Hudson men go hunting with 'Hrbie'
A group of Hudson men will be featured on an upcoming episode of the "Kent Hrbek Outdoors" show.
The famous ex-Minnesota Twins baseball player came to Hudson Thursday morning, Oct. 18, to get outfitted at A-1 Archery for his first-ever bow and arrow deer hunt. Then Hrbek and a party that included Hudsonites Brad Larson and Kelly Massie traveled south to Pepin County to go hunting in the Mississippi River bluff country that evening and the next morning.
It all was captured on film for the TV show.
Larson and Massie had planned the two-day hunt to be with their friend Durk Stark of Pepin, a former Hudson schoolteacher and now renowned maker of wing-bone turkey calls.
Stark e-mailed Hrbek and Eric Gislason, producer of Hrbek's TV show, to see if they were interested in coming along.
They were, but Hrbek hadn't shot a bow since he was a kid. He needed all the archery gear and a quick lesson on how to use it.
Larson, owner of the Comprehensive Communications shop at 1250 Crest View Drive, pointed Hrbek and Gislason to A-1 Archery, the pro shop at the corner of O'Keefe Road and Webster Street where he gets his gear.
A-1 Archery manager and co-owner Dan Ellyson got Hrbek fitted with a Mathews Switchback long-draw bow and taught him how to use it.
"He actually shot very well. I mean, within just 10 shots he was shooting the bull's eye out at 20 yards," Ellyson said.
He said the hand-eye coordination that made Hrbek an outstanding major league baseball player for 13 seasons also makes him a natural with a bow.
Ellyson hinted that he was a little nervous giving the two-time World Series champion instructions, with two TV cameras pointed at him all the while. But Hrbek was just a regular outdoors guy, making it an "awesome" experience, he said.
"They're just down-to-earth guys. They're as easy-going as they come. I felt very comfortable with them," Larson said of Hrbek, Gislason and cameraman Brian Pinske.
Gislason was a sports anchor and reporter for KSTP-TV, Channel 5, for 15 years before joining with Hrbek to produce his outdoors show. Like Hrbek, he's a native Minnesotan.
Unfortunately, the weather the afternoon and evening of Oct. 18 was about as bad as it gets for archery hunting, Larson said. It was raining and windy.
Massie, owner of Croix Valley Carpentry, nevertheless harvested a doe, producing some good footage for the TV show.
Larsen said a couple of does came within 15 yards of the ladder stand that Hrbek was hunting from, but he chose not to shoot.
Hrbek, Larson, Massie and Stark hunted, while Gislason and Pinske followed them with TV cameras.
After gutting out Massie's doe, the party headed to the Harbor View Inn in Pepin for dinner.
After dinner, they sat around and told stories for a few hours, according to Larson. The entire party spent the night at Stark's house.
The weather was better the next morning, Larson said, but the big bucks stayed in hiding.
Ellyson is looking forward to the "Kent Hrbek Outdoors" episode featuring his shop and the Hudson hunters. He expects it to be a tutorial on how to take up the sport of bow hunting -- from getting set up with the right equipment to finding the right tree to hunt from in the woods.
"Getting into bow hunting isn't hard," Ellyson said. "You can walk in here and get fitted and shoot well right away."
Larson calls A-1 Archery the best pro shop in western Wisconsin. It has the biggest inventory of hunting equipment and clothing around, he said, plus a target range and a staff of experienced bow hunters.
Jim Obermueller and Paul Korn are the other owners of A-1 Archery.
"Kent Hrbek Outdoors" is broadcast on 22 television stations in the Midwest and Canada. It airs at 11:05 p.m. Sundays on KARE 11 TV. Fox Sports Network North airs the show Tuesday evenings at various times. The Nov. 6 show will run at 10 p.m., and the Nov. 13, 20 and 27 shows at 6:30 p.m.
Cable TV subscribers in the town of Hudson also can watch the show Tuesday evenings on Fox Sports Network Wisconsin. The Nov. 6 show is scheduled for 10 p.m., and the Nov. 13 show, 6:30 p.m.
A complete schedule of the broadcast times for "Kent Hrbek Outdoors" is available online at www.khotv.com.
Afton, Minn., resident Randy Meier is a part owner of the company that produces the show -- Wall to Wall Media.
Meier, a former news anchor for MSNBC-TV and KSTP-TV, Channel 5, also is an A-1 Archery customer.