The Wilderness Journal

Reality In Television

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CLICK HERE To Find The Wilderness Journal NextGen on Instagram!
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CLICK HERE To Watch Episodes Of The Wilderness Journal on YouTube!

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Want to see YOUR photos here on the NextGen Page?
Email them to:

Looking for Hunter's Safety in Michigan? Check out Camp Wilderness

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2019 Dates For Free Fishing Weekends In Michigan: Feb. 16th & 17th, and June 8th & 9th! Click HERE for more information.

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Dear NextGen:
What do you say to friends who think hunting is wrong?
-K. Smithers

Dear Mentorless,
Dear K,
Thanks for writing in! We also have friends who think hunting is wrong and somehow cruel to animals. We encourage you to figure out if the person is really interested in a conversation or just wants to pick a fight or argue. If they just want to prove me wrong I usually just tell them that we will have to agree to disagree and choose not engage. If they are open to having a conversation I try to make a few key points they might understand. These points include: Most people eat beef, pork and chicken. Those animals are killed for their meat just like wild game and often live in awful environments and are given antibiotics and hormones. Wild animals are free, eat natural foods and have a better change of getting away than we do of harvest them. Also, responsible hunters place a high priority on harvesting an animal in the quickest and most human way possible and are very thankful for the animal and mother nature in general. A final point you can make is that humans are animals that eat plants and game to survive and that you choose to be an active part of the food-chain and enjoy the time outdoors and all the life lessons hunting and fishing has to teach us.

Dear NextGen:
What is your favorite thing to hunt?
-R. Jones

Dear Mentorless,
Hi R, thanks for sending in your question! It is really hard to narrow it down to one chose, but if we had to choose, I think I enjoyed hunting whitetail deer the most (even though wild boar is up there).
Dear NextGen:
My mom and dad don't hunt and fish, how can I get out there if I don't have anyone to teach me?
-Mentorless kid

Dear Mentorless,
Just because your parents don't hunt and fish doesn't mean you can't be involved in the outdoors. Do you have family or friends that can help? Grandparents or neighbors or the parents of your close friends that would include you when they hunt and fish? Ask at your school to see if there is a hunting or fishing club (or start one yourself). There are many books and a ton of information to get you started. Hit the library and the internet, videos on everything from how to tie knots in fishing line to how to field dress game and recipes are available. If you drive you can enjoy the outdoors with hikes (stick to well marked local trails and take a friend!) or throwing a line in a lake or river from the bank. Reach out to your social media group to find kids you are already friends with that you might not know have a passion for trapping or skeet shooting or fly tying. Keep trying and don't give up, we're rooting for you!

Have a question for one of our NextGen Pro Staffers?
Email them to:

Meet Our NextGen Director - Ian Lilly
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Ian is proud to be a Wilderness Journal Pro Staffer, Youth Ambassador & Cameraman, traveling with his parents and grandparents to hunt and fish throughout Michigan & the US. Varsity Hockey, Lacrosse and Soccer keep him busy when he isn't working hard at school or enjoying the outdoors. Having started hunting and fishing as soon as he could walk, Ian is looking forward to graduating high school with the class of 2020 and successfully transitioning to college.
On The Road With Ian:
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I had a great time helping out at MSC Camp Wilderness earlier this summer! Camp Wilderness is a Youth Hunter's Safety Camp located in the Canadian Lakes region of Michigan. I had the great privilege of helping out at the camp as a counselor this year! Camp Wilderness teaches youth hunters from all over Michigan the importance of hunter and wilderness safety. The kids participated in many demos, class discussions, and even had the chance to shoot a variety of firearms and bows. The campers learned how to be ethical and safe hunters, and they had the chance to earn both their hunter's and bowhunter's safety certificates along with a few aways and trophies! My favorite part of this year's camp was helping the campers at the gun range learn about firearms and how to operate them in a safe way. Getting up very early each morning was not something I enjoyed, but memories made at the lake, during campfire time and laughing our way through a bear scare more than made up for it. It's amazing to see the work being done to promote safety while hunting, and I am very glad to say the kids enjoyed camp as much as I did. Having experienced camp as both a camper and now as a returning volunteer, I encourage everyone out there to make sure you and your loved ones are up to date on safe hunting practices. Thank you to all the volunteers that make Camp Wilderness possible every year, now get out there and enjoy the outdoors!
Happy hunting season,

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Had a great time in Northeast Missouri a few weeks ago! I've never seen so many deer in the late season, it blew my mind! The amazing guys over at Northeast Missouri Outfitters really put in work providing decent lodging and tremendous deer hunting ground. They have hundreds of different stands scattered over several locations, no matter the wind, they had a perfect location for everyone to hunt. Warm showers, comfy beds, and tasty food made our stay that much better (even though I was still in a brace after breaking my leg last October). For the season, the actual deer hunting was some of the best we've seen. We saw over 20 deer in the field at a time, and not just in one location, we saw them at every location we hunted. The big bucks and does weren't anxious or nervous, they were calm and didn't alarm easily. Click Here to watch the Wilderness Journal episode covering my trip, "The Last Hunt, Missouri."
I have been working on my cameraman skills over the last couple years, and I think my footage is getting better all the time. Check out past episodes of The Wilderness Journal either here on the "
Watch Episodes" page of the website or our Youtube channel to see some of the shows I have helped shoot footage for. Getting the chance to visit outfitters like this with The Wilderness Journal Television Show is one of the things I am most grateful for. There is something about a road trip, wether it's with friends, family or for work, that makes you try to really be in the moment, to take it all in and remember it in the days to come. Even if you don't have the time or the money to travel to the places you see on the show, make sure to try to be in that moment whenever you find yourself in the outdoors. A walk in the woods, fishing with your little sister or brother, listening to your grandparents talk about the big one that got away, be sure to pay attention, put down your phone and really try to be there. You won't be sorry you did.

Catch ya next time,

Latest Links & Interesting Stuff:


NWTF Top 10 Outdoor Survival Tips:
You're in a wilderness situation that's less than ideal- and you want to get back safety. Do you have the skills to protect yourself from harm?"
- Beth Dumbauld

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8 Fishing Knots to Know from Boy's Life:
A good article for getting started with the basics of fishing knots:

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Best Hunting Video Games
Updated for 2019 from Best Hunting World:

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Meet Our NextGen Staff
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Ian "E" Lilly
NextGen Director, WJTV Pro Staffer, Youth Ambassador & Cameraman

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Katelyn "The Bear" Lilly
NextGen Pro Staffer & Youth Ambassador

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Annabelle Peterman
Future NextGen Pro Staffer & Youth Ambassador

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Kyle Crusan
NextGen Pro Staffer & Youth Ambassador

© 2015 ELM&P