Tonight’s Outdoor Channel airing of Driven with Pat & Nicole marks something that is admittedly a bit unusual in outdoors programming, the actual filming of a TV show being filmed.
With a pioneering spring black bear hunt serving as the backdrop for it all.
For those that think I might have some cognitive issues after breathing in too much in the way of subzero air last week at the ATA Show in Indianapolis, let me explain.
Tonight’s airing of the popular television show with Pat and Nicole chronicles not only the couple’s actual hunt itself for a giant spring bruin, but it also tells the story of how the hunt was streamed live on the Internet for the entire world to see.
Click image to see photos of the hunt
With a live streaming hunt the goal, that would mean that there would be no post-production editing available. No B-Roll footage to spice things up a bit. And there would be absolutely no place to hide if things didn’t go according to plan.
As I said, tonight’s Driven episode is a special one as it chronicles one of the most anticipated hunts in Outdoor Channel history.
This is why I was more than a little enthusiastic about the story idea the other day when I bumped into Pat and Nicole at the Indianapolis airport and the couple suggested it as we all prepared to head back home.
So before tonight’s episode airs, let’s turn the clock back a bit and get a reminder of how it all went down last spring in Canada.
“We have done a lot of black bear hunts in the past, but this one was special,” Reeve indicated on the couple’s website last year right after the hunt. “Nicole was going to try and harvest a bear LIVE.”
With the whole world watching, that is. Well, at least with a good part of the whole world watching.
Last spring, the spot was Saskatchewan, Canada, and the quarry was black bear as OutdoorChannel.com joined Pat and Nicole in an effort to live streaming hunt in the hopes of capturing the moment when a giant bear was arrowed.
That’s a pretty tall order, to film a hunt successfully for a TV show and to film it with a live streaming video audience watching too, all from one of the most remote spots in North America.
That means a multitude of people were up a tree – literally – trying to elude the senses of a big predator as it came in, tested the wind and presented a broadside shot that would allow for a quick, clean and ethical kill.
The camera’s recording light went red for Day One’s live hunt at 5 p.m. according to Reeve. Instantly, the stream of video began and Nicole began the unusual process of hunting and interacting with Outdoor Channel fans via social media question and answer sessions.
The signal stayed good and the live action stream came off successfully, but the day ended without a bear being sighted.
Day Two was another story, however, as the spring bear floodgates opened up at the Buck Country Outfitters property (then known as Timberclaw) that outfitter Brandon Schreiber operates.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Driven cameras were rolling for Outdoor Channel at another spot when Mike Jahnke encountered several sizable bears right off the bat. With a couple of big boars fighting and putting on a show, Jahnke settled his IQ sight and arrowed the biggest one, a 400-pound bruiser.
That set the stage for the rest of the evening. Shortly after the Day Two live stream began, the black bear parade began in front of Nicole’s stand and cameras.
“Nicole’s heart was pumping and the whole world was watching,” said Pat. “She was able to keep calm and stay patient … drew back and made an awesome high pressure shot.”
A high pressure shot, in the backwoods of Canada? Absolutely!
“The fact that this was being broadcasted LIVE added a whole new element to the hunt,” said Pat. “Harvesting a big game animal live has really never been done like this before. Everything came together.”
Especially since there were a lot of eyeballs watching it all take place.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled and humbled to be a part of it,” said Pat. “The live hunt was a huge success.”
Indeed it was, something that OutdoorChannel.com visitors saw firsthand last spring as the hunt streamed live across the Internet. They also saw it last month when the website teamed up with Major League Fishing pro Brent Chapman as he guided his daughter Makayla to her first buck ever on the family’s eastern Kansas farm.
As mentioned above, thanks to Pat and Nicole’s popular TV show, Outdoor Channel viewers will get a chance to obtain a behind-the-scenes look at how a live streaming hunt takes place.
Trust me, it’s a more elaborate and difficult process than one might imagine since we’re talking about the marriage of backwoods spots that wild game like to call home along with a spot that offers the signal streaming necessities of modern technology.
Hunts in such places can be difficult in and of themselves. Add in the mixture of television cameras and microphones and the process becomes even more difficult. Finally, drop in the needs for a live streaming hunt for the Internet and it can be a logistical nightmare.
But when it all comes together and works, it’s golden.
Challenging or not, it’s a task that OutdoorChannel.com is up to as we continue our quest to become the place that outdoors enthusiasts turn to for the latest information on Outdoor Channel programming, the latest scoop on the network’s hunting and fishing celebrities and the best spot to obtain a daily dose of outdoors news, where-to stories and how-to information.
What’s the outlook for live streaming events in 2015 on OutdoorChannel.com? It’s a good one with several more hunting – and perhaps, even a few fishing – events in the works as this story is being written.
Along the way on this live event journey, we hope to continue to broaden the horizon of what quality outdoor programming is.
Even if that means traveling to the backwoods of Canada to do so.
Editor’s Note: The “Live From the Tree” episode will air Tuesday, January 13, at 9:30 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel.