As a cameraman in the outdoor industry, one of the most rewarding benefits is being able to relive the experience through the footage. Observing people overcome obstacles in hopes of harvesting an animal to later share at the dinner table, for me, never gets old. The bond that grows while in the outdoors is something that only sportsmen will understand. For me, the bond formed while taking kids on a hunt of a lifetime and the memories shared is something I look forward to the most. Having the opportunity to watch kids as they are on a dream hunt firsthand is something I am truly blessed to be a part of.
I have had the opportunity to film hunts that would only last for 3 or 4 days. It still amazes me that even with limited time in the outdoors, complete strangers can be brought together so fast. People that you have never met before in your life, soon become good friends simply because you have shared a few days in deer camp together. THAT is the POWER of the outdoors and hunting!
For the past few years I have shared some exceptional experiences around the campfire with some very special hunters. These hunters were the recipients of dream hunts from the Shot For Hope organization. This organization is similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in that through many donations of time and money, kids with life threatening illnesses or life altering disabilities can go on a hunt of a lifetime. Having the chance to share time with these kids and their families while in the blind and at camp is an experience that overshadows all of the other hunts I have been on. Whether it is filming the annual summer fundraiser, seeing new and old friends, or going on the actual hunts, the joy on the kids’ and families’ faces is something that cannot be put into words… or video for that matter.
While it is what I look forward to the most when filming, trying to capture the emotion of these kids is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Being there first hand to witness these young men and women experience so many things for the first time is challenging to say the least. It’s an incredibly difficult task when it comes time to put the videos together, and share the experiences like I remember them. To share that spirit and enthusiasm that each one of the kids has is so inspiring. While most of these kids have had limited time in the outdoors, I always walk away from the Shot For Hope hunts feeling like I learned more than the kids did.
Watch the inspiring journey that is Donovan’s Hunt: