In this episode, Todd Graf, owner of bowhunting.com and host of Bowhunt or Die, discusses how to properly film hunts and the equipment required to film hunts. He also discusses a few of his most memorable hunts, including the 192-inch giant he killed in Illinois several years ago.
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By Tracy Breen
Filming a kid’s first deer hunt or tenth deer hunt can be fun. Filming a youth hunt can help preserve the special memories of the hunt so years from now the kid and the adult who filmed the hunt can watch the special moments over and over. The problem is filming kids while they are hunting can be difficult. Kids don’t always want to be filmed. Filming a hunt can decrease the odds of success and even when all goes according to plan and a hunt is filmed properly, interviewing a youth hunter after the kill can be awkward for the parent and the kid.
All of us who hunt with kids want to create a film all our friends and family will want to watch because the film is fun and exciting, not because they feel obligated to watch it. Brodie Swisher, the editor of bowhunting.com spends countless days in the spring and fall filming his kids hunting. He shared a few tips with us.
Use More Than One Camera
He believes filming a hunt should never get in the way of a kid harvesting an animal. “Let’s face it; anyone who has filmed a few hunts knows that sometimes if you want great footage, an animal has to walk without being shot because you couldn’t get the shot on film. If my kids have a good shot at an animal, I let them take the shot regardless if I will get the shot on film or not.” Swisher explained. “However, I do everything I can to get the shot and the experience on film. I think the best thing a person filming can do is have several point of view cameras out and their main camera rolling at all times in an effort to capture the hunt and everything the kid is doing so a moment is never missed.”
Keep The Camera Rolling
Kids can be extremely animated when they are allowed to talk freely and act like kids. For that reason, Swisher keeps the cameras rolling and doesn’t do an Outdoor TV style interview. “I like to have a Gopro in the blind with me pointing at the kid and my main camera rolling at all times. I don’t tell my kids when the camera is rolling so everything they say - all the little moments - are caught on film and they can be relaxed and real. The moment I ask them interview style questions, kids often get strange and rigid and clam up, reducing the quality of the film.” By keeping the camera rolling at all times, I often catch the real and raw emotion kids have after a shot.”
Hunt From A Blind
Regardless if Swisher is filming a youth hunter turkey hunting or deer hunting, he prefers to hunt from a blind. “Hunting from a blind allows me to communicate with my kids before the shot and it allows me to move the camera and gear around without getting busted by critters. Filming a kid in a treestand is more difficult. One great thing about filming a kid in a blind is we can talk freely back and forth and capture a lot of great moments on film. Best of all, Fourth Arrow Camera Arms have a lot of camera arms and accessories that work well for filming out of a blind.”
Last but not least, Swisher says to keep things fun and exciting. “Most kids love filming and being on film if you make it fun. Filming for a hunting show can be stressful. When filming a kid, it is important to keep things lighthearted and fun so they enjoy it. If a kid has to do 20 takes, do a bunch of B-roll and gets in trouble if they don’t say the right things or mention the right sponsor, the film will suffer because they won’t act natural.”
Many hunters don’t keep the cameras rolling at all times when filming. Hunters often don’t like hunting from blinds. Many hunters only bring one camera in the field. For those who want to create a great film with a kid, get a blind, a couple cameras, plenty of extra batteries and go have fun.
In the last few years, hunting deer from a saddle has become extremely popular. Treestands will certainly always be the most popular way to hunt deer, but saddle hunting is creating a lot of buzz. One hunter who has been hunting deer from a saddle longer than most is Michigan hunter John Eberhart. Eberhart is a well-known writer and seminar speaker who specializes in killing mature bucks on public land. He started hunting from a saddle in 1981 and has never looked back. “I have published three books on whitetail hunting and in all three books, I discuss the advantages of hunting deer from a saddle.” Eberhart noted. “The advantages are many.”
KILL MORE BUCKS
For those who don’t understand what a tree saddle is, you have probably seen a lineman for an electric company use one. The person hangs in a cloth saddle and is tethered to a tree or pole so they can’t fall. In most cases, hunting from a saddle is safer than hunting from a treestand and far more versatile. “Most of the trophy class deer I have killed since 1981 have been killed while hunting from a saddle,” Eberhart said. “The majority of those bucks I wouldn’t have been able to kill if I was hunting from a treestand. When hunting from a saddle, I can hunt all the way around the tree I am in. A full 360 degrees. There are no blind spots. Regardless of which direction a buck comes from, I can get in position and shoot him.”
