Way of the Hunter
| 16 min 04 s
Selections and Awards
In the Great Bear Rainforest, on the rugged coast of British Columbia, two men in a zodiac drift quietly by a sleeping grizzly bear, hunkered down on the nearby river bank.
A former hunter who ultimately traded his gun for a camera, filmmaker Robert Moberg retraces his evolving relationship with the natural world in Way of the Hunter. Robert grew up on a small farm in rural Alberta, where hunting was a way of life. Money was scarce, and moose meat got him and his family through the long, cold winter. Sustenance hunting gave way to sport hunting in Robert’s adult life, a transition he grew more and more uneasy with. Turning away from the hunting lifestyle he’d always known, Robert took to the web to troll trophy hunters in increasingly hostile ways.
As the toxicity of his actions began to catch up with him, Robert reached out to eco-wilderness guide Mike Willie of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation. Mike had made national news in 2015 for convincing a sportsman to call off a long-awaited grizzly bear hunt. These two men from different cultures gradually develop a friendship, and on a wildlife-viewing trip deep into the rainforest, they discuss their love of the land and their hopes for a peaceful coexistence with all who live on it.
Deep in the Great Bear Rainforest, against the backdrop of British Columbia’s breathtaking wilderness, a former hunter comes to terms with his past and looks with hope towards the future. Exploring one man’s evolving relationship with the natural world, Way of the Hunter tells the compelling story of Robert Moberg, a hunter who ultimately traded his gun for a camera.
I grew up in the 1960s in rural Alberta, on a small farm near the town of Rocky Mountain House. My father had to provide for a large family of four adults and seven kids, and hunting in the nearby woods was a large part of how he did it. I began accompanying Dad on his hunting expeditions when I was six years old, and when I finally got my first rifle, at 12, I was overjoyed to be able to help put food on the table. I lived my whole childhood outdoors—and felt more at home in those woods than I did anywhere else.
As an adult, I moved to Vancouver, and then Edmonton, where I lived for the next 20 years. I really missed the close proximity of nature, and would go on hunting trips with friends whenever I could. It was almost like hunting became an excuse to get out into the wilderness—as if an excuse was necessary. And it started to unsettle me that I was killing wildlife I so rarely had the chance to see. I knew then that my love of hunting was coming to an end.
In 2012, I moved back to Williams Lake, BC, where I had lived for several years as a teenager. I began making a documentary film on the decline of the bighorn sheep herds of the Cariboo-Chilcotin. I spent two years following these majestic animals, mostly on my own, camping out in the bush and following the herd on foot. Such intimate access, over such a long period of time, allowed me to appreciate wildlife in a way I never had before. After making that film, I knew I could never kill another wild animal.
I’ve since made other films about wildlife and the importance of nature in our lives. Way of the Hunter came about because I wanted to share my story and start a conversation about our relationship with the natural world. Whether you’re a hunter or a non-hunter, whether you live in a rural or an urban area, we all have a role to play in shaping our future on this planet. This film is my story. I hope it inspires your own.
Photo : NFB
Robert Moberg is a filmmaker, wildlife photographer, licensed pilot and lifelong outdoorsman whose previous films include Bighorns at the Junction (2015) and Giants Among Us: Rick Hansen and the Great White Sturgeon (2017), both of which were acquired by CBC’s documentary Channel. Robert lives just outside of Williams Lake in the Central Cariboo region of British Columbia.
Photo : NFB
Selwyn Jacob joined the National Film Board’s BC & Yukon Studio in 1997 and has gone on to produce nearly 50 NFB films. His many credits include Crazywater, directed by Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen; Hue: A Matter of Colour, directed by Vic Sarin; Mighty Jerome, written and directed by Charles Officer; and the digital interactive app Circa 1948, by Vancouver artist Stan Douglas. Jacob’s most recent feature documentary credits include Mina Shum’s Ninth Floor, about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot of 1969 that was selected to TIFF’s 2015 annual top ten list of best Canadian films, and Baljit Sangra’s Because We Are Girls, exploring the impact of sexual abuse on a conservative Indo-Canadian family living in small-town British Columbia.
Photo : Emily Cooper
Teri Snelgrove is the Associate Producer at the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, where she’s worked on acclaimed documentaries such as Highway to Heaven (Sandra Ignagni), Because We Are Girls (Baljit Sangra), The Road Forward (Marie Clements), Debris (John Bolton), and Beauty (Christina Willings), as well as the interactive project Bread (Mariette Sluyter). She’s also worked on several animated films, including The Mountain of SGaana (Christopher Auchter), Shop Class (Hart Snider), and The Zoo (Julia Kwan). Teri is a Newfoundlander and a graduate of the film/video program at the Emily Carr Institute (now University).
Written and Directed by
Filmed on the ancestral territories of the
and Secwépemc First Nations
Director of Photography
First Assistant Camera
THE MOBERG FAMILY
SEA WOLF ADVENTURES
Great Bear Rainforest – Bond Sound
KATJA DE BOCK
Executive Director, English Program
MICHELLE VAN BEUSEKOM
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.