In a lifetime around outdoors television, Trevor Gowdy has produced countless programs, including many of the best ever. And during his career, he has seen and worked with more than his share of interesting characters.
None of them, he said, are quite like Laramy “Sasquatch” Miller, the subject of the Outdoor Channel show, Sasquatch, Mountain Man.
“Laramy, he’s the real McCoy,” said Gowdy, the president of Gowdy Productions, which produces the show. “He’s as genuine as they come, and I have every reason to believe that he and the show will be around for a long, long time.”
After just one season, fans of outdoors television apparently agreed. At the Outdoor Channel’s Golden Moose Awards in Las Vegas in January, Sasquatch was named Best New Show, one of the categories where the winner is determined entirely by fan balloting.
While he and Miller were on the stage to accept the award, Gowdy said he first met his new star high in the Rockies, when the shadow of Miller’s 6-foot, 7-inch, 270-pound frame passed over him.
That sounds a little too Hollywood to be true, right?
“Yeah, but that’s pretty much the way it happened,” Gowdy said. “We were filming another show. We were hunting elk at about 11,000 feet, and Laramy was working for us as a guide.
“I’m about 6-1, not a small guy, and suddenly this guy walks up and blocks the sun. I thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of neat.’”
As a youngster, Miller was raised with heavy ties to mountain men. He was heavily influenced by his two uncles, Dirk and Colt Ross, who were hunting outfitters and mountain men. They taught him how to be a modern-day mountain man and engrained in him the survival and hunting skills necessary for the Rocky Mountains. They were among the first to have their own production company and to distribute hunting videos across the country.
Searching for leg up toward a career, Miller was working in the oil fields of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. His grandfather, a Native American who also had a love for the outdoors, gave him words to give up the oilfields.
“He told me if you do something you truly enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Miller said. “So I moved back to the mountains and began to work as a guide.”
A couple years later, his path crossed with Gowdy’s.
“I ended up guiding for one of his shows on an elk hunt,” Miller said. “He and I talked some. Then about a month later, he called me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was dumbfounded.”
Gowdy’s initial plans for Miller and the show were pretty much the same as the finished product: a mountain man who hunts and fishes using only primitive supplies and has the knowledge and ability of live off the land.
But Gowdy said his new star had plenty to learn about television production.
“He was as raw as fish on a sushi bar,” said Gowdy, whose father, hall of fame sports announcer Curt Gowdy, was the long-time host of television’s first outdoors show, ABC’s American Sportsman. “There’s a lot that goes into a high-level production of this type. Laramy would want to drop everything. ‘Let’s go get that elk.’ But there would still be work left to do.
“He’s not perfect, but if he was, he couldn’t be the real thing. He is what he is, and we just want him to do what he does best.”
“I’ve learned a lot, but there’s still plenty left to soak in,” Miller said. “At times it’s been for me. First and foremost, I’m a hunter and that’s my passion. But Trevor is going to take the time and produce the show the right way.”
Gowdy said one of his primary goals for this show was to separate it from the crowd.
“There’s dozens and dozens of hunting and fishing shows out there,” he said. “And not taking anything away from those guys, but how many times can you shoot a whitetail? How many times can you catch a bass? Laramy hunts and fishes on the show, sure, but not every show. He traps. He tans the hides. On one episode, he worked with his grandfather on how to make buttons from elk horn.
“We wanted to highlight the mountain man and the heritage of the Old West, and I think we’ve done that. History is a big element of the show.”
“Trevor is so good at putting together a story – on this show and all of his others,” Miller said. “He told me in every hunt, there’s only about three minutes of excitement. So for a 22-minute TV show, the difficulty lies in that other 19 minutes.”
The popularity of the show has been evident from the start.
“We were at the SHOT Show, and you wouldn’t have believed all the young folks running up to him: ‘Sasquatch! Sasquatch!’” Gowdy said, laughing.
“The coolest thing for me is definitely all of the kids who enjoy the show,” Miller said. “We’re showing them things they’ve never seen before, teaching them things they didn’t know about. That’s great.”
Filming is under way for the show’s second season. Both Gowdy and Miller said new elements will be added in studying the heritage of the mountain man, his tactics and different forms of bush craft.
“We’ve barely even scratched the surface for what we want to accomplish,” Miller said. “On most shows nowadays, it’s all about killing the biggest deer or elk or whatever – and that’s fine. But you’re not always going to kill that huge deer. It’s the hunt and the memories you create that are going to keep you coming back. That and our heritage are what this show is about.”
For a video of 'Sasquatch Mountain Man' click here. For the show page, click here.