Production of a TV Bowhunt Show
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
groundhunter50 09-Jan-22
midwest 09-Jan-22
t-roy 09-Jan-22
rattling_junkie 09-Jan-22
kentuckbowhnter 10-Jan-22
No Mercy 10-Jan-22
Slate 10-Jan-22
Pat Lefemine 10-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 10-Jan-22
jjs 10-Jan-22
KHNC 10-Jan-22
groundhunter50 10-Jan-22
Pat Lefemine 10-Jan-22
APauls 10-Jan-22
Bou'bound 10-Jan-22
[email protected] 10-Jan-22
Beav 10-Jan-22
Shiloh 10-Jan-22
Curt Wells 10-Jan-22
smurph 10-Jan-22
drycreek 10-Jan-22
Pat Lefemine 10-Jan-22
groundhunter50 10-Jan-22
Bandicooter 10-Jan-22
bigswivle 10-Jan-22
Mark S 10-Jan-22
JL 10-Jan-22
RD in WI 10-Jan-22
Ollie 10-Jan-22
standswittaknife 10-Jan-22
Grey Ghost 10-Jan-22
Jaquomo 10-Jan-22
bowhunter24 11-Jan-22
BTM 11-Jan-22
JL 11-Jan-22
bigswivle 11-Jan-22
standswittaknife 11-Jan-22
Snuffer 11-Jan-22
Curt Wells 11-Jan-22
midwest 11-Jan-22
Bowfreak 11-Jan-22
09-Jan-22
I just got done watching a mule deer bow hunt, no deer taken, in Nevada, with Hunt Master show, Greg Ritz..... How much time is needed to put a show like this, on film. Hard enough to hunt, let alone have a camera man ahead of you, filming as you climb etc.... The explanation from the hunter, on what is going on..... Guide services used to locate animals.........

It must be a big undertaking. I know there are guys on this site, that would know, or are involved in this...... This must take some funds, to put this all together

Just curious, this must not be easy to put together a show,,,,, How costly is it, and do they make any money on it??????????????

From: midwest
09-Jan-22
For Greg, it's takes a big investment in bait and fines.

From: t-roy
09-Jan-22
^^^Good one, Nick!! ;-)

09-Jan-22
Not much money in shows. Get yourself a camera and put some stuff on YouTube. Enjoy it but don't expect to make money off of it. Most of the big TV guys have successful businesses and do this a side project.

10-Jan-22
The best way to make a million in the hunting business is to go in with ten million and quit before u go broke.

From: No Mercy
10-Jan-22
took the words right out of my mouth Nick! I don't understand how this poacher has a show yet???

From: Slate
10-Jan-22
It’s tv most of it is BS. Can’t stomach any of it.

From: Pat Lefemine
10-Jan-22
Very few make money. Shockey, Crush, Bonecollecter, are the exception. Most try just to break even and some lose money. It’s hard to make a living in the bowhunting industry.

From: Grey Ghost
10-Jan-22
groundhunter50,

I've been involved in the production of a few made for TV hunts. The money comes primarily from sponsors. There are a number of different sponsorship deals that can be worked out. As stated above, most guys just hope to pay for their TV air time, which isn't cheap, and their hunting and video production costs. Basically a break even deal.

Some guys who have specific products to sell can take advantage of the commercial breaks to promote their products. But, again, they have to pay for that air time.

As for the actual production of the videos, it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. The shows I worked on involved just one camera basically following the hunter around and documenting whatever he did. The trick is being able to edit all that footage into 20 minutes of interesting viewing. As you've probably seen, some shows do a horrible job at that. The opposite extreme are shows that use multiple cameras and angles, drone footage, staged narration, etc...Those productions are more involved, obviously, but they generally produce a better quality show.

At one time, I thought outdoor show making would be a fun industry to get into, until I was actually involved in a few. There's a lot of less than honest editing that goes on. On one of the hunts the "celebrity" got a terrible case of buck fever and made a poor shot on one of our biggest bucks. We were never able to recover it. Of course, none of that made the final cut for the show, even though it was a huge part of the hunt.

Matt

From: jjs
10-Jan-22
Have a friend that mounted a TV buck twice before it was killed, it was a farm raised buck that had his sheds mounted. The buck was transported to the filming site for the kill shot, which the buck was drugged and it was mounted once last time. Rather spend the time in a good book than watching one of these promo shows.

