While The Kat’s Away, The Mice Will Make Lemonade…?

October 14, 2014

A couple of Fridays ago, I posted about Kat’s big adventure in North Carolina and how empty Hillside Manor feels without her here.  It was a sort of melancholy screed, and, well, honestly… the place still feels empty and if I had it to write all over again, it wouldn’t change.  It’s a drag.  It sucks.

Whining about it certainly isn’t going to change it though.  The truth is that, given some of the things going on in the world, a lot of people out there would happily trade their troubles for mine.  No matter how big a deal this may be to me, to the rest of the world it’s pretty picayune.  And that’s all I’m gonna say about that (probably).

So, what then?

Well, one thing that occurred to me Sunday evening, as I sat in front of the TV, recovering from the 25 hour drive back from Raleigh, was that I could sit around in front of the TV as much as I wanted.  But, truth be told, I already did that before… probably much more than I should have.  The only difference is that now I can spend more time watching hunting shows.  It’s not that I didn’t watch them when Kat was here, but she never cared for them (often ridiculed them) and I’d usually find something that we could both enjoy together.  I didn’t mind changing the channel, because for the most part, I don’t really like most hunting programs.  To be more precise, I intensely dislike several of them, barely tolerate a few others for the horn porn value, and actually enjoy one or two of them.  But I watched them because, well, they were hunting and I wasn’t.

So I’ve got hunting shows.  And as I sat there on Sunday, making snide and condescending remarks about yet another gut shot animal or something, it occurred to me that I should do more than just watch these shows and talk to myself.  I should watch these shows and talk to you folks… the Hog Blog readers (all two and a half of you…on a good day, not counting bots).

It’s hardly a novel idea.  I’ve done several critiques and reviews of hunting television over the years, and even briefly made it a regular thing (over on my original site).  Since then I let it sit, either uninspired or unmotivated, until Michelle Scheuermann at the Bulletproof Media blog sounded a general call to quarters for outdoor TV reviewers.  That got me thinking about it again, but since I wasn’t watching the shows regularly, I didn’t pursue the idea.  But now…

I still haven’t worked out the whole campaign, but I’ve got some thoughts.  To begin with, the Hog Blog is not going to become all TV reviews, all the time.  If that looks to be the direction, I may create a new blog just for the reviews, because the Hog Blog has its own raison d’etre.  But really, it will provide some new content and keep things moving around here… or so I hope.  I mean, you can only read so many stories about my unsuccessful hunting trips, and the broken record about the Lead Ammo Ban, while it will continue to play, has just really been beaten to death.  So why not spice it up with something new?

I’ll also offer this bit of foreshadowing…

Reviewing TV or video is all about opinion, and I have plenty of that when it comes to the topic of hunting.  I’m a pretty harsh critic, and most hunting programs offer an awful lot to criticize.  I call it like I see it, and since I’m not receiving any compensation from the networks or programs, I have no reason to hold back.  The flip side of that coin is that any praise I offer will be well-deserved.  You don’t have to agree with me, and I encourage open discussion and debate (as always on this blog).  I know that I will probably tip some sacred cows (I’ve done that before), and that will draw the ire of lockstep fans.  I will police the comments as carefully as ever in an effort to keep it to a reasonable level of civility.

I believe that televised hunting should portray the hunt at an elevated level of behavior.  This means that while there may be an effort to, “keep it real,” the producers must adhere to a higher-than-average ethical standard.  There may be any number of mitigating factors in the field, but the viewers only get to see the final output… and that’s how the show will be judged.  And that’s how I’ll critique it.  I’ve had producers in the past contact me to tell me that my comments were “wrong”, and that I just didn’t see what really went into a certain shot or situation.  My response was, and will be, that I saw what every other viewer saw.  Behind the scenes is irrelevant if it stays behind the scenes.  How are the viewers supposed to know if you don’t show them?

I recognize that many of the individuals involved in hunting television are really amateurs in the field of TV production.  Most of them are serious hunters who have found a way to get paid for what they love to do.  I’m not ever going to knock that.  I’ll admit that there have been times when I wished it was me.  And even while they’re amateurs, several of them have really advanced by leaps and bounds in the production quality and technical skills (or they’ve hired quality staff).  But while the technical abilities have advanced, too many of these folks still don’t seem to understand (or believe) that the viewers only get part of the story.  It really is about what-you-see-is-what-you-get.  You seldom get the opportunity to explain what someone saw.  Well, the Hog Blog will give them that opportunity.

