I started this project in the spring of 2012 with the dream of changing the face of hunting media. I knew what I wanted to say; what I wanted to show and represent. What I never expected was the level of interest from both hunter and non-hunters alike for what I’d always felt was a minority interest – the simple, honest, and ethical hunt. The kind of hunt where things like woodsmandhip, effort, and wildness – as opposed to record book status and mechanical advantage – take center stage. In other words, I wanted to show what hunting really is, or can be. I wanted this film to be the antitheses of mainstream hook and bullet media.
People often ask me what this film is about and I never know exactly what to say. It’s difficult to pin down, to capture in a nice little paragraph. If you’ve ever tried to concisely describe your most enduring passion to someone who may, or may not, share that affinity you’ll know the position I’m in. What I can do is list a few of the guiding principles that helped to shape this film.
The most pervasive of these is the idea of “traditional values”. We’ll define this as the guiding light in a true sportsman’s heart, regardless of what we carry in our hands. These values live in the heart of the rifle hunter who knows the difference between the true satisfaction of fair chase and honest hard work, and the misplaced pride in a trophy at any cost. They live in the heart of the fly caster who wades an icy October stream, hoping for a rainbow’s rise amid a backdrop of golden Aspen. And they live in the heart of the traditional bowhunter who gives up the advantages of modern aids in hopes of somehow getting closer to nature.
A very close second is what Aldo Leopold described as a conservation, or land ethic. The simple idea that we are part of a larger community; that our lives are intertwined with the fate of the land, water, and wildlife is something that, in large part, seems to have been forgotten. So, this film is about these things in some way. But it’s also about something less tangible, more remote; something that comes from that vestigial untamed core within us all. You decide.