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Editor's Desk Hunting Culture

9 More Deadly Sins of Outdoor TV

by Mike Schoby   |  February 25th, 2014 35

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 don’t suffer fools well, the call didn’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 Petersen’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 readers—heavy metal music on hunting shows. Nothing is as jarring as watching a whitetail sneak in to Megadeath…couldn’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 “mean face” in a mirror before autograph signings. Sad, but true.

The Tag Line
Michael Waddell is the king of the post-kill saying or “tagline,” and for him it works because it’s truly spontaneous and natural. Some other hosts actually rehearse their signature phrases. Here’s a tip: If you have to think of something catchy to say, don’t do it. Like wearing bedazzled jeans, you will regret it in 10 years.

The Management Buck
Let’s just call this for what it is: the price-point buck. The truth of the matter is the budget didn’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 “management buck.”

“I’m here in Texas helping the rancher remove non-trophy deer.” Here’s the translation: “I’m here in Texas, and, gee, I really wish I could whack one of these monsters, but I can’t afford the sucker.” How do I know? Been there, said that.

The Poacher
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!

High Fences
I have hunted deer behind a fence—once—just to see what it was like. Even though it was 10,000 acres, I didn’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 don’t try and convince me you’re the world’s greatest hunter because you just smacked a (tame) buck.

Excuse Makers
Why can’t some outdoor TV hosts just admit they are human? Misses happen. But instead of just turning to the camera and saying, “Man, that deer got me rattled, and I just couldn’t hold it together,” there is always a litany of excuses. Just admit it…you missed. It happens. Worse than the “excuse makers” are the folks who never show a miss. These egomaniacs must be the best shots in the world because they never miss anything…ever.

The Good Hit
The “good hit” is another pet peeve. The host shoots a deer, turns to the camera and says, “That’s a good hit. He’s going down right there!” Then you see the recovery—high noon the next day, deer stiff as a board, and a bit coyote-worn around the edges. He obviously didn’t go down “right there.”

The Cameraman Fist Bump
I don’t like it when the host and unseen cameraman have a conversation, but fist bumping this invisible entity is even more annoying. It’s like a punch to the viewers’ collective forehead. Plus, I don’t like fist bumps in general…on TV or off. I’m 40, grumpy, and an uncoordinated white guy. Therefore I don’t dance or fist bump…ever.

It’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 wouldn’t do it, neither should you.


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