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Self Filming A Turkey Hunt

By Tracy Breen

 

Tim Wells, host of the TV show, Relentless Pursuit, spends a lot of time self-filming.   His action-packed footage of killing everything from pigs and frogs to deer and other big game animals has made him extremely popular over the years.  Tim spends a fair amount of time filming his own hunts, including turkey hunts.  Filming turkeys can be difficult.  Below, Wells explains a few of his favorite filming techniques when he is filming turkeys by himself.   
 
THE POP UP BLIND ADVANTAGE


When filming on his own, Wells prefers sitting in a pop-up blind in a strutting zone or a well-traveled area where he knows gobblers love hanging out.  “Running and gunning can be difficult when trying to film my own turkey hunts.  My favorite tactic is to be on a field edge or strutting zone during the morning and wait for a gobbler to show up.  It isn’t always as exciting as running and gunning, but when a bird comes in, my camera is all set and I can film the action by myself,” Wells explained.
 
USE A HEN DECOY


Putting out hen and Jake decoys is a favorite tactic of many turkey hunters, but Wells prefers leaving the Jake decoy at home. “When a tom comes running into my setup, I want him to strut around for the hen and let me film him close to the decoy. When I use a Jake decoy, the tom always comes in looking for a fight and although the footage can be action-packed, the tom is often running back and forth and coming in and out of view which can create very choppy footage. This is why I prefer putting a hen really close to my blind, calling softly, and enticing a tom to come in close,” Wells added.
 
STALKING LONGBEARDS


Wells spends a lot of time bowhunting turkeys. When he isn’t sitting in a blind waiting on a tom, he stalks turkeys with his bow.  “Many hunters like stalking strutting birds and shoot them at a few steps.  When I hunt like this, I use a GOPro 5 or 6 that has 4K capabilities.  I attach the camera to my bow and hunt.  Because these cameras offer 4K, I can zoom in extra close when I am editing the footage and still have a high quality film,” Wells said.  
 
CALL SOFTLY


According to Wells, the key to filming turkey hunts is calling softly and just enough to bring a tom in extra close. “Hunters should not over call.  Over calling keeps the gobbler on the limb in the early morning hours or just out of range if he is on the ground.  When a bird hears lots of excited calling, they stop and strut.  The bird typically hangs up and doesn’t come in,” Wells advised.  Wells prefers playing hard to get and calls just enough to get the bird to come in close.  “My favorite shot to take when bowhunting longbeards is a head shot.   It’s a quick, clean kill.”  In order for Wells to pull off a head shot, he prefers that the bird is ten yards away or less.  “A  close shot is easy to make and produces exciting footage.”  
Are you hoping to get a great turkey hunt on film this year?  Take a few tips from Tim Wells and you might find yourself smiling over a longbeard in the near future.


Four Tips That Will Help You Produce Better Turkey Hunting Footage

BY TRACY BREEN

 


Turkey hunting can be a lot of fun. Filming a turkey hunt, on the other hand, can be difficult especially if you want to create footage that other people will want to watch. “Turkeys never stop moving,” Grant Woods, the host of GrowingDeerTV said. “As a result, we are constantly moving our cameras, our gear, and ourselves to try to get into position for a good shot and to record high quality footage.” Below are a few tips from Grant to help hunters record better turkey hunting footage.
 
TRIPOD TRICKS


For starters, Woods prefers using the Fourth Arrow Rex arm when filming turkey hunts. “When we use a regular tripod to film our hunts, we constantly have to move the tripod around to get footage of the turkey,” Woods said. “Because the Fourth Arrow Rex Arm can rotate 360 degrees, we can easily move the camera to capture footage of the moving bird without moving the tripod. It’s great! This eliminates the choppiness you sometimes see when filming turkeys as they walk and strut around, especially when hunting out of a blind. When just using a tripod, we have to move from window to window. With the Rex Arm, that problem is eliminated.”
 
USE A GOPRO


Using GoPro cameras is another way to get interesting footage of turkeys as they approach a decoy setup. Toms that are beating up on a jake decoy can make for entertaining footage, especially when a GoPro is only a few steps from the decoys. Fourth Arrow makes a GoPro stake that can be quickly and easily put into the ground by the decoys. Grant Woods likes to have GoPro’s facing him and the cameraman when he is turkey hunting. “Having a camera facing me and my cameraman provides another angle for viewers to watch. It allows them to see how we like to film our hunts. People like to see all the action from a variety of angles, so having a camera out in front of us facing back towards us works well,” Woods explained.
 
LET GO OF THE CAMERA


Another thing Woods does to increase the quality of his footage is lets his camera man know a few seconds before shooting a tom that is he is about to pull the trigger so the cameraman can take his hands off the camera and the tripod. “It doesn’t matter how many times a cameraman has heard a gun go off. When I pull the trigger, he always jumps. This typically produces shaky footage. To eliminate that problem, I will give a kee kee call a few moments before I pull the trigger. This alerts my camera man to take his hands off the camera so the camera won’t shake,” Woods added.
 
DECOY TRICKS


When the hunting gets tough and Woods needs to leave his blind to run and gun, he brings Montana Decoys and cloth to cover his camera and tripod and hits the woods. “One more way people can increase the quality of their footage is by being mobile. We use lightweight decoys, and bring cloth to cover our cameras so we don’t spook birds. As a result, birds often come in close which gives us great footage. Being lightweight is necessary when filming turkeys.”
Because a turkey doesn’t have a unique rack like a deer or enormous antlers like an elk, watching turkey hunts on TV or online can be somewhat boring. Hunters who film their hunts can increase the entertainment value by showing the hunt from a variety of angles and by making sure the footage is steady and clear throughout the film.