From: KHNC
10-Jan-22
^^^Jimmy Houston killed that buck fair and square!!!! LOL

10-Jan-22
Grey Ghost, thanks for the information, always was curious about that. There are some good shows, that I enjoy. I like Shockey, and Eastman Bowhunting Journal. Bone Collector is not my cup of tea, but got to meet mr.Waddell once, he was very nice, and was great with the kids.......

From: Pat Lefemine
10-Jan-22
If anyone really knew what it’s like to work in the archery industry they would think twice about it. It’s definitely not what it used to be. And hunting TV is even worse.

You’re far better making money doing something else and spend it on hunting.

From: APauls
10-Jan-22
It's a means to expense high dollar hunts ;) And if you don't know what it means to expense something watch Seinfeld lol

From: Bou'bound
10-Jan-22
I'd love to hear stories from people in the know on this topic. the few examples i have been told by outfitters who have hosted celbs are often very surprising. Some good ones for sure, but some messed up one's as well.

One of the top shows came multiple years to hunt in UT for early season mule deer and scored the first three times out in gthe week booked. Good people, but they wanted to take over the camp while they were in it. the fourth year they came across a monster muley and the total focus became that one deer. One week got extended to two with pressure to basically shut down the rest of the camp on week 2 so the people could get the target deer. after the second week the hunter wanted to stay a third since he had not killed it yet and he was told no. no more hunting and the camp was going back to normal.

they left and the deer was shot a little later in gun season by a client. the obsession with that one deer to get on film had this person making all kinds of demands and expectations. when they contacted the outfitter to come back the start of the next season they were told no. it just was not worth it for the outfitter to get a little PR on the show given the way they needed to turn things inside out for the filming crew.

10-Jan-22
I was also involved in some shows. Lots of turn-over because its a massive amount of work and expense to make good shows but then also have the contacts, effort and time needed to gain and keep sponsors. Riding the line between selling stuff and not making the show about selling stuff is tricky. Killing stuff with a bow is already hard enough and that much harder with a cameraman in tow. More than few guys quit it because after a couple seasons they were dreading waking up to go hunting instead of being excited about it.

My advice to someone starting from scratch who was set on trying to have a show or be an industry personality these days would be to make 30 sec - 2 min video content & build a Youtube/social media following.

Ask a hunting teen with a cell phone who Rut Daniels is.

From: Beav
10-Jan-22
[email protected] you are exactly right! YouTube is much more of a money maker and why you are seeing a big shift towards it.

From: Shiloh
10-Jan-22
I agree with Pat. I know the THP guys and I know that they spend 8-12 hours to produce a 15-25 minute hunt for youtube. I wouldn't want to do what they do. Get up early and go hunting while someone stays back and produces all day long. They make it work, but I'm not gonna stare at a computer for that long!!

From: Curt Wells
10-Jan-22
I just finished my 18th year of bowhunting in front of a camera and it certainly brings its challenges. Like all bowhunting, the lows are really low, but the highs are really high - when it all comes together. I always chuckle to myself when someone says they wouldn't want to hunt for a living because it would become work. I suppose that could be true for some, but I love bowhunting, and everything that goes with it, too much for it to feel like work. Do I get wore down at times? Sure, but that is fatigue after weeks of bowhunting. That should never be considered as developing a disdain for bowhunting. That ain't happening. Maybe those who hunt and act like they must get an animal on every hunt, do buckle under the pressure and do things they shouldn't, or quit in frustration. I wouldn't know about that. I just bowhunt and take what comes. Bowhunting for TV is low percentage. Just like regular bowhunters, we don't fill a tag on every hunt, not by a long shot, but we don't crumble because of it. If we miss, we air it. If we make a bad shot, we air it and try to make it a teaching point. We don't hide our failures. We keep bowhunting - just like regular bowhunters.

With that said, Pat's advice above about getting a good-paying job so you can afford to just go hunting, is good advice. There aren't many jobs that pay you to go hunting (I'm still not sure how I got mine) so finding one is not easy, or really even feasible unless you have the money to purchase air time, camera gear, an editing suite, and hire cameramen, and an editor, pay for travel and hunts, which are no longer comped like they once were.

I have heard the stories from outfitters about their experiences with TV hunters. Some leave me shaking my head. All I would ask is that you don't generalize when it comes to outdoor TV shows. They are not all created equal and should not be judged as a group. That's no different than any other segment of society.

