In this episode of Noir, "Life Beyond The City," Colion steps out of his element and into the great outdoors of Washington state with Kristy Titus. Then, Darren defines the Second Amendment from a hunters perspective and Colion and Kristy put their hunting skills to the test on a course designed by Caylen Wojcik, Director of Training for Magpul CORE.
A brand new episode of Team Elk airs this week on the Outdoor Channel. Don't miss "Just Like the Old Days". Lifelong friends Bill McBeath and George Berry hunt public land in Nevada, just like they did growing up together. Check out the preview...
The winter has arrived and as I write this, I look out my window at over two feet of snow. Already, I am looking forward to the fall of 2015. Fortunately, there are many hunts and opportunities to get out on the mountain before then.
The magazines that I subscribe to accumulate most of the year and I take the time to sit down and read them during these short days, dreaming about the hunt. Western Hunter Winter issue just landed in my mail box and inside there is some great articles. South Cox wrote an article that I found very interesting on satellite communication and texting while on the mountain. Looks like with his tips, I need to upgrade my technical or lack thereof equipment.
Chris Denham's Gear Product Highlight of the new Swarovski STR 80 Spotting scope has me drooling for one! My shooting schools next year will be so much more amazing with this scope. No more will I have to look through my rifle scope to act as spotter for my shooting buddies. The scope will allow me to be over my shooter and better watch bullet trace for better calls.
My editorial Hunters Nutrition, featured a little run down on what to look for when buying a protein powder.
If you don't subscribe to Western Hunter and Elk Hunter Magazines, you should. Inside, you will find a lot of great information that will make your 2015 season more enjoyable and hopefully more successful all while passing the short days and long winter nights by.
Click HERE to subscribe.
It’s nearly the moment you’ve all been waiting for: firearms whitetail season opener. Here are a few very simple—yet vital—tips to help you maximize your meat quantity and quality.
Correctly processing big game at home can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have little experience processing a large animal such as a deer or an elk. Recently, I spent a couple of hours with my local butcher watching him process deer. Here are the vital tips and tricks I picked up that you need to remember when you take your deer from field to fork.
CLICK HERE to read the article.
The most important aspect to hunting success is the person behind the gun selecting a suitable bullet type and weight that affords maximum terminal performance for the intended game animal. Hunting bullets are designed to terminally perform in different ways for specific hunting purposes which varies from varmints to big game. The bullet we pick will change depending on the quarry we're hunting.
Click HERE to read the editorial in North American Hunter online.
When you’ve harvested that trophy of a lifetime, before you field dress and begin skinning, there are a few simple steps that you will want to take in order to ensure that your taxidermist has all of the needed information to mount your animal perfectly.
Click HERE to read the article.
Grant County Oregon holds promise of a life lived at a slower pace, friendly people, spectacular scenery and more Boone and Crockett Rocky Mountain Elk entries than any other area in the state. The area holds excellent habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife, making it a favorite destination for outdoorsmen and women alike.
Hunting season is a celebrated time for the community,
welcoming in many non-resident hunters as well as local hunters. The Grant County Hunting Journal features articles, tips, area information and local stories of hunt success.
If you are in the area, make a stop at a local restaurant or hardware store and pick up a copy. Inside, you will find several articles that I contributed on GPS use, elk calling and hunting tips and strategies as well as a few tips to fuel your hunt with nutritious meals.
Wishing all of you safe travels and good hunting.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca
In the field, when Mother Nature is calling the shots, successfully taking advantage of that opportunity of a lifetime comes down to preparation and training. When the animal of my dreams steps out and provides that opportunity that I have been waiting for, I want to be certain that I have done everything possible to make that one shot count.
Magpul Dynamics has teamed up with Guiderite Adventures to create the ultimate instructional program specifically designed with the hunter in mind that has the desire to take on do it yourself, back country backpack hunting adventures. Having trained with Magpul Dynamics for three consecutive years in a row, I can personally attest to Caylen Wojcik being a top notch firearms instructor combined with Luke Carrick from Guiderite’s backcountry hunting expertise, attending this course was a no brainer and I couldn’t get signed up fast enough.
