The hunt for human prey is on

Cover your tracks, you’re being followed. Mantracker is returning to the territory, and it’s looking for prey.

Cover your tracks, you’re being followed.

Mantracker is returning to the territory, and it’s looking for prey.

Last summer, the Outdoor Life Network shot four of its nine Mantracker episodes near Whitehorse.

And for season two, it plans to shoot two more episodes in the territory this month.

“The Yukon is absolutely gorgeous,” said the show’s executive producer Ihor Macijiwsky from Toronto.

“It’s pretty difficult to not make the Yukon look great.”

The popular half-hour TV series premiered in July.

There is this whole subculture growing around the show, said Macijiwsky.

In each episode, two local people, given a map, a compass and whatever supplies they want to carry, have 36 hours to reach a set destination without being caught by the man tracker, a savvy cowboy on horseback.

“This guy is the real deal,” said Macijiwsky.

“He does actual, human tracking.”

Accompanied by a local sidekick who knows the area, the man tracker, Terry Grant, will notice subtle signs the average person would miss — things like bruises on vegetation or dirt transferred to a rock, where the prey have stepped.

It is television, said Macijiwsky.

“But the guy does track.”

A search-and-rescue volunteer, 48-year-old Grant was doing odd jobs before this television career landed in his lap.

“I love it,” he said from his Alberta home.

“It’s a blast. You get to meet lots of people and see some new country, you know, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Grant, who’s been riding since he was 10, is given a new horse in each region, and sometimes this proves difficult.

“They’re not always as well trained or responsive as I would like,” he said.

“And I have to work with them for a few weeks.”

In Whitehorse, Grant will be riding the same horse he rode during his last shoot.

It’s easier to track folks from horseback, he said.

“You’re higher up, so you get a good angle on the track.”

The prey is given a head start of roughly three kilometres. When they leave, a flare is shot off from their location and the chase begins.

A big component of the show is the reaction of the prey, said Macijiwsky.

“It’s exciting watching the prey’s personalities, how they’re working together and all the anxieties and pressures, both physical and psychological of being on the run — being hunted.”

It’s also a rush for Grant.

“There’s times there, normally near the end where I’ve either got to catch them or they’re going to get away,” he said.

“And the adrenaline gets pumping and it’s pretty cool — it’s quite a rush.”

This week, the network was looking for volunteers to act as prey in the upcoming Yukon episodes.

“You have to be able to walk 30 or 40 kilometres through the bush, but you don’t have to be superhuman,” said Macijiwsky.

“We had a couple of ladies who were prey and they thought it would be way more TV-land, until they got behind the scenes.

“And every single person that’s participated say it’s one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.”

Because the whole chase winds up in 36 hours or less, it is more fast-paced and frenetic than a longer adventure-trek show, said Macijiwsky.

“And the program is successful because it caters to the average man and woman.”

Last time the Mantracker crew was in the territory, one of the episodes was shot near Fish Lake and another passed through Carcross.

Currently, Macijiwsky is scouting locations. He plans to shoot near Whitehorse again.

Anyone interested in becoming prey in one of the episodes should write to apply@mantracker.ca, or call 416-534-4020.

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