Hunting for a Cure is an organization that raises money to fight against childhood disease. The mission of Hunt for the Cure is to introduce children to the joys of wildlife, hunting, and the outdoors and to also raise funds through volunteers and sponsors to contribute to the fight against childhood disease. Hunters from everywhere donate hunts and individuals purchase these hunts at a silent auction at the Hunt for the Cure banquet. The highest bid wins the hunt and 100% of all the proceeds go to St. Jude?s Children?s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee.
Recently, Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, South Carolina was involved with Hunting for a Cure. Jimmy donated a few turkey hunts and the hunts were purchased by John and Tyler Largen of west Tennessee. Tyler is 11 years old and he and his father just started turkey hunting last year. From hearing Jimmy tell of their experiences turkey hunting in SC, I?d say that they definitely have a few hunts to remember.
Jimmy, Tyler, and John?s first hunt together was on Thursday morning. I asked Jimmy to give me some insight as to what all happened on some of their hunts. It really gets tough towards the end! Jimmy has described some of the memories of the few days of hunting below:
Our first hunt was on Thursday morning and we got in really tight on a nice tom. I took my wing out and did four ?Fly downs? with it and the long-beard immediately hammered! He flew down, but no matter what, he was not coming our way. He headed in the opposite direction so we pulled up and moved a half mile down the road. After we moved we heard two birds gobbling really well. So, we set up on the two birds that were gobbling. We called to them and they would gobble back at the calls really well, but they must have been with hens because they would not come near the area we were hunting. In time, they got quiet and we had not heard them for about an hour. We decided to move about a 100 yards and make a new set up. As you would imagine, when we stood up and walked to the decoys the birds flew off!!! They were within 75 yards and where coming in on us silently. I thought to myself that I really blew that one !! At this point, we decided to break for lunch and give John and Tyler time to take a nap because they had arrived late.
John and Tyler Largen on the float trip
We headed back out for the afternoon and set up where we had seen the birds that morning. About 7:00pm I could hear something walking to my right. I looked and saw a Gobbler coming. I was trying to get Tyler turned in that direction so he?d be ready to get his first turkey. About that same time his father, John, turned towards the action and the turkey saw his movement and within moments the bird was gone. Dad had gotten caught! We hunted until dark and came out. We decided we?d try again Friday morning and hoped for better luck.
Friday morning we listened for birds but did not hear any that were within our hunting area. We decided to be creative and do something different since this was a special hunt. We decided to try to float the river! This float trip turned out to be a hunt we would never forget.
In order to do this ?float trip? we needed a boat. After getting my dad?s boat out of the weeds where it has sat for the last 20 years, we made a quick run to Wal-Mart to buy a plug and some paddles. We were excited about our big float trip because the birds seem to gobble really well on the river, but they don?t appear to move too far away from the water. We figured we would just float down the river and call a little and when some turkeys responded, we?d pull the boat up and set up on them.
Jimmy Bradley and the boat After getting everything at Wal-Mart we finally got the boat to the water. Everything started out smooth, then we came to some rocks and I had to get out and pull the boat through. We got back into the boat and got into a good rhythm and were just taking in the whole float trip idea! We weren?t hearing any turkeys calling back, but to be floating down the river turkey hunting seemed neat at this point in time.
I continued calling ever so often, but nothing responded to my calls. Soon enough we came to some more rocks. Here again we had to get out of the boat to pull it through the rocks. We started back on our journey and drifted around a curve and I called some more. Still nothing was responding to my calls. We floated a little ways down the river again and, yes, had to get back out of the boat to pull it through more rocks. We got back on our way and called again and still nothing responded! Then we had to get back out of the boat to pull it past some more rocks! You should be getting the picture by now! By now our ?quick? cruise had lasted 4 hours and we hadn?t even heard a gobble, but we sure had seen a lot of rocks!
While floating down the river we made plans to eat dinner at Beth?s Country Kitchen because pork chops (YUM YUM!) were on the menu and I figured John and Tyler might like that because everyone else in Pageland does. We decided it couldn?t be much further to the bridge where we parked the truck. It didn?t take us long to figure out that we were wrong. We continued to pull the boat down the river which by now seemed to be more rocks than river. We started to get tired so we stopped for a break. When we stopped for a break John dropped his BlackBerry in the river. Our novel idea for a ?float trip turkey hunt? was turning out to be accident prone and more like work than hunting!
The River and The Rocks
Things really went downhill after that. We continued to walk and pull the boat over the rocks and our ?quick? trip ended up being 6 hours long. At the height of all of the bloopers, I slipped on a rock and fell into the only deep spot in the river! I was completely soaked and my wallet, camera, and range finder were soaked too! We realized our ?quick? trip had cut us out of eating pork chops at Beth?s. This was indeed a low-point for the whole squad.
Then we did the unthinkable?We abandoned ship! Due to complete exhaustion, we pulled the boat up into the woods and walked out. Our ?quick? trip ended up lasting 8 hours and I was beaten, battered, and thirsty! The only thing to do in this situation was to laugh about it. We laughed and had fun despite all the river threw at us on our float trip. Shortly thereafter, we went and ate a nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Pageland and talked about our fun-filled-day. This was definitely one hunt we will never forget. During the whole river trip we never heard a single gobble! I guess we all have bad days and this was one of mine!
Someone is going to be walking down the river and come up on an old john boat and wonder how it got there. All I can say is take it?It?s yours! You haul it out and you got a boat?.that is, if you get back to it before I do!
Even though no turkey was harvested on their trip, Jimmy the guys definitely had a trip to remember. I?m glad that I didn?t have to haul the boat over all those rocks, but I?ve done similar things before in my life! Jimmy says John and Tyler were troopers even through the blunders of the last day of hunting. So congratulations to them for being soldiers in the backwoods of SC!
Though the last day of hunting turned out pretty rough, we applaud Jimmy for donating a trip to Hunting for a Cure and also encourage you to do so if you can. If you would like to get involved with Hunting for a Cure, contact email@example.com and tell them we sent you.
In the mean time, I think I may go and find me a free john boat!
There are a few fruitful ways you can hunt bears using dogs. Having a very much prepared pack of well-trained hunting dogs is certainly necessary. A large portion of local people who hunt here utilize Tree Plotts, Walkers, Black and Tans, and Red Bones and cross breeds between these sorts of pooches.
Preparing for the bear season, regardless of the possibility that you have a later opening date, is not under any condition. It is a basic stride in enhancing the chances that your season will be a decent one. While you still have sufficient time for planning and executing a decent technique, there's no opportunity to squander. Let us take a look at some hunting strategies that can assist in your bear hunting.
Study the Area
Try as much as possible to study your hunting territory. You can cross reference the particular territories with wildlife maps of the local division. This will assist you in determining the possible units you can hunt. There is a custom map showing an outline of hunting units in every state.
Scout for Bear Sign
The key is to scout for is a sign of the bear in the territory. Incorporated into this are zones where there are various rubs and possibly what are usually referred to as territory markings or line scratches. Taking a closer look and properly monitoring the signs gives you the assurance that the bears have a particular mission around that areas. Likewise, essentially searching for colossal tracks is a decent thing to do.
Follow the Food Source
Locate the bears by following the food sources. Bears are often capable of eating several food varieties including large calorie sources for gaining summer fat. Grizzly bears live in the higher country. You can find these on rock faces amid the summer months. They have the ability to peel rocks. They often do this when looking for insects and protein rich moths.
Black bears are cunning and often make use of a variety of food sources. They hunt game, forage for insects and plants, and also target human trash. Brown bears inhabit low elevations. They hunt forage or moose until salmon arrives. With these food sources, you should have an idea of where you can find your bear.
Hunt with a Companion
You can come with a buddy in your truck. Most of these trucks usually contain space for one or two more people, in case you will like a companion to come along during the hunt. One of the hunters can keep on tracking the most part tracks the bear race while the others attempt to take off the bear before it crosses another street in the region. It is not strange for people to have their own particular brilliant "mystery code" to transfer to their mates where the bear is going in order to deflect some other people in the range from turning on their bear.