There are some great shows out there, put together by some excellent bowhunters who work hard at it. The "other" shows are the reason the hair on the back of my neck will stand up if you call me a "TV hunter." I'm a bowhunter with a cameraman behind me who is just trying to share the thrill of bowhunting with others. And that will never become "work."

Curt Wells Host, Bowhunter TV Editor, Bowhunter Magazine

From: smurph
10-Jan-22
Hope Randy Newberg is one the guys getting rich in the hunting show biz! Always liked his average guy with an average tag approach. Also, his " five alarm" chili story is the most entertaining nonhunting, hunting story ever.

From: drycreek
10-Jan-22
Not that anyone would want to watch the poor animals that I kill, but I’d rather be a drug mule than have a camera following me around. Probably make more money too !

From: Pat Lefemine
10-Jan-22
Kurt,

I appreciate you adding your perspective. Every outfitter I’ve hunted with that has also hosted you and the other Bowhunter guys had nothing but good things to say, and they wished the other TV guys conducted themselves the way you guys do. Unfortunately, lots of them don’t. I’ve seen it myself and it’s a turn off.

By the way, one of my favorite hunts was with Dwight at Rob Nye’s camp. Dwight and I were tight, and while the “fitness nazi” kept lecturing me about my BMI, it was a great time and I cherish that hunt together, I miss him. He had a tough hunt but he never complained or pressured Rob in any way. Again, you guys have always been class acts.

10-Jan-22
Thanks Curt,,,, I love your response.... a little history.... early 80s, I watch Dwight Schuh and Larry Jones VCR tapes on bowhunting mulies in Nevada,,, at home in Wis... The following year, i go out solo and do not score.... three years later and experience I kill a nice one........ Moved on to the dakotas.... they were my inspiration. a mulies is not as tasty as a Wis whitetail, but it was still very good,,,,, thanks for all the adventures, that I could only see, thru your work

From: Bandicooter
10-Jan-22
Funny.... As I read Curt's comments, I read them in his voice.

From: bigswivle
10-Jan-22
Funny.... As I read Curt's comments, I read them in his voice.

Hahaha, I did the same

From: Mark S
10-Jan-22
I used to watch the shows, but, haven't in quite awhile. Never liked that every show they got big animals. Was not realistic. If I were using an outfitter I steer clear of famous ones that guide tv guys as it puts me at a disadvantage

From: JL
10-Jan-22
This is an interesting subject. Growing up in Florida and fishing a lot, I thought I wanted to be saltwater fishing guide. At some point I realized I might loose the enjoyment of fishing if it was my bread and butter. I can also see how that perception would lateral over to doing a hunting show. Hunting and being in the outdoors is fun because I "want" to do it. It might not be so fun or desirable if I "had" to do it.

Does anyone know if hunting shows are filmed, produced and shown overseas in places like Europe or Asia? Just wondering there is a market for that or if it wouldn't be "culturally correct".

From: RD in WI
10-Jan-22
I would like to film my own hunts but always tend to leave the equipment in my backpack. I get worried about mucking up my hunt by trying to capture the event on film. When I killed my buck in Minnesota this year, it would have been an easy bit of filming - but I had purposely left my camera gear in Wisconsin. Hunters who self-film have some gumption.

From: Ollie
10-Jan-22
I have been on some outfitted hunts where the outfitter has had shows taped in their camp. Many have bad experiences. The Hunter almost always asks for a free hunt, promising favorable publicity in return. Often the request is made for additional freebie hunts for additional hunters and/or the camera crew. Some shows will put pressure on the outfitter to put them in the best places and steer other hunters in camp away from areas where the “big one” has been seen. In general, if you find yourself in camp with a production crew and you are not part of their group your hunt may not be as productive as it might be if they were not there.

10-Jan-22
My buddy who is a guide and I do taxes for had Kurt (i believe) and Matt Palmquist (sp?) out on an elk hunt this year in Salida, CO. He said they were real hunters and hit it hard.. He said he really enjoyed them in camp, but really isn’t the norm.. lots of tv hunters looking for freebies for the hunt..

From: Grey Ghost
10-Jan-22
Every "TV hunter" that approached our outfitting business in my short 3 year term in the business expected a free hunt in lieu of the advertising they could generate for our business. It never panned out to be profitable. That was over a decade ago, so maybe times have changed, but I doubt it.

Matt

From: Jaquomo
10-Jan-22
Curt, I really enjoy your shows, but I don't know how you do it. You told me years ago how much you you enjoy it and I figured that was the company line since it was part of your job.

