Erin Carmody speaks following the premiere of My First Shot at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton on Saturday June 17. The film follows Carmody a Toronto resident and former vegan as she learns to hunt. It includes several Haliburton Highlands residents. /JENN WATT Staff

Film explores hunting culture

By Jenn Watt

Published June 20 2017

Erin Carmody had never shot a gun before she was featured in Leora Berman’s documentary. The former vegan and resident of Toronto had little experience of hunting culture but she was open minded which made her the ideal protagonist for My First Shot which premiered in Haliburton on Saturday.

The film was produced by Berman and The Land Between and Lock3 Media and funded by Wildlife Habitat Canada and featured several local hunters and outdoors advocates.

“This is culmination of four years of hard and gruelling politicking” Berman said ahead of the film on June 17 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion.

Berman said the film was about city meeting country an exchange of ideas and being open to others’ way of life.

My First Shot follows Carmody as she gamely tags along with several groups of hunters starting with the Curve Lake First Nation and Gary Williams who shows her how to identify deer prints in the mud and how to shoot a 20-gauge shotgun.

Although the initial deer hunt is not successful Carmody continues on through a second hunt with Haliburton’s Keith Hodgson and Kim Roberts who talk about the importance of hunt camps to the social and cultural aspect of hunting.

She takes on turkey hunting with Minden’s Micheon Reay-Hutchings who shows Carmody how to don camouflage get positioned in the early hours of the morning and endure bitter cold clouds of mosquitoes and the human instinct to fidget awaiting a bird.

Goose and duck hunting follow.

Besides the film which runs 35 minutes there are nine shorter clips that explore topics such as the love of hunting; what the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is; and how wild turkey returned to Ontario.

Carmody attended the screening and took questions from the audience. She said despite enjoying her time meeting hunters and learning about the practice she hasn’t been back out.

“I’ve been wanting to connect back with Gary [to go hunting] … because that would be the next step into it. It was just such an amazing experience” she said.

The film was honest about Carmody’s ambivalence toward killing animals – she felt a sadness about plucking a duck for example and My First Shot portrayed her full range of emotions about that task.
Berman told the audience that getting the film made had been more difficult than she had expected. She said her posters for the film had been taken down in some locations which she attributed to a distaste for hunting among some people.

“This has been more difficult to market. Even though it’s the sweetest thing” Berman said.

You can watch My First Shot online at DVDs are also for sale on the website.
The event was sponsored by Century 21 and OFAH Zone E.