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  • October 27, 2007

    That's What It's All About-5


    Filming_jonathan_loresSince my wife and I had twins seven weeks ago (Well, she actually had them, I just cheered from the sidelines), all of my time has been spent helping the wife feed, change and console crying babies at night and discussing and editing hunting stories in the office during the day. None of my time has been spent actually hunting.

    Besides the twins, another addition in my home is a new cable system—one that actually has the Outdoor and Sportsman channels in addition to Versus (my old one only had the latter). With the arrival of both, I decided what the heck, even though I'm admittedly not a huge fan of outdoor television, since I'm sitting up with the new additions through all hours of the night it might be fun to at least watch the hunts other people are enjoying. From a professional standpoint, it's a good way to see what the big names in the business are doing as well, since virtually all of them—along with a lot of smaller names—have their own show now!

    Well, after watching what probably amounts to about 70-plus hours of outdoor TV in the past month, I must confess, I'm still not a huge fan of outdoor television. Some of it is just straight out not very good. And for all of the great footage of wildlife that is captured, the emotional component of the hunt seldom shines through the glare of the television set. But that's my personal hang-up and I accept it as such. I also recognize why a lot of sportsmen feel differently as with the flip of a channel they can be right there on a hunt for whitetails in Iowa, longbeards in Texas and cape buffalo in Namibia. It's escapism at its best. And never before has hunting been so accessible on the TV, which is truly a good thing. You get to experience everything but pulling the trigger or tripping the release.

    One thing I noticed after watching so much TV is that hunters are as predictable as the game they pursue, and the best example I can offer is what the successful hunter and his guide usually say as they crouch over their trophy at the end of each hunt. In fact, there are roughly five things EVERYONE says. Here they are in descending order:

    5. Look at that, boy. Yes. Yes. Oh yeessss. (while high-fiving like they just won their office fantasy football league.)

    4. What a beautiful _________ (fill in the blank—buck, bull elk, gobbler, ram, bear, etc.)

    3. This has been the hunt of a lifetime. (Also a common end to many stories submitted to hunting magazines by inexperienced writers and, sadly, by even a few experienced ones.)

    2. Buddy I tell you, it doesn't get any better than this.

    1. This is what it's all about.

    Remember that if you ever get the chance to be on an outdoor television show. With the number of programs out there, odds are, you probably will be.

    And oh, again in the spirit of full disclosure, I have had the chance to appear on a number of outdoor shows over the years either as a hunter or to offer hunt tips. The first time I was ever filmed on a successful hunt, I was with Ray Eye, turkey hunting in Missouri. And when we posed next to the turkey I shot and I began to speak, instead of offering some clever, insightful statement about man versus nature and our hunt, I believe my exact words were:

    "Yes. Yes. Oh yeesss. (As I high-fived Ray and hooted like an extra in Deliverance with new banjo strings). What a beautiful longbeard. This has been the hunt of a lifetime. Buddy I tell you it doesn't get any better than this. THIS, is what it's all about!"

    Ray, just smiled and looked at me like the print media guy that I was, the expression on his face seeming to say "Rookie."

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 24, 2007

    The Secret Behind the Beards-5


    P1010009webIn an industry made up of largely middle-class, middle-aged white men with a typically conservative bent and equally conservative, yet predictable look—khaki pants or jeans and flannel, Oxford or golf shirts depending on the weather or setting—Duck Commander Phil Robertson and his Duckmen really stand out. With long, wild hair and even more amazingly ZZ Top-like beards, these boys make the Geico cavemen look like clerks at a Birkenstock's Outlet. Put them behind the business end of a shotgun in their beloved Louisiana swamps and they bring duck hunting action to DVD like nobody else.

    It's this look of untamed wildness that has made Duck Commander one of the most recognized brands in waterfowling. And if Willie Robertson has his way, it may soon be one of the most recognized looks in all of hunting.

    Willie, a Duckman and son of the elder Robertson who founded Duck Commander in 1973, was in New York City last week with his lovely wife Korie to share the secret behind the beards and to tout his latest venture, Buck Commander.

    Sitting in one of OL's cramped offices, I couldn't help but ask, "Okay, what's with the beards and how long does it take to grow them?"

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 15, 2007

    Too Hot for OL-12


    PhotojaninecloseupLooking at the photos from the Racks calendar, I was reminded of some of the back and forth discussion among the editors that takes place as we put together every issue of Outdoor Life. The truth is we don't always agree. Here's an item that was originally slated for the Snap Shots section of the magazine earlier this year, but was (probably wisely) cut out because of the "suggestive" nature of the product.

    But because the Web, like television, is just one big morally bereft dumping ground of infotainment, I figured what the hey. Here's what OL readers missed:

    From Hunt Club to Strip Club
    Few products so aptly combine a typical guys two favorite things—hunting and women—like Camo Booty’s line of camouflage. Realtree or Mossy Oak it isn’t, as the pattern meant to leave game confused and fellow hunters amused is created by printed, overlapping silhouettes of naked ladies in various positions of repose. Finally, somebody has invented a product that will impress as much in camp as it will at the strip club, and you don't even have to change your outfit in between! Tramp stamp and arm tats are optional.

    Now you tell me: Should this have run in the magazine or do you agree with the edit staff's final decision to  leave it out of the mag?

    Post a comment below. As a hunting mag, we realize this stuff rests at the far periphery of why sportsmen buy OL, but as a magazine read by a lot of men, maybe there is more interest in such, um products, than we realize. Regardless, pull a Camo Booty shirt out in camp and I promise it will get a good laugh.

    If you're of that latter camp, check out the Camo Booty site for more photo galleries of their product in use, particularly Oleha's booty pose (that's the name of the jpg file, not my choosing)—a photo that I wasn't about to run, even on the Web. Oh, that would be Janine up top.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • October 3, 2007

    Quote of the Week-0


    "Biologically, it makes no sense whatsoever... They were saying you can't transport a hunter-killed bird across the border, when millions of birds are migrating across the border already?"
    Michael Chamberlain, a professor at Louisiana State University, told reporter Chris Niskanen with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    Chamberlain was among hundreds of waterfowlers returning from Saskatchewan to the U.S. who had their ducks confiscated by federal agents at the border because of an avian flu outbreak at a province chicken farm. Customs agents destroyed as many as 4,100 birds legally and safely harvested by hunters in what is an outrageous waste of the resource.

    And while customs officials finally conceded that they had misunderstood their own directives and since discontinued the confiscations, there are a lot of U.S. duck hunters who spent a lot of money to travel north to hunt and now have nothing to show for it. I wonder if the government will offer to pay for the hunter's lost game, time, license fees and other costs?

    It's something turkey hunters considering a trip to Canada need to keep in mind as they could ultimately be faced with the same dilemma as avian flu fears continue to grow. How would you like to drop a couple grand on an outfitter, flights and licenses only to find out the government is going to take and destroy your trophy on the way home? I wouldn't like it one bit. And the situation may not be confined to just Canada as restrictions could one day be placed on transporting game even between states as has occurred in some instances where CWD has been discovered in deer.

    For more insight into the story, check out J.R. Absher's Outdoor Newshound.

    [ Read Full Post ]