I was only ever filmed for one "TV hunt" and the process took so much away from the process of the hunt - the way I hunt, mostly solo - that it wasn't fun. And my cameraman was not only a real pro but an accomplished bowhunter and great to be with. Still, in the back of my mind it was always about the show.

Even worse, the cameraman was unfamiliar with a new camera they brought to camp the night before, and didn't get one of my greatest recurve shots on film. He was devastated. I killed a great animal and was thrilled. Priorities. Decided it wasn't something I would want to do anymore. But you do it as well as anyone out there, and I really enjoy your work.

From: bowhunter24
11-Jan-22
Definitely a Bowhunter fan boy. I got to meet Curt, Larry and Dwight at St. Louis Pope and Young convention and was impressed with their kindness and humility. They are what more of the TV shows should be.

From: BTM
11-Jan-22
"Some shows will put pressure on the outfitter to put them in the best places and steer other hunters in camp away from areas where the 'big one' has been seen. In general, if you find yourself in camp with a production crew and you are not part of their group your hunt may not be as productive as it might be if they were not there."

Amen! I've seen it several times.

From: JL
11-Jan-22
As I recall, the only recent TV person I met was at the Harrisburg show years ago. That was Larry Weishuhn. My daughter and I waited in line to get an autograph. When we got up there, I introduced him to my daughter. He stood up, took his cowboy hat off and shook our hands and returned the greetings with a big grin. I thought that was a very nice gesture considering the guy had to sit there and meet/sign hundreds of autos for folks that day. He was very kind and seemed sincere talking to folks. I think that trip we tried to also meet Lee and Tiffy....wasn't happening....the line was way too long and I wasn't waiting.

From: bigswivle
11-Jan-22
I’ve hunted with Mike Stroff a few times and when he wasn’t hunting, he was working hard on his show.

11-Jan-22
Lou's greatest fish story!

From: Snuffer
11-Jan-22
Jaq for the win... again...

From: Curt Wells
11-Jan-22
I appreciate the comments. In fact, I am very sensitive about how an outfitter might treat me in camp. Before every hunt I make a point to tell the outfitter/guide that they are NOT to treat me any different than other hunters in camp. I would rather "draw" for stands/blinds/creekbottoms/mountains so there is no assumption that I will be hunting in a favored location. And if you're in camp and need tracking or packing help, I'll be the first to volunteer.

Regarding free hunts, we used to hunt for free in exchange for the publicity. Years ago, I hunted New Zealand and Australia on comped hunts but those days are pretty much gone. If you want to hunt the good spots and dates, and the best animals, you have to pay. Many outfitters are booked up for two years and don't need the PR. That said, there are outfitters who do need the exposure and the combination of our show on both Outdoor and Sportsman Channels, plus a feature article in the magazine and on the Web, is a significant trade off that most shows can't match. Interestingly, most outfitters tell us they get more response from a magazine article than the TV show.

To be honest, I prefer DIY hunts. I hunted caribou in Alaska last year and elk in Arizona this past fall, on my own. Logistically, it's not practical, or even legal to do all our TV hunts DIY. I mention this only because I've seen comments about, "...those damn TV hunters always hunting with guides that hold their hand, and can't do it themselves." I take exception to that as well.

Hunting with a cameraman is not easy. Our staff guys are highly experienced so I do what I do and they do what they do. In 18 years I've only been called off twice, both when the early morning light was not enough for the camera. But yes, they are still there, behind me, which has more impact on say, a spot-and-stalk mule deer hunt, or elk hunt, than it does sitting in a blind waiting for a whitetail. I've learned to function as part of a two-man team. It's a good thing too because if not for the show or the cameraman, I can guarantee you I could not say that I've bowhunted in ten countries, 26 states, and every Canadian province for more than 30 species of big game. Seems like a good trade off to me.

I suppose this post is more to clear the air a bit, but I appreciate all of you who read or watch Bowhunter. And Pat, I also miss Dwight terribly. I keep waiting to see his name come up on my phone...

From: midwest
11-Jan-22
Curt is obviously "Living the Dream"!

From: Bowfreak
11-Jan-22
The core age of this site probably all grew up reading everything they could get their hands on from the Bowhunter crew. M.R. James, Dwight Schuh and now Curt Wells. All tremendous ambassadors for bowhunting. I am not sure exactly where the fire was first lit for me with regard to bowhunting, but there is no doubt that Bowhunter stoked it with every new issue from the late 80s and through the 90s when I was still quite young.

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