What Happened To Duck? Why He Left ‘Naked and Afraid XL’ Early

On Naked and Afraid XL All-Stars, survivalists are tasked with living in South Africa for 40 days and 40 nights without food, water or clothes. Essentially, the only things they have with them are their skills. By episode 3, there was one survivalist who would be ready to call it quits: Duck. 

Part of the reason he left the game was the way the extreme weather affected his psyche. There had been a drought before the cast got there, which was then followed by intense rains on day six of filming. “We were in a very desolate area,” executive producer David H. Story told Newsweek. “The drought in South Africa has been horrendous over the last few years… but those rains were incredibly cold and miserable."

Even though there is a ranger that watches over the crew and cast during the day to protect against possible animal attacks, it’s still a “very dangerous place,” Story said, especially at night. They are cautioned to make bomas (or enclosures) out of thorn bushes for protection. “They cast is alone… The zebra stampede that was shown on TV was real. That scared the heck out of those guys.”

There were multiple things that affected Duck while out in the wild, but one of the main things was that he was not allowed to hunt crocodiles. The drought had been so bad in South Africa, ao authorities told the Naked and Afraid XL All-Stars team they were not allowed to kills crocodiles. 

“This was devastating news because, in the area where Duck was, crocodiles were one of the biggest food sources, along with warthogs and other game animals. That didn’t cause [Duck’s] downward spiral, but it didn’t help,” Story said. “That’s what he’s good at and what he wanted to do there.”

Duck’s team had a particularly hard time because their food sources were harder to find and because they were more exposed to the elements in their location. “That played to his state of mind. The wind that would come to that camp was vicious. He’s a Louisiana guy so he does not like the cold,” Story said.

When Naked and Afraid XL All-Stars producers look for a location, they try to find an area that won’t go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so the inclement weather the survivalists experienced caught producers by surprise too. 

“It was on night six when it rained. It was in the high 40s, low 50s and very wet. That’s very cold when you’re naked. There was great hardware there’s not a lot of fire that can help you when you’re cold and it’s rainy,” he said. “So those conditions would wear on anybody.”

When Duck agreed to participate on Naked and Afraid XL All-Stars, he left behind an infant. Story mused Duck wanted to go home because felt guilty about abandoning his family, not that he wanted the comfort of home. “For Duck, I don’t think it was, ‘I would rather be in a warm bed,’ it was more of a guilt with not being with his family,” Story said.

That’s not to say it was an easy decision for Duck to leave his teammates. “What’s interesting about Duck, I’m not sure how much it comes across on TV, but he was such a devoted teammate. He talked about quitting before the groups merged, [but didn’t]. He had a sense of dignity and devotion and care for his team that he would not allow himself to do that.” 

DUCK "Naked and Afraid XL" star Duck went home on episode 3. Discovery/"Naked and Afraid XL"

Duck waited until after the teams came together, and then he called it quits. “We were surprised,” Story said. “We thought being with others guys would rejuvenate him but he felt as long as he delivered the rest of his team where they would be taken care of, that spelled the end of him.”

The cast was sad to see Duck leave, and so was the crew. “It hurt show wise to lose a guy like Duck because his view of the world is so unique and the way he makes analogies and all that is so interesting and funny. It cheered everyone up because he has such a deadpan sense of humor that it kept people going,” Story said. “It really hurt us to lose him.”

Story tried to get Duck to stay, but he couldn’t convince him. “It hurt us as a production and the team. That’s always the hardest part of the show when you lose good characters,” he said.

Now, Duck regrets going home early. “He wants to go back out there, but would much rather go to a warm place,” Story said. “I give the cast credit. There were days that I would show up on set and think OK they will all quit today and they persevered.”

Don’t miss the next episode of Naked and Afraid XL All-Stars Season 3 when it airs Sunday on Discovery at 10 p.m. ET.

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