Use hounds or hunting Dogs coupled with excellent driving skills
One technique which numerous hunters favor requires a decent, well-trained hunting dog and truck which is fixed with a platform in which the dog is able to ride upon. The strike pooch rides on the outside of the truck on a platform and the hunter drives here and there the hunting territory until the hunting dog begins yelping showing that it has scented the bear or hunt. The hunter can then discharge the dog and its pack to take the trail.
It requires seeing and listening to which way the pack is going and attempting to drive to the territory that the bear may cross and block it. This frequently requires a considerable amount of quick paced driving here and there across the hunting territory, or until the hunting dogs have been able to tree the bear.
Driving your truck on backwoods, rugged country roads requires magnificent driver abilities. As you keep on driving, try as much as possible to pay special attention to other dogs or vehicles on the road. You may have to drive fast and carefully, but not roughly. In case you admire a ton of excitement, this is a good bear hunting strategy for you.
In the event that you don't have a decent hunting dog, you can likewise drive all over the hunting area hoping to see where a bear has descended or moved up a bank. A talented hunter can differentiate between new sign and a track which is old. However, the mutts will alarm you to a new track.
Furthermore, time and travel length often vary on a decent bear race. The bear will attempt to make tracks in an opposite direction from the canines and will attempt to look for a decent cover territory. The bear will attempt to put however much distance between itself and the hunting dogs as could be expected. Yet, in the event that they're excessively hot on his trail, he may attempt to move up a tree or go down against a fallen log. The bear may also rock bluff challenging the dogs to a fight.
Equip your dogs with radar tracking collars
Many canines are outfitted with radar tracking collars and can be followed to see which way they are going in the event that they go far away from the hearing range. A few collars even come with a "tree switch" which fills the hunter in as to whether they are simply running or they are treed.
Another technique is driving a few decent trail mutts into a range where a bear has been located, goes to sleep or feeds and turning them towards a new track. This requires getting out and strolling in the forested areas in bumpy landscape and requires direct physical condition and stamina on the part of the hunter.
A large portion of the hunter often makes use of no less than 4 or 5 pooches to a pack. However, the chase is started with about two or three great lead mutts. A good hunting dog will promptly fill you in as to whether it's a crisp track and whatever is left of the pack can be turned free on the bear. The blood pumping, adrenalin hurrying race is then on and it's a matter of attempting to stay aware of the pack of hunting dogs until they either stop or tree the bear.
The bigger, more established bears tend to stroll along and battle the canines on the ground, though a more youthful, littler bear will climb a tree to get away from the mutts. Pursuing a pack of canines in lush rocky territory unquestionably requires wearing exceptionally agreeable boots. This is additionally an extremely effective approach to hunting the bears.
Still hunting, often referred to as spot and stalk hunting is another technique you can use for hunting bears in South Carolina. However, this usually proves to be quite difficult as a result of the range habits of the bears. The region is thickly lush, rugged and may have areas which have been clear cut in earlier years. Since hunting bear with bait is not allowed, the hunter is often required to get out into a region where bears are probably going to be found and begin glancing around for signs of fresh bear tracks.
Take a precise shot
Once you are sure of the target, place the shot directly behind the bear’s front shoulder. This location makes it possible for your bullet to penetrate through the skin, into the delicate organs. It is with this you can quickly kill the bear. You can hunt using a rifle, handgun, bow, or shotgun. Rifle scopes may not be required. You can take your shots from 40 – 50 yards.
Knowing more about bears, habits, the hunting territory, what they eat, and lots more is an essential to an effective bear hunt. Pre-scouting a region to search for the bear sign is additionally essential. Perfect natural surroundings comprise of old woods with hardwoods containing an assortment of bushes and trees. Bears require broad, tough territories with thick bushes, for example, rhododendron, mountain shrub, and rock outcroppings. Bears also like swampy areas having lots of space to widely travel.
Bears are omnivorous. Their eating routine essentially comprises of insects, hard and delicate mast, animal waste, as well as succulent plants. The quantity and types of food bears eat usually differ from season to season. It is often determined by the availability of food and seasonal activities. It is not bizarre to see bears move to territories of lower elevations in search of food when the quantity of food or crops available in the region of higher elevation is not adequate enough.
