Friday, September 7, 2012

PostHeaderIcon The Story Behind The Stand

“I just can’t relate to it.”  I hear that statement nearly every day.  Outdoor television is constantly re-upping itself.  Bigger is better and anything with average antlers is considered passé.  People see the stars of outdoor television pass up deer most people would love to have every half hour.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Seeing giant bucks gets my blood pumping too.  Watching the Drury’s take down monsters is great.  But people will never see anything in the woods resembling the deer Terry & Mark pass up every episode. 

If you have never hunted before and watched one of these shows you would think the woods are stocked with big antlered brutes.  A non-hunter would think it is just a matter of sitting in the woods and waiting for “the right one” to walk by.  But even the big time hunters will tell you it’s nowhere near as easy as it looks.  Several days, sometimes weeks go into producing one half hour episode.  In an ever expanding market, sponsors demand producers to deliver something special.  Most of them believe bigger bucks equal bigger ratings.

But the tide is shifting.  Shows like Heartland Bowhunter and Hallowed Ground Outdoors are thriving with top notch production quality and compelling storytelling.  Online outdoor producers like Mark Seacat and Jeff Simpson are making films that rival anything a network puts on the air.  They have sponsors to satisfy too.  But they do so without coming across as cheesy.  They kill big bucks but you rarely see the guys pass up a giant for a mega-giant.  Viewers will rarely say, “What was wrong with that deer?”  

This attitude has made its way to the real world too.  It sickens me to hear a youngster apologize for his first deer.  “He’s not the biggest, but…”  In my opinion, any legal deer is a great deer for a first time hunter.  In my home state of Wisconsin success rates are around 50%.  So if that young man or lady kills a deer, he or she did what half of their fellow hunters could not.  No apology needed. 

These days, Twitter and Facebook is loaded with hunters asking, “Is this a shooter?”  Who are they asking?  Why are they asking?  Do they need someone to validate the deer they would like shoot?  The only person who should judge whether or not a deer is a shooter is the person behind the bow or gun.  I judge a buck in a very simple way.  Is he bigger than the biggest one I’ve killed?  Is this shot one that will bring a quick and humane death?  If the answer is yes to both, I pull the trigger.  Hopefully, I will be lucky enough to kill a trophy buck.  At that point I may have to alter my “bigger than my biggest” equation.  But for now, that is what I am using.  Of course, deer don’t have to have antlers for me to target them.  Backstraps get me fired up!  We’ll be taking our share of baldies this year too.

There is a point to my five paragraph rant.  I think outdoor television can be better.  I believe it can appeal to the masses.  Producing a quality outdoor show that people want to watch shouldn’t require a six figure budget.  People want to see hunters make mistakes.  They want to see fresh faces get excited about tagging a doe.  This is why I’m creating The Stand.

The Stand will follow two hunters throughout the 2012 season.  Jason Oswald, my hunting partner, will be in the woods with me the entire fall.  We will alternate between filming and hunting on a daily basis.  You will witness our season as it unfolds.  We will be hunting both the archery and firearm seasons.  New episodes of The Stand will be released on every two weeks starting November 1. 

We will carry three cameras into the woods for every hunt.  This will offer the viewer several angles of the action and most importantly, no staged shots.  We will share our thoughts as they occur, no studio interviews months afterward.  The Stand is a real look at how real hunters hunt.  I think most hunters are going to love this show.  Jason and I have spent countless hours planning and preparing to create something people will enjoy.  The season is approaching and the countdown is on. 

Like” on Facebook for updates.  If you want to see more, the trailer will be released September 17.  

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