The course is set up for five days of comprehensive instruction and provides the opportunity for experienced and inexperienced backcountry hunters alike to understand equipment capabilities and limitations as well as teach students how to maximize the effectiveness of their hunting rifle while training under real hunting conditions, shooting realistic angles and pushing both your mind and body through some of the same rigors that one can expect during a backcountry hunt. No matter how long you have been hunting or shooting, there are new skills that you will learn and develop during this course.
The five day course begins with two days of instruction on the range providing students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their own personal hunting rifle, its capabilities and limitations as well as providing the opportunity to learn or practice the fundamentals of marksmanship.
The most basic but critical components of our individual firearms are discussed at this time; everything from correct rifle fit, scope mounting, ammunition selection, rifle slings, the use of bipods, and on to the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. Caylen takes a tremendous amount of time discussing the fundamentals while providing a controlled environment for students to practice and develop those fundamentals in as realistic hunting conditions as possible while on the range. This practice is designed to extend each students comfort zone in the field creating responsible, ethical shots during the hunt.
The basics in angular units of measure, both milliradian and minutes of angle are taught. Everyone then learns which unit measure their particular optic is and how to understand the function of the scope from turrets to reticle.
Mother Nature is anything but predictable, so Caylen teaches how environmental conditions affect bullet trajectory. As a hunter, it is critical to know where your rifle zero is and where your max point blank or terminal range is based off of that zero. Students are also taught how to use personal ballistics software to define where the max point blank is for your individual firearm.
No two hunting situations are the same and we as hunters must learn to be adaptable making the most of each opportunity. Rarely one has the opportunity for a prone rest, so we practiced numerous resting positions, and proper rest building techniques.
After spending two days behind the gun on the range, everyone was anxious to begin our three day, two night trek into the Cascade Mountains of Washington. The great thing about backpacking is that there is tons of gear readily available on the market today. The bad thing is that for the novice backpack hunter, selecting the best most functional and versatile gear for your trek is not always easy.
Having nearly two decades of experience backcountry hunting, prior to beginning our trek, Luke Carrick, Owner/Operator of Guiderite, provided students with a comprehensive breakdown of each component of our necessary gear from pack selection, fit, loading and wear, firearm carriage, nutrition and hydration, tent selection based on seasonal use, sleeping bag selection based on seasonal use and fill component, sleeping pad selection, water purification options and meal planning.
With a more comprehensive understanding of what primary and necessary functions that each piece of equipment needs to facilitate while in the backcountry, students were then able to evaluate and discuss personal equipment and borrow necessary equipment for the trek if needed.
Once our own personal gear for the backcountry portion was organized and properly loaded into our packs, we were ready to begin our adventure.
The day was warm, sun high in the sky as we began our trek climbing the mountain. Destination, adventure.
New school meet old school. Technological advances have come a long way and I am guilty of being completely reliant upon my GPS unit for the basics of land navigation. As I learned in the backcountry portion of the class, an old school map and compass for land navigation, offers a lot of tools that are both necessary and helpful during the hunt.
Stopping along the trail, students were taught the beginnings of basic land navigation and compass use, everything from how to read a detailed topography map, attain and track current location on a map, and tips for easily and quickly noting general direction of travel. We were even taught how to create a solar compass.
After a long day’s hike in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, it was time to set up camp. Luke walked students through the process of proper camp site selection for hunting scenarios and fire starting techniques.
The evening was spent on the mountain, behind our optics practicing newly learned observation skills with the hopes of identifying wildlife just like in a real hunting or scouting scenario.
The next morning, the mountain goats, elk and mule deer were all on the move from their feeding to bedding areas. Sitting on the side of the mountains with my binoculars in hand, I took delight in watching the sun began to peek over the landscapes lighting up the valley below.
