Outdoor Channel had the opportunity to interview one of our new stars, Shawn Michaels, hosting Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures, premiering this July. Read more to learn about his start, the WWE, and how he's been embraced by the outdoor industry.
Shawn thanks for joining us. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Outdoor Channel and Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures?
I first got involved with Outdoor Channel coming out to Shot Show for the first time two years ago. I was one of those guys that sat at home and watched Outdoor Channel on my day off and I was made aware that they had this huge convention in Vegas –it was described to me as “a guy like you would love a place like this…you’d be like a kid in a candy store, they got everything under the sun.” And so I booked the tickets and went to Shot Show and had the pleasure of meeting everyone from Outdoor Channel.
In passing, I mentioned that I made the decision to wind down my WWE career and how much I loved to hunt and fish, and I hinted that I would love to do a show. At that same time, I was just walking around and saw Keith Mark. Luck would have it that Keith was a WWE fan and both he and his family were avid WWE fans. We hit it off right away and it wasn’t long after that he invited me on a buffalo hunt in North Dakota. We are similar in a lot of ways; we are family guys, I wouldn’t say we wear our faith on our sleeve but we aren’t shy about it, and we both love the outdoors, to hunt and fish.
He mentioned he wanted to bring MacMillan River Adventures back to Outdoor Channel and wanted to know if I would be interested in co-hosting with him. I jumped at the opportunity because, honestly, I don’t try to fool everyone that I know everything under the sun. I haven’t been hunting and fishing my whole life, my father didn’t raise me that way, neither did my grandfather, it was something I learned on my own and I didn’t learn it till late in life. I read, I studied and I got out in the field. I learned by trial and error and did my best to improve.
One thing I’ve learned – you do yourself a huge injustice if you don’t surround yourself with people that are better than you are. And I knew Keith was – he is an amazing man and a fantastic hunter and I knew he could teach me a lot of things. For me and Keith, this is a lifestyle we live; it’s not something we just do during hunting season. It’s the way we raise our children and the way we live or lives. Our time in the sticks is important to us – it’s a lifestyle choice that we’ve chosen and we thoroughly love it.
What can Outdoor Channel viewers expect from you and Keith Mark from the debut season of the show?
The biggest thing viewers can expect from Keith and I is they aren’t going see a hunting show; it’s going to be a hunting and lifestyle show. Keith and I want to do something people haven’t seen. You’re going to see some of the prettiest places, amazing hunts, see us traveling the world, and hopefully you’ll have the ability to feel like you are there with us. And it’s not to discredit anyone else but we want to do more than just sit in a tree, we want to do our best to allow you to escape and come on the hunt with us.
Any interesting stories or locations from the production either on-set or in-camp?
For me, they’ve all been fantastic. The ability to go to the Yukon for the first time - you know the “Yukon” - you don’t know where it is so you get a map and find it. But, what I’m enjoying most is that I am seeing aspects of the world that I’ve never seen before. Some of the most quiet, beautiful, serene places that our world has to offer, that out country has to offer. To get to go to North Dakota and hunt in below-freezing weather – that is something that a Texas boy does not get a lot of! I’ve met a bunch of wonderful people and I plan on continuing to do that and continuing to see beautiful places and getting to go to places that I’ve never been before and even places I’ve been before – but now I’m not going downtown, I’m not staying at the ritzy hotel – now I’m going into places of Canada where nobody goes.
How do you explain the peace and spirit of the great outdoors to some of your fans that night not understand the outdoor lifestyle, but will definitely be following you to Outdoor Channel?
The explosion of my faith, the renewing of my faith, the genesis of the huge turning point in my life started in the outdoors. Heck, I’ve had people make fun of me for it but it doesn’t matter to me. My first experience with the all-mighty God was inside the deer blind and you know it was just that peace and tranquility of just being in there, sitting under the stars, watching the sunrise, and waking up with the animals and the wildlife around me. For the first time in so long, hearing the squirrels wake up and rustle around in the leaves, watching the whitetail deer get up and walk across the field – I just sat there thinking to myself holy cow, I’ve missed all this! There’s got to be something bigger out there! Technology and science is fantastic but I just don’t know that much about it; I’m not going to be that guy who finds a cure to anything. For me, there was a call to the outdoors. It’s a life that works for me; that works for my family. We enjoy every second of it – we get to spend time with each other, appreciate the simple things in life and that works for us. And, I think it works for a lot of people so I’m hoping the people that have connected with me in the past, in the WWE, will continue to connect with me. If it just makes people want to slow down for a second and appreciate the simple things in life, heck, I think that’s a message worth passing on.
What species or places to hunt are on your “bucket list?”
Gosh in the first year, I’ve got to knock off a few from my bucket list – a Yukon moose for heaven’s sake. The American bison was a phenomenal hunt. And of course whitetail deer. There’s just something majestic about them! Caribou and the plains game of Africa, there’s just something about them. I recently got to tag two black bear, which were on my list. I’ve been real fortunate just in the last year to get to do a lot of exciting stuff. One that I don’t know if everyone is big on, but, something about the predators I dig and the cats – mountain lions, bobcats, leopards – I might be waiting a while on those but there’s something about the cats that I really enjoy.
What other Outdoor Channel stars or shows do you enjoy, or have learned from so far? Do you feel embraced by the industry?
You gotta love Uncle Ted - Spirit of the Wild. I thoroughly enjoy Ted Nugent, and his passion for what he does is intoxicating. You can feel that the guy truly loves it and I appreciate that. Ted’s a guy, I think, heck, I don’t think, I know, that whether he’s in front of a camera or not, that’s the way he lives, that’s who he is and that’s what he’s going to do. I appreciate that and I dig the heck out of it. And I’ve had the good fortune of recently getting to meet him and hang out with him and I liked him even more after I met him because he’s the real deal. So Ted’s high up on the list. Another guy is Jim Shockey. Jim Shockey is a guy I’ve watched for years and my wife always refers to him as the “crazy Canadian guy.” She got me a father’s day present and it was a bear hunt with Jim Shockey and I took my whole family. Jim and his entire family – they were wonderful with the kids, my wife– we had a great time, and it was a successful hunt. He is such a decent man, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet him.
Weston and Jodi Clark were two people that embraced us right away. Wes has been so helpful to me from the very beginning. He was a guy I got to meet at Shot Show and he helped me along getting into the outdoor industry; he was extremely supportive and has been there every step of the way.
Just as a fan, I’ve watched Bill Jordan for years, Michael Waddell for years, Lee and Tiffany, we’ve watched them all and I’m obviously also partial to Cuz Strickland from Mossy Oak – he’s such a sweetheart. That’s the thing that’s most gratifying – they are just as wonderful as you had hoped they were. You never know with TV sometimes, we all have to act a certain way with the camera, heck I’ve done it for as long as I can remember. But there’s a part of you that wants them to be just like they are on TV and every now and then you run into folks who are and that’s what I really like about outdoor television – the majority of folks have been wonderful – that’s how they come across on camera and that’s how they’ve been in real life.
Buck Commander vs. Duck Commander in a 10 man Elimination Match. Willie Robertson is the guest referee who wins?
Obviously Duck Commanders is a rough looking group, and when you look that rough you gotta figure they will do just about anything to win. But being an athlete myself I gotta go with the Buck Commanders because whether it was on the field or in the ballpark, those guys, the majority of those guys, if memory serves, are all former athletes and some are currently still working. I know it’s not a baseball game, but I gotta lean my hand toward the Buck Commanders. But if one of the Duck Commanders brings a weapon, then I think you’re asking for trouble.