February 23, 2011 12:00AM
Nathan Oehlert loves the outdoors and he has dreams of turning his passion for hunting and fishing into a career. Oehlert, a senior from Chanute, will take a significant step in that direction on March 6 when the Outdoor Channel airs a video he shot to chronicle one of his most memorable bow hunting experiences. Oehlert's film will air at 6 p.m. that day on the Matthews TV with Dave Watson show.
Oehlert said he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't involved in the outdoors.
"I've hunted and fished my whole life," Oehlert said.
His interest in television broadcasting is a much more recent development.
"I don't know what made me pick up a video camera and start filming," Oehlert said. "I started out with a little video camera about three years ago and eventually bought better high-def equipment."
The thought of pairing his love of hunting and the outdoors with his new-found interest in video also brought Oehlert to Pittsburg State University's highly regarded broadcasting program in its Department of Communication.
Troy Comeau, director of broadcasting at PSU, said Oehlert came into the program with a definite goal in mind.
"The reason Nathan began working with us in the broadcasting studio was to further his production skills," Comeau said. "He has a real passion for hunting and has done everything he can to be noticed for the video work he has done on various hunts. This is a dream he's had for a number of years and Pittsburg State University is providing him with an opportunity to practice and have his work critiqued so he will be successful in the future."
Oehlert said the kind of work he's interested in is a very specialized area of broadcasting and tough to break into.
The video that will air March 6, Oehlert said, was one he submitted for a nationwide contest sponsored by the Matthews Company, a major bow manufacturer.
"This was one of the most unbelievable hunts I've been on," Oehlert said. "I knew (the video) was something really good. I knew it was worthy."
The quality of the submission got the attention of the show's producers, who called Oehlert to see if he had more footage that he could work into the package, which he eagerly did.
Oehlert said the story of the hunt that he chronicles in his piece actually spans two years. A year before the video was shot, Oehlert spotted a striking big buck.
"I had him in range twice that year, but was never able to get a shot," Oehlert said.
In the off-season, the image of that big buck never left Oehlert's mind.
"Going into the next season," Oehlert said, "I found myself wondering whether that buck was still there."
As the season wore on, the young hunter passed on some bucks that he could have taken in hopes that the elusive buck from the previous year would show up. In an attempt to improve their luck, Oehlert and a buddy moved his deer stand to a new location. It didn't seem as if their gamble was going to pay off, however, and they found themselves playing on their cell phones to pass the time.
"It seemed like nothing was going to happen," Oehlert said. "Then all of a sudden, boom, there he was. I knew it was him."
Oehlert made the most of the opportunity and brought home a buck that scored 172 1/8 inches.
Getting the film he made from this adventure on national television is a big step and it is a great addition to his already expansive portfolio, but Oehlert said there is still a long way to go toward building a career in the field he loves.
"It's extremely difficult and there are no guarantees," he said, but he is clearly enjoying the journey.
Part of that journey is a hunting show Oehlert is producing this spring for CAPS 13, the student-run channel that airs on the Pittsburg cable system.
And while Oehlert works, there are other big bucks out there and other exciting adventures just waiting to be turned into another video story.