A new day had just began and the excitement for the days happenings were already stirring inside me. After packing up our camp and grabbing water, Luke taught us a new tip for hiking in steep terrain with a heavy load without stopping for breaks called the resting step. Using this method, our entire class hiked over one hour straight up a mountainside without a single break. As a mountaineer, this is arguably one of the most valuable techniques I have ever employed. As a hunter, this is going to help me pack out trophies for the remainder of my life.
Sitting on a rock cliff, behind the gun, three targets stretched out below me, in this first course of fire, I had five minutes to employ my newly learned observation skills and fundamentals learned on the range to identify the three hidden steel targets, range estimate them, make necessary dope adjustment and engage them with a two shot per target ammunition allowance.
The thrill of the hunt was on. Searching for targets in dark hidden folds of shadows and terrain features, just as if you were searching for that bedded trophy of a lifetime. This was the live fire, real life in-field shooting that I had been looking forward to. Three courses later, I had successfully located, range estimated and calculated dope for every target, in every scenario within the time limit and with first round hits.
The backcountry hunters course would not be complete without pre-season scouting tips and tactics. Part of success as a hunter is monitoring the game we seek and during our trek down the mountain, we checked the trail cameras that had been placed a couple of weeks before giving us all an opportunity to evaluate the area wildlife which included, a wolf.
This incredible experience will make any hunter, novice or experienced, a more confident capable shooter that is better equipped with knowledge and tools to embark upon the most epic of hunting adventures, backcountry backpack hunts.
Quickly raising your binoculars and glancing at a hillside isn’t going to help you identify the animal of a lifetime. Instead, grab your glass, get comfortable and then try out these techniques.
CLICK HERE to read my latest editorial for North American Hunter Online.
The time-honored tradition of hunting has changed and evolved with the advancement of optics technologies. Coupling optics advancements with proper technique will save time, energy and ensure you don’t miss spotting that animal of a lifetime.
In the field, one does not rise up to the occasion but instead falls back on training. You’ve put in countless hours scouting, training in the gym and dreaming of this moment. You’re ready. But will you have the same level of confidence and competence this hunting season with your hunting rifle?
Let’s face it, when in the field, Mother Nature is anything but predictable. As a hunter, it’s our ethical responsibility to understand our own individual gun or bow system, learn how it works and what we can do to improve upon it, and know its limitations as well as our own. No matter how long we’ve been hunting or shooting, there are new skills and tricks that can be learned and applied.
In my latest editorial for North American Hunter online, I go over a few tips to modify your rifle to fit more properly before your next hunt.
The sun was just peeking out over the top of the barn as I tied the laces on my shoes. Running was an early morning ritual for me and US Navy medical chaperone Tommy Neuens. Our trek leading us around Ron & Lisa Raboud’s beautiful British Columbia ranch.
This was my second year on this mountain, there is something magical that happens when you are here... The sound of the early morning breeze whispering through the Aspen trees, feeling the warm rays of sunshine erase the chill from the air, watching the wildlife making their way to their bedding area for the day.
This is no ordinary ranch, this is one of the homes to the non-profit, Wounded Warrior Outdoors therapeutic outdoor adventures. The mountains here will change your life, just as it has changed the lives of others for years.
Dave Wabnegger of Otter Lake Outfitters, offers exclusive access to 3,600 square miles of Crown Land, which equates to roughly 2.3 million acres to provide active duty servicemen and women an adventure that is not only memorable, but life changing.
Disability is as much a mindset as it is a physical limitation…
In 2010, Navy SEAL LT Dan Cnossen was on this same mountain, walking the same path that I ran every morning. Dan was using the steep uneven terrain to push the boundaries of what his current limitations were and rediscover just how much he could really do. You see, he had been recently wounded in action sustaining injuries that had resulted in the loss of both of his legs above the knee. Dan was on this mountain to challenge himself to learn how to function in the outdoors, doing whatever it took to climb the mountains in pursuit of a black bear.
The success of filling his black bear tag was not Dan’s true reward, it was the beginning, a place of realization, a place where the mountain taught him that despite his injuries, there was nothing that he couldn’t do and no place that he couldn’t go. Over 30 surgeries later, on March 7, 2014, Dan competed in the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi representing Team USA in Nordic Skiing.
