Thursday, June 21, 2012


Hun-tog-ra-phy (noun): The art or practice of documenting real life hunters.

A couple of years ago, Rudy began a social experiment in which he documented real hunters in a series that hunting shows do not capture.  I just finished watching #deertour in which Rudy covered the real life hunting experiences of real life people, 20 in all, and the effects and influences of social media as it relates to the outdoors.  Rudy traveled through 12 states and over 5000 miles to reveal a bit of each of the hunters lives.

Social media, whether we like it or not, has woven itself into the fabric of our daily existence.  Through outlets such as facebook, twitter (hence the #deertour in the title), pinterest, blogs, or even online forums, people have been able to reach out and share their interests and hobbies like never before.  Through the hunting season last year, I followed many of the ups and downs of many of the people documented on the DVD.  I saw the excitement as a tweet came over about a deer coming to the stand.  I also witnessed the downs that occurred along the way.

In other words, while watching the DVD, I was able to reminisce about the experiences they were having because I had an inside seat as it occurred last fall while following on twitter and facebook.

Many of the hunters portrayed in the video I had come to know, not by face, but by avatar.  It made for an interesting relationship.  I have shared emails with many of them, and have worked in collaboration with many of them as well over the last 6 months.  But it was remarkable that social media could actually tie the feelings to the moment like it did.

For instance, Lisa and Mike, both living near Charlotte at the time, were representing the North Carolina stop of the #deertour.  Of course, that made them like the home team.  I remember vividly the day Rudy rolled in and the group heading to the woods.  In fact, I tweeted to them that day to represent NC well.  Lisa did as she brought down a buck that day.  Rudy tweeted a picture over during the hunt and the video made it seem all the more like I was there.

I was.

I witnessed Lisa’s excitement and tears as she realized she had connected.  I also witnessed the next day when Lisa and Mike’s beloved dog, their companion, passed.  I witnessed it from a completely different location, but I was there.

I remember cheering on Will in Virginia as he hunted his father’s land.  Their homestead.  I had seen a satellite image of exactly where they would hunt in the woods surrounded by agriculture.

I remember Rob in Maryland, the king of the deer hunters, taking his 9th deer of the season.  I met both Rob and Will in person at the Dixie Deer Classic this year in Raleigh and found out Rob had taken over 40.  Yep, a deer killing machine.  And all were legal.

I followed Tommy in Tennessee as he took after a deer on opening day of muzzle loader season.  He shot twice.  I read about it.  Then I was able to feel it even more after watching it.

I have followed Ryan in Ohio on his blog and his tweets.  A new breed bowhunting athlete that can run a half marathon in the rocky Midwest in pursuit of elk and still make the vital shot.  While I learned about Ryan the person through the world of the web, the video showed me the mannerisms of the person.

I watched the passion of Scott and Michelle from Wisconsin for both hunting and each other.  Caring and compassionate, their love for the outdoors is only outdone by their feelings for one another.

I was able to get to know David from Ohio through his tweets and facebook posts.  Yet another caring man, humble in all he does, with a goal of sharing what he has learned from the outdoors.  No, not sharing the secret to bring the big buck in, but the secret of what the outdoors means.  David put it best when he spoke of how he took his daughter hunting with him one time.  He asked her why she didn’t want to shoot anything.  Her response was she just wanted to spend time with her dad.  David expressed how that touched him better than any Oscar Award winning actor could ever do.

Throughout all of these moments, I can remember sitting in the stand myself.  I remember what I saw and when I saw it.  I remember my daughter watching a doe and fawn coming up behind me as I released an arrow at a doe twenty yards in front of her.  I remember my nephew’s excitement one morning as we watched a deer feed as the sun crested the horizon.  He texted me from the stand wanting to make sure I saw it.  We were 10 yards apart in separate stands.

Thanks Rudy for sharing the lives of these real people doing real hunts.  For now, I will leave the computer as my oldest son wants me to share a few minutes with him.  David from Ohio, thanks for sharing and teaching what is real.

You can see the trailer and purchase the DVD at


  1. I wonder if we could do something like this for a day of fishing. The only hard part is many fishing locations are out of Cell range. It would be cool though to have a real time on the water report from different people in different areas.

    1. Maybe not from off the coast, but I bet lakes and rivers would work!

  2. I am truly humbled reading your perspective on Huntography. It actually brought tears to my eyes, and that does not happen often.

    From experiencing LIVE via social media with us last year to re-living it through the DVD, the picture you painted was spot on.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone.....

    Maybe one day, I will have the privilege of filming you.


    Founder & Filmmaker, Huntography

    1. Anytime Rudy! I'm straight down I-95 from Will about 2 1/2 hours.

      The video and the premise is wonderful. I have come to know too many of the hunters portrayed and I felt obligated and blessed to share!

  3. Great Post Bill! I'm definitely honored to have been part of #Deertour and am super excited to be returning for season 3! I really enjoyed your review and it's great to see people that 'get it'. We definitely appreciate your support Bill!!!!

  4. I couldn't have said it any better myself. This is exactly how I was feeling when I watched Huntography for the first time last week. I was smiling the entire time (almost). I remembered everything happening on Twitter and it was a trip to see it through the lens. I've never experienced anything like that. It was very powerful. As cliche as it sounds, it was like meeting friends for the first time. When so many hunting shows focus on the kill, it is refreshing to see a video dedicated to the hunter. Rudy captures life with Huntography. It simply doesn't get any better than this. Well said Bill!

  5. @Will, I'm ready to follow your exploits once again as well!

    @Nick, I super excited to follow my favorite stick shooter this fall!

  6. Right on! You said it, Bill. I remember all of the back and forth, highs and lows of the tweets coming through about the hunts and life experiences. Rudy has done a great job of harnessing what it is to be a DIY hunter. The emotions are high and low and that is the reality of it. I'll take this over any 'reality' hunting show out there. Well done.

    1. Thanks Al! The video certainly portrayed real hunting. Everyone of those big mounts tht were in the video were because of the same people watching the small bucks and shooting the does along the way. Real life, real hunting, real hunters.

    2. Very awesome write up Bill! It was awesome being part of the #deertour and cant wait to see this year unfold. once again great job!

    3. Thanks Scott! Rudy deserves a lot of credit in pulling off something like this. How does all the 'huntographers' put it? 'It's a movement!'

  7. Wonderful summary, Bill. I felt the same way, a special connection, when I watched this season of Huntography. I am fortunate enough to be joining Rudy and filming here in Missouri this fall. I cannot wait!

    1. Yet another I cannot wait to learn more about! I'm excited for you Mark and can't wait to participate through your eyes!

  8. Awesome job Bill, I'm so blessed to be a small part of this great family that is Huntography. Must be an amazing feeling for Rudy to set back and watch something he created as a hobby become so much more. I love keeping up with everyone and watching the family grow, keep up the great work everyone!

    Neil Kendall
    FrenzyOutdoors .com

  9. Thanks Neil! I look forward to following you as well!

  10. Thanks Bill. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me. Thanks for sharing your view on Huntography with others that may not be aware of what it is all about.

  11. Mr. Howard,
    After reading this post, and the reactions by the Huntography team. I simply want to say I found the words you used to describe what Huntography is all about was moving.
    When I was asked to be a part of this team of true superstars, it was clear to me that this was going to be huge deal in the outdoor industry. Your words just confirmed my thoughts.
    Michael Sargent
    New York

  12. Really cool!!! I really love your blog! Thanks Nei!

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