State hunting history was made last month when Pennsylvania held its first-ever archery elk hunt. The hunt signals a new direction for the Pennsylvania Game Commission — for the first time, they had a videographer on hand to record part of the hunt.
The Commission’s new Digital Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Tyler Hock, contacted all five bull elk archery permit holders and asked if they would be willing to allow the Game Commission to film their hunts.
“Most of the hunters were open to the idea, but I settled on New York hunter Jim Lickfeld,” Hock said. “I was going to go wherever Jim decided to go with his choice of guides.”
Hock, who started with the Game Commission last December, previously produced hunting shows for seven years, so this is not new territory for him. After traveling the United States to shoot hunting videos, he accepted a position with the Game Commission so that he could spend more time with his family. They live in Dillsburg, York County.
“The Game Commission has never showcased a hunt, but I think that it is important to put some hunts out there,” Hock noted. “I want people to be able to live the hunt through the camera’s eyes.”
Hock was out in the field on the opening morning with Lickfeld, guide Matt Lutz, and world champion elk caller Al Morris. They heard numerous bulls bugle nearby, but Morris was unable to pull one away from the bulls’ harem of cows. Of course, Hock recorded this cat-and-mouse calling game.
Later that day, while the camera was rolling, Morris called a huge 6x7 bull to within shooting range of the hunter. Lickfeld made a perfect double-lung shot with his compound bow. The bull ran about 60 yards and collapsed.
“This is not going to be a pure hunting video, but the hunt will be an important part of the video,” Hock stated. “I haven’t detailed the story line yet, but I am envisioning hunting sequences intertwined with the beautiful scenery of the elk range and shots of elk in their natural habitat. Pennsylvania has such a great resource, and I want to showcase the hunt to educate hunters as to what we have to offer.”
You may have noticed that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is using more video to get messages to the public and to market hunting in Pennsylvania. However, they have never used hunting content in their videos.
One only needs to look at the popularity of YouTube to see why they have moved in the direction of offering more videos. Hiring Hock and making this elk video will be an additional step on that path.
“With Hal Korber and Tracy Graziano, we have a great team in place for making video content,” Hock stated. “I was hired to help expand the video base, add hunting sequences and work with email marketing.”
Hock also accompanied bull elk permit holder Luke Miller, of Navron, for two days. Miller was hunting in Elk Hunt Zone 13. When Hock had to leave for another assignment, the Commission sent in Johnstown photographer and avid hunter Wade James to record Miller’s successful hunt later that week. Miller scored on a 7x6 bull on the fifth day of the season — that hunt will be part of the new video, as well.
According to Hock, it might be a while before the hunting videos are posted for public viewing because they will be part of a larger effort. Hock was in the field On Oct. 12, recording a youth pheasant hunt, and plans are in the works to record other small game and deer hunts.
“The archery elk hunt was a historic event, and I think it fitting that we recorded it,” Hock stated. “The video will educate our customers as to what a unique opportunity it is to hunt elk in Pennsylvania. “I am expecting that this elk video will be released sometime next spring before the 2020-21 hunting licenses go on sale.”
Mark Nale is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and can be reached at MarkAngler@aol.com.