To some hunters, owning an ATV is a luxury. To others, it’s a necessity. For Shane Ellison, host and producer of the Sportsman Channel’s Livin’ the Hunt, it’s definitely a necessity. Without his Can-Am® ATV, hunting nearly 20 weekends a year for 400-lb bear would be a herculean task. We talked with Shane about Livin’ the Hunt and the role Can-Am ATVs play in the production of the show.
Livin’ the Hunt airs on the Sportsman Channel on Sundays at 7:30 p.m., with replays Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Fridays at 6:00 a.m. (all times EST).
Can-Am: When did your love of hunting begin?
Shane Ellison, Livin’ the Hunt: My love for hunting started at an early age when I would go to the northern lower Peninsula of Michigan with my family each year during Michigan’s annual rifle season. About the age of 10, I started taking up archery and have been hooked ever since.
Can-Am: Where are some of your favorite places to hunt? What’s your favorite game?
SE: My favorite places to hunt would be northern Canada. The amount and size of game up there is just incredible. My favorite game is the whitetail deer. There’s just something about trying to outsmart a mature whitetail buck.
Can-Am: What are some of your favorite memories from your life as a hunter?
SE: Some of my favorite memories from my life as a hunter would have to be when I was with my son Trevor when he harvested his first deer with his bow, which was a 6-point when he was 12. Also being with him later that same year when he shot his first big buck in northern Saskatchewan. Watching that unfold in front of you as a father is something I will never forget.
Can-Am: What Can-Am ATVs or Side-by-Sides does your show currently use?
Can-Am: How important is an ATV or SxS to someone who hunts on a regular basis?
SE: For someone who hunts on a regular basis, they are invaluable. Most individuals who don’t use an ATV or SxS for hunting underestimate the usefulness they bring to the field. We haul a lot of gear in and out of the field. Whether it’s a camera or hunting equipment, without the use of an ATV or SxS, our job would take much longer and be much harder to transport. The other element that most people underestimate is the time saved in getting from place to place and hauling game out.
Can-Am: Does an ATV or SxS allow you to do things on the show that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do?
SE: Absolutely! We always have a cameraman with us no matter where we go or hunt, so to be able to move around two individuals along with hunting and camera equipment would be almost unthinkable in many parts of this country where we hunt.
Can-Am: Why did you choose Can-Am? Have you noticed any advantages over other brands you’ve ridden?
SE: We chose Can-Am because of its reputation for quality. When we are on the road from August to the end of December, traveling more than 30,000 miles a year with our ATV and SxS in tow, we cannot afford to have our equipment breaking down. In addition, the hauling capacity and torque we need from our ATV and SxS are such that Can-Am is the only choice for us and our team.
Can-Am: Filming a TV show while hunting has to be a challenge. How has it altered the way you hunt?
SE: Most people think of filming a hunting show as a dream job. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do, but it takes a lot of time and long hours on the road. The one aspect of filming a show that really alters the way I hunt is that we must always remember that what we are doing is production – not just hunting. So there are a lot of animals I could have shot or would have shot, but I had to pass because of the cameraman was not on the animal or the lighting was low, and the quality wasn’t going to be there. The one thing that most hunters enjoy about the hunt is the time alone in the woods. I haven’t hunted by myself, without a cameraman over my shoulder, for over four years now. I wouldn’t want to shoot anything and not have it on film for TV. That’s the price you pay for hunting for a television show.
Can-Am: What’s the typical filming process for an episode of “Livin’ the Hunt?”
SE: The typical filming of an episode starts with the scheduling of all our yearly hunts for everyone and getting Livin’ the Hunt members drawn for the free hunts. From there, we begin filming each hunt as soon as we start packing to leave either from home or when we are leaving one location to go to another. We try to film and capture the hunt as it unfolds from beginning to end as much as possible. From there, we film everything from getting ready each day to the trip to the stand to sitting there and actually hunting. Once the hunt is completed and the season is done, we sit back and analyze each hunt and make the decision of which hunts will make TV and which ones will not. We’ll know this most times once the hunt is just about complete, but won’t make the final decision until after the season. We take this decision very seriously, because on average we will film between 10-13 hours of footage for a 30-minute show on every hunt.
Can-Am: What’s the most impressive trophy you’ve tagged while filming an episode?
SE: For me, the most impressive animal I tagged while filming would have to be a 400-lb spring bear in Canada with my bow at 13 yards last year. Not only was this bear huge, but it was a giant chocolate color phase. It was exhilarating to be that close to an animal of that caliber with a bow. On top of that, to capture that all on film was just as amazing as harvesting the bear.