FROM THE WILD – S1E11 – MATCHES & TINFOIL

KevinAntelope, Big Game, Deer, From The Wild, Game Birds, Hunting, Upland Game, WaterfowlLeave a Comment

FTW S1E11 - SUNRISEThis is the first episode where we get to meet ‘the’ John Schneider – a dear friend who happens to have a former life as a high profile hunting and fishing guide. John also happens to be an organic grain farmer [@goldforestgrain]. John also happens to be a super nice guy. This episode, title included, is a nod to the story arc of his journey with hunting.

This was a difficult three days. The second half of the journey is one of the most fondly remembered legs of season one – the first half one of the least.

We’re starting to look tired on camera – I know I am. This episode was shot 4 days after getting home from S1E10. The very day I got home from this one I flew to Japan to shoot Springhammer 2. It was a busy time. One where I’m glad there were cameras involved all the while, as without them, it would just be a blur of insane memories. The big gift of post production is that I actually get to slow down and re-live some of the crazy moments when life is hammering me with its experience. I’m grateful.

FROM THE WILD – S1E10 – KINDERGARTEN

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FTW-S1E10-681x932Apologies for the cliff hanger in S1E9 – wasn’t the plan. Just so happened that when this journey hit the edit desk it was far too long for a single episode, so S1E10 resolves that piece for you, but we’re then thrown into a whole new mess.

We’ve had a lot of feedback on S1E9’s cinematography [positive feedback, thank you], and this episode is in a similar league. I’d like to give credit to the grasslands. A landscape that we thought could be boring, flat, and scarce of living things proved to be the exact opposite. Credit is also due to bowhunting itself – the very nature of the pursuit forcing the cameras into the fields multiple times a day on stalks, providing rich content. A big take away from season one was that some hunting styles are conducive to loads of visuals [these two episodes included], and some aren’t: S1E5 would be a good example. When copious hours are spent in a vehicle, the cameras don’t see much play. Season two has been designed accordingly.

Speaking of season two – shooting of S2E1 is wrapped, and we’re just about to leave on a longer than normal outing for S2E2. S1E11 will be out in April, S1E12 in May, and Season 2 should see the light of day come June 2015.

You can watch the full episode here.

FROM THE WILD – S1E9 – THE LAST TEN YARDS

KevinAntelope, Big Game, Deer, From The Wild, Game Birds, Hunting, Moose, WaterfowlLeave a Comment

FTW - S1E9 - MOOSESome of my earliest memories as a kid are connected to a white, 100+ year-old house with a huge multi-burner wood stove in it, and the smell of grassland sages. My dad would take my brother and I there a few times a year, mostly chasing waterfowl, the odd grouse, and later deer. They’ve been going down there for 40 going on 50 years, and they have known the farmers and residents of the isolated area for decades. When it came time to choosing where to chase mule deer, going back to my roots was a no brainer. As residents of Alberta, we could hunt any gender of mule or whitetail deer – but only with a bow. Rifle season wasn’t open until November, and getting drawn took years.

Jeff and I had to date been skunked on chasing moose, day after day, with a bow – despite seeing rifle ranged opportunity day after day. We’d not connected on a deer. Or an elk. It was mid October, and the hunting season that theoretically would fill our freezers was seeming evasive. The trip to the grasslands seemed like a recipe to see more of not much, until we got there. We kept calling it a safari – wide open plains with big game animals, upland birds, and waterfowl – everywhere. Finding mule deer to stalk wasn’t going to be the challenge. Walking in on them in their bedroom was.

You can watch the full episode here.

DJI Phantom2 Crash. Again.

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DJI CRASH TURNER VALLEYQuadcopters are an amazing piece of production technology, when they’re not crashing.

