Bass to Bow For Swindle
Following passion puts Elite Series angler on 'The Hit List'
Pro angler Gerald Swindle lends his bow hunting fervor to 'Moultrie's The Hit List.' (Courtesy Moultrie)
Pro bass angler Gerald Swindle is serious about his bow hunting, so much so he’s on Outdoor Channel’s “Moultrie’s The Hit List.” Now he just hopes it doesn’t begin to feel like a job.
“I’ve been real cautious on the show … I don’t want my passion to turn into a job,” he said. “So I’m real careful not to overfilm and do too much, because it becomes more work and takes the fun out of it.”
Being in the quiet woods with his bow is cherished time for Swindle. He’s there a lot after the long season fishing in the Bassmaster Elite Series and Opens. There’s a line about a number of his fellow anglers – they fish professionally so they can afford to hunt.
“My wife used to tell everybody that – ‘he only fishes so he can hunt,’ because bow hunting has always been my passion,” said Swindle, the 2004 Bassmaster Angler of the Year who over the weekend posted his second consecutive Top 5 Elite finish at BASSfest.
It was his love of bow hunting that landed him a spot on “Moultrie’s The Hit List” with fellow pro angler Andy Morgan, Chad Ritter and Branch Warren. The boisterous Swindle, known as G-Man, enjoyed talking about his exploits, and former bass pro Mike Auten often listened.
As general manager of Commonwealth Productions, which grew from Knight and Hale enterprises, Auten targeted Swindle for the new show.
“They were looking for bow hunting talent, and he told them, ‘I know a guy who is absolutely crazy about it.’ He called me and said, ‘This is the show for you,’” Swindle said. “It kind of came word of mouth. I just kind of fell into it.”
Swindle, with a Missouri buck, said filming hunts is harder than it looks. (Courtesy Moultrie)
While Swindle has been on plenty of TV shoots for bass and sponsors, his hunts for TV isn’t as easy as slipping into the woods like he’s done so many times in his 44 years.
“It’s been a lot more of a challenge than I wanted it to be,” he said. “People underestimate the amount of effort it takes to film a bow hunting show.
“To do a true bow hunting show and be authentic, it takes a lot of time, a lot of work. To stay out of high fences and try to shoot legitimate 130-inch deer with a bow, it’s hard to kill four of five of them a year.”
Having a cameraman on his shoulder presents difficulties Swindle has to consider when setting up, let alone having a deer walk in range. And bow hunters are downright particular about their trees.
“You can’t never hunt the right tree that you want be in,” he said. “You got to hunt a tree that’s feasible for two people to sit in. Ninety percent of the time I’m not even hunting in the tree that I would want if I was by myself.
“You’re trying to cover up two people’s noise, two people’s smells. He’s constantly got to move. You’re really fighting the elements. You can’t brush him up too thick because he can’t see. You find yourself sticking out like a sore thumb a lot trying to get the shot.
“Just walking in, it’s a lot noisier than it ought to be. So you fight that a lot. From entering your stand to exiting your stand is twice as much work, because you’re covering up for two people.”
Swindle is glad The Hit List has an ensemble cast, as it allows him to concentrate on a handful of hunts.
“I agreed to do it for a year or two and see how we like it. It’s worked out. We’re going into the fourth season and we’re starting to get momentum,” he said. “EBSCO has challenged us to try to take our show to one of the top-notch shows on the Outdoor Channel. So they’re upping the amount of camera equipment we have, even helicopter views and GoPro views, changing things up on how we film, trying to put in more personality.”
The Hit List is hailed for its fair chase and authenticity, which is what Swindle really likes about the show.
“We just lease private property and we go in there and hunt it,” he said. “We don’t have people out putting up 40 trail cameras. For us, we do all the work on our own, much like I do here out on the lakes. You’ve really got to pay attention to detail. That’s the part I like.”
So, G-Man, are you having fun?
“I’m going to be honest with you, it has its moments,” he said. “There’s times when it’s fun, and times when I’m thinking this is a dadgum job.”