There is no better therapist than Mother Nature, no hospital facility more motivating or challenging than the great outdoors and no better place to be than hunting camp. Ron typically does not know who will be attending the adventures that WWO provides to over 50 servicemen and women each year until a couple of weeks before the trip.
Each of the WWO guests are current wounded in-hospital patients at either Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Naval Medical Center San Diego (Balboa), or San Antonio Military Medical Center (Brooke). Warriors are selected for participation by medical staff at each hospital, each being paired with the adventure that provides them the greatest therapeutic potential. Some injuries are evident and some injuries are invisible.
This group was notable as they had all been on a WWO adventure in the past at other locations, but this was their first black bear hunt. WWO mentor and lead Kansas turkey guide, Vietnam Army Veteran JL Hendricks, US Navy Hospital Corpsman Javier Esparza, USMC Jed Morgan, USMC Darryl Charles II, USMC Jacob Delagarza and medical chaperone, US Navy Hospital Corpsman Tommy Neuens.
Gary Monetti, Lisa Raboud, her son Sam and Laurel Barbieri awoke every morning before the sunrise to ensure that everyone smelled the delight of a home cooked breakfast as soon as they rose for the day. In my family, when we care about someone, we feed them and I can honestly say that all of them treated us to a home that is full of love and good cooking. Working from dawn till midnight every single day to ensure that everyone was too full for another bite. You can see and feel the love that comes from these folks.
The first morning out, I hunted with USMC Darryl Charles II, we call him Chuck for short, guide/outfitter Colton Wabnegger and Ron Raboud. Chuck is a young, energetic handsome man with a smile and laugh that is infectious. He has a HUGE personality and loves the theater and ballroom dancing. We hit it off instantly with lots of shared laughs, maybe someday he will teach me to dance.
Our day was nothing short of non-stop excitement. I have hunted a LOT of black bears and I have tried year after year to call in a bear with my predator call without luck. Chuck brought us luck and lots of it on this first day.
We spotted the bruin just off the side of the mountain, it wasn’t a shooter bear but my curiosity and desire to call in a bear overcame me and I decided to give it a try. The bruin came in to my call just as if I had perfectly scripted it, getting so close that Ron threw a rock at it to detour its path towards us. What a rush for everyone. Chuck’s first bear experience was surely one he would never forget.
While we were calling in bears, we received word that Army Veteran and WWO mentor JL Hendricks had some luck on the mountain and had successfully tagged a stunning chocolate bruin with his guide Trevor. JL lives a life dealing with pain having taken shrapnel in his legs during the Vietnam War and to this day, his wounds have not healed. JL serves as a tremendously positive mentor for active duty WWO participants.
Back on the mountain, Ron spotted a hungrily grazing bear that was in a perfect location to make a stalk for Chuck to get a closer look at. Chuck literally had to crawl towards a horse fence so that he would have a resting position to take a possible shot. This is the part where the therapy comes in. You can’t replicate this in a hospital.
Chuck was deployed with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine regiment “3/7” for short, their nickname “The Cutting Edge.” During deployment, the marines of 3/7 faced daily attacks clearing some of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. The marines in 3/7 are noted as encountering the most contact with enemy forces since Vietnam. Due to his injuries sustained in combat, Chuck is a single above the knee amputee, crawling anywhere is no easy feat, let alone in the mountains of British Columbia. Like the true warrior that he is, Chuck reached the fence without hesitation, set up on the bruin and decided that he would hold out for a larger bear. This gave me the opportunity to take some stellar photos of Chuck on the gun, bear in sights.
Spring bear hunting is all about putting in countless miles in pursuit of a grazing black bear, so after passing on our second bear of the day, we didn’t waste any time getting back on the trail, putting miles on our ATV and using our Swarovski optics to search the seemingly endless valleys for another bruin.
