KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A show promoting youth hunting that has aired on local cable access for many years is scheduled to play on the Pursuit Channel, which is available on the national satellite networks Direct TV and Dish Network.
Kevin Hoyt, creator of "The Future of Hunting," said the show is set to make its Pursuit Channel debut on Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m. It will play Tuesdays and Fridays, with the Friday time being 10:30 a.m. The seven episodes currently filmed for it will run until the last Friday in December, he said.
The show's basic concept involves Hoyt filming hunting and fishing trips for children. He said he approaches guides and game preserves who then donate a hunt, which can be worth a few thousand dollars. A drawing for the hunt is held for members of the show's club. Hoyt said winners are picked within 15-hour drives of the hunting location, as he can not front the cost of travel. He said he has filmed hunts across the United States and one in Europe.
Began doing show in 1999
He said he began doing the show in 1999 when he heard from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife that hunting license sales had declined some 15 percent over a few years. Hoyt believes the decline in hunters has many causes, so he decided the best was to tackle it was to encourage those who do hunt to take a young person under their wing and get them engaged. Hoyt said license sales fund conservation efforts and the hunting community is heavily involved in wildlife protection, so a new generation of hunters and anglers is needed.
He credits Catamount Access Television (CAT-TV) for the show's existence. "They deserve all the credit for my free training," he said.
CAT-TV allows people in the community to use its equipment to film television projects. It offers training courses and a wide variety of assistance for people who wish to produce shows.
Hoyt said in 2011 he signed with Success Recording Studios and Production, which helped him polish "The Future of Hunting" and pitch it to large networks. One challenge was securing advertisers and coming up with funds for the time slot. Hoyt said outdoor channels have a smaller market than some other types, so rather than buy the rights to a show and sell ads, the cost falls to the show's creators. Hoyt said Cross Canyons Arms, the National Youth Hunting Association, Lehigh Fishing Company, and Wild Jaeger have agreed to sponsor the Future of Hunting.
"It was never about the money," said Hoyt, who works doing odd jobs and selling his mushroom artwork.
Larry Gauthier, a friend of Hoyt's, said his two children have been featured on The Future of Hunting and it seems to have made an impression on them. His oldest, Kaiden, began hunting when she was 9. She is 13 now, and her sister, Keana, 11, also enjoys it.
"When the camera comes out, so does their personality," Gauthier said.
The family is active in sports and outdoor activities. Gauthier said the girls are not pressured into hunting and fishing and it's on them to get up early in the morning if they want to go, and they usually do.
"They do enjoy it," he said. "I don't know if they'll ever be the type of people to take a week off to go hunting, but they are definitely part of it."
Hoyt said being the camera operator, he is rarely seen. He feels the show's appeal is that normal people are the stars of it.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.