Editor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, today the vice president of Mossy Oak in charge of television and video production, may have filmed more TV shows and videos about hunting and the outdoors than anyone in the industry. Currently Cuz is responsible for producing these TV shows, including “Hunting the Country,” “Deer Thugs,” “Turkey Thugs,” “Inside the Obsession” and “GameKeepers,” as well as all the videos that Mossy Oak produces. A growing number of sportsmen who hunt together trade off between being the videographer and being the hunter. Good video cameras are less expensive today than they ever have been, besides being smaller, lighter and easier to use. Often today hunters don’t tell the stories of their hunts to friends and family but instead show the videos of their hunts. To provide this new breed of video hunters and shooters with the best information available, we’ve asked Ronnie Strickland to tell us how to avoid the most-common mistakes that most video hunters make, when they’re trying to film a hunt.
If any part of your camera gear squeaks, more than likely, you will spook the animal you’re trying to video, and the critter will have to be left to be hunted another day. For this reason, making sure that your camera arm, your tree stand and none of your videography equipment makes a sound is vitally important. Oftentimes, we get in too big of a hurry to get to our tree stands. We need to make sure, once we get to the stands, and the animals appear, that we don’t spook them.
The field producer hunts with the camera. One of the worst things that can happen is that when you move that camera arm to line-up the shot, you hear a squeak. That squeak not only prevents you from getting the video you’ve come to take, but it also upsets the hunter you’re trying to video. For this reason, I always recommend lubricating your camera arm, your tree stand and any-other video accessories, before the hunt. In most instances, all the hunter has to do to take an animal is to make sure that he doesn’t make any mistakes, and that all of his equipment is silent, especially when he draws his bow or mounts his rifle. The field producer has to be just as picky and detail oriented as the hunter. To get a good hunting video takes a team. That team has to work together as though they’re one person.
So this tip is: avoid the squeaks to get great video. One of the quickest and easiest ways to stop a squeak in the woods is to carry bow string wax with you. I encourage all our field producers to keep bow string wax with their camera equipment. If I hear my camera arm squeak when I’m in the field and moving it, I have an adjustable wrench handy. Then I can loosen the nut on the camera arm that is squeaking and put some of that bow string wax under the nut, as a temporary fix for the squeak. Remember, that noise is one of the biggest problems you have to fight, whether you are running a camera or hunting with a bow or a gun. So, by expecting a squeak and being prepared to take care of the squeak in the field, you are much more likely to get a good video and not have an angry hunter.