When I was researching buying one, I’d read things like ‘just a matter of time before you crash one‘. Boy were they right. I’ve crashed mine into rocks in the mountains. I’ve learned about “uncontrolled descent” by splooshing it into a lake – only learned later what had happened from an actual helicopter pilot while shooting in an actual helicopter. And just this week, my hardest impact crash yet – took a rotor blade off and bent an arm of the gimbal upward. The gopro didn’t seem to care. Had just flown it 5 minutes prior, but lights were acting weird so recalibrated compass [which I now suspect may have been damaged in the under-water-lake-crash], launched fine, as you can see in the video, flew fine into the field as intended but quickly became uncontrollable, eventually flipping sideways and sending a plume of snow up 5-10 feet as it slammed into the field. These things cannot be flipped sideways  – it’s one of the great things about the technology. Except when they do it themselves.

Wanted to post this to 1] give a heads up to people who may not have the cash to burn to repair and replace said technology 2] justification for why I won’t fly them near people or buildings. Remote locations only for this guy, thanks. Video below shows the footage from shortly after take off.

FTW – ‘NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE FISH’

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buck lake ice holeThree years. It’s only been three years that I’ve actually enjoyed ice fishing, all starting with this trip, and the discovery of ice fishing shelters. When you’re not cold, and even more importantly can see the fish down the hole, ice fishing’s vastly more fun. Two years ago, something of a tradition started with our friends at Nature’s Green Acres hosting a weekend in January at Buck Lake, Alberta. Like wine, ice fishing is still enjoyable alone, but far more enjoyable with friends. We were able to land some pike for dinner, a memorable moment being the raw milt from pike dipped in soy. One more piece of off-cut that now is in regular use in the kitchen. Took a big bowl of the stuff done right in Japan while shooting Springhammer to open my eyes. I know people will ask ‘but how do you prepare it?!?‘: you take it out of the fish [white stuff where a roe sac would be on a female], pull off a piece, and pop it in the mouth. The dip in soy does give the creamy fattiness some needed salt. The finish is fantastic.

This break with friends seemed like a good time to produce a short about being on the ice – wanted to release something free other than an episode trailer as I hadn’t for ages.

FROM THE WILD – S1E8 – FOUR YEARS

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FTW S1E8 - BLAIRDays turned into weeks, and weeks into months. This is unquestionably the longest hunt I’ve ever been involved with. This one’s the conclusion to S1E8, the last of the unplanned multi-part episodes from season one.

I’m not sure the story line could better put into question the issue of bow hunting vs rifle hunting, at least for us. It’s a long standing debate often creating divisive lines within the hunting community. Debate’s probably the wrong word. I’ve seldom heard of rifle hunters slagging bow hunters, but often hear bow hunters slagging rifle hunters. I think my conclusion is that the weapon of choice is not really in question, it’s the approach to the hunt, or methodology I guess. S1E8 gets to explore this a bit further.

This one also sees chef Blair Lebsack back to do some outdoor campfire cookery, sharing some ideas on how to approach big game cookery having been handed what amounts to a ‘black box’ of ingredients, with which he handily crafts one of the best big game meals [arguably the most memorable] that Jeff and I have ever had. No joke. As always, full episode available here.

FROM THE WILD – S1E7 – THE THIRD QUARTER

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FTW S1E7 - spruceWhen I started cutting this episode, I looked at the date of the footage and thought “that can’t be right”. The opening sequence was shot on September 23rd. The footage of us skinning the black bear from S1E6 also reads September 23rd. We pretty much went to bed at 3:30am on Sep 23, got up in the morning, shot the interviews for S1E5/6, and got on with shooting the next episode. We may just be crazy.

It took Jeff 4 years to get drawn for antlered moose in the WMU near his home. I’m used to hunting calf moose every year or every other year at worst, so 4 years seemed like an awfully long wait. So when bow season started, the obsessive hunt for Jeff’s moose began on the third quarter of Trevor’s land. The third quarter seemed to be a sweet spot – it had dense marshy cover where moose were bedding, a 30-40 acre chunk of bush for them to feed and hide in, 100+ acres of alfalfa to feed on, and a piece of bush across the road they liked to run to when in danger. Counting the number of moose sightings on the third quarter in 2014 would take multiple hands. They were there. We were there. We had an arrow, and were learning the bush. They had swords on their heads and already intimately knew the bush that was their home.

