Filming Your Own Hunts - A First Experienceon Oct 17, 2012
Story contributed by Dayne Shuda
The overcast sky covers any chance of getting moonlight to reflect on the situation. It’s 6:00 AM on Saturday morning and it’s my first whitetail bowhunt of the season. The first hunt of the year is always exciting; especially when you are “self-filming” the experience. There are a hundred thoughts racing through my mind. Do I have all of the equipment? Can I carefully pull the bow up the tree and get the arrow nocked without making any noise? I take a few breaths to regain my composure. This year, I am definately facing additional challenges while in the treestand.
The video camera does not want to stay attached to the tree arm. The screw on the arm seems too short and my cold hands can barely feel the small camera. Its 20 feet to the cold, hard ground below and my mind is filled with thoughts of dropping the camera and having it break into a million pieces. That’s how the first 20 minutes of my first attempt to “self-film” a whitetail bowhunt goes.
After some struggle I finally got everything setup for the first time.
That was an interesting first day in the woods. Looking back now, there are a handful of things I would change. But, ultimately, I left the woods that day excited about the opportunities self-filming offered. It’s indeed a new challenge to add to the mix of bowhunting big bucks in the woods of Wisconsin.
The thought of self-filming hunts really started to overtake my brain late this summer. I have been watching online hunting shows the last couple years and figured it was something I would enjoy. Bowhunt or Die is something I look forward to each Friday.
Thinking back on all the memories I have of hunting it dawned on me that while these memories are great they are not concrete. Filming my hunts would provide lifetime highlights and memory refreshers for me and maybe even my friends and family.
After deciding to take the plunge, it took me a few weeks to finally make the necessary purchases. There were quite a few considerations. After all, investing in camera equipment is not a small decision. Here is what I have learned thus far.
Most of the weeks leading up to the purchase of the camera equipment were spent figuring out what to actually get. I had no idea what kind of camera I needed to purchase or what accessories were necessary to make self-filming possible. Thankfully, Justin Zarr published a great article on the topic – Tips for Filming Your Hunting Adventures.
When it came to the decision about a video camera, though, I just couldn’t swing a couple thousand bucks. My total investment budget was in the high hundreds and I think what I ended up with is something that can work out well.
Here is all the equipment. In all it’s about a $750 investment.
This is the equipment I purchased:
• Canon Vixia HF M500
• Audio-Technica PRO24CM Microphone
• Adorama Canon Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe Adapter (for microphone)
• 32 GB SDHC Card
• HME Better Camera Holder
All together it’s about $750 including shipping and I got it all on Amazon. Unfortunately I didn’t get the microphone attachment shoe right away so that was still in shipment as of this past weekend.
Another note is that after some research I realized that the first camera on my initial buy list only had a battery that would last 20-30 minutes. This obviously would not work in the woods. Instead of getting that camera and a second battery I just got the camera that was up one notch. This camera included a battery that lasts about two hours when fully charged.
Now, I’ve only been out in the woods for one weekend with the camera. Please keep in mind that this article is just a recap of my experience. But, so far the camera is working great. It’s really easy to use. I’ve had to mess around with the settings a little to turn off the sound and figure out a few other details, but it’s been really easy going thus far. Overall, as long as I don’t drop anything out of the tree the equipment seems like it will last a long time and it’s great for a hunter looking to invest in something good, but not the best of the best.