TREE SADDLE VERSATILITY
Another advantage of a saddle is how versatile it is. “Most treestand hunters have three or four treestands in trees and maybe they have a climber, but treestands are expensive and take a lot of time to setup,” Eberhart said. “I only have one saddle and have dozens of trees that are prepped and ready for hunting. I prep trees during the off season and all my trees are ready for me to hunt in during season. It is more cost effective and the number of spots I can hunt from during season are endless.”
ALMOST ANY TREE WILL WORK
When selecting a tree for a treestand, not every tree will work. Some trees are too crooked. Others have too many branches; others are too large in diameter. “When hunting from a saddle, I can hunt from almost any tree in the woods. When I find a good food source, runway or transition zone and I want to hunt near it, I can find a tree that fits my needs,” explained Eberhart. “A treestand hunter can’t say the same thing.”
HIDE BEHIND THE TREE
Another great benefit of hunting from a saddle is the odds of getting busted by a deer are greatly reduced. “I typically hunt facing the tree, so most of the time there is a tree between me and the deer I am trying to shoot. The tree breaks up my outline and allows me to draw my bow without getting busted,” said Eberhart.
A TREE SADDLE IS QUIET
A saddle is also quieter than a treestand. “A saddle is made of cloth and doesn’t make noise like a metal or aluminum treestand does. I can slip in and out of the woods without making noise, which is extremely important when hunting pressured public land bucks,” Eberhart noted.
HUNT AS HIGH IN THE TREE AS YOU LIKE
When hunting from a saddle, Eberhart can hunt from the nosebleed section. “I am not limited by a 15-foot ladder nor am I intimidated by being high in a tree because a saddle is so safe. Because of that, I often hunt 25 feet in a tree or more. Since I am so high in the tree, I rarely get busted by deer. When hunting from a saddle, the sky truly is the limit. I can hunt as high off the ground as I want. It is great,” Eberhart said.
The typical tree saddle tips the scales at a couple pounds. “Because a saddle is so lightweight, it is a great option for hunters who choose to hunt off the beaten path,” Eberhart said. “Even the lightest of treestands can be difficult to take into the woods if you are hunting a half mile or more off the road. A saddle is super light, easy to pack, and perfect for the deer hunter who wants to be lean and mean.”
It is important to note if you decide to purchase a tree saddle this fall, Fourth Arrow Camera Arms now has camera arm mobile/saddle kits that include a base and camera arm that are extremely lightweight and versatile. These kits were designed for the saddle hunter who wants to hunt off the beaten path and needs a camera arm kit that easily fits into a backpack.
Pic by Riske Outdoors
Fourth Arrow Brands, makers of Fourth Arrow Camera Arms, Wyndscent, and the Final Rest Shooting System is proud to announce their partnership with professional archer, Levi Morgan and Bowlife TV for 2020.
Levi Morgan is one of the most recognizable faces in the archery industry and his show, Bow Life, is extremely popular with bowhunters and archers across America. Fourth Arrow Camera Arms is proud to be part of his popular show. “Fourth Arrow Camera Arms are extremely versatile,” said Levi Morgan. “Whether I am filming a hunt from a treestand or filming from a blind, the Fourth Arrow Camera arm system is easy to setup, easy to use, and easy to transport.”
Levi spends most of his fall chasing big game animals across North America and utilizes Wyndscent products on all of his trips. “I use the Wyndscent Grenade when I need to check the wind and the Wyndscent unit when I am decoying big bucks. Wyndscent products are on the cutting edge of scent technology and outperform all the other scent products I have used in the past.”
When Levi is not out trying to fill his own tags, he is busy introducing his children to the sport of hunting. “When I take my son hunting, we often hunt from a blind. The Final Rest Shooting System really comes in handy when we are hunting with a crossbow,” said Morgan. “Kids need a stable shooting rest when they are hunting. It helps them aim properly and keep their confidence up. The Final Rest Shooting system is the ultimate shooting system for kids and adults. It is lightweight, packable, and doesn’t take up much space in a blind.”
Dean and David with Tag N’ Brag have been self filming hunts for years. This is a first in a series of self filming videos where they will be sharing some awesome tips and tricks. Turkey season is now upon us, and Dean and David share with us some great things they have learned by experience when it comes to self filming your turkey hunts. Enjoy!