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Outdoor TV’s 7 Deadly Sins

by Mike Schoby   |  November 26th, 2013 74

Recently, after watching about 40 hours of outdoor TV and screaming at the screen, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and had to write an open letter to outdoor TV “personalities” everywhere. Keep in mind, I host Petersen’s Hunting Adventures, but do not consider myself a “personality” or even good on camera, but at least I am not guilty of these Seven Deadly Sins.

Speak English
This should go without saying, but if you can’t speak proper English, you have no business being on TV. When was the last time a news anchor dropped “y’all” or “I got me one”? Seriously, you’re on TV…at least pretend to know the language. There are a couple of exceptions—if you live far, far below the Mason-Dixon Line, I’ll give you a pass. Redneckese in small doses is homey and charming, but with Waddell and the Robertsons, we have our country vernacular pretty well covered. So, please, come up with a new shtick.

Stop Naming Deer
I don’t know why naming deer bothers me so much…but it does. I guess part of it comes from my Western upbringing, where animals were truly wild and most of the time you would only see them once, so there was no point in coming up with a name. This seems to be completely different for whitetail hunters.

It must be a written rule somewhere that any deer that may gross over 150 inches and has been spotted at least twice earns a nickname. But come on! Can’t anyone come up with more creative names? “Stickers”? “Wild Thang”? “Triple Threat”? Really? These are deer, not MMA fighters, so give them some respect. What’s wrong with Bob or John or even Raoul? Or if something catchy is needed, I would suggest adult film star names. “Hey, ol’ Lance Thrustwell is on the food plot again.” At least that has a nice ring to it.

Dress Like an Adult
Years ago, after a couple of beers, a buddy confided in me and said, “I don’t trust a guy in fancy pants.” I have to agree. Unfortunately, outdoor TV is full of “fancy pants.” Grown men wearing designer jeans with pocket flaps, decorative stitching, and carefully manufactured holes have no place in the hunting world.

On a country music star crooning to a bunch of teenage girls—fine. On a serious hunter? Not fine. If you top it off with a tight-fitting Affliction shirt and fancy cowboy boots, you’ve just become the ultimate Delta Bravo. The worst part is this is not a single host, but an entire culture. At the Archery Trade Association show it’s like a school uniform. Wearing this outfit in your 30s is bad, but do it in your 40s and 50s (which many of these TV hosts are), and it is a crime that should result in public flogging.

Don’t Pimp Your Ride
I get that owning a monster truck with a six-inch lift and 40-inch swampers is required to host a TV show, but do you really have to cover every inch of it with stickers to tell the world that hunting is your passion? Think about it: Your $40,000 pickup is now an unpaid moving billboard. You turned a truck into a NASCAR vehicle without the income.

And it is not just about the paycheck…you’re letting everyone know you probably have valuable stuff to steal. Not to mention anytime someone sees it parked alongside an old country road, they know you have a secret hunting spot. Try getting into Canada with this not-so-subtle ride…trust me, your stickers just caught the attention of the Customs folks. Make sure your filming permits are in order and be prepared for a full cavity search, just to be sure you’re not smuggling an extra shotgun shell somewhere.

Professional Hunter
Unless you are a licensed African Professional Hunter, you should not use the term. Period. Not only is it technically wrong and misleading, it is just plain arrogant. You may be a guide, a TV host, a marketing person, a CEO, a paid celebrity, a writer, or any number of other legitimate jobs in the outdoor industry, and you may happen to hunt pretty much full-time, but technically, no one is paying you to go out and shoot a deer.

Face Paint
OK, this is a touchy subject, as I have close friends and coworkers who do this, but please stop with the extensive face paint. A few smudges here and there is fine, but the next generation of hunters is going to think you have to look like Gene Simmons from Kiss if you are ever going to kill a deer. Face paint is like makeup on a woman…keep it light and subtle.

Fist Bumps and End Zone Dances
Can you imagine Fred Bear sticking a whitetail then fist bumping his buddy Glenn St. Charles before riding his recurve like a horse around the dead deer while slapping his own rump, then chest bumping his guide, pumping his fist in the air, and screaming at the top of his lungs into the camera? Of course not, that would be ridiculous.

So why does a version of this ritual seem to be the dance du jour for every TV host today? You know why Fred Bear didn’t do it? One, because he wasn’t a jackass. Two, he was a grown man. Three, he respected the animal too much for those shenanigans. Four, see points one and two. He was a seasoned veteran hunter. So take this advice: Act like you have been there before and pay the animal its due respect. A simple smile, a pat on the deer while you’re admiring the rack, and a moment of silence will suffice.

Well, that’s about it on my rant on outdoor TV. I don’t know about you, but I feel much better.

  • Tom Addleman

    This is one of the best articles in a long time. It should be mandatory reading…seriously.

    • Brett Peshek

      People wouldn’t recognize the duck commanders if they didn’t have beards face paint, talk like rednecks, fist pump, do crazy things, act how they act. If you want to make something of being on tv, then your going to have to stand out in your own special ways. It’s what we do, it’s hunting! Don’t criticize if all you do is sit on the couch (or road hunt) and watch outdoor channels rather than hunt.

      • Black Smoke

        Ya I love the guys from Duck Commander and liked them before it was “cool” and now you have idiots out there that think because they watch the show they know how to duck hunt….WRONG!

  • Jake

    I honestly think you are arrogant for writing this article and I will go through my reasoning for each section. First the speaking english part, people from different parts of the United States will have different accents depending where they are from. Would you like them to change their accent so you can understand better? Next, the “Stop Naming Deer” category, I name the deer on my farm because it is easier to relate to what we see and where a particular deer has been other then; “the big bodied 9 point with the split G2 on his left and a split brow-tine on his right was in the cornfield tonight”, when I can simply give him a name. For the dressing and truck category, are you the fashion police? Everyone should probably just dress and act like you since they are on T.V. huh? Give me a break, sure some of these “celebrities” have let T.V. go to their head, but do not group them as a whole. The “Professional Hunter” category is THE ONLY subject I will agree with you on. It is just ignorant to call yourself a professional hunter, period. Also I can not shoot with a face mask on while bow hunting and frankly can not breath in them either, so I resort to face paint and use it every hunt. It was personal preference, why not mix it up sometimes and make things interesting? Lastly, who are you to tell people how they should act when successfully harvesting an animal? I think your comments on this are just ignorant, they are excited about the harvest an animal why not celebrate with your cameraman or company thats with you? I think you should have thought a little harder and kept your opinions to yourself before writing this article.

    • Chris Jackson

      Spot on. To each their own. If you don’t like what they are doing then don’t watch. Must not have been too bad to watch 40 hours of of it (especially if it was hunting season). Get off the couch and show these people how to hunt. I hunt out west and we spend a lot of time scouting and filming the bucks we hope to hunt. Many of the bucks we see from year to year. Without naming them, my hunting buddy would never know which deer I was talking about. We keep a theme for the year, whether it be news anchors, astronauts, etc…

    • mike schoby

      Ok – you want to go point by point.
      1. I never said, lose the accent. I said learn proper english…there is big difference i.e.don’t sound like you have a third grade education. While it is subtle there is a difference between “I got me one” and “I got one”…
      2. I understand naming deer for clarification and simplicity, and I suggested naming them normal names—not idiotic names like “picket fence” or “triple threat”. Once again whats wrong with naming them Bob or John?
      3. Yes, I am the fashion police when it comes to bedazzled jeans and you should be too.
      4. I’m glad we agree on the Professional Hunter name, as there are tons of African PHs who take offense to it as well.
      5. Face Paint – I wear face paint too. But I don’t spend an hour making it perfect to look like I’m a KISS band member…
      6. If you are truly that excited when you kill an animal I am all for it, my problem is, most of this celebration is fake/put on for the camera. Think about it, until Waddell started getting super excited after a kill, which is how he naturally is, you never saw hosts going nuts over killing a deer, now that is all you see.

      • Kyle

        1) Tell this to Si Robertson who makes a great living!
        2) This is actually something I enjoy doing with my family and friends. Is going through the trail camera pictures and coming up with names to relate the deer to.
        3) I agree with you on this. I can’t stand so called “celebrities” wearing girl jeans.
        4) The term “Professional Hunter” should NEVER be used. Like you said it’s NOT TRUE!
        5) What else do you have to do while sitting and waiting hours upon end for the animal to pass by? Be creative, be goofy, whatever, have a sense of humor here and if anything just have a chuckle about it.
        6). I agree with scripted reactions- it’s pathetic! I’m sorry but no way is it fair for you to say Waddell was the first person to get super excited after shooting an animal. Correct me if i’m wrong, but I doubt you rehearse your reactions before shooting an animal do you? After chasing a big buck for years and then finally sealing the deal, my emotions take there own course, not a rehearsed course.

        I agree and disagree with parts of this article, and respect your guts to stand up and say it how you think it is!

        • mike schoby

          Thanks for the response Kyle, as you can tell much of this is tongue in cheek. Hey, I gave the robertson’s a pass in the article. haha. Didn’t mean Waddell was the first to show emotion, just that he was one of the first to show lots of emotion on camera then got Uber-famous on tv… then it became common.

          • Pickett Phence

            Using words like “Uber-famous” doesn’t help your argument much.

          • Black Smoke

            Umm.. you have zero argument PICKET PHENCE! fuckin’ bad ass give me a break! I agree completely with this article because shit is true all hunting is becoming these days is commercialized garbage.

  • BTR183

    Thanks or your rant. I was beginning to feel that I was alone on this matter. Since we are ranting, I have one more super gripe. Its the whispering to the camera. The ONLY time I want to hear someone whispering, is when I’m with my babe.

    • jeffthedj

      So your suppose to talk normal in the super quiet woods? The only way you can’t whisper is if you fake it and do a cut away later on but then it’s no
      t real!

      • Brett Peshek

        Yeah i agree, that just means your faking it. Ok try talking in a straight normal monotone voice when your “babe” is only whispering. It just doesn’t work!!

  • Harleywriter

    all great points but unfortunately, probably will be lost on those who need it most. Too many just like em tuning in and buying every product they pimp.

    • Brett Peshek

      ^^^ The guy who is saying “em” Way to agree and not speak english?? Hmm weird.

  • Jens Ulrik Hoegh

    AMEN to that! We need to get the hunting back in Hunting TV shows – or they are nothing more than TV Shows!!!

  • clay

    Do not agree on everything, but I remember the days of taking plenty of game wearing jeans and a red checkered flannel shirt. I have told my sons, camo is nice, but not really a necessity . As for the fist bumps and such, if you don’t get excited when you close the deal, then it is time to hang up you gear and give it up.

  • Sean C

    AMEN! I wholeheartedly agree on everything except the spoken English part, but then again I am Southern. Any yankee, though, trying to come off as “country” or “Southern” needs to go.

