RIPON – Carl Dunbar is no stranger to living the life of the outdoor sportsman.
And now the Manteca High grad is sharing his love for hunting and fishing with more than 200,000 viewers on the show that he produces with fellow Manteca High grad Jerry Walser and friend Brian Stevens on Comcast Sportsnet California with viewership in California, Nevada, and Oregon.
It’s a big step for three guys who love the outdoors and figured that they’d submit a tape one day to Comcast to see if they possibly make the cut – refining two other episodes before the brass pushed a contract their way.
The show is now ready to start filming a new season that will premier in April of 2010.
“We just wanted to come up with a show where we’d demonstrate different techniques depending on the lake that we were on or the terrain that we were hunting,” Dunbar said. “If we were up at Pardee we’d be going after the Kokanee and small mouth bass, while we’d be going after the stripers at Hogan. We want to share our experiences with people so that hopefully then can enjoy it as much as we can.”
Walser – who currently coaches the offensive line at Manteca High School – specializes in the bass fishing portion of the show, while Stevens trades in his rod and gun for a camera and editing equipment to put everything together for the viewers to enjoy.
It’s far from work for the trio that love every minute of doing what they do.
While spending time on the open water or watching the sunrise from a duck blind are both things that Dunbar loves about his outdoor lifestyle, it’s the end of the day that matters the most to him. He loves the preparation of the day’s take that the entire family can enjoy around the dinner table together in a traditional manner.
At least a portion of every show is dedicated to making the game not only edible for himself but for those who might not be into the standard gamey taste – replacing the fully cooked bird with pâté and sauce laced dishes that everybody can enjoy.
“When it comes to wild game and fish then it really comes down to how it’s cooked – the old school days of the goose in the oven are gone,” Dunbar said. “Now we have smoked goose pâté and things that we cook up with pasta.
“Getting back to traditional values of preparing what you catch with the whole family around the dinner table, conversing and enjoying the company of one another, is what we’re trying to promote.”
The show format, however, is only part of what the trio has to worry about when producing the 13 episodes that comprise an entire season.
In order for the show to get on the air, they had to find their own sponsors for commercial spots during an economic downtown and with one of the nation’s largest outdoor sporting goods store just on the other side of the freeway – puling business away from the small scale operations that had relied on their customer service to get buy.
Committing to ensure that the show airs on a weekly basis – usually on Sunday at 8 a.m. on Comcast channel 37, Channel 696 on DIRECTV, and channel 409 on Dish Network – were Fisherman’s Warehouse on Highway 120, Barnwood Arms in downtown Ripon, San Joaquin John Deere in Stockton, Ed’s Duck Calls in Stockton, and Trophy Sticks in Folsom.
The sponsorship funds have allowed the trio to travel throughout portions of Northern California. They’re hoping to expand their travels to include Nevada – where they have a large congregation of viewers – and points deeper into Oregon.
The big break for Carl and Jerry’s Hunting and Fishing Show, however, would come a major sponsor like a leading gun company dropped them an enormous budget and allowed them to take what was once a dream into a national program that features not professionals or guides but the everyman – the majority of those who participate in outdoor activities.
“That would just be the ultimate,” Dunbar said of his dream. “Being able to go wherever you want whenever you want and get paid to do so would be such an amazing thing. To even be in the position where that is a thought is amazing.”
For the upcoming Boys and Girls Club Telethon on Nov. 23 and 24 the show will be donating a guided kokanee fishing trip for two on Lake Pardee and a guided geese hunt for two.
Plans are also in the works for a show where recipients of the Purple Heart will be showcased either on the water or in the field, and another for wounded veterans that can’t walk.
“I just get goose bumps thinking about it,” Dunbar said of the giving back to the community. “It’s just such an overwhelming feeling.
“I still can’t believe that we’re getting the chance to showcase this on television.”
For more information about the show, contact Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.