We’ll see how all this goes.  I think I’ll start with one post per week, and let’s arbitrarily say that will happen on Wednesdays.  I haven’t decided if each week will focus on a single show, or if it will be some sort of smorgasbord of the previous week’s viewing.

So, if anyone is actually reading this, what do you think?  I mean, I’m gonna do it anyway, but I’m always curious for feedback.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong.  This is hardly consolation for Kat’s absence, and I’d trade it all, including the TV itself, to have her back here.



8 Responses to “While The Kat’s Away, The Mice Will Make Lemonade…?”

  1. Michelle S on October 14th, 2014 15:01

    Well, you know what I’m going to say – DO IT!!!!

    LOL! This is awesome, for many reasons – I sincerely see you being included in the inner-most circles within the outdoor TV industry and hob-mobbing with the best of them – free trips to SHOT Show – free hunting trips – you name it.

    Or you’ll be an outcast. Either way, fun!

  2. Phillip on October 14th, 2014 15:52

    Thanks, Michelle. You will get full credit. Or full blame.

    Seriously, given my critical bent, Outcast seems more likely. But hey, you’re right about one thing… FUN!

  3. Kat on October 14th, 2014 17:04

    Well, it is good to see you are being creative and constructive. You know I didn’t mind the shows so much, it was the pver blown, over produced commercials that drove me over the edge.

  4. Phillip on October 14th, 2014 18:11

    Well… somewhat creative, anyway. We’ll see how constructive.

    And the commercials and the shows are sometimes a little hard to distinguish. But I do know what you’re saying. A little heavy on the metal, so to speak. 🙂

  5. JAC on October 14th, 2014 21:27

    One of the properties I looked at in Wisconsin is 40 acres of pure hunting property. The draws run with creeks and the landowner bordered the creeks with clover and apple trees, hundreds of apple trees. Upon the hills, more apple trees border corn stands. Some hunting show, or hunting show producers, pays thousands a year to shoot (double entendre) there. It was beautiful, but I don’t like the hunting shows for 702 reasons and I didn’t much want to get into it either with the seller or the producers.

    Good on you, Phillip.

  6. ian on October 15th, 2014 22:56

    Since I don’t have cable, I’m relegated to watching my horn porn on youtube. And rarely do I come across anything decent to watch, but it helps me with the itch. I just need to remember to keep the volume down/make sure my wife is well asleep! The rifle crack and hoots are a surefire way to kill the romance with my vegetarian spouse!

    But I actually ran across a pretty good one recently. Actually, I must have watched it months ago, but it came to mind upon reading your post. I liked it for many reasons: the multi generational banter, the frustration in striking out, the trucks nearly getting stuck, the production value, and…in the end…the elk!

    You can watch it here:

    Anyway, I figured I’d leave a comment telling the guy that I enjoyed his video, and he wrote me back with an interesting tid-bit.

    He said that Wildlife Officials regularly scour youtube for hunting videos. By watching others’ documented hunts, they can cover way more ground than they can on foot. They know the areas/terrain SO well, and if, for example, a hunter is out of his zone by a half a mile, or has messed up in any number of ways, they use the youtube video to enforce the restrictions and bust people. He mentioned a time where officials saw a video, knew what kind of ammo the dude was using (and he was not where he was supposed to be hunting), went to the spot and got his spent cartridges and nailed him!

    Pretty crazy, huh? Anyway. Be careful what you document! Just ask Ted Nugent!

  7. ian on October 15th, 2014 23:26

    maybe i’m just not looking around enough, cuz here’s another good one!

    Tejon elk hunt.

    OK, time for bed!

  8. Phillip on October 16th, 2014 07:03

    Thanks for sharing these, Ian. I occasionally go out on YouTube and start surfing hunting vids (and sometimes, hunting surfing vids). It’s the ultimate time sink, but there is some real, quality stuff out there. And there’s some pure crap.

    I do know that wildlife officers in some states definitely monitor the Interwebz. It’s hard to believe the stupid stuff people will do and share with the world… including a fair bit of illegal activity.