The mountains of British Columbia are nothing short of spectacular and I am somewhat of an amateur photographer, so when I see a captivating landscape, I want to stop and take a picture of it. Yes, this can be annoying, but what I have found is that by taking some time and slowing down, often times what you are looking for isn’t too far away and had you zoomed by, you may have missed your opportunity all together. A good lesson in patience. As patience would have it, as I snapped photos of Chuck with the snowcapped mountains in the backdrop, Colton spotted a BIG bruin feeding on the mountainside some 500 yards away.
The stalk was on, Chuck was determined to navigate the steep uneven terrain in order to reach the feeding bruin. These mountains are very unforgiving for anyone but Chuck did what he does best, he climbed the mountain and made his opportunity happen.
Stalking a bear in thick brush is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. Up close, everything looks different than it did from afar. Moving up the mountain swiftly and as quietly as we could, we managed to make it within 40 yards of the feeding bruin without being detected. Taking a rest, Chuck took the 40 yard shot on the massive bruin. Just as his shot rang out, a young sapling went tumbling to the ground, earning Chuck the nickname, “Lumber Chuck.” The bruin ran away completely unharmed by the deflected bullet that took out the tree instead of making its way to the bruin.
Patience and persistence…two of life’s best lessons best learned on the mountain, and persist we did. With a little over two hours of daylight remaining, we made our way back to the ATV and once again resumed our search for a bruin.
Fourth time is a charm, we spotted a bruin feeding through the Aspen trees and once again made our stalk over to the hungrily feeding bear. Chuck set up in the prone position and waited out his opportunity for the bruin to give him an open broadside shot.
This day was about more than Chuck tagging a black bear, it was about overcoming the mountain, beating any preconceived limitations. We all have them, some are physical and some are mental. The hunt is what drives us to endure, adapt, improvise and overcome all obstacles that get in our way of success. The hunt teaches us all lessons that we can reflect upon anywhere in regards to nearly everything in life.
The mountain teaches us all valuable life lessons, both human and animals alike. Kruger, my 10 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback accompanied me, Jordie and Deb Cook on the second day. The four of us (Kruger included) set out to be an extra set of eyes glassing the landscapes for a bruin.
Jordie and Deb have volunteered for WWO for many years. Last year, they were able to spot USMC TJ Tejada's black bear so that we could come and make the stalk. After TJ shot his bear, we were unable to get him to his bear via his wheel chair. TJ is a double leg amputee and at the time was not using his prosthetic legs. All of us cleared trail so that Jordie could literally carry TJ on his back and do a proper recovery. There isn't two nicer people out there with bigger hearts.
The last day of TJ's WWO trip, he used his prosthetic legs for the first time ever and walked to the car. I saw TJ earlier this year walking on his prosthetics. I can honestly say that in part because of Jordie and Deb, TJ's life was changed that day on the mountain.
Jordie is on a sprint boat racing team called “Fat Buddy Racing Team." This is a sport where people have carved out systems of channels into an ordinary farmer’s field and filled it with water to race speeds boats in. The night before a race, a map is handed out outlaying various turns that the driver must complete for time, without crashing. Jordie is the driver and Deb is the navigator traveling at speeds of 80 plus miles per hour in a field filled with water.
Jordie and Deb are too crazy people who love to drive fast, and there I sat in the truck with Jordie at the wheel. It was time for Kruger to have a grown-up dog experience so he was kenneled and strapped down in the back of Jordie’s truck. Oh boy…he was one unhappy puppy, crying and howling much of the morning.
Just when Kruger had settled down and was dealing with his kenneled fate, we got the call that USMC Jed Morgan had shot a bruin and it needed tracking and therefore, they needed help. Jordie knows the roads of those British Columbia Mountains like the back of his hand, navigating every turn like the pro that he is. Poor Kruger was in for the ride of his life.
When we reached the location where Jed had taken aim on his bruin, Dave let out the hounds to give chase. This was a great opportunity for Kruger to have a puppy lesson, so we began the blood trail and immediately went to work, also tracking the wounded bruin.
