Moose season is finally here and open for all of us hunters to take aim at. For some of us this may be the only moose season we will ever see. Of course I am talking about the annual Golden Moose awards on The Outdoor Channel (TOC)
August is typically the month where many of us die hard hunters are out scouting and looking for anything at all to help pass the next few weeks until opening day rolls around. August is also the month where the Outdoor Channel opens up it annual voting for your favorite shows. By casting your vote your not only telling TOC what are your favorites, you also have a chance to win some great prizes.
This year my report may hold a few surprises from last years top five picks. We will have to wait and watch and see if my predications come true, they did last year!
Ok, here we go, since this is becoming old hat now and there are those of you that enjoy reading this annual article I will let the usual declaimers fly right out the window. I like what I like, and I like it for various reasons. My guidelines for picking shows are simply and pretty much remain the same year after year. I am looking for educating programs that are wrapped up in a not so neat little package that is both entertaining and fun. Simple family values and shows that promote women and children in our sport are to my liking. I have zero tolerance for a couple of shows that TOC slipped into the lineup earlier in the year, such shows as “Crossing Country” which not only had me up in arms but apparently a large number of viewers. At the time of this writing this show was not the line up.
My top pick for last year was Archer’s Choice, and they are holding on by a slim margin again this year. Archer’s Choice has proved that they are indeed fan favorites by winning last year’s Golden Moose awards. Ralph and Vicki started doing this show several years ago and created a loyal fan base and created what is quickly becoming the “role model” for other shows to follow, perhaps that is why they have some competition on their heals. Other shows are starting to see what a successful template looks like and are building new shows from the pattern that this Illinois couple set. Archer’s Choice was one of the first to promote the family side of the sport, choosing to take the “family approach” and adding in a mixture of humor plus a excellent hunt after excellent hunt, the Cianciarulo’s have shown the media giants what the viewers are wanting, keeping them at the very top of the list.
Move over Michael and make room for the Drury brothers, and their Wildlife Obsession series. Terry and Mark do a tremendous job of transporting us directly into the tree with them. Whether they are coming to full draw on the famous “skyscraper” buck or showing us what to do with food plots or chasing gobblers the boys from Missouri offer show after show packed with action. Watching these two brothers is a treat for the viewer, but what gives them a major jolt to the top of my list is the fact that they offer hunt after exciting hunt for whitetail and turkey mostly, which is what the majority of us hunters hunt. Most of us hunters are not able to travel around the world chasing after world class sheep in mountain ranges of the Middle East or travel to some remote village in Africa to hunt for crocodiles, most of us hunters spend our entire hunting career parked in a tree not too far from home. The Drury’s knew that and have created programming that caters to us hunters.
Just like last year North American Whitetail TV is in my top five lineup. One reason, the cast! Even though there have been a few changes since last year, the cast is pretty much the same and the charismatic dynamics of this group is pure fun for me to watch. Mention Stan Potts name to me and you automatically see a grin come across my face. Add to the line up Greg Miller, Gordon Whittington, and Dr. Kroll and you have some serious whitetail firepower. If you add up all of their years of experience together to come up with a number of years, I would betcha that there is not one other show on TOC that could come close to competing. The Big Buck Profile, or the Doctor Deer segments followed by weekly Muzzy moments make this show a must see for me.
My number four pick goes to a sleeper show, the Wild Outdoors with Jay and Tammy Gregory. The Gregory’s have been slowly building a loyal following and slowly and methodically changing and growing bigger and better every season. From their Double Bull blinds the Gregory’s bring us hunt after exciting hunt. With an emphasis on family they show whitetail, turkeys and a few black bear hunts the Wild Outdoors has become one of my must see TV programs.
Finally rounding out my top five pick is a show that I love…but who in the country does not love Realtree Roadtrips? The reason, Michael Waddell plain and simple is the one reason this show is such a tremendous hit. This young star worked his way up the ranks to earn himself a show of his own and frankly he has done a tremendous job. In my opinion our industry needed some new faces and several years ago Michael burst on to the scene and helped capture a new generation of hunters. This show offers pure fun and entertainment and gets better and better each year.
With the long list of shows on TOC and many of these shows I have still yet to catch I must keep a special Honorable Mention list for those shows that are doing a great job and deserve to be acknowledged. Shows that I feel are worth watching and shows that will no doubt continue to grow and develop each and every season. The Choice is a spin off of the fan favorite Archer’s Choice. Focusing on various legal weapons and not just on archery the Cianciarulos just might have another hit on their hands. I asked Vicki the reason why they decided to do another show and here is what she had to say. “We started The Choice TV Show because we are tired of all of the fighting amongst hunters. We have recurve hunters fighting with compound hunters, flint lock muzzleloader hunters fighting with in-lines, bait hunters fighting with non-bait hunters, this list goes on and on. Bowhunting is our passion, but we all need to be open to all types of hunting styles. It shouldn’t matter with what weapon you hunt with, which game you hunt for or the hunting method you use, as long as it is legal in your state, province or country, just get out there and hunt!! We want to make sure that the number of hunter’s doesn’t continue to decline.”
Cabela’s Memories in the Field is also on the honorable mention list. Most of us hunters only dream of having our own hunting show, Cabela’s recognized that not everyone can afford to have expensive camera equipment or professional crews to head into the field with, so this show was born. Hosted by professional hunter Dave Watson, I enjoy watching each week as the average Joe takes a camera in the field to capture his once in a lifetime memories. Finally, Bass Pro Shops Next Generation…the title says it all!
The Outdoor Channel has made a lot of changes to the programming from last year. Such fine programs as Adventure Bound Outdoors and others have been dropped to make room for new shows. This disappoints me when wholesome family shows are being replaced with shows such as “Crossing Country.” TOC needs to hear the voice of its viewers year round not just during the Golden Moose voting time. TOC wants to hear from you, they want to know what you like to view and shows that you disapprove of as well. So log on to www.TheOutdoorChannel.com today and cast your vote for this year’s Golden Moose awards. Until next year, may you all find safety and success in the field this year.