Editor’s Note: “I've been wearing Mossy Oak since I was a little girl,” says Nicole Reeve, co-host of the TV show “Driven with Pat and Nicole” on the Outdoor Channel. An official member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 8 years, Nicole’s an admitted adrenaline junkie. “This spring I decided I would take a brown bear with my bow. For many years, I had wanted to hunt a brown bear. I thought there would be a huge adrenaline rush when I got in close to a dangerous animal like a brown bear. I like the excitement of the hunt, and I enjoy making eye-to-eye contact with dangerous game. I’m a certified, bonafide, you can get papers on me, adrenaline junkie. What can be more exciting than getting close enough to a brown bear to take him with a bow and arrow?”
In the spring of 2014, we also went on a black bear hunt in Saskatchewan - the first time we ever had live-streamed an entire hunt on the Outdoor Channel’s website. People could log in on their computers to the Outdoor Channel’s website, watch us in the tree and see the bears as they came in to where we were. We were also able to talk to our fans while we were in the tree hunting. They could text and email us questions, and we’d text them back the answers. We fielded questions about the bear hunt, our show, whitetail hunting or any other subject in which our fans were interested. Our fans could see us texting answers back to them. The viewers got to see me harvest a black bear with my bow, while all this was happening. I didn’t take the biggest black bear I ever had taken, but to be able to use the technology that actually allowed the viewer to be on the hunt and watch the hunt as it happened on the Outdoor Channel website was a really neat experience. Also this hunt was very risky for us, because the bears we were hunting were 100-percent free-range and wild. You never knew what these bears might do. You didn’t know what would happen when you released the arrow. The bear could turn or move, I could get a bad hit, and/or the bear could come after us. There was no way we could edit-out any part of this live hunt.
At the same time we were producing a live video feed of our bear hunt, we were also filming the TV show for “Driven with Pat and Nicole.” A really neat thing happened while we were answering one of our viewer’s questions. I looked over my left shoulder and said, “Oh, my gosh, here comes two bears.” The bears came into bow range and then went out of bow range several different times, before they got in the position for me to take a shot. I made a good shot. Being able to get cell service to transmit the live streaming was extremely difficult. So, after the shot, Pat and Steve Bowman, the webmaster for Outdoor Hub, climbed out of their trees, went and got the bear, and drug him closer to the tree. Then the viewers could see that we got the bear. For us, this was a real breakthrough in technology and was a neat way for us to be able to take our viewers on a hunt with us.
On this hunt, we learned that when you're doing a live feed, you have to hunt from a stand that has the most availability to the Internet. When you're out in the middle of nowhere, finding that sweet spot where you can get your signal up to the Internet requires quite a bit more scouting and testing than a normal hunt does. Also, the place you can hunt is limited to the location where you can get the strongest signal. Then you have to hope and pray that the bears will come to that spot, so, the live feed and the hunt all can happen at the same time. This year we hope to do a live Internet feed on a whitetail hunt in Saskatchewan on the Outdoor Channel’s website.