Pat Reeve is the mastermind, co-host and cinematic wizard behind DrivenTV, one of the most popular hunting shows on TV.
Within the past four years, DrivenTV has won four Golden Moose Awards, one of the outdoor TV industry's top accolades. It's no wonder why.
The DrivenTV team, which consists of Pat, his wife/co-host Nicole Reeve, and a small production team, travels to the ends of the Earth to film epic, cinema-quality, big-game adventures. The new season, which currently airs on the Outdoor Channel, features hunts that pushed both Pat and Nicole to their limits as master hunters.
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I recently talked with Pat about his favorite scenes from the new season of DrivenTV. We also talked about the Reeves' new book, Trophy Whitetails with Pat & Nicole Reeve: Tips and Tactics from the Driven Team, which tells the story of Pat's 30-plus years in the hunting industry, along with a collection of tips and techniques he's learned from some of the best hunters in the world.
Wide Open Spaces: What are some of your favorite moments in this season of DrivenTV?
PR: I think this is the strongest season we've ever had. We travel to some cool places this year. I really enjoyed hunting in the Arctic because it's cold, but it has its own mystique and beauty to it. For cinematic value and hardship, it really matches our Driven team. We really want to show people that we're truly driven, and one way to do that is to go the Arctic and have snow blowing sideways and to try hunting in those elements, it's not easy. There ain't many people that can do it.
I think one of my all-time best kill scenes that had the most energy is one that I filmed this year with Nicole when she shot her brown bear at 23 steps. I [filmed] that bear coming in across the sandbar straight at us from about 150 yards away. He walked straight at us across the stream right in front of us and come up on the sandbar and was looking at us the whole time. She waited for that magical perfect moment and made the most perfect shot under extreme, high-pressure conditions.
Everything was just scripted perfect, which generally doesn't happen. Most people that shoot brown bears have to shoot through dense vegetation, so that was pretty cool. I think that's probably the best big game footage that I've ever laid down.
WOS: What's been the most challenging part of filming the show?
PR: The real challenge is when you go to a new place. It's a new storyline, a new adventure, and you start from square one. And a lot of times during the season you go from one to the next.
You finally get done and it comes down to the last second of the last hour, and you're drained - emotionally and physically. You turn around and what do you have facing you? You pack your car and turn around drive to the next place and start the progression over almost instantly.
It's hard to recharge your batteries with no time and to become fresh again with the camera and have that enthusiasm and creativity you had at the start. To start that hunt from scratch and to put as much effort into that one as the previous one. That's truly one of the aspects for me that becomes difficult to do that consistently time after time.
WOS: What's behind your drive?
PR: It's really passion for hunting and filming and it kind of blends together. One really doesn't overlap the other. That's the reason I've been doing it so long, and that's why I've been able to perform at a high level. Something inside me keeps me motivated enough to never give up.
I've been doing this for nearly 30 years. After that many years you learn that you can't ever really let your guard down and you can't ever really give up.
Most times it comes down to the end of the hunt versus the front end. In the moments you least expect it, things come together.
WOS: What's life like for you guys when you're not filming driven.
PR: It's funny that you might ask that because our life never really quits. We don't turn off the Driven side. It's something we live pretty much every day. I guess it's like that with every business. You just never quit working. You're always doing something.
So many people think our business is all hunting. That's just one facet of the business. The real business is showing your advertising. That's done well in advance of the hunting season starting.
This world that we live in seems like it gets smaller and there's a lot of consolidation that the marketing piece of the pie. In order to stay in that game, you've got to perform at a higher level. Nowadays, there's a lot more to performing than just putting out good TV. The social media aspects are now more important than ever.
WOS: You've also have a new book out. What do you hope people will take from it?
PR: The book tells a lot about our story. The internal message is: you can do anything you want in life, you just have to stay focused and stay sure of it. [It's] about how we got there and how we did it ourselves.
After 30 years of doing this I've had a chance to sit in the trees with some incredible guys and hunters and film some incredible hunters and learn their different hunt styles and how they are successful. That's the kind of thing you learn from. We talk about different aspects: hunting from blinds,using decoys, putting in water holes - all these different calling cards, so to speak. Everybody has their different styles.
Filming has helped me become a hunter, because a cameraman has to have it together from the very start of the scene to the very end of the scene. If you're a hunter you just have to have it together at the time of the kill. But a cameraman has to be calm, cool and collected from the moment you spot the animal, and be on it instantly to get the preroll all the way to the lead up of the kill, to the kill. After the kill he can't fall apart either because he has to come back fluidly and get the reaction of the hunter and then be able to have the mindset to not be caught up in the moment and be able to operate and get thing done with cutaways and get stuff for a fully produced hunt, and not get caught up in the celebration.