The rise of thermal technologies coupled with the increase in coyotes and wild (feral) hogs has led to a growth in night hunting! Night hunting is a very different experience from the hunting many of us grew up with and it is addictive. If you night hunt long enough you realize that taking pics of coyotes, hogs, or whatever else you may be hunting at night… well, it’s not easy. Early last year we shot some big hogs, but the photos never did them justice. We struggled with dark, blurry, grainy and pixelated pics for a while before I decided to try and learn more about taking night pics. In this blog, I’m going to share some tips I’ve learned after a year of failing, learning, and making some progress with night pics.
Why Take the Time to Take Good Pics?
One may wonder, why should I invest time and likely money in taking quality pics (for both day and night that is). Taking good pics helps to capture the moment. These high-end pics can be printed, framed, and they help make memories last longer. Quality pics also help give hunting a good perception among non-hunters. The small details that are considered when taking quality pics go a long way to shape the view of hunters in the public, which can ultimately help to recruit more outdoorsmen.
In today’s social-media-driven-world everybody wants content. Tech professionals say “Content is king” and great night hunting pics definitely provide quality content that helps increase your reach online and shapes your personal brand. My advice is to take the time to do it right. You may be in a hurry to get to the next hunting location, but you won’t regret it in the long run when your pics come out looking awesome!
Example Night Hunting Pics
So, what do I mean by “high-end night hunting photos” … here are a few samples of some of my better ones from this past year. There are definitely better night hunting pics than these out there, but these examples are simply to help get you thinking about what I’m describing.
Now that you’ve seen a few sample images, let’s get to the point already and discuss what you need and how you can take pics like this too!
What You Need
If you’re going to do it right then you’ll need some gear. Without trying to tell you exactly what specific models to buy, here’s a general list of items you will need:
Before You Even Turn the Camera On
Before we get to the details of the camera and lights, let's think about a hunting scenario. Let's say you've got some fur on the ground. The next thing to do is to look at your surroundings and the sky. Consider the landscape, horizon, moon, stars, and any ambient light in the scene that may affect a photo. Visualize the scene you want and look for what would make a good setting for your pic. Even before we see hogs or coyotes I’m usually looking up at the sky and my surroundings and thinking of where and how I would set up for a pic should we get lucky and get something. Sometimes I tell the guys, “We really need to get something tonight because we’ve got an awesome sky for a pic.”
Tip: Use elements of the location. That is, if you’re on a farm, then consider getting the tractor in the pic or using hay bales to convey your location to the viewer. Below are two example pics where we used elements of the location to convey that we were hunting on a farm.
Light the Scene
Let’s say that you’ve got some fur on the ground, you’ve mentally visualized the pic you want to take and now it’s time to actually do it. Once you’ve got your game and scene framed how you want the next step is to light the scene. Since we’ve got to illuminate the scene so will need some lights.
I use litra torches because they are very bright, small (easy to carry), and rugged. There are other options out there as well, just do some Googling if you want. You could even use a flashlight and light paint with it as well. Ultimately, the more light you have the better chances of your pic turning out well.
I have 3 litra torches and I wear one on my head and hand the other 2 to my fellow hunters. I’m in the middle and I position the other hunters on each side about 5 yards away. I want light coming in from every direction possible.
When we start the exposure, we all “light paint” which means that we move the lights around waving them up and down, side to side, back and forth with the goal being to eliminate shadows in the background of the pictures. These shadows will come from the gun(s), tripod(s), trees, animals, or anything else that could block the light.
Camera Setup & Settings
Make sure the tripod is seated firmly in the ground because we must take multiple pics from the exact same location. You don’t want the tripod or camera to move AT ALL between pics. One time I took pics in a wet, muddy environment and the tripod sunk about an inch between shots and it made post-production a lot more difficult. So be sure to get the tripod on solid ground and that all your knobs are tightened down as much as they can be. I’m currently using a Manfrotto 190 Go, but any good tripod will suffice.
Level the Scene
Nothing is worse than taking a pic that is crooked. Most modern cameras will show you if they are level or not. Move the camera and ball head until it is level. This is a step that’s easy to forget so be sure to include it in your mental checklist.
Shutter Speed, ISO, Aperture
I’m not a camera guru by any means so I’m not trying to explain all of these settings to you. If you want to learn more about those check out any tutorial about this subject on the internet. Ultimately, we want our settings to allow for a well exposed photo and depending on several variables the settings will be different.
