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Gordon Eastman

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The earliest record of the Eastman family in the West dates back to 1856. Since then six generations of the Eastman families have lived in the West. Gordon Eastman grew up in the West hunting and living outdoors. Unlike most other hunters, who had to move to the West to become trophy-hunting authorities, the Eastman family knew the outdoors and the wilderness hunting as a layperson would know his backyard.

Gordon Eastman is today considered not only as a pioneer in hunting, but also in shooting outdoor films in the film industry. Gordon Eastman almost created a new genre of films as early as 1957, when he produced landmark films such as Hunting Alaska Today, High, Wild and Free, and Challenging the Northwest Territories. Gordon directed these films, wrote the scripts, photographed, edited and also narrated in these films. These were the first films of their type and the family continues to command a loyal following for their hunting programs.

Gordon Eastman believed in ethical hunting practices and set highest standards of fair chase.

High, Wild and Free produced in 1968 are colorful outdoor documentaries of the wildlife of British Colombia. Although none of the animals are particularly unusual to North Americans, Gordonís treatment of the subject allows viewers to observe these animals with sense of awe. The film clearly shows Eastmanís love for the wilds and wilderness of North America. Apart from writing the script, directing and filming, Gordon also composed the musical score. This excellent film was followed up with an equally enjoyable film in 1970, The Savage Wild. The Savage Wild was filmed somewhere in the Arctic Circle and documents the raising of a pack of wolves in captivity, and to their eventual release in the wild. This film was also released on TV in the mid-70s.

His son Mike and grandson Guy share Gordonís love for hunting, and filming wildlife in the northern territories. In fact, Guy learnt all about hunting and filming directly from his grandfather, as a young 14-year old boy.

Hunters consider Gordonís son Mike Eastman as a living legend. Mike grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming exploring the backcountry, just a few blocks away from where he lived, where there was a herd of 8,000 elk. By the time he entered his teens, he had taken several trophy deer and elk. Mike has spent most of his life outdoors and is an authority on big game hunting. In 1987 Mike created Eastmanís ĎOutdoorsmaní magazine with the objective to educate and help fellow hunters. Today, the magazine has evolved into Eastmanís Hunting Journal andBowhunting Journal.

In the year 1999 Eastmanís began producing a series on trophy big game hunting and ethics of fair chase. The series has since become very popular, as it does not contain loud music, and has edited kill shots. Though the background music is light and beautiful, panoramic view of the herd of animals and the landscape is realistic. So too, the demeanor of the host is calm with an emphasis on ethical hunting and fair chase. What really strikes a cord with hunting enthusiasts is the quote ďno fences hereĒ.

Mikes son Guy Eastman is also an accomplished and very well respected hunter. Guy has inherited his grandfatherís artistic qualities. His knowledge of the outdoors and hunting techniques is reflected, when he is behind the camera.

The shows produced by the Eastman family have helped viewers become better hunters through their emphasis on fair chase.

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Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott

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