When Hampton Rutland heads out for a duck hunt, he has to take along a lot more than just his decoys, shotgun, shells and hunting bag.
Nowadays, he needs plenty of extra room for waterproof camera cases, two drones and a host of other video equipment he’s accumulated over the last couple of years.
The 39-year-old urologist who practices in West Monroe recently put the finishing touches on his 2015-16 duck season recap video — his third over the last three years — which highlights awesome hunting footage from 10 locations in nine parishes across Louisiana.
“I knew I wanted to get out as much as I could,” said Rutland, who hunted an estimated 34 days over the course of the season. “The goals for this year were to use as little GoPro as possible, get drone footage of every place we hunted and get some low-light stuff — what they call the ‘magic hour’ right as the sun is coming up or going down — because you get some real pretty light.”
Since his initial recap video from the 2014-15 season, Rutland has purchased a Sony Alpha Series A7R camera, which allows him to zoom in, change lenses and gives his finished videos a more professional look. (To see his 2014-15 recap from last year, click here.)
“That’s the camera I use 99.9 percent of the time,” he said. “They call it a mirrorless camera. It looks like a regular DSLR, and I use a lot of different lenses, which is nice because you can get depth of field, where things up close are in focus and the stuff behind you is not.
“It gives you a different look.”
He now uses two DJI drones for his videos: an Inspire 1 to capture footage over land and a Phantom 3 Professional model to get shots over water. And while he thinks GoPros are great workhorse cameras that can capture unique perspectives, they just aren’t suitable for recording many aspects of a duck hunt, he said.
“With a GoPro, ducks look like mosquitos flying around in the sky unless you’re just right on top of them,” Rutland said. “They’re great for the size and they’re almost indestructible, but you’re somewhat limited in your ability to zoom.”
He also started putting his projects together with Final Cut Pro professional editing software — instead of iMovie on his Mac.
One of his videos, “The Reclaimed Wood Shop,” took off on YouTube and currently has almost 70,000 views. That video, which features stop motion animation, bumped his subscriber count from only 170 after a couple of years to more than 2,700 now.
The 12-second stop motion close to this year’s video — which highlights the name of his video-related LLC — is composed of more than 120 individual still images and took almost three hours to complete.
“It’s ridiculous. But the more you get into it, the more you need,” Rutland said with a smile. “In some ways, you’re like, ‘Man, why did I ever get into this?’
“But it’s interesting having subscribers. When people start looking at it, you want to keep doing it, so it’s kind of exciting. I just really enjoy it.”
This year’s duck season recap features drone shots and breathtaking video from Louisiana hunting hotspots including Pecan Island, Sherburne Wildlife Management Area, Bouef WMA, Catahoula Lake and his home parish, St. Landry. It also features a cast of hunters identified by their nicknames, including HamBone (Rutland), Shifty, DuggyFresh, Tiger Bait, MadDog, Piglet, The Mayor and many more.
“This year everyone says it was a horrible duck season, and it probably was for people with a stationary pit blind,” Rutland said. “But we were able to get out and go find the ducks. I bought a Pro-Drive boat, and that really opened up things. I really love that kind of hunting — going out on public lands and finding them.”
Next year, he’d like to get even more footage from more places across Louisiana, especially in the West Zone — but he needs your help.
“I’d like to get in touch with people who want to show off their place who would let us come hang out with them for a day, and we’ll film their hunts and get out there and see the state,” he said. “All the footage from the last few years has been from the Coastal and Eastern Zones. We haven’t gotten into the west side at all, so we were hoping to head in that direction.”
If you hunt in the West Zone and would like to host Hambone and The Mayor for a duck hunt next season, email them at LAMovingPictures@gmail.com.