Hunting and fishing became a way of life for Mike Ray growing up. So, it is no surprise that the east Texas native would start a TV show that educates people on how to bow hunt and fish. The show is called “The ‘Wild’ Life” and is co-hosted by Mike’s wife, Heather.
Mike is a former camera man for long-time friend Ted Nugent’s hunting show called “Spirit of the Wild.” That’s how he learned what goes into producing a hunting show and decided to start his own.
“We are on our third year filming the show,” Mike said. “It is a 95-percent bow hunting show where we travel all over the country hunting whitetail, bears, and hogs. You name it and we hunt it.”
Heather grew up with hunters in the family but unlike her husband, had never hunted until she met Mike. “I think before I met Mike, I physically sat in a deer blind once and was bored out of my mind,” Heather said. After she met Mike, she quickly fell in love with the challenge of bow hunting. “With bow hunting you have to be so much closer to that animal that it intrigues me. That is what keeps me coming back for the challenge.”
The show features two kills on each episode which consists of Heather taking an animal and Mike killing one. They show proper techniques on how to hunt and feature different ranches that often invite them to hunt on their property.
If you are not used to bow hunting there is more to it than you may think. For starters, the Rays recommend that you get fitted for your bow before trying to go out and shoot one. They do not want one bad mishap to ruin the experience for you.
Mike added, “They make bows for everyone now days. You just have to make sure it is fitted for you—your strength and your draw length.”
The Rays respect every animal they kill when hunting. They usually have enough meat in their freezer to feed their extended family. They make sure they practice frequently so they can make a precise shot when it comes time and cleanly kill their prey.
“We have a lot of respect for the animals we hunt,” Mike said. “Our goal is to make the best shot possible. To make the most ethical shot to cause the least amount of suffering to the animal.”
Not only do they stay busy filming all the time but Mike also host a Boar Bash every year. This is a unisex hunt that just recently became a sponsored event. The event features live music, a fish fry and product giveaways. Last year they had 16 hunters and over 100 people show up to the Texas S Bow Hunting Ranch in Clarkesville, Texas.
More recently Heather added her own hunt to their activities. “I wanted to be someone’s opportunity to get into this [bow hunting],” Heather said. She started an all-girls hunt called “Pig War.” All the girls she had with her on her first Pig War were new to bow hunting. She gave away four hunts by requesting girls ages 8 to 16 send their entries in on a YouTube video skit stating why they should be picked to hunt with her. So in total, she had eight girls with her at this year’s hunt.
As for their most memorable hunts, Mike says his was when Heather took her first deer. “I got more excitement on that than she did. She is such a good listener and picks up on everything.”
As for Heather, her favorite memory is when her father was on the show with them. “I got to take my dad fishing with Jimmy Houston for his father’s day present, so we did a show on that,” Heather said. Her father passed away five months after they filmed the fishing trip. “That will always be memorable and special to me.”
You can catch ‘The “Wild” Life’ on the Hunting Network on Dish, Direct TV and Suddenlink. On Suddenlink cable channel 99 the times are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 11:30 on ABC K10 (Channel 10).
You can also find them on Facebook (friend search Heather Ray) and they will soon have their website up at www.twltv.com.