You can see how people wonder if Chasing Tail on History is for real, as the idea of an open hunting season taking place in some of the wealthiest residential neighborhoods in Connecticut certainly seems farfetched. But, Chasing Tail (Thursdays at 10pm ET on History) is indeed real for upscale Connecticut neighborhoods that have been overrun by white-tail deer. The show’s website lists that in Connecticut alone there are an estimated 18,000 deer killed in vehicle collisions along roadways each year. That averages out to 49 crashes per day caused by deer, which result in some $28 million in damage.
These numbers have led state lawmakers to allow bow hunting in residential neighborhoods. In the pilot episode of Chasing Tail, “Deer Camp,” viewers meet Mike Andronaco, a Vermont sheet metal mechanic during the week and neighborhood deer hunter on weekends. Mike has assembled a team of his buddies who form the Chasing Tail team, where they hang out, talk smack and hunt deer – a la Duck Dynasty or Swamp People style – camo gear included. “What I really live for is the weekend; that’s when me and my buddies leave the wives behind and meet at deer camp,” Mike shares. Deer camp serves as home base for the hunters, where they sleep in cots and cook via camping stoves in a heated barn owned by Mike’s cousin. Cameras follow Mike and buds: Louie (Lou Andronaco), who is the easy mark and takes the brunt of the guys’ ribbing; Arky (Michael Arky Vaughn, pictured), who provides much of the humor with his cheesy one-liners (“I’ve seen better bucks tucked into a bikini”) and his unfiltered vocabulary (I lost count how many times they bleeped him out); John (John Bassett), who is deemed the Yoda of deer camp, for when John talks (which isn’t much) everyone listens — he’s also the best tracker of the group; and then there’s Rob (Rob Lucas), who grew up hunting with Mike, but now lives in California where he works as a physician assistant for a Los Angeles plastic surgeon. Rob takes a redeye on weekends to hang out at deer camp and enjoy what they all consider “some of the best hunting on the East Coast.”
In the pilot episode, “Deer Camp,” the guys go door-to-door looking for residents to give them permission to bow hunt on their property. Getting approval is not as difficult as you would think, as residents are happy to rid their properties of what they consider menacing pests. “They get rid of a pest and we keep the meat,” Dave says. “We may not fit in here, but for us there’s no better thing than chasing tail.”
The guys say they are providing a valuable service to the community, a community where median incomes average $232,000. As in most hunting excursions, bragging rights over who got the biggest buck are coveted and the guys are quick to call out Louie for lacking a big tag. While the opening credits do warn: “The following episode contains footage that may disturb some viewers,” you can’t help but let out a big “awww” when cameras show an innocent-looking doe and then the aftermath of the guys hitting their targets.
The episode follows Louie as he tries to tag a decent-sized buck, where you’ll learn that the average white-tail weighs anywhere between 100 and 300 pounds. Although Louie does make the wall of fame and moves up the rankings slightly, he’s humbled later in a game of archery poker with Arky (pictured). When Louie whiffs the archery target on his last shot, Arky goes for the full house and nails the target, leaving Louie responsible to scrub the crapper for another season.
In the second episode of Chasing Tail, titled “No Smoking,” viewers are introduced to Rob and his healthy lifestyle. Though Rob’s coffee talk encouraging the guys to consider Botox fell to deaf ears, it really was his surprise dinner that caused the biggest ruckus. Serving tofu to a group of modernized hunter-gathers didn’t go over real good, and Rob got the wrath of that poor choice.
“I’m 53 and I don’t eat tofu,” a snarly Arky barks, and then lobs his plate out the front door.
Although, speaking of food, Arky and John consider their “breakfast of champions” a cigarette, which is an extreme annoyance of Rob. Much of the episode is devoted to Arky and John’s smoking habits and Rob’s efforts to curtail it. Rob lobbies for some basic camp rules from only smoking outside to one cigarette a day, but has no luck.
Later you see Arky gasping for air hauling a buck through the woods. “I don’t know why I’m so out of breath today,” Arky says, and then another shot pans to him taking a drag off his cigarette.
The episode concludes with John making a special smoking section for Rob.