  • Jay Houston

    Amen Mike. Tell it like it is. Maybe there is one more: I never want to hear another dude sitting in a tree stand say “It’s a shooter.” Clearly the term shooter has no meaning to anyone other than the hunter as I have heard this term used on bucks as small as 120 and bulls in the 230-240 class. They are all shooters!
    Wish we could have pulled off that Muley hunt in Sonora a few years ago. In the end it was for the best. Heard bad bad things happened at the ranch we were supposed to hunt.
    Jay Houston/ Hunt Connections

  • Bill Cooper

    Mike,
    It has never been said better in print! How the “outdoor celebrity” industry has survived, I will never understand. Our society willingly promotes, illiteracy, poor speaking abilities, demeaning behavior, arrogant attitudes, disrespect for our language, our resources and the general public. Far too many Americans like to present themselves as dumb butts. It’s working. The whole world hates us for our lack of repect for ourselves and them. But, it is our freedom to do so. Thank a well dressed, intelligent, sophiscated, clear speaking soldier for that. I am an outdoor writer and award winning outdoor educator. I am proud to be a part of professional writing groups, such as the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, which set high standards for our industry. The outdoor TV crowd needs the same type of regulation. Perhps that would stop everyone who wins a calling contest from becoming a show host. I go so far as to avoid products companies which support poorly hosted outdoor TV programs. Others do, too. Keep the pressure on. You have a following.

  • Michelle Scheuermann

    Well, since most TV producers are self-employed (sorry, Mike, you are paid) they have this whole federal and state taxes thing to consider every year – so I partly think the whole “pimped truck” thing is a tax write off. And heck, maybe the clothes are too as “wardrobe.” Now that I’m self-employed, I get it.

    Oh – and you forgot one – stop using the word “Extreme” in everything and stop trying to mangle the word to spell it differently to set you apart. If you are trying that hard, then come up with a different word.

  • Russell

    Good read. While I fall short of calling this a problem, here is the situation: In America, there are roughly as many hunters as their are golfers. As such, golf has one network dedicated to the sport while hunting has at least three with many more carrying hunting as part of their programming.

    Why the difference?

    I think it is because when people see Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods play golf they can appreciate the skill of these golfers and revel in their mastery of the game without once thinking they can emulate their skill. When people watch other people hunt on TV, they universally think, “I can do that.”

    Cheap and readily available editing suites and HD cameras have democratized video production and networks who will sell you airtime if you have the money has opened the door wide for anyone with a camera and money to be on television. As such there are few barriers to entry.

    Unlike other hunting media which pays people to contribute, hunting television (in many cases) works the other way around. I’ve been a part of the hunting photography and writing scenes for years now and the barrier to entry for printed media is greater in my experience than hunting television is at times.

    I’ve produced, directed, and filmed television for national audiences so I know how competitive the arena can be when it comes to getting something in prime time on a network who commissions work.

    On the other hand, I’ve been approached about doing a show for a hunting network who was willing to book a show sight unseen (as a show didn’t even exist) as long as I could pay them $3,500 per episode for airtime.

    • eric

      Great article. Some of those hunting shows make us all (i.e. hunters) look like clowns.

    • Ken Anderson

      Russell, good effort but I think the “golf” analogy doesn’t quite fit. Golf is …well…golf. The courses may be different, but it’s basically the same game no matter where it’s played or who’s playing it.

      Hunting, on the other hand, is very diverse. The species being hunted, the geographic location where the hunt is taking place, and the weapon being used all change the sport significantly. I think this is why we can have 3+ TV channels dedicated just to outdoor sports: so can have shows specifically for the duck hunters, turkey hunters, deer hunters, etc. And don’t forget the fishermen!

      Your observation about a hunting network being willing to purchase a show sight unseen is interesting. And insightful. My wife and I often wonder how some of the really horrible hunting shows ever got on the air. Now we know.

  • Randy

    I stumbled upon this article via a friend’s FB post. Now, I have no clue who you are, and have never heard your name until I read this article. My first initial thought was “This guy’s a Northener.” (I may have even said Yankee, but I try not to call a fellow hunter a Yankee, when I can help it). Yes, I’m from the South. I know how to write and speak what you call “proper English,” but I don’t always choose to write or speak with it. That doesn’t make me any less intelligent than you, or the next guy. I grew up using slang words and phrases. That’s how I choose to talk. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe some of you from up North sound a little strange, and maybe uptight, to some of us in the South? You ask: When was the last time we saw a news anchor say the word y’all? Well, when was the last time I saw a city boy news anchor trying to host a hunting show? You’re in the woods, HUNTING, not trying to teach me how to speak.

    Why name deer odd/strange names? For one, it helps identify bucks a lot easier and just “John” or “Bob.” It’s a lot easier to associate a strange name with a buck than it is to associate “John” to a particular buck. When I tell my buddy Mike that I saw “John” while I was on the stand today, he’s not going to know who I’m even talking about. Then, I will have to explain to him that it was the buck John, and not our other buddy John from back home. Once I do that, he may even ask, well which one is John? Then I’ll have to sort through 50,000 trail cam photos to show him. You see my point here?

    About the face paint… I’ve never really been a fan of using face paint. In fact, I’ve never worn it until early this November. I have always preferred to wear a facemask, but seemed to have trouble hearing everything with one on. I don’t care how thin of a facemask you have on, you can not hear every little sound being made while you are wearing one. One of my favorite and most useful senses to use while in the woods is my hearing. Sometimes I even opt out of sitting in box blinds just because I wont be able to hear very well. Not all of us put facepaint on just to look like some warrior.

    I just thought I would put in my .02 on a couple of your topics. You should have titled the story something different though. Maybe something like “Mike’s 7 Pet Peeves of Hunting Shows.”

