It isn’t every day that your average 13-year-old from small town Wyoming gets featured hunting on a national television show, but then again, Dawson Wood is far from average.
Wood learned to handle a rifle about the same time he learned to walk and has accompanied his grandfather and mentor, Pat Marchant, on hunting trips for as long as he can remember. The two were selected out of thousands of applicants to be featured on the Sportsman Channel television series Huntley Ritter’s Outlanders Limited Draw.
Hunting is a family tradition for the two. Marchant learned to hunt from his mother, who learned to hunt from her father, who learned to hunt from his father. So it’s only logical that he would pass the knowledge along to his grandson, he said.
“He’s a natural and he loves it,” said Marchant. “So, I’m happy to encourage him, by teaching him everything I know.”
At age 3, Wood could handle a .22 rifle, at 5, a .243, at 8, a shotgun and at age 13 could already out-hunt many adults. He can also gut, skin and cook his take and is learning to mount it, as well.
“He’s always been Grandpa’s sidekick since he was 1,” said Mom, Julie Crumrine, who is also a hunter. “They hunt, fish and do just about everything you can do outdoors. They are inseparable.”
At age 12 Wood took nine animals, filling all of his tags (elk, deer and antelope) including one for a nice 4 x 5 buck. It was his first hunting season. He was also featured in the March 2012 edition of Eastman’s Hunting Journal that year.
“He’s one of those kids that has a steady hand and he thinks when you tell him something,” said Marchant. “He doesn’t drift off like some kids do. He puts it all together and is very focused. I think that’s why he is so good.”
Wood said he learned all he knows from his grandpa, especially gun safety. He practices shooting at least once a week. He said he sets specific goals regarding what type of game he will take, and won’t settle for less than his goals.
Most of all, he has learned a great love of the outdoors from Grandpa.
“He loves everything outdoors–fishing, hunting, camping—he loves it all,” said Marchant.
Wood said he likes to watch hunting shows on television and that Huntley Ritter’s Outlanders Limited Draw is one of his favorite shows because it features real people on real hunts.
“They say the show is by the people for the people,” said Wood. “That’s what I like about it. It’s real.”
The show uses a draw system to allow average people the chance to be filmed during a hunt and then showcases the hunt on the television series and on the Internet.
Viewers even vote for the type of hunts to be featured in the series.
Thousands of hunters apply to the show for the opportunity to be filmed during those hunts, which take place on their home turf. Only nine applicants are selected. Wood submitted his application and after months of waiting to be called and weeks of rigorous telephone interviews with producers and hunting experts, he got the news that he and his grandfather will be featured on the show.
Wood said he was given the choice of hunting white tail or mule deer and chose the “muley” because it’s one of his favorite species to hunt. A team of cameramen, producers and writers will follow the two on their hunt, which will take place over a four-day period beginning Oct. 31 near Crooked Creek. The production team will not only document the hunt but also their home life and will follow the two during most of their waking hours on those four days.
All of the shows filmed during the upcoming hunting season will be featured on the show’s website, where viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite show in the series. The show with the most votes will be awarded more than $10,000 in gear, trips and other prizes.
Marchant said he was excited for his grandson to be on the show but was surprised when they wanted him to also appear.
“I think he’s passed me already, he’s a better hunter than I am,” chuckled Marchant. “He’s naturally good and he has the personality to do it well. He is very calm. I know he really wanted to be on the show and I support that. If they want me on there, too, well, I’ll do it. I’ll do it for him.”
by Patti Carpenter