If he had his wish, Gainesville resident and North Hall graduate Jeff Ertzberger would give up his job as a builder and become a professional hunter.
While that might not be in the cards, Ertzberger will have a chance today to see himself in that profession when his November 2008 win at the Campbell Outdoor Challenge in Carmi, Ill. will be televised at 1 p.m. today on VERSUS.
“I’m excited just like everyone else,” said Ertzberger, who won the competition alongside his friend Steve Garner. “I’m not sure how much they’ll show and I don’t even know how the interview went. But it’s a highlight of anyone’s life that’s a hunter.”
One thing that the program will show is footage from Ertzberger’s victorious 140-inch deer kill during the challenge. After all, the main point of the competition is to capture every aspect of the hunt, from the set up, to the wait in the deer stand, to the deer coming into view, to the kill itself.
Ertzberger and Garner, who made up the team Mothwing Camouflage during last year’s competition, didn’t have to wait long for their prize-winning deer.
After just an hour in the deer stand, Ertzberger spotted a deer, fired his gun and completed the task.
“I said then that the first 140-inch deer we saw and had good footage, ‘we’re gonna take it,’” Ertzberger said.
With a good video of the kill a must in order to win the competition, Ertzberger was afraid that his first deer wouldn’t win the prize.
“I turned around and my cameraman was shaking,” he said. “I said, ‘They’re not going to be able to see our footage.’
“I think the guy working the camera had the most pressure.”
With the footage on video, the two hunters turned in their tape and waited to see if they would win the challenge. Although several hunters came in having killed larger deer, they failed to capture it on tape and first place was awarded to Ertzberger and Garner.
The duo will be able to relive that moment today, but like sitting in a deer stand, Ertzberger will have to wait to watch it on TV.
“We’ll probably be working,” he said. “But I’ll record it. Thank God for DVR.”