It all started in the fall of 2019 when Mike Friesen and his brother-in-law Travis Johannesson went on a mountain goat and wild sheep hunting trip in northern B.C. They decided to film the trip on their phones and put the video on the internet, thinking it might appeal to local hunters in the area.
Little did Friesen know it would lead to him starring in his own TV show alongside friend Jeremy Braun just a year later. The first season of Pursue the Hunt show will air on Sportsman Channel Canada, with the first episode expected to air the last week of December.
“We tried to capture aspects of the entire process of the hunt. It’s called Pursue the Hunt because hunting is about so much more than killing. There is a lot of prep time and thought that goes into planning a hunt, and I wanted to show that,” Friesen said.
The original video, which can be seen on Friesen’s Youtube channel, quickly amassed more than a thousand views online, leading to an initial conversation with the people at Sportsman Channel Canada. With the amount of sponsors and work needed to produce a successful TV show, Friesen decided to forgo that route and focus on showing homemade hunting videos on his channel.
Sportsman Channel called Friesen again late in the summer of this year hoping to air. When a local video production company came on board as sponsor and production partner, Friesen realized they would be able to make a TV show a reality.
“A lot of local sponsors came through to make this happen, and I thought we might as well strike while the iron is hot and we have this opportunity,” Friesen said.
Friesen didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the season or to write a typical season arc as it was already late in the summer, but he got to work right away.
Filming started Aug. 23, opening day of the moose season, and finishes at the end of the month. While most of the season was filmed in northern B.C., the show also captured a waterfowl and upland game bird hunting trip to Southern Saskatchewan.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to prep, so I thought I would use my knowledge of the area to make episodes locally and still deliver quality content,” Friesen said.
Friesen said he and Braun had a cameraman with them on the trip, and they filmed much of it themselves. Friesen does the story design and the rough cut of the episodes before sending it to the production company for the finishing touches.
Friesen and Braun don’t know where this journey will take them, but a second season is already being planned. Friesen is a local small business owner, and is fortunate to have the flexibility needed to work on the show build it into more than just a hobby.
“I’m an entrepreneurial kind of guy, and I love to be challenged. I’m also impatient. Hunting requires an obscene amount of patience, but has been a way to provide for my family and put food on the table,” Friesen said. “This is a way for me to turn my passion into a challenge. I’m not trying to convert non-hunters to the sport, but to showcase wildlife conservation and ethical practices, and show what hunting actually is.”
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.