Nick Woodman earned his bachelor’s degree in 1997 and started a marketing company called FunBug. The business was unsuccessful, so the California native decided to travel the world and do what he loves best, surf. While surfing, Woodman wanted to find a way to capture his wave-riding exploits without having to depend on someone on shore to take photos from a distance. He founded GoPro in 2002 for sportsmen and others to “capture and share your world like never before.”
The GoPro Hero4, the company’s latest model, is the ideal camera for hunters to chronicle their activities. It can record that perfect takedown shot as it is happening, then use its Wi-Fi capabilities to instantly download the footage to your mobile device so you can share it with friends and family. The video also can be used as a teaching tool, as you can re-watch your hunts, to correct flaws.
The truth is, many hunters are old school and not keen on incorporating technology into their favorite pastime. But, even the most hardcore fundamentalists will be fascinated by the GoPro’s capabilities once they give it a figurative shot.
Eric Pickhartz, writing for hunting and fishing website Wide Open Spaces, stumbled upon a video entitled “Rooooster” on Vimeo. It showed a first-person viewpoint of several birds being taken down by superb marksmanship. He contacted Jake Farmer, the creator of the video, to find out how he captured such high quality footage.
Farmer admitted he is not a hunter himself, but a videographer who has several hunters in his family. He bought two GoPros and a shotgun mount from a third-party retailer to film their hunting trips. The video makes viewers feel like they’re right there, something he said would be impossible to capture without the GoPro. He compared the vantage point to first-person shooter video games like Halo.
GoPro makes a roll bar mount that fits most shotguns, for those who prefer to use a product made by the company. Although the cameras are durable enough to withstand shotgun reports, some hunters prefer to use the chest harness, which can be found at any retailer that sells the cameras. The head strap mount is another option for first-person viewpoints.
Jeff Hesketh showed the possibilities of a GoPro for deer hunting by filming his November 2013 hunt in Maine, which he uploaded to YouTube. Hesketh appeared to get what many hunters would call a gift. A spike appeared to be only a few yards from him when he took action. It wasn’t a perfect shot, but the harvest netted him 120 pounds of meat, according to his account.
You must purchase a separate telephoto lens to have zoom capabilities on a GoPro. RageCams makes a 16 mm lens that fits inside the waterproof casing of the camera. Back-Bone is a another third-party company that makes a product called the Ribcage. It’s a kit that modifies the GoPro Hero3 and Hero3+ Black to accept several interchangeable lenses.
Keep in mind these companies are not affiliated with GoPro, and using their products may void any warranties you have on your camera.
A common complaint from hunters was that the GoPro has too many flashing and blinking lights while recording, which can obviously have a negative impact on your hunts. The company responded by introducing a polycarbonate GoPro blackout housing unit for the camera to remedy this issue.
Rifle hunting season spans only a few weeks every year in most states. The GoPro will enable you to re-live your hunting expeditions anytime and share them with the world. It’s well worth the investment.