Manitoulin deer hunting stories sought for outdoor television show

Warren Corbiere and Neil Debassige pose with Wide Nine, a coveted deer they had been tracking for four years.

M’CHIGEENG – Island outdoors aficionado and television host Neil Debassige is on the lookout for unique stories from individuals who have hunted deer on Manitoulin Island for a possible feature on the fourth season of his show ‘Fuel The Fire TV,’ which will premiere in 2020 on Sportsman Channel.

“We wanted to draw some attention to some of the quality of animals that are being harvested on the Island and give some context to some of those trophy animals,” said Mr. Debassige. “There’s much more to hunting than just the harvest. All of the animals have a really cool story that goes with them.”

Fuel The Fire TV is a Manitoulin-based outdoor adventure show that currently airs on Sportsman Channel. A regular segment on the show is called ‘Trophy Tales,’ in which wild food harvesters will discuss the back stories behind some of the more notable kills they have achieved. They also discuss topics such as taxidermy tips.

For a couple of deer episodes in the coming season, Mr. Debassige is launching a sub-component of ‘Trophy Tales’ called ‘Manitoulin Monster Bucks.’ In it, those who have brought home trophy animals (more than 150”) and had them mounted are welcome to send in a photo for consideration for the segment.

“It generates buzz around the hunt. People like to share their memories and get a chance of being on TV,” said Mr. Debassige. “We’ve got a lot of good taxidermists on the Island that can help people create memories that last a lifetime.”

Mr. Debassige said he was already thinking of people to contact and ask if they would have an interesting story to share, such as John Seabrook, who has harvested many large animals during the archery hunt and has many on display at Rainbow Ridge Golf Course.

“It just opens the conversation a little bit more because I think these deer all deserve a huge amount of respect and reference when we harvest them. I think highlighting some of these stories helps to promote that kind of thinking,” he said.

There are also conservation and deer management components in this discussion topic, such as ensuring one’s property can properly sustain deer during the off season. He said he wished to highlight initiatives such as Manitoulin Streams’ Deer Save program and ways hunters can send soil samples for nutrient testing such as through the Gore Bay AgroMart.

Mr. Debassige said he sat out this year’s rifle season because he had harvested a buck during bow season. However, his colleague Warren Corbiere managed to shoot “Wide Nine,” a massive buck his troupe has been tracking for four years. Stories like that, their capture of a coveted buck after years of attempts, are the sorts of unique experiences Mr. Debassige said he was seeking. 

Anyone with a trophy and a winning story to accompany it who wishes to be featured on the show is asked to contact Mr. Debassige through a direct message on one of the Fuel The Fire TV social media accounts, or by sending him an email at neil@FuelTheFireTV.ca.