Shoot in Delay
The pushing of the camera button can cause the camera to slightly move, bounce, shake, or vibrate. For long exposure photography this is not good as that slight movement can cause your image to be blurry. Most cameras have a 2, 5, or 10 second delay that you can enable. I use a 2 second delay so that I can push the button and 2 seconds later the exposure starts. This removes vibration or movement of the camera caused by me pushing the button.
Pulling Focus in Manual Focus Mode (in the dark)
Pulling focus is not easy to do in the daytime, much less at night. However, this is a critical step for having a good pic. Once I’ve got the scene set, I’ve given the lights to my fellow hunters, and I’ve got my settings how I want, I then pull focus. My crew has hunted with me so long they know the drill. They start asking “You ready to pull focus?”.
You need to flip the camera into manual focus because auto-focus will constantly move around which is problematic at night. Once you’re in manual focus mode and your friends have your scene lit for you, then spin your focus ring to get your focus just right. I always take the first pic focusing on the animals that we’ve just harvested. I take 1 to 2 pics and I may adjust my camera settings in between.
One thing I’m always sure to do is to review the photo as soon as you take it. Zoom in and look around making sure the pic is focused. And you must do this without moving the camera. Once I’m sure the focus is good, we move on to the next pics.
Focus Stacking - It’s Multiple Pics Combined into One
Viewers may not realize it, but the final pic is actually 2 to 3 pics that are composited together in post-production. This technique is referred to as “Focus Stacking” and it can yield some awesome results, but it can be easily overdone. Generally speaking, I take 2 or 3 pictures depending on available light:
In the end I’m taking the pics and using image editing software (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) to merge the pics, each with different focus points, into one. This final image will ensure that the areas the viewer’s eyes go to will be in focus and produce a quality image.
Here is an example of 2 images I took with different focal points and the final pic which is both images combined into one.
Focus Plane on the coyote’s face & gun
Focus on the background horizon
The Final Edited, Composite Image
Here’s an example of 3 images I took that I edited into one
Focus on the Humans in the Pic
Focus on the Hog, Tractor, & Guns
Focus on the Horizon Line
The Final Composite Image
Shoot in Raw
Modern cameras can shoot in RAW. I always shoot in RAW as this gives me more ability to edit in post-production. Pixels can be better manipulated in the RAW format.
Note: If you have an iPhone you know that the recent phones have strong image editing capabilities. You can go in and edit all kinds of things before saving the image. This is the same principle as shooting in RAW.
Edit in a Photo-Editing Software
Once you’ve gotten the pics taken you’ve got the hard part done! Now the only thing that remains is to edit the pics in whatever image editing solution you choose. And editing these pics is a whole different conversation because there are so many options. Any image editing program will provide you with the fine grain controls that you want/need to get you to a final picture similar (and hopefully better) than the ones I’ve shared above.
I hope you’ve found this information and some of the tips we’ve learned over time useful. It’s definitely an art and I’m still learning. Taking these types of night hunting pics does require one to slow down and focus, but it is worth it in the end. If you venture into night hunting photography, be sure to share your pics we’d love to see them.
In the most recent news and events we?ve seen how countries in the Middle East have used, and are using, Twitter, Facebook, & YouTube to organize, communicate, and overthrow governments, regimes, and dictators. The internet has increased social connectivity and is changing the fabric of many cultures around us. The same principle of technology being used to change the dominant narrative within a society parallels a shift currently going on within the outdoor industry.
Narrowing the focus, I?m specifically talking about how online video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo are changing the outdoor industry as they relate to hunting and fishing TV shows. What change you ask? Well, it?s not quite so evident yet, but as technology becomes more integrated into the lives of outdoorsmen it will become more noticeable. To further investigate this notion let?s look at the current dominant narrative, the disruption, and the resulting model that is arising out of the disruption.
