degree, which his defense team regarded as an win, and the defendant seems to have been elated as well. The defense attorney told Michigan Live that his client felt ecstatic, as though justice had been served, but the battered woman didn’t share his sentiments.
He was sentenced to 18 months on probation for the misdemeanor of aggravated domestic assault on 3 October 2022, which some members of the public believe is too short a time for someone with Scott’s past. The judge took into account the 228 days Scott spent awaiting trial, and subtracted them from the total time imposed, allowing his penalization to expire by 3 April 2024.
Poaching without a tinge of shame
Meisterheim was arraigned once again in the 8th District Court of Kalamazoo County over ten charges related to illegal deer hunting, all of which were fervently pursued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
These charges included a spectrum of transgressions such as harvesting white-tailed deer while outside of the legally designated hunting hours (a single count), engaging in deer hunting sans a valid license (two counts), misappropriating the deer hunting licenses of others (two counts), two counts of exceeding the allowable number of antlered white-tailed deer, and three counts of possession and transportation of untagged antlered white-tailed deer.
The DNR additionally sought to augment the list with charges related to illegal bait, the failure to promptly validate or attach kill tags, and the misuse of another person’s hunting license, though it’s unknown whether that will bear any fruit.
Chief Dave Shaw from the DNR Law Enforcement Division categorized Meisterheim as a poacher with a distinct lack of reverence for both the natural resource and the ethical standards guiding fair hunting practices. Shaw emphasized that such violations not only rob law-abiding individuals of their rightful access to and enjoyment of a shared natural treasure, but also stain the sanctity of the sport itself.
The full inquiry into Meisterheim’s activities traces back to February 2022, prompted by tips relayed to the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline. Conservation officer James Nason, responsible for patrolling Kalamazoo County, embarked on a diligent quest to corroborate these reports. He meticulously interviewed a slew of witnesses, each offering insights into Meisterheim’s illicit hunting endeavors, which unfolded in the latter months of 2021.
It was alleged that Scott had engaged in the unlawful harvest of at least 11 deer, spanning from 1 October to 24 December 2021. Astonishingly, Meisterheim erroneously believed that he had reached the maximum allowable limit during the inaugural week of archery season, even though he slew three on the very first day of the hunting season. The fate of two of these animals was particularly disheartening, as they deteriorated to the point of spoilage within a mere three days, rendering them unsuitable for processing.
Nason subsequently conducted an interview with Meisterheim, who was then confined to jail on charges related to domestic abuse. He made a frank and shocking admission during the exchange, acknowledging his fervor for hunting deer no matter the consequences, and affirming that he would kill even more if he could.
It was also later revealed that Meisterheim had been hunting without a valid license, disregarding the stipulated hunting hours, and resorting to the use of illicit bait. Additionally, he’d acquired the deer tags of other individuals to obscure the origins of his illegally harvested deer, and that in some instances he even failed to tag them at all.
Meisterheim conceded in rather straightforward terms that he didn’t align with the ethical standards typically associated with hunting, unapologetically admitting to tagging other people’s deer, and blaming it all on his inability to control the urge for venison.
His excuse for killing as many as he did was that oftentimes the animals would stumble upon his hunting grounds with grievous wounds, to which they would eventually succumb. As a result, he would simply harvest the carcass and not commit the actual killing. However, if that were the case, he wouldn’t also have admitted to trespassing in both Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. This legal process looks to be ongoing in October 2023, as there is no current news relating to its outcome, even though the jury trial was set to take place eight months prior.
What does he do now?
Details are scarce regarding Scott’s endeavors near the end of 2023, considering the fact that his social media profiles had gone silent as far back as 2017. It’s also unknown whether he ever had his eureka moment in the quest for treasure, as it’s unlikely that he continued dredging or mining in Alaska. That said, he does require funds to stay afloat, and there will be various fees to cover throughout the renewed legal trouble related to poaching. It remains to be seen whether Scott’s temper ever improves, and he somehow manages to find a way back into the limelight, although that seems extremely unlikely.