A group of hunting enthusiasts from Central Alberta are shooting their shoots with an eye to bringing them to TVs and computers across Canada, and beyond.
Mitch Lilley, Graham Mihaychuk and Adam Scott are the founders of DarkTimber Outdoors. Working with hunting professionals Ryan Monk and Randy Monk, they’ve recorded eight hunts, with these involving black bears, pheasants, whitetail and mule deer, wild hogs, wolves and coyotes.
Some or all of these hunts will be broadcast this year on The Search, a hunting show that airs weekly on specialty channel Wild TV. Each episode of The Search will feature two or three Canadian hunts, with viewers able to vote online for their favourites.
At the end of the season, the winning hunters will receive airtime for more shows — and the opportunity to stake out a place in the outdoors entertainment industry.
“The Search is the only thing in Canada like this right now,” said Lilley, who’s optimistic DarkTimber Outdoors’ entries will impress viewers and the judges.
“There are a lot of good ones; the wolf footage is awesome.”
Regardless of their success on The Search, Lilley and his counterparts plan to broadcast more hunts in 2015.
“We’ve signed contracts, so we air in the second quarter on Wild TV as DarkTimber Outdoors.”
Derrick Wiebe, Dallas Wiebe, Blaze Miner and Myles Thorpe have joined the DarkTimber Outdoors crew to help with the next series of hunts, said Lilley. All nine members are from Red Deer or Sylvan Lake, he added, with several working professionally in the hunting industry.
“Some of these guys are guides from the Yukon and Northern B.C. that we’ve brought on, so we’ll be expanding more to Western Canada for the DarkTimber show.”
Lilley, who has experience shooting freestyle motocross and off-road events, recorded last year’s hunts and will do the same this year. Nature Productions Canada looks after production work.
DarkTimber Outdoors already has some sponsors, and is seeking more. It will also generate revenue through product placement and advertising, and even from the sale of DVDs and branded clothing, said Lilley.
“We’re just going to attack the hunting networks with the show.”
New episodes of The Search, which is now in its second season, will appear starting March 31. Lilley and his hunting counterparts don’t know when DarkTimber Outdoors’ submissions will air, but they urge Central Albertans to watch and register their support online through Wild TV or on DarkTimber Outdoors’s Facebook page.