Filming Your Own Hunts - A First Experience

Posted by: Bowhunting Contributor on Oct 17, 2012
Page 2 of 2

Time Investment

There is definitely more time to invest in the hunting process. No longer can I just grab my bow and gear and head to the woods. Now, I’m thinking about filming different shots and considering what I should say before walking from the truck to the tree.

While the process will probably get better over time there is additional time required to get the gear setup in the tree. I made sure to leave about 20 minutes earlier to make sure I had time to get things situated in the tree and I’m glad I did because I needed it all to get the camera ready for the hunt.

Things I Forgot or Didn’t Realize

As I said, this is not a traditional “how-to” article. It’s just a recap of how my first experience with self-filming went. Naturally, there are some things I forgot or simply didn’t realize, such as…..

Test All Camera-Related Equipment

The biggest issues, while not immensely difficult, were equipment related. First, I couldn’t get the camera to stay screwed onto the tree arm. The screw just seemed too short. Remember, this is about an hour before first light and I’m 15 feet up in a tree. My hands are cold and I’m trying to get this camera attached. Finally I realized there were three rubber washers on the tree arm. After removing two of those the camera went on with ease. I sat down, took a few breaths and prepared myself for the hunt.


These little guys were a pain during the first self-filmed hunt.

The next morning saw another issue to content with. This time I was in a new tree and trying to screw in the tree attachment for the tree arm. The tree was harder than I thought and the attachment would not go in easy. It could have been an issue with the threading on the attachment, but after resting a few minutes it finally went on. The biggest fear I had during both of these situations was dropping my equipment. With cold hands it’s hard to hold onto a camera, a wing hunt and a small metal attachment bolt.

It took about 10 minutes to get this screw in the tree.

Looking back I would say I should have tested out this equipment before the first hunt. At minimum I should have probably conducted my firs hunt in the evening so it was light and not as cold.

Remembering that the First Move is to the Camera, Not the Bow

The first thing that’s strange is remembering to reach for the camera. For the last 15 years I’ve been reaching for the bow whenever there was a noise that sounded like a deer. Now, it’s about getting that camera ready for a shot first and then getting the bow in position. It’s not difficult, but it’s an extra step and I guess that’s all part of the extra challenge (and potential reward).

Film Every Little Detail Before, During and After

Going into this whole deal I knew I wanted to make videos that were more than just the shots on the deer during the moment of truth. Hunting is about so much more than the actual shot. I would say that 99% of hunting is about the other stuff that goes into the hunt and I find that interesting.

There were some things I didn’t realize I needed to film and my goal for the future is to take shots of things while on stand, while walking to the tree and at any time of preparation for the hunt. It’s interesting and it all makes for better video.

Tree Arm Geometry

What threw me off the first day were the weird angles that could occur with the tree arm. It’s hard to get that thing level on the tree and if it’s even slightly off you’ll get some interesting footage. I’m still not sure how to correct this issue. Trial and error I guess is on my list of things to do.

This is about as level as I could get the tree arm.

In Justin’s article he gave a great tip about putting the tree arm on the right side. For one of my setups I had to put the tree arm on the left side. I’ll have to deal with this all season.


As you can see, I had to crane my neck in order to see the screen.

Camera Zoom

Remember to zoom the camera back out before you turn it off. There were a few times I’d have the camera focused on some squirrels and would turn it off. Another animal would present itself and I would have to zoom the camera back out to find the critter.

Camera Focus

There was a point where I was focusing through the trees out into a field. The camera was on auto-focus and it was focusing on the trees and not the field.

Hunting is More Than Just Seeing Deer

Unfortunately I didn’t see a single deer all weekend. I was a bit surprised. There had been plenty of daytime photos on the trail cam at both stand locations. The first day was pretty windy so it was less surprising that nothing showed up. However, the second morning was perfect. It was 30 degrees with no wind at all. The moon was about half full and on the downswing from the full moon. I guess it’s just one of those days when the deer forgot to read my script.

But hey, you know what? The experience was still great. There was still plenty to footage, including squirrels and the view from the tree. And, like I said earlier, hunting is much more than seeing deer. They’ll show up eventually.

Positive Realizations about Self-Filming

Coming out of my first weekend self-filming a deer hunt I’m really excited. This is a new challenge that should yield some great footage that will last forever. Memories can fade including the details about the hunt and I’m excited about having video of the hunts to relive whenever I want.

New Challenge

Self-filming is a new challenge. It’s not that I’m a great bowhunter that needed another challenge, but the addition of self-filming is something that will make the hunt even more rewarding. I’m all for putting in extra effort if it means feeling accomplished when a plan comes together.

New Excitement and Enjoyment

It was really fun to be in the woods and filming everything. It was exciting to hear a sound off in the distance and getting the camera ready for the action.


This is how I positioned everything in order to record myself talking about the hunt.

More (Good) Pressure to Perform

There is a strange feeling when you’re self-filming. You want to get something on camera for yourself. I found myself being more careful walking to the stand and getting prepared. I was focused on moving quietly in the stand when a noise was close. As a result, there is an added pressure to make something happen and I think that will be beneficial in the long run.

Final Thoughts

This is what my first experience “self-filming” was like. I had high hopes of getting lucky and filming a successful hunt the first time out, but the reality of hunting prevailed. There are lots of hours spent in the woods without seeing deer, but it all goes into the grind. It only takes one deer to walk by to change the fortunes of the entire season.

My next challenge will be editing the footage to create a video. I think that will be a completely different challenge, but one that will yield something great with practice.

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2 Comments on "Filming Your Own Hunts - A First Experience"

Re: Filming Your Own Hunts - A First Experience #
I have almost same set up but minus micro phone and boom mike. It's a learning curve for sure and I will get better. I have a standard small camera arm and it works ok but I would like it to stick out further so while ready to draw I can glance down at screen. I am kind of aiming it as best I can.
Posted by Jimmy Galvin on 11/7/2012 6:58:54 AM
Re: Filming Your Own Hunts - A First Experience #
Jimmy - Aiming is tough. I've been trying to learn. Something I've been trying to do is to focus the camera on spots where deer come in. That way I kind of know where to position the camera in a hurry so I can grab my bow. It's still difficult.
Posted by Dayne Shuda on 11/10/2012 5:37:38 AM

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