As Kruger did his job tracking, all became quiet and I was alone, on the mountain, trailing a wounded black bear without a gun. Feeling a bit unnerved, I pulled Kruger off of the trail and returned to the vehicles. If you have ever hunted with hounds, you know how crazy things can get once your dogs are turned out. A short time later, we located the younger two of Dave’s four hounds, two were still unaccounted for and still on the trail of Jed’s bruin.
Jed is a quiet man. It takes a huge effort to get him to talk, so since we had nothing but time waiting for the hounds to locate his bear, I took the liberty of chatting his ear off. I honestly think he only spoke just to shut me up. Ha ha ha.
Jed is a Marine Rifleman and the injuries that he sustained in combat attributed to the loss of both of his legs above the knee and much of the use of his right hand. I read on facebook where Jed’s wife AnnaGrace, stated that he is not only a devoted husband but a man that leads by example of what it means to truly have conviction, sacrifice and perseverance despite all obstacles and all circumstances. Jed and his wife AnnaGrace are expecting their first child, a daughter any day.
It is really remarkable how quick hounds navigate through the mountains and in a short amount of time, the remaining two hounds had located Jed’s bruin. This was Jed’s first hunt and he had not only successfully harvested a spot and stalk bruin in some of the steepest roughest terrain in the world, the bear that he tagged was an old warrior, just like him and the biggest of the trip. On the mountain, it takes a team. I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the Morgan family and have high hopes to do some more hunting with Jed in Oregon.
US Navy Hospital Corpsman (medic) Javier Esparza is arguably one of the funniest people I have ever met with a huge personality that captivates everyone around him. Javier loves his wife and their two sons and having spent a short amount of time with him, it is evident that they are his world.
Our guide Cody and his father Dan have been serving as guides since the inception of the WWO program and knows the mountains well which came in handy as Javier, who is from Florida, was eager to climb seemingly every mountain in Southern British Columbia.
Cody, Javier and myself are all the same age, so our in truck, the humor was off the charts. I am not sure that I have laughed that hard in my lifetime. Javier did not end up tagging a bear on this trip but that was not due to lack of effort. He has a heart of gold that is tough as nails. He was relentless in his pursuit with a couple of close calls along the way.
USMC Jacob Delagarza also went home without filling his tag on a black bear. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to spend time on the mountain with Jacob on this trip. Jacob has a reputation for being a strong leader who always set a good example, putting the needs of others always before himself, no matter what the situation is, Jacob is always there for his junior Marines, literally teaching them how to survive in combat.
Jacob was wounded in action resulting in the loss of his left leg, and has received not one but two Purple Hearts while serving our great country, one in Sangin Afghanistan and the other in Fallujah Iraq.
Jacob is a hero and devoted husband and father Priscilla and their two children.
The last day of the hunt, USMC Medical Chaperone Tommy Neuens perseverance paid off where after waiting out a short rain storm, he was able to tag a beautiful chocolate bruin. Tommy is an outstanding man that accompanies many WWO participants on outdoor adventures ensuring that they have swift medical treatment should they require it.
“Doc” Javier Esparza and “Doc” Tommy Neuens are men that have saved the lives of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters while in combat. Their love for our country and desire to save the lives of these servicemen and women knows no bounds.
The last day of the trip, USMC Darryl Charles gave me a very special gift.
The story behind the shirt:
The year was 2010 and Darryl was stationed in Sangin Afghanistan with USMC Female Engagement Team Member Sarah Bryant. Sarah was/is a legit Marine that always had her team members backs, Darryl included. Sarah is a true warrior. After Darryl returned stateside due to being wounded in action, he saw this shirt and bought it thinking fondly of Sarah.
When he gave me the shirt, he compared me with her, a true warrior and gave me the compliment of my life by saying that I too am legit…one of them.
It is an honor for me to share the mountain with Darryl and the other servicemen and women through the WWO program. The memories made, the camaraderie that is shared here and the true brotherhood that these men share cannot be broken.
