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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Local hunters 'catch dream'

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mike Marsteller, left, and Jesse Fulwider will represent our state as Team Indiana on the Outdoor Channel's "Dream Season 8" in 2011. Footage the duo shoots this fall of their deer hunting experience will make up a part of next season's show.
When "Dream Season" premiered on the Outdoor Channel in 2004, it planted a seed in the mind of two Putnam County natives.

Mike Marsteller and Jesse Fulwider had been friends since high school at North Putnam.

After years of hunting and fishing together, they had, around the time of the show's premiere, begun filming their deer hunts.

With the world's first reality deer hunting show on the air and doing well, the duo decided to throw themselves more behind the idea of filming their hunts.

They hoped to someday have a "dream season" of their own.

"Back in 2004, when 'Dream Season' first aired, we got hooked on it," Marsteller said. "We had already kind of started dabbling in filming a little bit. After seeing that, we decided that from that point forward, we were going to tape everything we did. We would make a fully-conscious effort that every time we went to the woods, one guy was hunting and one guy was taping."

What followed was a lot of trial and error, but they've really started to get it right in recent years.

"I won't say that we knocked it out of the park in 2005 or 2006, but starting in '07 and on, we started getting really successful at it and figured out how to do it," Marsteller said. "We have been really successful at it the last two years."

Since 2007, they have killed 12 bucks on video, with some of their best ever coming last year.

Besides progress on the filming, though, they've also had some unique access in recent years, having attended an exclusive bow hunting show in Indianapolis. At the show, they've been able to meet Mark and Terry Drury, who produce "Dream Season."

"They've been kind of tracking us for three years and seeing what we're able to produce," Marsteller said. "They finally offered us a position to represent Indiana on 'Dream Season 8.'"

With their selection, Marsteller and Fulwider become the first team to represent Indiana in the show's history. As one of six teams from six tapes, they will compete to see who can harvest the best deer and get it on tape, perform the best in physical and shooting challenges and try to raise the most money for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

As exciting as the hunting and being on TV may be, it's the fundraising that's really the most important part of it all.

Catch-A-Dream is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2003. It is similar to Make-A-Wish in that it grants wishes to terminally ill children. The difference is, the guidelines of Make-A-Wish specify the organization not grant hunting or fishing trips.

Catch-A-Dream fills that void.

"Somebody realized that there are a lot of kids out there who have life-threatening illnesses and (hunting or fishing) would be their wish," Marsteller said.

In its history, the organization has granted trips to more than 200 families in 44 states. Children and their families go on all-inclusive, fully-guided hunting or fishing trips.

"It's a wonderful break from the constant trips to the hospitals and treatments and doctor visits," Marsteller said. "A life-threatening illness doesn't just affect the child; it affects the whole family. It's just a really special time to get away from all that and do something as a family."

Each of the six teams has been challenged to raise at least $20,000 for Catch-A-Dream -- no small order.

"They've challenged us to raise $20,000, which, in this economy, is a big number," Marsteller said. "We're finding that it's a little tougher than we thought to even get close to that number."

A big part of their fundraising efforts is coming soon with the Catch-A-Dream golf outing. The event is slated for 1 p.m. Aug. 30 at West Chase Golf Course near Brownsburg.

At a cost of $75 per golfer or $300 per team, individuals can help some kids in need and help Team Indiana in its quest to win "Dream Season 8."

Anyone interested in participating or helping sponsor the event can contact Marsteller at (317) 440-3979 or mmarsteller@tds.net or Fulwider at (317) 716-5689 or jesseudtf@yahoo.com.

Those who cannot take part in the outing, but would still like to help Team Indiana support Catch-A-Dream may also contact Marsteller or Fulwider.

It's just another way to help a couple of average Joes make a difference.

"They're calling ("Dream Season 8") 'Workin' Man.' It's kind of geared toward the blue collar-type, average Joe hunter -- not the guy who's got big money behind him and can afford to go on these expensive hunts and stuff like that," Marsteller said. "It's the guys like Jesse and I who are policemen -- just average Joes working average Joe jobs. Guys who go out, knock on doors and get permission, and just hunt as much as they possibly can while trying to hold down 40-hour a week jobs and families and other commitments."

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