  • Brett Peshek

    Yeah I agree with Jake, who made you David Letterman for judging other hunters?? If you have a problem with how other people hunt, talk, or what they believe in, then why do you watch Outdoor TV. I’ve watched way more than 40 hours of outdoors films and i can tell you these “7 sins” that you call sins make the difference between every hunting show besides the animal itself. People believe in what they want, if face paint works then wear it? A few smudges? Do you even hunt bro? We use paint as hunters not for just for looks we use it to conceal our bare skin. One little smudge isn’t worth it in my opinion. Go all out. And criticizing how people get excited after they just harvested a monster of a lifetime? Seriously they should be excited about it because if they truly love hunting everything should be exciting to see. If they act like no big deal or they are going to their job they shouldn’t even be hunting!!! Are you trying to say people who wear fancy clothes can’t hunt? Sure i don’t care for it but if it’s how they dress then fine!! I believe everybody should be able to hunt rich or poor fancy, casual, or in nothing but rags.

    • Cynthia Thia Anderson

      The sad fact is that hunting and hunters are judged by a very critical eye by both non-hunters and anti-hunters. The hunting shows are often their only impression of what hunting is all about and how hunters act in the field. How many of us really act and do the things that we see on hunting shows? And yet they are our “representatives” to the public. Put yourself in the shoes of a non- or anti-hunter. What would your impression of hunting and hunters be? When many of us as hunters are offended or turned off by some of what we see on hunting shows, can you imagine what anti-hunters think? They are constantly looking for reasons to attack hunting and these shows sometimes make it easy for them to find ammunition to do so. I’m not saying that these shows need to cater to the anti-hunters but we do need to do everything we can to make the best impression possible. They will do whatever they need to do to shed a negative light on hunting, Let’s not make it easy on them.

  • gm

    Good write. I have many opinions on the unneccesary gadgets, talk, and paint when it comes to hunting. My deadly sin isn’t about any of it. Could care less. I always wonder where the animal goes and how it is used after harvest.These folks travel the country and harvest countless animals. More than they can possibly use. I know “Share the harvest” and we are “overpopulated”. OK, then take a needy person hunting and teach them something for life. No need to harvest for tv ratings and celebration. Now I hear “they can travel and afford it”. Does that mean taking something for fun is right? My family hunts and harvests for what it is intended for. We would not think of taking what we didn’t need or want. People need to get back to what it was intended for. I would much rather watch 10 episodes of a hunter eating his tag and then scoring on the 11th than a guy shooting 15 animals over 11 weeks but “sharing the harvest”. I don’t paint my face, or wear camo all the time. I don’t speak “redneck” or dance over my kill. I never harvest what I don’t plan on using myself. The only thing I have ever named a game animal is DINNER!!! My two cents.

    • Xman97

      Excellent Point.. my ire over these shows is the perpetuation of the American Trophy Hunter. It’s all about the BIG KILL. Too many hunters are ALL ABOUT THE BIG KILL. Hunters need to educate themselves on culling weak animals, taking a doe for meat, etc. Sure, pursue a large rack every now and then, take one when he’s in your sights, but the unfettered pursuit of the Rack is antithecal to the sport of hunting.
      Furthermore, it irks me that these shows and magazines like Petersens NEVER take lay-hunters along for these exotic hunts all across the world. The damn sponsors are footing the bill anyway. Why not offer a raffle for two hunters to join your next paid advertisement hunt to promote some new product? I stopped taking this magazine because it was nothing but a 30 page advertisement.

  • true woodsman

    This article is spot on. The sins mentioned above make hunters look like morons. We should come across as real woodsman. And one more thing, quit hunting over feeders and food plots. Tractors are for farming, not hunting. Use real outdoor skills. Not technology.

  • demsaredelusional

    I would have thought that the “inability to complete a sentence without mentioning at least two sponsors” would have made the list.

  • Josh Kingsmore

    Well personally I like the article but I think hunters have there own fair share of bashing from people like peta and anti hunters/guns. We should all embrace with each other and there own for our passion in our sport that we all love together as one. It’s all about the love of the outdoors and Gods creatures that he has bestowed upon us to be able to enjoy and harvest with the love of our family’s.

  • DB Hawthorne

    I’m sure you are a nice enough guy but you come off very arrogant….I would think that should be one of the “deadly sins” for an outdoor writer… I know I will be less excited to read your next outdoor article.

  • http://www.cascwild.org/ Bob Ferris

    Very nice. For years I have been concerned about the evolution of hunting and this transition from ethics-based hunters to trophy-oriented shooters. Though all of this spoke to me, the face-paint seemed particularly relevant, because I just read a facebook post by a hunter bragging about returning from a duck hunt in full face paint and walking into a supermarket. He seemed surprised when he got weird reactions from people. He was likely modelling behavior he had observed on these shows or seen in video games. We have to do a better job at passing on respect-based hunting ethics and acceptable behaviors. Thanks for writing this piece.

  • http://www.AverageHunter.com/ Matt Staser

    I agree with you Mike and personally I think there are a lot more than 7 that I can think of especially with this industry moving into the “reality” show world which we all know has nothing to do with reality. Well done sir.

  • Ryan Anderson

    Has anyone pointed out the hypocrisy of criticizing other peoples’ grammar and they following it up with, “…you’ve just became the ultimate Delta Bravo.”?

    You’ve just “become”.

    Having said that, I agree with most of your article. Moderation and respect for hunting are far more appealing than over-the-top Hollywood antics.

    • Ryan Anderson

      I just saw my own typo… Then*

  • Merle Donovan

    Mike Schoby:

    I just received my copy of the November, 2013 “Petersen’s Hunting” in the mail the other day. Pretty good copy and compliments to your many contributors.

    Finally someone has loudly and clearly made a list of and published “Outdoor TV’s 7 Deadly Sins”! I couldn’t agree with you more!

