It’s challenging enough to kill a public-land buck, but when you do it with a bow, while self-filming your hunt, on the Chattahoochee National Forest—an area not known for a lot of deer—it’s downright impressive. GON freelance writer Hunter Galloway, 17, of Dallas, accomplished this newsworthy task on Saturday morning, Oct. 1 while hunting a newly discovered area of the national forest in Fannin County.
The afternoon before, Hunter put his climber on his back and headed deep into the national forest, hoping to find a hot place to bowhunt the next morning. Exactly 1 mile deep into the woods, Hunter found a number of fresh buck rubs in an area where white oak acorns were just starting to fall. He could tell from fresh droppings that deer were already eating the browning acorns. Hunter quietly hung his stand and slipped back to the truck excited with the fresh sign that he had found.
It was 44 degrees the next morning as Hunter sat 20 feet up a tree ready with his Mathews bow. In addition to Hunter’s regular bowhunting equipment, he had his Cannon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder mounted to a Muddy Outfitter Camera Arm with a Magnus fluid head. Hunter enjoys self-filming his hunts so he can share them with fellow hunters on his Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pages.
Earlier this year, Hunter reached out to GON with an interest in outdoor writing. We’ve always jumped at the chance to work with the next generation of hunters who are interested in pursing either an outdoor career or one in journalism. Hunter’s first GON story was published online in February 2016.
After saving his first dollars earned while writing for GON, Hunter purchased his camera and a tripod and was ready for the opening day of Georgia’s youth turkey season. Amazingly, on his first morning ever of self-filming, Hunter found himself capturing footage of himself killing two gobblers in Floyd County. A few weeks later, while hunting the Chattahoochee National Forest, Hunter captured fantastic public-land footage of several longboards and rolled his third turkey. A limit of Georgia toms captured on film during his first season self-filming certainly had Hunter excited about self-filming his deer hunts.
“After turkey season, little by little, I started upgrading all my camera equipment for deer season,” said Hunter. “I’m still upgrading actually. Just today (Oct. 4), I have added a shotgun mic to my camera.”
Hunter’s first week of the 2016 bow season was very slow, but he finally had an opportunity to video his first self-filmed deer kill in Cobb County on the morning of Sept. 22. He spent several mornings watching a group of does come through a stretch of hardwoods, but they mostly stayed out of bow range. At lunch on Sept. 21, Hunter quickly moved his climbing stand to be ready for the next morning.
Sure enough, the plan worked. The next morning the does came within bow range, and Hunter had great video of a long-nosed doe broadside. As Hunter touched the trigger on his bow release, his arrow—with a fluorescent green lighted nock—zipped directly under the doe. She bolted away, and it was all captured on film. It would have been easy for Hunter to tuck his tail and not publish the video, but he released it anyway and received amazing encouragement from his Internet followers. The gist of the comments were that hunters were thankful for a hunting video that showed the low moments in hunting, too.
“I’m here to show the real life of a hunter, not made up stuff and only showing the successful times. It’s real emotion, real hunts from a real average hunter. It’s me,” said Hunter.
His real life bowhunt in the Chattahoochee National Forest on Oct. 1 all came to a head at 7:51 a.m. Two 8-pointers fed into bow range, and Hunter was able to get an arrow into the bigger of the two bucks. Hunter wasn’t thrilled with his shot, hitting the buck in the shoulder, versus the double lung zinger that all bowhunters strive for.
“I practiced with my bow pretty much every day summer,” said Hunter. “I was as ready as I could be. But the truth is that I was so amped up when the buck came in that my arrow simply didn’t hit exactly where I wanted it to. That bothered me, too. But true to my style, I ran the video in what I feel was a tasteful way to show respect for such a great animal but also to show things that really happen in hunting.”
Hunter released his video on Facebook and quickly had more than 8,500 views.
“Self filming can be really hard, but it’s something I have a love and passion for,” said Hunter. “It’s all about catching every memory on film for me. It’s something that will last forever and brings memories that will never go away. I love the challenge filming brings while hunting.”
Keep watching for Hunter’s online videos and his articles in GON magazine and at www.gon.com.