FROM THE WILD – S1E6 – REDFIST

KevinBaking with Fire, Big Game, Black Bear, Braising w/ Fire, Cooking w/ Fire, From The Wild, Hunting, Smoking w/ FireLeave a Comment

Chef Blair LebsackThis episode was a turning point for me and this series. After quite a few months of talking to TV channels and an american distributor, and concluding that conventional television distribution wasn’t a good fit for this particular project, I finally got shooting to the kind of content I wanted to show – field dressing, harvesting of offal, skinning – things TV won’t or can’t show, basically. I get it, they have their reasons. But from day one, my gig hasn’t been about sanitizing the realities of how we obtain our food. Seemed to go against my values to start now.

This episode is one that I hope will shift the wild food culture in Canada, even if only a minute amount, and even if only after many years. I’d love for black bears to be seen as the choice food they can be, and not just hides and rugs. Much of the episode is Chef Blair Lebsack of RGE RD working with black bear, the prize being the copious fall black bear fat. We knew from the onset that we wanted to make black bear pastry with the bear fat instead of lard or butter. So he did. And it was awesome.

As always – trailer below, full episodes available here.

SLOW FOOD IN CANADA

KevinCooking w/ Fire, Dairy, Food Politics, From Local Farms, From the Garden, From The Wild, Grains, Pork, Poultry, U Pick Fruit, Veg1 Comment

Slow Food CanadaBack in the spring of 2014, I was approached to produce a video for Slow Food in Canada, with the broad mandate of exploring what Slow Food in Canada ‘is’. It meant trips to Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, central Alberta, Montreal, Vallee de la Batiscan, Lanaudiere, Cocagne in New Brunswick, Toronto, Tatamagouche Nova Scotia, and more, it’s become obvious, at least to me, what it is. It’s a force, like a oversized kid that doesn’t know its own strength. As an aggregate, the projects the people on the ground are having across the country are dramatically changing the face of good, clean, and fair food. I’m convinced Canada’s food culture is shifting as a consequence. The intended outcome of the project was the video below – a 15 minute piece to be shown at Terra Madre in Turin, Italy. I shot so much more, so hope to be able to donate the time to get shorts edited for the convivia that gave the time to graciously host me, showing me the best of our country through the lens of Slow Food.

The piece is subtitled in both english and french.

FROM THE WILD – S1E5 – DEFLECTION

KevinBig Game, Black Bear, Butchering, Butchering Game Meats, Cooking w/ Fire, Deer, Elk, Foraging, From The Wild, Game Birds, Grilling w/ Fire, Hunting, Kevin TV, Mushrooms, Upland Game, Wild FruitsLeave a Comment

FTW S1E5 - grouseThis trip was intended to be easy. We were supposed to be going into a part of the province where game was rampant and our pockets burst with big game tags. Do a little fishing. Set up camp. It only ended up being a handful of those things.

One reality that didn’t make the edit but had a big impact on the trip was the flaky to zero cell reception. We were WAY back in the bush, trying to navigate with phones that often wouldn’t be of any assistance. When they did work, lines on the satellite maps that looked like roads would sometimes be impassable cutlines. Roads that were roads and looked like through roads would in fact be roads be then dead-end or otherwise be impassible. All the while, our heavy stock of fuel would decrease with every passing hour of trying to navigate our way out. And we’d find barrier, after barrier, after barrier.

I almost titled the time/hour on episodes 5 and 6. Episode 5 takes place over roughly a day and a half, the balance of Day 2 is in Episode 6. Sept 22, 2014 was one of the longest and most trying days of my life – it’d have been in the best of circumstances, but I also happened to have a solid head cold throughout.

A few takeaways: launching oneself deep into unknown territory is both 1) hard 2) lower probability of success and 3) heavy on adventure.

Trailer below, full episodes available here.