The Dominant Narrative Currently, hunting and fishing TV shows are watched by many outdoorsmen on networks like the Outdoor Channel, ESPN Outdoors, the Pursuit Channel, Versus, and other networks similar in programming. These shows consist of quality footage, professional editing, and action packed content. The TV shows are fun to watch and they set the bar high for what trophy animals are in the outdoor world, they introduce new products, and give informative tips to the viewing audience. Many of these TV shows are made possible via the contributions of sponsors and other organizations that have a vested financial interest in the success of these shows. The sponsors and networks also have a financial interest in the success of the personalities they spend tons of marketing money creating. These shows reach their target audience sitting on a couch in a living room taking in the action?and yes, I?m an audience member too! This is the model that we have grown accustomed to expect and accept.
The positives for this model are obvious?quality content delivered directly to the target audience. However, there are some drawbacks to this model as well that can easily go unnoticed. Some flaws for this model are:
Cost - To have a show you must have financial backing or support from sponsors. Essentially it takes money to produce, edit, and buy the air time for the show. Thus, the need for financial backing from sponsors is never-ending. This model means you have to have money in order to have a show, to have your products(s) featured on a show, or to be a personality on a show. This model is expensive and makes it difficult for budding entrepreneurs and smaller organizations to get product placement in these ?prime time? shows. The barrier created by the necessary financial backing is a strong deterrent for many trying to ?break in? to the industry whether they have product(s), talent, or wisdom they aspire to share with the outdoor world. Many really neat products or bits of knowledge have never received high amounts of exposure simply because the people behind them couldn?t foot the bill to get publicity on this level of shows. It?s an understandable dynamic and it?s also becoming an outdated one.
No Exposure for Grass Roots Hunters ? Do you know someone in your local area who is an avid or exceptional hunter? I do and I also know that their knowledge and experiences could make for some good TV material?or at least content good enough to draw interest in the outdoor community. In the current model, these exceptional, local hunters won?t get much exposure. I also know some guys who were pushing to have their own hunting show on TV, but they eventually gave up as they couldn?t get enough financial backing to make it possible. The current model within the outdoor TV show industry makes it nearly impossible for grass-roots hunters to get exposure and promote their ways of hunting or fishing, their knowledge, and wisdom.
Authenticity ? In today?s society we seek authenticity...realness? and we can easily pick up on it when something or someone doesn?t seem to be 100% real. It?s not that hunters on TV are viewed as fake, but we, in the back of our minds, always think that these guys are hunting on a ranch somewhere or that they?re hunting in a pen. Whether they are or not is yours to decide. I?m sure you?ve heard outdoorsmen talking about how their hunting/fishing experiences ?aren?t like the hunting/fishing you see on TV? and this statement alludes to the notion that outdoor TV shows don?t accurately represent real life examples that they experience during hunting or fishing season. Whether the outdoor show is 100% real or not, the perception of the viewer often times leans towards the less authentic side of the argument. And as you know, perception is reality.
Lack of Availability & Sharing ? TV shows run on a schedule. You can easily figure this out by looking on your program guide in the newspaper or on your network?s program guide. You can also record programs and watch them at a later time. These are neat features for TV, but it still lacks in a few areas. You can?t watch these programs on a mobile device as easily. You can?t ?like? or ?share? or embed or search for and easily find these videos so that you can effortlessly share them with others. If the shows aren?t seen on TV then they?re not as easily accessible for viewing. Sharing and searching is out of the question as well in the current model.
The Disruption Enter YouTube and Vimeo. In this day and age anybody with a video camera can easily post videos for the world to see. The ability to document events on video and post them online has caused drastic changes in the way we communicate and share videos and media.
The videos posted on YouTube & Vimeo reach their target audience wherever they are via their mobile devices, Iphones, Droids, Ipads, Galaxy Tabs, computers, etc. We can consume these videos at work or at home. Though, the target audience for consumption of these videos is a mobile generation that?s constantly on the move, has a short attention span, is accustomed to interacting with media, and spends more time online than they do watching TV.
The online videos are instantly searchable, shareable, ?likeable?, embeddable, measurable, and they have the ability to go viral very quickly. These features are the same features that TV lacks. The new generations of hunters are pushing this disruption and in doing so are contributing, video by video, to the paradigm shift that is being observed. The end result will be a new, blended model in the way outdoorsmen consume videos and consequently a new way for marketers to reach their target audiences will be created along with the possibility for anyone to become a well known outdoorsmen.
