Author’s note: The Primos line of game calls grew quickly in the 1980s and 1990s and is still one of the largest game call companies in the nation. Much of this company’s success may be related to the Truth series of videos, CDs and DVDs that Will Primos and his company produce and sell. Primos not only tells you his calls produce game, he can prove they do through this video series. Where did his company get the idea for the Truth series?
Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, now the vice president for video and television production for Mossy Oak, was the first videographer I hired to shoot hunting videos. Ronnie went with me and anyone else who knew where there were gobbling turkeys to take on video. On one hunt, I had a turkey come in while Ronnie was videoing, and I missed the turkey. When I ran out to the spot, I saw my shot pattern had hit a sapling and not the turkey. Cuz had turned off the camera and was bouncing up and down laughing, because I had missed the turkey. “Did you turn the camera off?” I asked Cuz. “Yeah,” Cuz replied. “Why aren’t you recording this?” I questioned. “I didn’t want to let everybody see you miss a turkey,” Cuz explained. I told him, “Cuz, before I lose the emotion of the moment, turn the camera back on quick.” I ran back out to that sapling, saw why I had missed the turkey and came walking back with my head down, just like I did originally. I told Cuz to laugh just like he did when I missed the turkey, and he did. This was the first and only reenactment we ever had on the Truth videos. I asked him to video every part of the hunt from now on, misses and all, because this was what turkey hunting really was like.
After we had enough footage to make a video, Cuz and I went to a video-editing studio, sat down with the editor and edited the first Truth video. I asked Cuz, “What will we call this video?” Cuz said, “We have misses on this video, and we have people falling down. It is what turkey hunting is. It’s the truth.” I said, “That’s it, Cuz. That’ll be the name of this video: The Truth about Turkey Hunting.” We now have 23 different videos on The Truth about Turkey Hunting, 17 videos of The Truth about Elk, 20 videos of The Truth about Hunting Big Bucks, and many more. I feel like the misses and the mess-ups make hunting fun. The videos aren’t about me. They’re about the sport of hunting.
Our company, Primos Hunting, wants to promote hunting and help to bring more and more people into hunting. The more popular any sport is, the more voices we have to speak for the sport and to protect it. In my earlier hunting days, I didn’t teach anyone else what I’d learned about hunting. Finally, I asked myself, “Why are you being so selfish and stupid? You have the most fun when you’re with a cameraman who can share the excitement, the fun and the disappointments. You plan how you’ll take a critter with your cameraman. Why don’t you share your knowledge and have fun with people?” I began to realize hunting was an event that was much more satisfying when I shared it with someone else. I want people to see that even though I’ve been hunting turkeys almost as long as I’ve been alive, I still miss them. I still fall down when I jump up to run to a turkey that I’ve shot; I still spook turkeys by moving when I shouldn’t; and I still make all the other mistakes turkeys hunters make. Mistakes and misses are just as much a part of hunting as bagging the bird, and I’ve learned from watching the Truth DVDs we’ve made and seeing my mistakes.
I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a professional hunter, except for perhaps Jim Shockey. There are avid hunters and people who enjoy the sport, but you won’t get paid to go and hunt like a football player gets paid to play football. For most of us, hunting is about being yourself, having fun and sharing it with friends and family. I don’t think taking the biggest deer or turkey in the world should be the driving force to enjoy the sport.
For instance, two years ago in Kansas I had the opportunity to take a really big buck. For most of my business life, we’ve created videos to share hunts with our viewers. So, if the cameraman can’t get video of the deer, then our hunters don’t take the shot. On this particular hunt, this big deer showed up in front of my deer stand. I looked at the cameraman and said, “Have you got the deer on camera?” He replied, “I don’t have enough light. I can’t see the deer from the viewfinder.” At that moment I once again became Will Primos the hunter, not Will Primos the businessman, and I whispered, “I’m shooting him anyway.” I shot that 184-inch 10-point with split G2 tines on both sides of his rack. I once again realized the joy of hunting and the thrill of taking a buck of a lifetime.
Whether you take a doe or a buck or don’t take anything at all, hunting should be fun. One of the things that really makes me feel good is going to hunting shows and hearing people say, “I work all the time and have very little time to go hunting. But I want to thank you for making me a part of your hunt and letting me live vicariously through your experiences. Because of your videos, my son’s now asking me to take him hunting too.”
Image courtesy John Phillips