David Blanton, 51, is executive producer and host of the Realtree Outdoors television show. He also produces the company's Monster Bucks video series.
The LaGrange, Ga., resident has chased whitetails and elk across North America. He will be in Oklahoma City Tuesday night to speak at the Crossings Community Church's annual Beast Feast.
What is going to be your message Tuesday night at the Beast Feast?
I love to tell my story first of all because I think I have an incredibly phenomenal job to get to hunt and travel and get paid to do it. I tell some fun hunting stories but the main message is how a job like mine can have its negative side effects.
I allowed my job to become too important several years after I had gone to work at Realtree. That job was the mort important thing in my life. It had become more important than my family. My life's priorities have been reshaped and refocused since.
How often do you hunt?
The fall is really busy. In the fall I will hunt on average about 60 days, about half the time. I could be gone every day in the fall if I chose to be. We take the time in the fall to really pace ourselves and try to come home for several days between trips. You have to keep that fire burning.
I don't care what you do for a living, if you do it to much you lose your passion and just get burned out. I don't ever want to get to the point where I start taking my job for granted.
How often do you hunt when you are not filming for the television show?
I don't. There may be a couple days during turkey season at home that I will take someone turkey hunting just because it's such a social sport and I love it. I love to take a first-timer or a kid and just let them experience the spring woods and hear a turkey gobble.
What is your favorite big game to pursue?
I really enjoy hunting a big, mature whitetail with a bow and arrow. It's not because that's what the TV ratings tell us that's what people want to see more than anything. I enjoy it because every deer is different and the big, mature deer are tough. Now I didn't say a 170-inch deer, just a big mature deer. He can be 130 inches and be mature.
I also love elk hunting during the rut. Who wouldn't when those big bulls scream like that? But I normally only get to go on one elk hunt a year, sometimes only one elk hunt every two years because you are at the mercy of the draw system.
Where is your favorite place to hunt whitetails?
My mindset changes with the seasons. The first trip of the year this year we are going to head out to Wyoming for the opening day of archery season on Sept. 1. I look forward to that hunt so much because it's the first hunt of the year.
By the time the pre-rut rolls around, when the big boys are cruising and you start getting into some serious trophy mode, then I would say Kansas or Iowa when you can draw a tag, which is about once every three years.
Have you ever chased whitetails deer in Oklahoma?
I have never hunted whitetails in Oklahoma, believe it or not. I have always wanted to. I have always known there were great whitetails in certain parts of Oklahoma.
Do you think there is too much obsession about antler size?
I do. Even though I think it is good for the quality of the deer herd in the long run in certain aspects. I like what the states are doing with implementing some (trophy) management guidelines for certain counties or sections, but there is a big downside to that.
I don't like to see these kids, first-time hunters, go out and hunt and there is a 3 ½-year-old, 7-pointer that they can't shoot. I don't like to see people like that not able to squeeze the trigger.
I do believe there are more and more people conscientious about growing big deer on their hunting leases and I think that is fantastic. What I see more and more that disappoints me are the friendships that have been ruined because of a big deer.
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Crossings Beast Feast
Where: Crossings Community Church, 14600 N. Portland
When: Tuesday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 per person.
For more information: Call Courtney Cartwright at 302-1257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org