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Wiltz: A dream of an outdoor TV show

Today, I am going to drift away from the real world and speculate on what could be right here in our own South Dakota. We are privileged to live in a very special place. Hopefully you will tolerate my attempt at creativity for one week.

In my hometown Wagner Post, Wagner Area Growth director Kelsey Doom pens the column "Community Spotlight." It features a different Wagner area citizen every week. A series of questions are asked of that citizen that include, "If I gave you $100,000 to start a business, what kind of business would you start?"

The first thing I would do is borrow up to an additional $400,000 from highly successful and creative business people. They would become board members, and their input would be invaluable. I would then hire Mary Koupal away from the Wagner school and make her CEO. She's that talented.

This new business venture would be a weekly outdoor television program. The home office would be in Wagner, and we'd try to find a channel on basic cable to call home.

We would choose our sponsors. We want to look people in the eye and say that our product is great because we believe it is great. First off, I would sit down with the owners of the Bluebird Locker in Delmont and the Dimock Dairy in Dimock. They produce the best meat and dairy products found anywhere. We would create a boxed assortment that goes way beyond the typical gift box or Christmas assortment. It will be a reasonably priced assortment that everyone will want in their fridge at all times.

In turn, these businesses will flourish beyond the current status, and Dimock and Delmont will flourish as communities. Tripp-Delmont school woes will be history. A fantasy? Who would have thought that a huge Jack Links factory would operate seven days a week in Alpena?

Other sponsors will include Chevy Equinox, Dodge Trucks, Northwestern Mutual, Ruger and Henry firearms, Leupold optics, the National Rifle Association and Flomax, for us old guys. South Dakota small towns will also want to run community profiles on their safe environments, job opportunities, and fine schools. As a lifelong educator, I can tell you that our safe schools that kids can safely walk to, along with jobs within a forty-five minute drive, is the best-kept secret in these United States. Don't forget fine homes for under $75,000.

Our program's leading sportsman will be a modest and talented outdoorsman. He's trim, handsome, an NCAA Division I All-American athlete, and a darned good hunter-fisherman. I will hire Alex Kocer. We're also going to capitalize on a wee bit of that Duck Dynasty down-home charisma.

Why will I need up to $500,000 to start? We will need a sales representative, art director, producer, at least two cinematographers and a film editor. I'll be the writer. We also want state-of-the-art cameras and two good boats, hopefully sponsored. I don't know exactly what is needed for a crew, but when I hung around for a day while Babe Winkelman filmed a turkey hunt in Gregory County, he had a crew of 11 people. One in particular made certain that sponsors were covered.

Our program will have objectives, including conservation. In a subtle manner, we want to illustrate how license fees and Pittman-Robertson funds foster wildlife. We want to make the hunter-fisherman a "Friend of Wildlife." There will be no "high-fiving" the taking of an animal, fish, or bird and there will be no 500- to 1000-yard shots taken.

The program will be called "Dakota Sportsman." Of course, we will feature big pike on Oahe, walleyes on Sharpe, smallmouth bass on Francis Case, perch at Devils Lake, catfish at Pickstown, and largemouth bass on Gregory County stockdams. We will also hunt pheasants, sharptails, and waterfowl. Archery hunts will focus on Kocer as he hunts deer, antelope, and elk.

Alternating with the Dakota scene will be affordable hunting and fishing the world over, with emphasis on affordability. Fantastic North American fishing opportunities abound that we can drive to. We will emphasize area campgrounds. These opportunities are underemphasized.

As far as I'm concerned, this program idea is very feasible. While there are many outdoors programs, there are very few good ones. Some will laugh at my idea, but you know, some will wonder if I'm on to something.

Next week we will take a look at how all of us can improve our shooting skills before that next deer season comes along.

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