The New Shifted Model The new model for video content consumpetion will consist of a blend of hunting TV shows that air on networks as well as prominent hunters who present their video content in an online, shareable, searchable, measurable, and ratable format. This new blended model has several benefits for many involved in this industry. Some of those benefits are:
More authentic/genuine content ? There is just something about a home video that gives an authentic feel. Whether it?s the bloopers or bumps of the cameras or moments of unsteady handling, when I view one of these videos I feel like the video is genuine. I feel like I have something in common with the person shooting the video and that common link is that the creator of this video is an everyday hunter/fisher just like me. It may just be me, but I feel that I can identify more with someone a few miles down the road from me with a hand-held camera than I can with someone hunting in a distant state harvesting deer/turkeys that are unrealistic animals for my area. This new, blended model will give me both types of content that I can consume. I can see the fancy editing and high-dollar product placement on TV as well as being able to see online content that I feel I can identify with on a greater level.
Cheaper marketing of sponsoring organizations - Along with working with ?big names? in the hunting TV show industry, sponsoring organizations will become more open to working with grass-roots hunters to have their products featured in their YouTube and Vimeo videos. Why would an organization reach out to the ?good old boys? who post YouTubes & Vimeos? They will do this for several reasons with the main one being that the cost will be much cheaper while the reach will become much further. Instead of having to pay for air time, editing, production, and backing high-costing TV personalities, organizations will easily save money and also work with local hunters to feature their products in the blogs and/or videos of the grass-roots outdoorsmen. They may donate products to these hunters or work some agreement up for promotions, but whatever they do will be cheaper for them than what they?re currently doing. The smaller entrepreneurs will start to jump on this and will start reaching the grass roots hunters and will cover ground in this arena earlier than the large organizations will because it is initially more attractive to them. The big boys will be a little behind, but they will catch up once they take note of the shift and start operating in the new blended model. Also, initiating change within a large organization takes more time so it will take the larger organizations more time to adjust.
Large organizations and smaller entrepreneurs will now both be able to benefit by receiving publicity and promotions from this new, blended model. Since viewers of the next generations will increasingly seek authentic videos from people they can identify with ?and will access the content where they spend most of their time (online)? the new generation of consumers will lean more toward online video than they will hunting TV shows. When consumers change where they?re viewing their media then so will the location of marketing change somewhat for the sponsors and organizations promoting products.
Increasing quality of videos - When hunters start understanding the ripple effects of the new, blended model they will start producing higher quality home videos. Just look at what has taking place on our site within this past year. Hunters are now carrying video cameras in the woods and are commentating while they video when possible. The videos submitted by our site users and bloggers are getting better all the time as well (and so are the available tools for creating videos). Hunters are spending more time documenting and editing the videos from their hunts. Current video editing software allows for some great, creative videos in the end. Over time more and more hunters will have better software and will produce higher quality videos and they will post them online! Organizations are noticing and are starting to donate products for our bloggers to field test and blog about. It?s cheap for them and the grass-roots outdoorsmen directly interface with the audience they want to reach which, in our case, is the audience of our fellow outdoorsmen here on the site!
Increased Exposure for Grass Roots Hunters ? Through these video sharing sites, local hunters will have an avenue to share their stories. In the new, blended model hunters will easily be able to reach greater size audiences (at the audience?s convenience too). The barrier for getting exposure will no longer be determined by the amount of financial backing that you can obtain from sponsors. Because of this increased level of content sharing hunting, knowledge, and wisdom will be more readily available. In short, anyone can create a YouTube or Vimeo channel and begin building their credibility and reputation online. Just go to Derek?s YouTube channel and tell me that you don?t see content that is intriguing to you?and this will happen to a whole generation of outdoorsmen who are figuring this out just like we are.
Ease of Availability - A TV show may air a couple of times. A YouTube/Vimeo video will always be there and is accessible 24-7. It?s way more convenient to find a video via Google search at your leisure than it is to find a TV show and be present when it airs or either DVR it and watch it later. Another intriguing fact about online video is the possibility for the video to ?go viral? and quickly circulate the net. Users can access these vides on any device and can connect from virtually any location. Its real time and it?s social and it?s easy.