    Good for you and kudos to you Mike for putting that list in print for those “personalities” whom are unfortunately guilty of committing.

    Over the years of watching many hunting and fishing programs, I too have gradually become more and more annoyed with some of these “personalities”. I only hope that many in the industry will take heed and evolve towards a more humble presentation of their material.

    As hunters (huntresses) and fisherman (fisherwomen), our image and actions as perceived by those that do not hunt needs to be improved, maintained and viewed in the best possible way.

    I too have a couple of rants that annoy me and I would like to throw them out there.

    An item that annoys me to no end is when the successful hunter is shown either in video or photo sitting on his or her hard earned trophy. In my opinion, a sign of disrespect and in poor taste for the creature that has given its life to the hunter!

    Another little rant, are those individuals that wear ball caps with all the tattered and frayed edges. Let me tell you, through experience (I am a seasoned 66 year old hunter) I have put quite a few ball caps through their paces over the years and never once have I beat up a cap to that extent. It just doesn’t happen! I suspect that there has been a little sandpaper involved or a trusty pocket knife has been used to give the viewer the impression that the wearer of said hat is a seasoned, long in the tooth hunter (huntress). Sorry, just doesn’t happen!

    Regards, Merle.

  • Buck

    Spot-on! Great article! You missed a big one by not mentioning sponsorships though. “We couldn’t have done it without our ______ bow & _______ broadheads, and our _____ optics, and scent eliminating _____. And the deer certainly couldn’t see us because of our _________ camo clothes, made by ___________. Also, special thanks to _________ Outfitters for inviting us to come hunt on their property, to give them shameless advertising on our television show.”

  • Ken Anderson

    I’m not going to mince words here or try to be politically correct: Anyone who disagrees with Mike’s “Seven Sins” is an idiot.

    As an avid, lifetime hunter I enjoy watching the occasional hunting TV show when I’m relaxing at home at night. Frankly, most of what I see is not only embarrassing, but is outright harmful to hunting. Why do I say that? Because the vast majority of citizens of this country (a.k.a. “voters”) do NOT hunt, and probably don’t even know anyone who does. Their opinions, such as they are, are formed by what is presented to them by the media – and not just the anit-hunting Hollywood media, but these “hunting shows” that are produced for our own benefit and enjoyment.

    If a non-hunter watches a hunting TV show and sees a bunch of guys who can’t speak proper English (regardless of regional dialect, grammar is still grammar) the non-hunter will think hunters are stupid or uneducated – or both. If the non-hunters sees a successful hunter dancing around a dead animal whopping and hollering like hejust won the Super Bowl, then they will assume the hunter doesn’t have any respect for the animal.

    I could go on with other examples, but I think you understand what I’m saying.

    The bottom line is this: I should be able to sit down with a non-hunting friend or relative and watch a hunting TV show without feeling like I need to apologize or try to explain the ignorant and disrespectful behavior they are seeing. Hunting shows should show people behaving in an honorable, ethical, and respectful fashion. In other words, they should reflect the way the vast majority of “actual hunters” – you and I – conduct ourselves in the field.

    I know that not everyone will agree with me (or Mike). Well guess what? You’re part of the problem!

    • Homesick Hunter

      Part of the problem? I’m pretty sure my four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan would make me more part of the solution than the problem, even if a disagree with another hunters “opinion.”
      Who are all these non hunters watching hunting shows? I have a hard time believing some southerner wearing designer jeans driving a big truck will turn a non hunter into an anti-hunter.
      There where plenty of anti-hunters before there where any hunting shows.
      There’s some good hunting shows in France, maybe you should move there.
      Hunters who call other hunters idiots because they have a different “opinion” are the problem!

      • Ken Anderson

        Homesick: first off, thank you for your service to our country. I myself retired after a 21 year Army career, so I understand what you sacrifices you have made and the hardships you have endured. However, it really isn’t relevant to this topic we are discussing.

        The point I was trying to make is that hunting in America is not a Constitutional right; we have a right bear arms (2nd Amendment) but not to use them to pursue game animals. As a small minority of the overall US population, it is incumbent upon us to conduct ourselves with the highest moral and ethical standards or else risk losing our hunting privileges to a hostile anti-hunting majority through the power of the ballot. And that is the problem I have with many of today’s hunting shows: They do NOT present hunters or hunting in a positive light, and can turn otherwise neutral “non-hunters” into “anti-hunters”.

        If you encounter an anti-hunter you might ask them why they feel the way they do about hunting. I have done so, and I learned that many of them started out as non-hunters, and only developed negative feelings about hunting after personally witnessing hunters behaving in ways that they found offensive (and I don’t mean just by the act of killing an animal).

        Move to France? No thanks, but that’s a good example of what hunting in America could be like in the years to come if we don’t start caring about how our image as hunters is presented to the non-hunting public. I spent five years stationed in Germany, and although I did hunt there (I earned my Jagdschein) and it is MUCH different than hunting here in the states. We don’t know how lucky we are!!

      • J from Colorado

        PSD much? Just because I am American, doesn’t mean I need to agree with every Anerican…just because I am white doesn’t mean I agree with every white person and just because I am a hunter does not mean I have to agree with every backwoods hick eastern hillbilly hunter!!!!

      • Cody Jones

        Great post Ken. Totally agree. As for Homesick Hunter, lots of us are veterans, but I have a hard time respecting a vet who goes around advertising it every chance he/she gets. As Ken says in the following post, it is hardly relevant to the topic at hand. Why even bring it up unless you are trying to get attention. In my experience, the vets with the biggest baddest stories are usually the ones that are full of shit, and/or repeating stories that actually happened to someone else. Apologies to everyone for getting off topic here, but posts like this just make respectable vets everywhere look bad.

