The Pros and Cons of Filming Your Hunt

One of the many perks of my job as an editor for Outdoor Life is that I get to watch a ton of hunting video each season. And I'm not talking about hunting shows on TV, I'm talking DIY, self-filmed video shot from the field by readers and aspiring videographers looking to start a webisode. The clip above came to us last year from Kellen Binger, a 16-year-old kid from Wisconsin who killed a giant buck on camera after years of passing smaller bucks.

Today's video gear is super compact (GoPro just launched its Hero4 Session) and easy to use. On top of that, editing and publishing a video is a breeze (if you disagree, just ask your kids to show you how). So, why wouldn't you try to film your hunts?

Here are some pros and cons…

Pro: You capture the experience
If you kill a deer on camera, you'll be able to go back and watch that video for years to come. Nothing brings back memories of a good hunt like getting to relive it all through video. Plus, you can share the experience with your friends and family.

Con: It can mess up your hunt
Filming calls for extra gear, extra movement and potentially extra noise. Like anything else, you get better with time. So, there's a good chance you're going to blow a hunt or two, or not capture it on camera. There are two approaches you can take: 1) film the hunt by any means necessary, even if that means blowing it; 2) bring a camera and get what you get. If you miss the moment of truth, so be it.

Pro: Know where you hit
This is probably most practical benefit, especially for bowhunters. If you happen to capture the shot, you'll get to see exactly where you hit the deer. This will help you make decisions when blood trailing the deer for recovery.

Pro: It makes you think "close"
Here's an unexpected consequence of trying to film your hunt: It forces you to try to shoot at close range. Most POV cameras won't record useful footage at more than 20 yards. Even if you're hunting with a handycam, the farther out your target is, the more trouble you're going to have with zooming and focusing. Some could see this as a con, but I consider it a pro. We all want a close, broadside shot with the buck standing in the open.

Con: You could miss the point
This is the biggest con and really the only one that should make you think twice about self-filming. If you get too wrapped up in filming, you can miss the hunt itself. In other words, if the purpose becomes to get a good kill on film, then you're going about it all wrong. It's like the dad who watches his son's first hit in teeball through the video view of his iPhone. Hunting is one of the most exciting, genuine experiences the modern world offers. You might not want to filter that experience through the lens of a camera.

What’s your take on filming a hunt? What pros and cons am I missing?