Wyoming Pronghorn

Cameras Never Break Down At A Convenient Time
I’m ready to start the fall all over again, after an eventful spring filled with bear hunts from Manitoba to Newfoundland, numerous turkey hunts around the country, and a summer crammed with editing.  Fall is known as our “busy” time, but I’m still trying to figure out when our “slow” time is.

For me, the dropping temps signify hunting season is just around the corner, but even before these temperatures could fall I joined NAH’s Mark Kayser in his home state of Wyoming with Table Mountain Outfitters for a little hot weather hunting.

The fall is usually kick-started with an archery pronghorn hunt, and this year was no different.  Pronghorn are a blast to hunt, and it's always fun getting back into the groove of hunting big game.

The first thing I noticed was how out of shape my butt has become since bear hunting...not out of shape in the sense you’re thinking! 14-hour sits in a scorching blind with very little room to move will get you cramped up in a hurry, especially when there are two people, a camera, tripod, bow, backpacks, lunches etc.  That tiny living space can get a little tight and stuffy!
When the temperatures scorch over 90 and you feel as if you’re going to burst into flames, this is when pronghorn hunting is at its peak.  Most pre-rut archery hunts plant a hunter within close proximity to a waterhole, so when the temps rise, the pronghorn have only one thing on their mind- water.

From a filming standpoint, pronghorn hunts are a lot of fun because you have action all day.  Whether it's does, fawns, or bucks, there seems to always be something at the tank or on its way in.  This can also get very difficult at times when several bucks are heading in from various sides of the blind.  As a producer, you need to quickly decide which buck looks the biggest, while always keeping an eye open for others barreling in. 

This particular hunt was a producer’s dream.  We filmed for a solid day and a half, scrutinizing bucks, doing our best to score them on the hoof, but ultimately passing on dozens of mature bucks.  It was obvious we were in an incredible area, so the decision was made; we were now trophy hunting.  

When the big guy finally came in there was no question regarding his size. His prongs towered above the others, his belly sagged, and he just looked old and huge. We almost got busted, but luckily things calmed, and we completed the first show of the fall.  It’s a great feeling to start the season off right without a hitch, but then again nothing ever is quite perfect.

One of the worst feelings on earth is hitting the record button to stop rolling tape and it doesn’t stop.  This is a sign that something has gone wrong inside the camera.  You cringe as you try to decide when the camera stopped working.  Did it get the kill shot? 

What if the entire tape is destroyed?  Well, as luck would have it, that’s exactly what happened on this seemingly smooth shoot.
To my relief, only a small portion of footage was destroyed, and luckily it didn’t fall during a critical moment of the hunt.  As a producer, however, I still had one vital piece of the puzzle to complete- interviews.  These are the backbone of the show, something I couldn’t possibly go back to the office without! 

So I let my fingers to the walking and called every electronic store in a 200-mile radius, but still no luck. Denny & Angie, the owners of Table Mountain Outfitters, explained that they had purchased a used camera from a previous TV crew, but it was in their home in Cheyenne.

We devised a plan to get the camera out of their house, and after a long drive it was in my hands and ready to conduct interviews.  When the final show is complete most people will think it was a quick and easy pronghorn hunt with great success.  That’s a sign we’re doing our jobs.  But, just remember, things aren’t always as easy as they appear.

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