Have you ever wished to be the shooter on a major hunting show? It’s really a trip, and something I never thought I’d be doing mid-way in my career. But in reality it’s not always hunting. It really is a combination of hunting and producing, and often the two collide.
First, legal shooting light isn’t always camera light. That’s changed some with the newer models of video cameras, but during cloudy or forested conditions I often get the ”thumbs-down” sign that the hunt is over. Another factor that most hunters don’t run into is hiding a second person. If you hunt with a guide it's even more complicated because you have to hide a third person. Many of my hunts aren’t focused on trying to stalk close to an animal, but how to hide the cameraman and his recording device.
Sound like a juggling act? Now consider the fact that camera angle isn’t always the hunter angle. I can’t count how many times I’ve had a clear shot, only to hear the cameraman whisper, “Don’t shoot; I can’t see the animal.” I got in trouble for that last year when a shot presented itself on a moving buck and I cut an arrow loose just as the cameraman said, “Hold off!” Luckily, the shot was good, and the gaff hardly noticeable in the finished product.
Lastly, several strategies just don’t work for filming success. Crawling through the grass for a bowhunting close encounter is often questionable, and when things come together, it's often just too quick to get a camera up and running—not to mention focused and steadied.
All whining aside, filming for TV is a challenge I enjoy. The hunts are fast and furious. Oftentimes you must take the first good animal you see to produce a segment, but it’s still a satisfying experience in the great outdoors.