Deer Camp Documentary "To The Hunt" Premiers Thursday

Hollywood actor and screenwriter Jay Legget returns to his Wisonsin deer hunting roots with the premiere of a documentary exploring his state's deer camp culture.

From this story in the Lacrosse Tribune:
It's hard to explain deer camp culture to someone who hasn't lived it. But Tomahawk native Jay Leggett, a Hollywood actor and comedian, set out to do just that by producing and directing a documentary that premieres Thursday at Tomahawk Cinema, where he sold tickets and popcorn when he was in high school. There are dozens of television shows and magazines that document the logistics of killing deer. But in his film "To the Hunt," Leggett set out to reflect the culture of the annual ritual that draws into the woods and fields more than 600,000 hunters of every social and economic class.
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Leggett, 47, lives in southern California, but his Wisconsin roots and love of deer camp have brought him back to this city of about 3,800 people to hunt every year since he graduated from high school in 1981. He missed only one, when he was directing a play in London. The UW-Stevens Point graduate once hoped to become a history teacher but said he fell in love with acting instead. He's appeared on television shows including "ER," "In Living Color" and "The Drew Carey Show." He also worked with Madison native Chris Farley in the Improv Olympic comedy troupe in Chicago.

Last hunting season, Leggett returned to the woods of Lincoln County with three cameras, a small crew and little knowledge of what it would take to shoot a documentary. The task was made more difficult by his subjects, who offered a non-stop barrage of stories and jokes. He captured 90 hours of footage of hunters in their natural environment -- very little of it showing actual hunting. In the end, 87 minutes survived the final cut. "Every camp could be its own documentary," Leggett said, seated at his mother's antique dining room table in his childhood home. "They all have interesting stories, and you get different versions from different people. They were really eager." Leggett filmed at his family's camp, about 12 miles west of Tomahawk near Spirit Falls. More than 100 area residents appear in the film. But Leggett thinks his most entertaining footage was provided by Hawker's Heroes. Members of the group, with nicknames including Hawk, Festus and Frost, have persevered. Five of the founding members each spent $125 -- saved from their paper route money -- to build the camp on family-owned land in 1966._

Filmmaker Bradley Breesley's "Okie Noodling" was a micro-budget indie documentary that became a huge international hit. Could "To The Hunt" do for deer hunting what Breesley's did for fishing by hand? Don't know, but it certainly sounds like it's worth a look.