More easily measurable ? Video views are quickly and easily measurable. I know TV shows have the Nielsen ratings and other methods of finding out viewer stats, but seeing how many views a video has on YouTube or Vimeo is way more easily accessible than waiting for ratings to come out and find out how many people watched a specific show. The view count on YouTube & Vimeo is as close to real-time insight as one can get. The ?view-count? on each video is a direct signal as to the visibility an outdoorsman is receiving and it?s easily available to both the sponsors and the hunters. The transparency reveals the truth and the stats can?t be manipulated. These quick and easy metrics help sponsoring organizations make an easy assessment of the value of working with various outdoorsmen.
Conclusion Don?t mistake what I?m saying here? I don?t think hunting shows are going to end because I think there?s a place and demand for them. I?m just saying that over time they won?t be in as high of demand. I think this change will become more evident in the coming years, but you can see it happening already if you simply look around. Just look on YouTube and search for hunting or fishing videos and you?ll see a ton of outdoorsmen having their own ?shows? via their YouTube or Vimeo Channels. Outdoorsmen are picking up on it and the sponsors are slowly starting to as well and they should!
What means more to you?? seeing someone on TV shoot a deer/turkey on a ranch in a distant state or seeing one of your fellow South Carolinians bag a good buck or turkey on a YouTube video?
The shift has begun.
This past weekend some of the WeHuntSC.com team members went coyote hunting with Terry Williams. Last deer hunting season we got a lot of coyotes on our game cameras and frequently see dead coyotes in the road on the way to and from a certain track of land. So, this year we decided to try to hunt some of these ?Wylie Coyotes?.
Terry's coyote decoy
Terry's custom coyote "Howl Call"
I went duck hunting with Marty Smith & his son Josh Smith this past weekend. I showed up with only myself and a gun and Marty outfitted me with some waiters (which had a hole in them) and some bullets to shoot. I was a little unprepared I guess you could say, but I did have both of my stamps! Marty?s property backs into a swamp which is a creek that is dammed up by some beavers. It?s been there forever and I used to hunt there with Marty a lot when I was in middle school and high school. Since college and going back and forth to Europe I hadn?t been able to go in a while, but now I?m back in the game so to speak. I arrived to the shed a little early and took some pictures of Marty?s duck hunting home base. You scan see them below. It?s an old shed that is just what you would imagine it is and is just right for duck hunting. I like the feel of that shed...maybe because it throws me back to days when I was kid going hunting with the older guys or maybe because of the antique feel to it. I've heard many stories told in this shed as we would get ready to go hunting and then talk about how we missed ducks after the hunts. I assure you that no exaggerations have ever been made in this shed before!
Soon Marty and Josh arrived and we got our gear on and headed down to the swamp. We got out there before daylight and crossed a few dams. We had to get out a time or two and pull the boat over and then get back in. Eventually we paddled up into some cattails and wedged the boat in there real tight. He?s got some old burlap type of material in the boat that we use camouflage by draping it all over the boat. We also bent the cattails over the edges of the boat too. This really helped blend us into the swamp environment which is necessary because ducks eyes are so sharp that it?s critical to be well camouflaged. The day before Marty and Josh had shot a mallard, a wood duck, and a teal. I was hopeful that we would get some similar, good action, but in the end there were only 2 ? 4 ducks that flew in that we could see, but yet they were too far away to get a good shot. So I think I?m the ultimate jinx or something. Maybe they'll be better luck next time. Even though we didn?t get a good shot on a duck, it felt good to be out there in the swamp and to see some ducks fly again. I?m sure in time we?ll have a blog entry with some ducks on it. There is just something that is unique about being out their watching steam come off the water and hearing the distant call of a wood duck or a mallard. It?s a different feel for hunting than you get in a deer stand. One of those different feelings is the feeling of a wet sock when your waiters have a hole in them! Having a wet feet in a swamp doesn?t help you stay warm! Oh the joy, but it was a good experience and a good change of pace from sitting in a tree!
Anyway, I did shoot 2 videos that are up on our YouTube Channel and I have embedded them below.
360 View of our duck blind setup
Marty Smith calling in some mallards
Some pics from the morning