25 October 2006

The Death of Bullwinkle

There’s a review of Marie Antoinette coming. Perhaps even today. But, until then, a summary of the moose hunting trip:

I’d never flown with my camera before, and after much research discovered that Northwest’s policy is to check it. So, I loaded it into the case that could survive a nuclear attack and took it to the airport. They directed me toward the TSA’s oversized luggage area in the Pittsburgh airport, where the guy looked it over (but not nearly enough for my comfort. Let’s just say there could have easily have been something illegal inside that he wouldn’t have caught. There wasn’t, but he wouldn’t have caught it if there was) and let me lock it. I wandered over to security wondering if I’d ever see my camera again.

But, while sitting at the gate, something occurred to me. With security at airports being what it is, it’ll be awfully hard for a baggage handler to just wander off with the case and the lock is such that the type of things needed to destroy it aren’t allowed anywhere near luggage to begin with. This made me feel a lot better.

I got to the Portland airport just fine (after a quick change in Detroit–perhaps my favorite airport) and sure enough my camera was there as well. My mother and my brother’s fiancé picked me up, and we headed north.

Wednesday: I’d ordered some tapes from Amazon and had them shipped directly to my parent’s house, but they had yet to arrive, so until I had something to record on, I drove around Camden looking for a place that could rent me a shotgun mic for the week. I couldn’t find one, but they directed me to a couple of places in Portland.

Thursday: Went to Portland (like an hour and a half away). First place had all theirs out on loan, second place rented for nearly $300 a week, third was around $60 for a week. Naturally, the $300 one is going to be significantly better, but since I wasn’t going to be using a boom or anything, I decided to go with the $60 one, since I likely wouldn’t have been able to utilize much of the difference in quality. That night I helped my brother run his basketball practice (he coaches our alma-matter).

The plan for the film involves getting interviews from the key people to try and create a sense of the context in which the hunt will exist. I’d mentioned this, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the time to do it before the hunt. So...

Friday: saw The Illusionist. Quite good. Edward Norton is a fantastic actor.

Saturday: Still no tapes. This is a problem. They should have arrived days ago. So, I drive to Augusta and spend $70 at Circuit City for fewer tapes than I bought online for $30. This is the problem with midcoast Maine. If you desperately need electronics, your options are limited. I remember now why I never shop at Circuit City. Now that I have tapes, I meet up with the rest of the family and we head to Bath for my cousin Blaine’s wedding. Blaine is going on a moose hunt Sunday, and I had originally planned to film parts of the wedding, but he’s going on a different hunt, and with a crew of one, I decide the logistics of the whole thing just isn’t worth it. Too many releases to have signed, etc., for something I probably won’t be able to use. Had he gone on our moose hunt, well that’s a different story.

The ceremony was quick–5 minutes total–but the key moment came when the minister asked if anyone objects and on cue the dog (who was the ringbearer) starts howling. I have actors who don’t have timing that good.

Sunday: Up at 4:30. Drive 3 hours north to the vast woods of Northern Maine. Once there we drive around on logging trails “scouting”, which basically means we look for either moose, or signs that moose have been there recently. There are a surprising number of people doing the same thing. Some have found spots and are camping out in the woods.

We then go to my relative Leslie’s camp (near our hunting camp) where Edwin (who is related to me somehow) has been living since his wife kicked him out. He’s installed solar panels and a satellite dish. We watch the Patriots game and he mentions that he’s seen a number of moose in the immediate area. So, we scout that area and find a spot. Unfortunately, with the Patriots game playing in the background, I don’t film this exchange, as there are more rights issues there then I care to deal with. By the time we get back to the camp I’m exhausted. I fall asleep at 8:30.

Monday: First day of season. Up at 4:22 a.m. I’m the last one up. A quick breakfast then we’re off, driving in pitch black toward our spot. We’re set up at 6. It’s so dark I have to turn the gain on my camera all the way up in order to see anything at all. The plan, as I understand it, is this: my father and my brother will set up in our spot and try to call a moose in (that’s where I’ll be). George will sit in the car just down the road with a radio to see if a moose is coming from the one direction we can’t see so well. Alex and his son will drive around the are and try and spot one.

6:13: Start of moose season. Sunrise isn’t for another 15 minutes. I can’t see a damn thing. My camera is having trouble holding focus. I’ve got the auto focus on in case I have to move quickly.

6:19: Dad’s phone rings. Alex has spotted a moose just outside Leslie’s camp. Ryan (my brother) takes off running. Dad and I follow. We get over there and sure enough there’s 3 moose about 200 yards away in a clear cut. We have a bull (or whatever) permit, but he’s standing directly in front of the cow, so we have to wait until he moves enough that the shot won’t go through him and injure the cow.

We wait. I hold the shot.

6:28: Ryan calls George over to see if maybe there’s a clear shot from where he’s standing. I swing the camera around to get this and a shot goes off. I swing the camera back to the moose and he’s on the ground. He doesn’t get up.

Edwin wanders out of the camp with a cup of coffee. He offers us the use of his 4-wheeler, and after some rudimentary cleaning, the moose is on the 4-wheeler and then on Alex’s truck in roughly an hour. The moose died maybe 50 yards from another road. I’m told it’s not uncommon for it to take 8-9 hours to get a moose out of the woods.

Weight: 700 lbs. Rack: 49 inches. Back on the road by noon. By 4pm the moose is in a tree at my parents house being cut up.

While looking at some of the footage, my camera eats a tape, meaning the gears have to probably be replaced. I get none of the context footage I need. This is not good, but considering how little hunting footage I have, I may have to just make it really short anyway. We shall see. Anyway, right now I’m in the process of looking over the footage to see what it is I actually have.


Rachel said...

it sounds like quite an adventure and i love the way the clip ends! although i have to admit i really feel bad for the moose(bull) and even worse for the cow who he belonged too

luv ya

lucas said...

it gets worse for the moose...that'll be the really tough part to watch/edit.

when are ya coming to the city to chill?

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