Bowhunting Longbeards with Levi Morgan

BY TRACY BREEN

 
When it comes to the sport of archery and bowhunting, many consider Levi Morgan to be one of the greatest that has ever lived. He consistently kills big animals and consistently finds himself on the podium at tournaments. Spring is right around the corner and Morgan is preparing for turkey season. “I love turkey hunting with a bow.  It is fun and challenging. People think turkey hunting is easy, but it can be extremely difficult when you are bowhunting them,” Morgan said.
 
SHOT PLACEMENT IS KEY


One of the toughest things about bowhunting turkeys is they have a knack for disappearing after the shot. “You can shoot one and watch the arrow disappear into the bird only to watch as the bird flies or runs off, never to be seen again,” Morgan noted. Because of that, Morgan prefers shooting a turkey right above the drumsticks. “Some bowhunters love shooting them in the head.  That’s a great option, but the margin for error is extremely small. I prefer shooting them two inches above the drumsticks. This takes out the chest cavity and takes out their legs so they can’t fly or run.”
 
MECHANICAL BROADHEADS


One way Morgan increases his odds of success is by using a broadhead that creates a devastating wound channel. “I like using the 2-blade Swhacker mechanical head that has a 3-inch cutting diameter. When that broadhead hits a turkey, it brings them down fast. Since it has such a large cutting diameter, even if my shot is off a little, there is room for error when a broadhead has a 3-inch cutting diameter,” Morgan added.
 
DECOY TRICKS


To increase his odds of success, Morgan prefers taking extra close shots at birds. One of his favorite ways to get close to birds is attaching a decoy to the riser of his bow and stalking birds. “Last year, I customized a Primos B-mobile decoy so it could easily be attached to my bow. I had a fan and everything on my bow. I had the body of the decoy cut just right so I could use my sight and rest without the decoy interfering with my setup. It worked great! Birds would charge me and I would shoot them at 10-15 feet. I love hunting longbeards this way; it is a ton of fun,” Morgan exclaimed.
 
Regardless if you hunt turkeys by stalking them or calling them in, getting them close before you take the shot is fun and increases your odds of success. This spring, shoot a large mechanical head, aim right above the drumsticks, and get close before taking the shot.  Maybe Thanksgiving dinner will be served early this year.

Fourth Arrow Introduces Pillar Kit for Hunting Blinds

By Tracy Breen

 

Fourth Arrow Camera Arms is proud to introduce the new Pillar Camera Arm Kit. The Pillar Kit was designed to be used with a variety of hunting blinds including box blinds, tower blinds and soft-sided popup blinds.


Most hunters who film their hunts from a blind put their camera on a large cumbersome tripod that can take up a lot of room in a blind and is difficult to maneuver at the moment of truth. The Pillar Camera Arm Kit eliminates those problems, thanks to its space saving design. The kit includes a Fourth Arrow monopod, Blind Bracket, Rex Arm, and Tripod Adapter. You can choose from one of the following arms: The Raptor or Cha Cha Slider.


The Blind Bracket can be attached to a blind window or a horizontal shelf in a blind. The bracket combined with the monopod leg creates a stable platform for any camera weighing less than ten pounds. Along with the bracket and monopod, a Raptor Arm or Cha Cha Slider can be used to easily move the camera around quickly and quietly to film from almost any angle without having to move the bracket or monopod. The system can also be attached to the side of a soft-sided blind.


“Using a tripod when filming can be difficult at times, especially when an animal is moving fast in front of you,” said Dave Dykema from Fourth Arrow Camera Arms. “With the Pillar Kit, hunters can easily film all the action without worrying about getting poor footage or having to give up precious floor space in the blind. With this system, there is room for a hunter, a camera man, and all kinds of gear.”

Self Filming Tips with Tim Wells

 

By Tracy Breen

 

Self-filming a hunt isn’t very difficult. What is difficult is getting good footage that can be turned into a high-quality film. One hardcore hunter who spends a lot of time self-filming is Tim Wells from Relentless Pursuit TV. Wells films many of his own TV episodes so he knows about taking raw footage he filmed himself and turning it into a good looking TV episode. “For starters, I think every hunter who plans to film his own hunt needs a 4K camera.  With a 4K camera, a hunter can zoom in and show the animals they are filming when they are editing the film.  One of the biggest problems when people are self-filming is the animals are often way out in the middle of the woods or a field and you can’t see them very well when watching the footage.  With a 4K camera, this problem is solved because you can zoom in during the editing process so the viewers can see the action up close and personal.  There are several good 4K cameras on the market that don’t cost much money.  Everyone should have one,” Wells advised.

Wells also believes self-filming hunters should also have a 4K GoPro camera.  “With this camera, I can zoom in and make my point of view footage look better.  I like to have two cameras going and I want both of them to be 4K cameras,” Wells added.  

Marc Baird from Watermarc Productions believes having a second camera so the hunter can get a couple different angles is a must. “Having two cameras going tells more of the story,” Baird said. “It allows hunters to see what the animal is doing and allows people to see what the hunter is doing. If a person can’t afford a second camera, I suggest they go back after the shot and film some B-roll and add that in so the entire film isn’t just showing the woods and animals walking around.”

Another important thing when self-filming is making sure you use a camera arm that is easy to use when hunting and filming on your own. The Fourth Arrow Camera Arm system is easy to use and sets up quickly and quietly. The base and shoulder system is unique and easy to use.

Those who are filming their hunts with GoPro cameras or other point of view cameras will love the Fourth Arrow Outreach arm or ground stakes that are designed for filming with point of view cameras.

Self-filming a hunt can be challenging and rewarding. Hopefully the above tips will help you produce a better hunting film this fall.

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