Heartland Outdoors: Stay on Target

Lights, Camera, Action

Sunday, October 17

    My name is Darin DeNeal and I live with my wife Marj and our two dogs in Thompsonville, IL.  I am excited about blogging for Heartland Outdoors. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois, but I spent a few years living in Macomb while I was obtaining my Agriculture Science Degree from WIU. I spent parts of four years guiding hunters on the famed King Ranch in South Texas. I have been competing in national archery tournaments for the past 17 years winning a few national titles along the way. My shooting background also extends into sporting clays where I was once a Level I Instructor. I am an official Pope & Young scorer as well as an Illinois Big Bucks Recognition Program scorer. My blog will bounce between shooting sports and bow hunting whitetails during the respective seasons.
    Now that we know each other, I am ready to start blogging so lets kick this thing off!  While I have a passion for bowhunting that only others bowhunters would understand, a few years ago I realized I wanted more.  I wanted to preserve my bowhunts for future viewing.  I wanted to film my hunts.  Several of my friends were already doing this, and it sounded like something fun.  I quickly came to the realization that if I wanted to have a video of any of my hunts, I would have to do it myself.  None of my friends are willing to give up their valuable hunting time to perch themselves above me on a crisp November morning and I do not blame them one bit. 
    The answer to my dilemma was to self-film.  Like I said, others were doing this, and so I knew it was possible.  This meant purchasing a camera arm that mounts to a tree and a video camera.  After a few years of doing this, I wish I could say I have it perfected.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  However, I have learned to do this to a level that I can at least generate a mediocre video and have a bunch of fun along the way. 
    The biggest challenge I encounter while self-filming is zooming in to an acceptable level while capturing the hunt and impact of my arrow on video.  I have found that one must not try and zoom in too much, but I also do not want to make a 200-pound deer appear smaller than a coyote.  Another challenge is to find a position to mount my camera to the tree that enables me to do everything I want.  I still do not know the clear-cut best way to do this because it seems to have to do with the stand setup.  Sometimes I like the camera on my right and eye level with me and other times I want it waist level and to my left.
    On October 9th of this season, I was hunting a bedding area in the morning and I laid down what might be my best footage to date.  At 8:45 a.m., a mature 10 point comes in and gives me a 15 yard shot.  I managed to capture the footage and I was left with not only a beautiful Pope and Young caliber whitetail, but a chance to relive the moment time and time again.

Watch the video for yourself.


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If you are ready to experience a whole different sort of bowhunt along with some new bowhunting frustrations, I suggest you give it a try!  Believe me, the new hassles are worth it so get out there and get the camera rolling!


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