  • Ken Anderson

    Mike, I’d like to add one more sin: the perplexing use of heavy metal guitar music whenever a big buck or bull is about to get shot. I know that when I’m watching a big buck approach my stand the furthest thing from my mind is a mind-numbing blast of Metallica or Slayer. WTF?

  • Patrick Wirth

    Can we add, please stop acting like the “average” whitetail that you just killed, to have something to film is a “Great, Great Buck!”?! really? Don’t we all know the difference, or at least many of us…it’s OK to be genuine and admit that he was the best one you saw that you didn’t screw up and pass on….like the rest of us? Doesn’t make it any less of a successful hunt.

  • Cynthia Thia Anderson

    Well said, Mike. I agree with most of your points and have frequent discussions about this subject while watching hunting shows. Probably my biggest pet peeve from your list is the poor grammar that permeates the majority of hunting shows on the air. Poor grammar gives viewers the impression that hunters are a bunch of uneducated yahoos and this is a negative impression that we don’t need to promote.

    As far as the naming of deer, I don’t have a problem with that for the most part, as long as the name is respectful to the animal. I have to admit I have named a few deer that I have seen on a regular basis (such as “Boone” for the biggest mule deer I have ever seen in the wild or the “Train Trestle Buck” for a deer I had seen after crossing a series of train trestles). However, like you, I hunt primarily in the West and rarely see the same deer twice, so opportunities to need to name a deer in order to identify him are limited.

    I also agree that many of the celebrations after shooting an animal are excessive and show a lack of respect for the animal. Terms such as “I smoked him” or “right through the boiler room” or “slogged him” are offensive to me as a hunter….I can only imagine how they sound to a non hunter. Dancing around and laughing after taking a life shows a lack of respect for the animal taken and makes the hunter look callous and heartless. It is one thing to be excited about a successful hunt; it is another thing to be irreverent.

    Hunting TV shows are the public face for our sport. Regardless of how the majority of everyday real hunters like you and me act out in the field, it is the way we are portrayed by TV shows that the non hunting or worse, the anti-hunting public sees and believes to be the true representation. If this impression is less than above reproach, we give them more ammunition to use against us. This is something we don’t need.

  • Cynthia Thia Anderson

    Other “sins” I’d like to add:

    1) “The Hit List”: Really? Are we snipers or hired killers?
    2) Having a huge buck walk by and the hunter saying he’s not big enough. Maybe I’m just jealous because I would LOVE to even see bucks as big as some that they claim to be too small. I think it gives unrealistic expectations that giant bucks are a dime a dozen and that anything less than a monster is unsatisfactory.
    3) Saying it was a great shot when clearly it was not.
    4) Leaving a deer overnight when clearly the shot was lethal and the deer could not have gone very far before expiring. What? Are they afraid of the dark?
    5) Dramatic musical overtures or wild rock music. I’ve never figured out why this is necessary when a big buck steps into the picture.

  • Smeagol

    You missed one egregious sin! The dreaded T.V. hunter “whisper”. I can’t stand it when hunters whisper to the camera. No one can understand a stinking word they say. So, please stop it! Some times I crank the T.V. up to hear what they’re saying, then all of a sudden the segment ends and the T.V. is blasting….ugh! The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not whisper to the camera, else thy days shall be shortened in the land of thy fathers.

    • Cynthia Thia Anderson

      While I agree with you that the whispering is hard to hear, in real hunting you cannot talk at a normal volume. What gets me is when they keep whispering AFTER the shot. But at the very least, they need to do subtitles when there is whispering.

      • Smeagol

        Agreed. I understand the “why”, but the point of the show is to explain to me, the viewer, what is happening. If I can’t hear/understand a word that’s being said, then that’s a “fail”.

  • Homesick Hunter

    I’m just glad not all hunting shows are like yours.
    Maybe you should stop watching hunting shows.
    There are far bigger problems than skinny jeans and jacked up trucks.
    Meanwhile, PETA sits back with a bowl of popcorn while hunters destroy hunting.
    Stupid Article

  • cavemansback

    Here’s a few more, Stop with the canned hunts. If you need to spend $6000 to have your hand held while walked through a fenced game farm to sit in you 8×8 box over looking a pile of corn, YOU ARE NOT A GOOD HUNTER. Period.

    Stop with the chicks. Put the chick hunts on the Oprah channel. It’s annoying watching these bim’s get spoon fed awesome opportunities and then screw them up . Just take her to the supermarket and let her pick out her Steak.

    They might be effective but sitting in a ground blind over a food source is closer to shopping at the mall then actual hunting and watching film of it is about as as exciting.

  • jeff

    spot on man!..hilarious! and yes, I have pretty much stopped watching outdoor television except the few I DVR because they are paletteable. 9 out of 10 I watch are western hunting. You can understand them, every show is different and not in a damn tree stand or food plot. thank you for writing this!

  • Lou

    Really Is someone JEALOUS there not getting to join in on all the fun?!!
    What a stupid article and a waste of time!!!

  • http://www.backwoodslife.com/ Michael Lee

    Well as an outdoor TV host here are my thoughts:
    1) I’m from south Georgia, I have a college education and I try to speak proper English as much as possible, but I can’t help it at times when I say “y’all” or “ain’t” it’s just the way I am.
    2) We rarely name deer, but at times we do. I would rather personally be surprised when I kill a deer and not say, “I killed ol’ Roofus this morning”.
    3) I do understand the “designer” jeans comment. Honestly I don’t buy those type of jeans but I do like torn, worn, and sometimes jeans with holes. Why? Because they are comfortable, simple as that. And while I’m on it, I do wear cowboy boots that are nice because they are comfortable too, that’s just me and my personality sorry if that offends you.
    4) I drive a 2011 Chevy, I do have a leveling kit on it and tires that are more aggressive than stock tires because I use my 4×4 and get out of some rough mud in my travels. I have three deals on my back window and the rest of my truck is white with nothing on it. I’m not an attention “whore” so I could care less if anyone knows who I am.
    5) I agree 100% with the pro hunter comment, we are not pro hunters, we hunt to represent companies and show how we use their products. Simple as that.
    6) No face paint here, I have used it in the past, but it really doesn’t matter to a deer and a wear a camo mask for turkeys. They don’t mind that either.
    7) Fist bumps and such are part of it, after that adrenaline rush it is just like hitting a walk off home run, yes I’ve even done that before so I can actually compare the feelings for me. Do I dance? Not really, but if I did, it wouldn’t be staged. I am ME 100% on camera. Celebration and all, hell I tear up at times on special hunts, does that make me a non Fred Bear type? Maybe but again, I’m me.

    I have no problem with your opinions at all, just don’t classify us “all” in the same boat. If you get a chance and watch Backwoods Life, I think you’ll see that I’m spot on with my points about us for the most part and I’m true to myself 100% more than anything.

    Thanks for bringing these things out for discussion, it’s always healthy to do so.

    ML

  • David

    Well said and I thought I was the only one that thought all the 40 and 50 year old dudes running around in bedazzled jeans and too tight shirts looked like fools! The difference in hunting and “hunting” television is that it’s a production, every bit of it. 90% of the recoveries are staged, the reactions are staged and the multiple camera angles for the most part are after the fact that the shot has been taken. I agree with you 100%…oh, and I will also wear face paint from time to time, but come on, the guys out there that are painting it on in a specific pattern that looks more like a super hero mask than camo or to break up their outline…Really?

  • Bob Aguiar

    Mike
    Great article to make all of us think about how hunters should behave in front of a camera. I can agree with most of what you’ve written and empathize with most of the comments to the article. As a 35+ yr Hunter Education Instructor, I have always stressed to my students our “image” to the non hunting public and your article highlights some areas where we can definitely do better. There probably isn’t any one right answer or one right way to hunt. Let all just be as ethical and respectful to the animals as we can….the TV ratings will sort out the bad.

  • Jeff

    I feel the same way…This article is right. I film for an outdoors show and we get praised all the time for NOT following suit with things mentioned!

  • Alan Probst

    Great article Mike……..I have also been doing TV shows for a decade now at the local, regional and national level. I agree on most of this stuff and have prided myself on not doing these things as most importantly it takes away from what we should be trying to teach and that is respect for the quarry. There is a fine line that you shouldn’t cross and you have touched on that premise with much zest. I do fall into one of the categories though because I do have a truck that does have sponsors logo’s and camo but that is for their recognition as I wouldn’t have a show without their support and I need to support them as much as possible.
    The show that I do now at the national level is F&T’s North American Trapper on the PURSUIT Channel 6:30pm Monday nights and we are receipted very well because of the approach that we do with each and every show….and that is to make each episode as much of a learning experience as possible for all viewers. I believe we are one of the top rated watched shows on that channel because we do this as a whole and we do not fall into the celebrity trap as a show. The show premise is completely educational and that is and will always be our approach. The F&T actually stands for Freedom and Truth.
    The problem is that TV is a platform with much recognition and one has to handle their own ego at times and not get too far ahead of what should be the common goal. That can be a lot of things with TV from entertainment to fame to money that can lead some into thinking that its all about them when in reality, it should be about passing on the traditions. One of the best TV hosts I have ever been around and probably one of the best outdoorsman in the country is Brad Harris and I bet that he wouldn’t get recognized by 1 out of 100 people even at a hunting function and that is who I try to emulate and in my eyes, others would benefit from that approach as well. Best of luck to you and appreciated the read.

  • Valleygold

    Let’s add one more. Lets stop calling long range shooting hunting. Shooting at an animal at 500 – 1000 yds isn’t hunting anymore than armchair quarterbacking is playing football. Where’s the respect for the animal, where’s the effort and the achievement and satisfaction that you bested the beast. Let’s just call animal shooting and be done with it.

  • Levi

    Ive shared hunting camp with the guy that wrote this article…let me just say that he is the worst hunter I’ve ever seen! He wanted to do nothing but sit over water in a blind just like the rest of the team at peterson seems to do! High fences with high powers in africa! What a joke! Oh by the way talking about respecting the game you hunt….he made the worst shot of the week on his animal and couldn’t hit his butt with both hands! He had no clue about his equipment and i actually had too piece his bow back together after it exploded in his hands and he had no clue where to begin! He is a joke of a hunter and ill keep my fancy jeans and my knowledge of my equipment and the woods! He can keep his lazy hunting style and arrogant attitude that is crying for attention because nobody knew who he was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mike Schoby

      Well Hello Levi (Morgan I can only assume)

      Sorry for the delayed response, I just read this. And I must
      say, I was rather disappointed to read this vitriolic, hate-filled post. I remember the camp we shared this past fall clearly, however very differently. As I recall, my wife sat over a water hole
      and shot her first antelope with a bow after trying to spot and
      stalk one for three years. As a surprise bonus, she shot the largest antelope of
      the camp for the season, including yours (is this the real cause of your
      angst?).

      I missed one myself while spotting and stalking in a strong
      crosswind (which I don’t apologize for and we showed on the episode) then shot another in the boiler room while spotting and stalking (which we showed as well).

