The Bone Collector


Madison native Hunter Norris has gone from spending his fall hunting seasons wandering around the woods with a gun and a camera to a career documenting the tracking, observing and bagging of wildlife in the mountains of Mexico and big elk in the American heartland.

“He has become an integral part of our team. He has the unusual ability to know where to be and when to be there to get the right shot at the right angle at the right moment,” B.C. Rogers, the owner of Wren and Ivy, said of his friend and top photographer Norris.

Norris most recently shot a product release for Rogers last year and hopes to leave a mark on how people view the outdoors. He has been a videographer and photographer in the outdoor industry for about eight years.

Wren and Ivy bills itself as a brand that builds sporting and travel gear out of quality materials, specifically leather and canvas.

Rogers said Norris has “run the gamut” with them producing product photography, more candid action shots of their products in use and a range of videos they made to coincide with last year’s release.

“Hunter has such a creative eye and I am not sure that I have ever seen anyone better,” Rogers said, with a laugh adding that he is not sure he will be able to afford his friend for much longer.

In addition to Wren and Ivy, Norris has a regular gig in the fall with Small Town Hunting, a program on the Sportsman Channel that follows three men who live in Mississippi, Chris Ashley, Keith Burgess and Cody Kelley, on hunts from Canada to Mexico and everywhere in between.

Norris has been with the show since it started shooting in 2015, shortly after he moved back home to Madison, and first aired in 2016. Norris said the company is about to enter their busy season, the fall. Norris and other camera operators will follow the three hosts on their adventures. Each season they try to capture 13 original episodes. The crew usually heads out into the wildernesses of North and Central America for about a week at a time. Their busiest season is November where they usually document long hunts in the Midwest. By December they are usually filming in state.

After Noris graduated from Mississippi State University in 2013 he moved to Georgia and got a job filming for the Outdoor Channel’s “Bone Collector.”

The best opportunity, according to Norris, filming has afforded him was a trip to the mountains of Sonora, Mexico, in November of 2013. The show was there for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt the desert bighorn sheep. A hunting tag for the animal easily costs $60,000, Norris said. The trip took them on one of their more exhaustive hikes.

“I’m not sure I was in shape for that one,” he said with a laugh, but at the end he said they were able to capture the animals in their natural habitat and were even able to bring one down and got some footage of two rams butting horns.

“That was one of our toughest trips,” Norris said. “But it was just a cool animal to observe, especially when they are fighting one another.” 

Outdoor photography lends itself to one of Norris’ favorite subjects, “raw” moments whether it is someone killing the biggest deer of their life or just a candid moment with friends. Not every trip is a triumph though.

“You are out there at the mercy of the outdoors,” Norris said. “Sometimes nothing happens and you have to just eat it.”

Growing up, Norris knew he had a “creative gene.” He said he always had a skill for drawing and painting and while he enjoyed that, he never loved it. Norris began taking a video camera hunting with him when he was 16 years old.

“That's when I figured out I really like this,” he said.

He said the appeal is fairly simple, “I like capturing cool stuff.” He remembers seeing old family pictures and thinking about what capturing that moment meant and what it could show. He said a picture is more than a memory in that it is “evidence” of a moment.

“I have the ability to freeze time when I click that shutter button,” Norris said. “Whether I am related to a person or not a picture is something I can give somebody and they have something to look back on.”

While still in high school he had the opportunity to shoot some footage for Mississippi Outdoors. He graduated from Madison Central in 2009.

Norris said he is driven to try to capture moments that have not been captured before.

“I would like for people to be able to look at a picture and say Hunter Norris took that photo,” He said.

Apart from Wren and Ivy and the show, Norris said that his proudest work so far has been photography of waterfowl dogs on duck hunts.

Rogers said there is another key to his friend and collaborator’s success.

“He is a first-class human being, a good guy and a great father. Just good people,” Rogers said. “If Hunter wasn’t as talented as he is, and he is, I would want to hire him just because he is such a good guy to be around.”

Norris lives in Madison with his wife of six years, Rachel, and their 1-year-old son, Mason. For more information on Norris and his photography, he can be found on Instagram at @Hunter_NorrisPhoto.