In the November issue I ranted about Outdoor TV. It was going to be a one-off piece, but then the reader letters flooded in. What was remarkable was that every comment was positive. Except one.
Not surprisingly, the dissenter was a TV host (who shall remain nameless) who is guilty of many of the seven sins. Suffice to say, he was not happy, and since I donâ€™t suffer fools well, the call didnâ€™t last long.
So I decided to write a second piece on the subject. Keep in mind, this is not about Outdoor TV in general. I host Petersenâ€™s Hunting Adventures, and our parent company owns the Sportsman Channel. This is about individual shows and hosts that negatively portray our sport. The original article included seven sins, but I have a lot more…a whole lot more.
Heavy Metal Music
This has been nearly a universal complaint from readersâ€”heavy metal music on hunting shows. Nothing is as jarring as watching a whitetail sneak in to Megadeathâ€¦couldnâ€™t it sneak to Clapton or Santana instead?
The Mean Face
You see it all the time in promo photos: hosts making a face that is an impossible mixture of excitement, fear, and anger combined with a painful bowel movement. The TV host who was so bent out of shape over my editorial actually practices his â€śmean faceâ€ť in a mirror before autograph signings. Sad, but true.
The Tag Line
Michael Waddell is the king of the post-kill saying or â€śtagline,â€ť and for him it works because itâ€™s truly spontaneous and natural. Some other hosts actually rehearse their signature phrases. Hereâ€™s a tip: If you have to think of something catchy to say, donâ€™t do it. Like wearing bedazzled jeans, you will regret it in 10 years.
The Management Buck
Letâ€™s just call this for what it is: the price-point buck. The truth of the matter is the budget didnâ€™t allow for a whopper buck, so instead of just saying that (which is something anyone other than our government can understand), we make up the term â€śmanagement buck.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m here in Texas helping the rancher remove non-trophy deer.â€ť Hereâ€™s the translation: â€śIâ€™m here in Texas, and, gee, I really wish I could whack one of these monsters, but I canâ€™t afford the sucker.â€ť How do I know? Been there, said that.
This should go without saying, but if a host receives a poaching violation they should probably be banned from TV, and sponsors should run from them like the plague. It amazes me how many hosts have been busted and companies keep supporting them. I travel a lot, and keeping up on every regulation in every state is tough, so I can see how an honest mistake could happen.
If it was an honest mistake, and pretty small (e.g., wearing camo blaze orange instead of solid blaze orange), I could see getting a second chance. But if it is something egregious, something blatant, or worse yet, something you did intentionally and tried to hide, then tough, go find a job elsewhere!
I have hunted deer behind a fenceâ€”onceâ€”just to see what it was like. Even though it was 10,000 acres, I didnâ€™t care for it. But where I have a real beef with fenced hunting is when TV hosts pretend they are not behind fences. If you want to hunt behind wire, fine, that is your prerogative, but donâ€™t try and convince me youâ€™re the worldâ€™s greatest hunter because you just smacked a (tame) buck.
Why canâ€™t some outdoor TV hosts just admit they are human? Misses happen. But instead of just turning to the camera and saying, â€śMan, that deer got me rattled, and I just couldnâ€™t hold it together,â€ť there is always a litany of excuses. Just admit itâ€¦you missed. It happens. Worse than the â€śexcuse makersâ€ť are the folks who never show a miss. These egomaniacs must be the best shots in the world because they never miss anythingâ€¦ever.
The Good Hit
The â€śgood hitâ€ť is another pet peeve. The host shoots a deer, turns to the camera and says, â€śThatâ€™s a good hit. Heâ€™s going down right there!â€ť Then you see the recoveryâ€”high noon the next day, deer stiff as a board, and a bit coyote-worn around the edges. He obviously didnâ€™t go down â€śright there.â€ť
The Cameraman Fist Bump
I donâ€™t like it when the host and unseen cameraman have a conversation, but fist bumping this invisible entity is even more annoying. Itâ€™s like a punch to the viewersâ€™ collective forehead. Plus, I donâ€™t like fist bumps in generalâ€¦on TV or off. Iâ€™m 40, grumpy, and an uncoordinated white guy. Therefore I donâ€™t dance or fist bumpâ€¦ever.
Itâ€™s real simple to avoid these problems. Just ask yourself one question: W.W.F.B.D.(What Would Fred Bear Do)? If the old man in the fedora wouldnâ€™t do it, neither should you.