Editor’s Note: Twenty-three year old, third-generation Mossy Oaker Neill Haas is a field producer and an editing assistant for the brand’s TV shows. “My dad, Toxey, and my granddad, Fox, have taught me everything I know about hunting and the Mossy Oak Company – from the basics of the business to why there is a Mossy Oak,” Neill Haas says.
Question: Neill, so what’s one of the best shows you think you’ve filmed for Mossy Oak television?
Neill Haas: One of my best shows I produced was my first elk hunt in a Kentucky reclaimed coal mine. Our hunter took a really unusual three-main-beamed elk. Most people never think of Kentucky as a hot elk spot, but the state does boast a limited number of elk in some beautiful scenery and mountains. During the entire week we hunted there, elk were bugling all around us. If we didn’t know we were in Kentucky, we would’ve sworn we were high in the Rocky Mountains. One morning, just as we got to the crest of the hill and peeped over, we found the three-beam bull with his harem in tow. When we got within 80 yards of the bull, my hunter raised his rifle and took the shot; the bull only went 30 yards and piled up.
After the bull was down, we spent about 30 minutes shooting video I knew would be essential for the show. One of the advantages the hunter gets from doing a TV show with a field producer is the field producer won’t let the hunter go to the animal until he’s videoed all the TV elements, which usually requires 30 minutes to an hour. Working that extra time before the hunter goes to the animal helps ensure the animal won’t jump up as we go in to shoot the final scene.
Another thing I have learned about field producing is that you have to be in good physical shape to keep up with the hunter and guide while carrying all your equipment. However, you never know if a hunt will be physically demanding or not. For instance, on this elk hunt, we walked and climbed mountains all day long for several days. But when we hunted deer in Texas, we were dropped off about 5 feet from our blind, and there was no walking involved. A field producer has to stay in good condition, so he doesn’t slow down the hunt or the hunter, no matter the situation.
You also have to be able to brave the elements. Toward the end of last deer season, I was in Ohio filming a hunt in -30 degrees weather - the kind of cold that penetrates clothing and right into your skin. I learned quickly I had to have warm clothing, chemical hand warmers, good boots, head gear, gloves, hats, as well as rain suits to deal with inclement weather wherever the video location. We have to hunt every day, regardless of the weather or the temperature to get the shot, no matter what.