The challenges that are encountered through the WWO program provides the perfect place, on the mountain with Mother Nature to break any preconceived physical or mental limitation, pushing yourself to the next level, reaching higher than one thought possible. WWO is about offering therapeutic benefits while sharing our outdoor world with the deserving servicemen and women that have sacrificed so unselfishly to protect us all.
Over the past five years, independent film making has become an art. No more will you find buddies filming each other over the shoulder with low definition cameras and amateur level cinematography. All of that has been replaced with high definition cameras and professional level artistry and technique. With that being said, after having filmed hunts as an amateur since 2008, it was more than time for me to step up my technique. Filming in front of the camera with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Team Elk television show made the journey to learning what is really behind quality production work even more important.
The Full Draw Film Tour is bow hunting cinema experience that showcases archery hunts from independent film makers everywhere, fueling the excitement for bow hunting and the great outdoors. The FDFT provides an opportunity for outdoor filmmakers to showcase their masterpieces. In an effort to encourage the progression of cinematic quality as filmmakers towards professional level producers, the founders of the Full Draw Film Tour began a film school, rightfully named the Full Draw Film School.
The FDFS is taught by two of the brightest young independent producers in the industry, Grady Rawls and Kody Kellom. The attendee list at the school was nothing less than impressive, The Born and Raised Outdoors Production Crew: Steve Howard, Ty Stubblefield, Josh Keller, Trent Fisher, Stalker Stick Bow manufacturer and mule deer hunting expert South Cox along with other outdoor film making enthusiasts like myself: Joe Sanchez, Walt Ramage, Anthony Spencer, Brian Call, Mark Brownlee, Jason Phelps, Forrest Cox and Morgan Gregory.
We were split into five teams of three. My team consisted of BRO Josh Keller and Brian Call. Each team was assigned the task of producing a 30 second commercial of an assigned product and a one-three minute short film. Each feature film had the added task to include at least one time lapse. At the end of the weekend our commercials and short films would be judged based on overall production quality and creativity.
First things first...we are here to learn and learn we did. Everything from pre-production planning, creative strategy, and execution of field production, capturing the adventure and telling the story in post-production was covered.
When I arrived at the school with my DSLR camera that I purchased one over a year ago and I still hadn’t the faintest idea how to use it. Grady walked the group through the various camera functions, white balance, and aperture, and shutter speed, ISO and time lapses. Thank you very much, I now know how to operate my camera in manual mode.
Next we discussed the importance of lighting, audio quality, camera angles using everything from a monopod, tripod, slider and glidecam.
Telling a story with your production is no easy task, you must first imagine and visualize what you would like your production to “look” like before you can film it into reality. Your goal as a cinematographer is to tell a tale without words. Grady reiterated the importance of thinking before you shoot. The best way to do this is by creating a “story board” of what your production is going to look like.
After getting together with my group, we collaborated and created a story board for our 30 second commercial and submitted it for approval so that we could begin filming. For our short film, the three of us put our heads together and came up with the theme “I am…” for our short film.
If you went to college and lived in a frat house or dorm room, then you can visualize what our cabin looked like over the weekend. Everyone had computers out, hard drives on overload, cameras everywhere, tripods scattered everywhere, no one sleeping, everyone taking turns at editing, filming, brain-storming, eating, drinking coffee and drinking more coffee, passing out on the couch, passing out while sitting up or not sleeping at all. In order to meet deadline with a quality production, you get out what you are willing to put in. Everyone at the school gave the project 100%.
Our team worked together perfectly but Brian was the glue that held us together. He is an editing genius and the quality of our production simply put would not have been possible without his talent.
The Full Draw Film Tour is launching a new Short Draw Film Tour in June of 2014 that will be online based and open to anyone who would like to submit a production. All of the videos from the FDFS will soon be showcased on the new Short Draw Film Schools site.
This was a truly unforgettable experience. If you are an outdoor filmmaker looking to improve upon your current skill set, I highly recommend that you register for the next Full Draw Film School.
For more information about the Full Draw Film Tour, Full Draw Film School or Short Draw Contest go to: www.fulldrawfilmtour.com.