by Jason Say
From the earliest days of prehistoric hunters, the ritual has been the same. Waking before dawn, they gather only what’s necessary, trudge forth from the camp, tent or shelter and trek to a remote stand, blind, or favored spot; settling in, they set up shop, survey the landscape…
And then they wait. They wait for that opportunity, that occasion, that one chance to harvest the largesse of nature’s bounty – the fat of the land.
Sometimes, that chance never comes. Often, they must repeat the ritual before the occasion presents itself. And when it does, the hunter’s skill, knowledge, and experience coalesce into that heart-stopping moment when the only things that exist in the universe are the hunter and their quarry.
Little of this sacred ritual has changed over millennia, for both prehistoric and modern-day hunters in the PA Great Outdoors region, but the pace of change in our increasingly interconnected world has accelerated unabated, and with it comes changes unforeseen by the hunters of old.
“I’m a big archery hunter – I like to be up close and personal, so that hasn’t changed much over millennia, but the technology certainly has,” said Jason Say, cohost of Wired Outdoors, a Clarion County-based hunting show now in its eighth year. “We were on TV for a few years, but we always knew the Internet was the future; it’s changed how we can deliver our content to our fans.”
And judging by Wired Outdoors’ success, their fans have a voracious appetite for a “semi-live” program that has the goal of taking viewers along on real hunts. More than 750,000 people on Facebook follow their page, 24,000 Instagram followers and 70,000 Roku channel subscribers. Between their YouTube Channel, Roku Channel and Website, their shows are watched over 2.5 million times a year.
“When I first saw Roku, I realized that it fits perfectly with what we do,” said Say, of the web-based player that streams high-definition media – on demand – straight from the Internet to your television. “What we’ve done is created our own network through social media and Roku, so we don’t need a ‘Sportsman Channel’ on cable TV to deliver our content.”
An added benefit of Wired Outdoors’ reliance on their self-created network is that while traditional hunting shows on broadcast television or cable can take up to two years, Say and his co-host Kyle Schwabenbauer can film, edit, produce and upload an episode in about two weeks.
Say estimates that 70 percent of those episodes are filmed right here in Pennsylvania – and with good reason. He cites an abundance of game, gorgeous scenery, and year-round opportunities in the 12-county PA wilds region he calls home.
“We’re a hunting show. We hunt across the country – in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Illinois – I can hunt wherever I want in the country, but I love hunting in Pennsylvania,” he said. “In the spring, it’s always turkey season for us; we do lots of turkey hunts. Then throughout the summer, we do some groundhog and coyote and nuisance hunting, but planting food plots and building stands takes time as well. In the fall, it is whitetail and bear, and in the winter, squirrel and small game.”
With so many species and so many seasons available to Pennsylvania’s estimated 1 million hunters, there’s always something happening, and Wired Outdoors doesn’t want their viewers to miss a moment of it. Soon, they will release an app that will send out notifications so that viewers can watch a hunt, live, as it happens, on their smartphones.
In terms of the prehistoric hunters, “things haven’t really changed that much,” from ancient times, said Say. But the way Wired Outdoors uses technology to bring viewers into that timeless ritual – in real time – that ancient ritual soon will be more modern than ever.
To learn more about Wired Outdoors visit wiredoutdoors.com.
Plan your outdoor adventures in the PA Great Outdoors region online at VisitPAGO.com or call the PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau at (814) 849-5197.