Mark McNay hopes to hit the target as he shoots for the right to co-host his own outdoors-themed TV program.
The former Fort Frances resident, who now calls Dryden home, teamed up with fellow Dryden resident Denise Dubois to form “The Real Deal”—one of the eight duos participating in Season 2 of “The Search” on Wild TV.
It begins airing March 31 at 8 a.m., with re-broadcasts throughout the week.
The show features video footage the pair shot themselves over the course of the recent hunting season.
Online voting will determine the eventual champions, with the winning team earning the right to host its own full-season program on Wild TV in the future.
“I didn’t even think two years ago I would have shown up on Wild TV,” laughed McNay.
“Television is a really big industry,” he noted. “Just to dip your toes in the water to put on your own hunting show would cost at least $25,000.
“What a great opportunity this is for us.
“By the time we add up all our costs for getting involved in this little deal, we probably spent around $10,000 between the entry fee, the equipment, and the travel costs,” he added.
The roots of McNay’s love for the outdoors lie in the woods and waters in and around Rainy River District.
“I learned how to hunt and fish in the Fort Frances area,” he remarked. “I shot my first deer in Blackhawk.”
McNay first met Dubois in the mid-1990s when the two were attending training classes required for their paper mill jobs.
The two parted ways, but met up again at Canadian Tire in Dryden three years ago.
“Denise said she didn’t have a spot to hunt that season and she asked me to take her out,” recalled McNay, who still kicks himself a little for not taking the plunge to take part in “The Search” during its initial season.
“I heard about the show but didn’t get into the process of applying to be in it until it was too late,” he explained.
“Then I watched the show and realized I really wanted to be in it.
“The producers of the show noticed I was making frequent online connections with people who were in the show,” McNay added.
“One of them called me and asked if I wanted to be in Season 2.”
So what was Dubois’ reaction when McNay first courted her to be his partner on the show?
“She was so excited, she looked right in my eye and said, ‘No!’” he chuckled.
“She didn’t want anything to do with it.”
Dubois said she was worried she wouldn’t be able to commit the time needed to put together enough footage to be on the show.
“But Mark was pretty persistent and I finally said yes,” she added.
For her, it turned out to be a great decision.
“Mark is an amazing hunting partner and it was definitely an adventure,” Dubois described.
“It was a lot of hard work,” she stressed. “Every single day off we had from our jobs, we were out hunting.
“We had some successful days, and some days we would sit there for 10 hours and nothing would come out.”
While each team on the show is guaranteed appearances on at least four of the 13 episodes before the finale, McNay said chances are good he and Dubois will be on more than that.
“The producers told me some teams hadn’t submitted enough to fill up four episodes and that we had enough to cover six shows,” he noted.
McNay and Dubois came up with “The Real Deal” as their team handle without too much difficulty.
“We just decided we didn’t want to be portrayed as TV stars,” he reasoned.
“We just want to come across like the guy next door that you borrow the ladder from.”
McNay isn’t making any bold predictions on their chances of winning, but he does have a goal in mind.
“We want to be at least one of the top three teams so we can make it onto the last week of the show,” he said.
Those wanting to support the duo’s cause can go to hitmensearch.com after the first broadcast to begin voting.
Each person is allowed one vote per week per IP address.
Those wanting more information, or to see images of the pair’s quest, can find them on Facebook at “The Real Deal With Mark McNay.”