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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Coeur d’Alene hunting, fishing program showcases disabled hunters, anglers

Brett Surplus, left, stands with Matt Lively while filming Reel Sportsman. Lively, who lives in California, was t-boned while riding a motorcycle and lost his leg at the knee. Surplus' TV show focuses on outdoors people with disabilities that have continued to hunt and fish. (COURTESY)

Since 2014, Brett Surplus has known he wanted to start a hunting television show. But the Rathdrum resident also knew he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the standard hunting television format.

“There is no substance to it,” he said of most mainstream hunting shows. “It’s pretty much, ‘Hey, look at me go and shoot this animal.’ ”

That approach focuses on trophy hunting and shows that the television producers are “basing hunting and fishing on tape measures,” Surplus said.

That’s not the reason Surplus hunts and it wasn’t the show he wanted to create. So the idea sat dormant until about a year ago when he met Tim Scott.

Surplus was at Higgens Point when he saw a man, missing one leg and one arm, unloading his boat from the water.

“This was a guy who was out at Higgens Point hopping around in one wader,” Surplus said.

And that’s when things started to click. Surplus realized that a hunting show focused on sportsmen and sportswomen who have disabilities yet continue to get outside.

Scott fits the bill perfectly.

Thirty years ago, the Coeur d’Alene resident was run over by a train while working for Burlington Northern in North Dakota. While coupling two trains together, there was a miscommunication and his co-workers backed one train into Scott while he was between them. His left leg and left arm were pinned.

He lost both.

He spent 30 days in the hospital and had to relearn the basics of his life. While that wasn’t easy, he said the injury has “never slowed me down or stopped me.”

Since the accident he’s continued to hunt and fish, although now he tends to fish more. He and his wife are particularly fond of kokanee on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The duo have developed a system for unloading and loading the boat.

“She is my left side,” he said jokingly.

When Surplus first spotted him, Scott was hesitant to participate in the show. But over the course of a year, Surplus continued to bring the idea up and slowly convinced him.

Finally, Scott agreed.

“He wants to have a show that has purpose,” he said. “It’s not just about killing the bear or catching the fish.”

Instead, Surplus and Scott hope to inspire others by highlighting the resiliency of Scott’s and others’ stories.

“I wanted something with more substance and I wanted to inspire,” Surplus said.

Scott, for instance, does not use any electric-aided device and his house is not ADA-accessible. That was a choice he made shortly after his accident.

“I knew that if I went electric and took advantage of ramps and different things like that I would get fat,” he said. “I would get lazy. For me, it was a matter of staying in the best shape possible.”

Scott’s story and others will be highlighted in “Reel Sportsman” starting July 7. The program is hosted by Surplus, Jim Gaffaney and Stephen Johnson and focuses on the “stories of sportsmen who have overcome a tragedy or accident,” according to a news release.

Scott’s story will be featured on the premiere episode. The premiere will also feature Jade Harlow, a young teenage boy from North Idaho who survived an accidental shotgun blast to the face last June.