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  1. Default Filming and Permit Questions

    So I've been filming some of my hunts and am looking to do more and better with a couple friends and its been a lot of fun.

    Today I went over to a local refuge to sign up for a spring turkey hunt they have. In the course of filling out the application I ask if my buddy draws the permit and I don't can I call and tag along and they say "Yes." I ask can I bring my camera and film and they say "Absolutely not."

    They stated that still photography is fine but any filming is prohibited in all refuges because they have no way of knowing what is intended to be commercialized and what won't be. They said that the Forestry Department (federal) has a defined application process for this, but that the refuge systems fall under US Fish and Wildlife which falls under the Department of the Interior and there is no well defined process to approve filming on areas under their control. I asked isn't BLM under that umbrella and they say yes.

    Soooo doesn't Randy film on BLM? Is there really no defined process for this?

    Looking to learn more about this and the differences between national forest land and land under the Dept of Interior. Hoping to have some fun filming hunts (I'm not out there for a TV contract)

  2. #2

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    Funny , because the bison outfitter on the National Elk Refuge films hunters every year and there is a federal game warden on the refuge for the hunts every day. In fact I asked him to review film footage when a guide tried to accuse me of something another hunter did.
    I believe the commercial aspect is what they "fear".
    Look at this:https://www.fws.gov/refuges/visitors/permits.html

  3. #3
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    Default

    I know of other videoing that has happened on Refuges. you should see this: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/visitors/permits.html
    "There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." ~TR

    "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." ~Genesis 10:9

  4. Default

    So..... How far are you willing to push it?

    In speaking with Randy about this, it is my understanding that the whole category of filming permits on public lands whether it be BLM, USFS, Wilderness Areas, etc. is under administrative control not specific legal statute. Meaning that granting film permits in each area is up to the discretion of the individual who administrates the area or whomever is designated to handle the permits. Short answer there really is no defined process. That is speaking about commercial permits.

    Concerning the refuge in question and wanting to video for personal use and distribution, as I understand it the law is pretty clear that non-commercial use is legal. Their statement about videography being illegal because they don't know whether video is going to be commercialized or not is complete B.S. If you want to video there, I would move up the chain of authority until I find someone who is able to see through the fallacious logic they are using to impede an activity generally protected under the First Amendment. What is next? "No, you can't kill a turkey here even though it is a legal activity because we don't know whether or not you will sell the meat? "

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
    So I've been filming some of my hunts and am looking to do more and better with a couple friends and its been a lot of fun.

    Today I went over to a local refuge to sign up for a spring turkey hunt they have. In the course of filling out the application I ask if my buddy draws the permit and I don't can I call and tag along and they say "Yes." I ask can I bring my camera and film and they say "Absolutely not."

    They stated that still photography is fine but any filming is prohibited in all refuges because they have no way of knowing what is intended to be commercialized and what won't be. They said that the Forestry Department (federal) has a defined application process for this, but that the refuge systems fall under US Fish and Wildlife which falls under the Department of the Interior and there is no well defined process to approve filming on areas under their control. I asked isn't BLM under that umbrella and they say yes.

    Soooo doesn't Randy film on BLM? Is there really no defined process for this?

    Looking to learn more about this and the differences between national forest land and land under the Dept of Interior. Hoping to have some fun filming hunts (I'm not out there for a TV contract)
    Welcome to my world. If not for film permits, I would have a few hundred hours of spare time to do other things and about $15K per year in my pocket.

    Not sure what you were told, but here is how it works. Refuges are under USFWS, which is part of Department of Interior. BLM is also under Department of Interior. Interior has different film permit regulations for Refuges than it has for BLM lands.

    Refuges have a different stated management objective than BLM lands. Thus, Refuge managers are given a lot more latitude in approve/denying film permits than what a BLM permit officer has.

    If you are going to use footage in any commercial aspect, marketing, selling footage, trading for gear, trading for services, producing monetized content such as YouTube/Amazon/Vimeo/Social Media, you need a commercial film permit. Sounds like your expansion of ideas is starting toward the path of commercial use. Thus, you will be subject to the rules.

    Fees are dependent upon agency. Expect an application fee of $150-$500 per application. Expect daily use fees to be $150-$250 per day. You will need liability insurance and provide proof that said agency is a co-insured under that policy. You need to give yourself 60-90 days of advance notice to get the application processed.

    With all that, you realize why most platforms follow the notion that "Forgiveness is easier than permission." If you see monetized footage on public lands, I would estimated there is an 80% chance they are not doing so with a film permit. Just a reality of how low compliance is. For some who want to follow the rules, this becomes a big crossroads where you have to decide if you are going to invest that amount of money just to film on public lands or if you are going to film on private lands or if you are going to take the risks associated with non-compliance.
    My name is Randy Newberg and I approved this post. What is written is my opinion, and my opinion only.

    "Hunt when you can. You're gonna run outta health before you run outta money."

  6. #6

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    The argument of “we don’t know if you’ll use it to make money” falls apart if they let you bring still photo equipment. It’s just as easy to monetize still photos as it is video, if not moreso. I think the person you were speaking with is incorrect, so I would challenge it. But, as Randy said, if you EVER intend on using it for any commercial purpose whatsoever, you would need the permit. If you just want to film your buddy’s hunt, I don’t see how they can stop that. Just don’t monetize the video on YouTube etc.

    It’s kind of the same issue with drones. You can fly a drone without any license whatsoever, and be completely legal. But the second you sell one frame of video, suddenly you’re a “commercial pilot” and you need all kinds of licensure. I think it’s ridiculous, but they haven’t asked me my opinion yet.

  7. Default

    Is legislation pending or being drafted anywhere to address these issues?

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheWanderer View Post
    Is legislation pending or being drafted anywhere to address these issues?
    There has been legislation pending for a decade. It gets killed every time, by one party or the other.

    I was on two calls today to see if the situation can be simplified being changes to Administrative Rule, as most of the onerous provisions were implemented by A.R. I think there is a better chance of that fix than there is via legislation. Just the ineptitude of Congress, no matter which party is in control.

    Until such time, permits are required.
    My name is Randy Newberg and I approved this post. What is written is my opinion, and my opinion only.

    "Hunt when you can. You're gonna run outta health before you run outta money."

  9. #9
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    Default

    I can think of multiple fishing and waterfowl shows that do episodes on the Upper Mississippi wildlife refuge annually.

  10. Default

    So I'm revisiting this issue and want to ask what others have done (if you've gone done this road).

    We have permits for XYZ zone in Idaho this year after buying them last week. Say the units is 50/50 national forest and BLM.

    Do you apply for a permit on both to continue to have access to hunt/film wherever you find your buck/bull? Or due to cost and logistics of getting a permit do you only apply for a permit on one or the other and then deal with the heartbreak of seeing an elk/deer that you could go shoot in the area that you can hunt but don't have the filming permit for?

    Is there a standard charge per day for a BLM or forest service filming permit? Or is it up to the local person in charge?
    Last edited by TheWanderer; 06-18-2018 at 10:21 PM.

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