      As for “not knowing my equipment”, I fully admit learning something on that trip. My bow did come unstrung due to a nock exploding and I have never seen anyone restring a bow using a ratchet strap as an improvised bow press—very cool technique. After that hunt I
      told several colleagues about the genius archery wiz I shared a camp with who was one of the nicest, most helpful bowhunters I have ever been around. I recall telling them something like: “a kid that has a real future in the industry and we need more like him”…well I guess I was wrong.

      As for my shooting prowess, (or lack thereof as you describe
      it), I’ll tell you what…why don’t you put your money where your mouth is. I propose a little competition for charity—no, not just with a bow, which no one would argue you clearly dominate, but an overall hunter shooting competition. A practical course with a bow, then a crossbow (offhand), big bore rifle (.458 or larger), long range rifle (field positions out to 400 yards), pistol (hunting big bore revolver), a round of skeet and a traditional percussion muzzleloader (offhand).

      The shooter who wins the most individual events wins the
      competition. The looser had to donate $500 to charity. My local range can host the shoot, and I’ll even put you up during your stay.

      I am thinking mid-April after the show season would be
      perfect timing. So pack you fancy pants, bring your $500 and I’ll see you
      there.

      P.S. your comment about “no one knowing who I was in camp”
      struck me as odd. If having people “know who you are” is why you hunt, I really feel sorry for you.

      • John Raoules

        weird…it seems when called on the carpet, silence seems to be the internet bullies best defense….

  • Ryan

    Almost this entire article is about Chad Beldings dumbass haha.

  • Matt Bryan

    I could care less, except how arrogant some of these folks are. Their job is hunting and killing animals. It only pays because of the fans and the crap that they pimp for their benefactors. When I see shows where guys kill 4-5 giants in a season it turns me off. That is not real. Put in your homework and food plots and use product X, etc. I am an Active Duty Soldier. I am an avid Bowhunter. I do not have time to spend umpteen hours in the field a year scouting, etc. So, don’t act like we all have the same opportunities. Thanks, Matt Bryan

  • Ks

    Some of the celebs, after killing a nice pen raised buck, are just inches away from grabbing their crotches and hopping around like street punks……..

  • Bryan

    Mike, You have hit the outdoor TV world right were it hurts by telling the truth. As we all know the truth is a hard pill to swallow at times. I have been in the “belly of the beast” when it comes to outdoor TV industry. At one time I worked as a freelance cameraman for several different TV shows and then my brother and I started our own TV show. In all total we were active in the outdoor TV world for about 10 years. During that time I have witnessed every thing you have stated and more. When my brother and I went out on our own, we did not conform to the “status quo” in the outdoor TV world and because of that we were labeled as outcasts. We did not name deer, pimp our trucks with our sponsors names and when at the ATA shows we did dress our age. Now I’m not saying that the men and women of outdoor TV are not good hunters or don’t hunt hard, I believe that some of them are lost in the woods and are blinded by fame.
    I’m really glad you have called the outdoor TV industry out on their seven deadly sins. Keep up the good work!

  • John Whitfield

    My hat is off to Mike Schoby, he has now risen above Craig Boddington (no small feat) on my list of writers that I like. It is so refreshing to see a member of the media tell it like it is. I watch some of the shows because my grandchildren, whom I am teaching to love the outdoors, watch them occasionally. I would like to add my favorite peeve to what Mike has said. The inference, and sometimes outspoken, premise is that these deer are free-ranging animals. BULLCRAP!! When someone turns and twists in their stand and talks to the camera while a monster buck is walking up less than 100 yards away, and most of the time closer, and the buck does not notice, THAT buck hasn’t been hunted or exposed to much human contact. My second issue is that a buck will be shot and the sun is high in the sky. They get down, go find the buck, and say “he only went 50 yards”, or at most 100 yards and it’s completely dark. I’m 61 years old and not nearly as spry as I once was, but it doesn’t take me that long to go 100 yards. Makes me wonder who was holding the Mag light when he went down!. I could go on, as I’m sure many could but I’ll stop here. It’s just such a travesty that these “experts” teach young and new hunters that you can do all these things and still kill a monster buck each time.
    Again, Thank You Mike! John Whitfield

  • SPRDAVE175

    Pretty much spot on with the exception of face paint. Going fully camouflaged is the only way to get within bow range of the Elk where I hunt. You’d be called a pussy for missing any skin on your face/head/neck from my Special Ops buds who hunt with me. I can see not painting your face as a “Deadly Sin”, but not a good camy job, no sir!

  • KRC

    Super article! All of it is right on. All of what Mike mentioned puts hunting in a bad light. Outdoor TV shows can and must do better!

  • KRC

    Super article! All of it is right on. All of what Mike mentioned puts hunting in a bad light. Outdoor TV shows can and must do better!

  • Trapperone

    I truly agree and the nine more you mentioned in the March issue-There is another one that really grips me, but in today’s world-you and I would be sent off this planet if we mentioned it, let alone not getting fed at the supper table. Thanks for being up front.

  • Tom Cunningham

    Good article – I agree with most of the points even though I apparently don’t watch some of the shows described. A good wide range of opinions shared here in the comments as well.
    But the bottom line is: if you don’t like a particular show, don’t watch it. Some of those shows are popular because enough people find them entertaining enough (or some sponsor is willing to pay enough money) to keep them on. Television is a business, plain and simple. They sell a product. If people buy it, they sell more. If no one buys, they sell something else.
    Mike, if you’re watching a show that makes you scream at it, turn the channel. It’s why I don’t watch the news any more.

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