How I Got Here- with David Blanton

I have been offered some great opportunities while working in the outdoor industry. I've met the biggest personalities and bow hunted in Africa with them. I've made friendships that will last a lifetime, and have become a much better person because of theses new friends. I've been published in most major hunting magazines and soon will make my outdoor television debut. There are more hunts I hope to go on, and people I've yet to meet- but if this wild ride ended today I would have no complaints.

 

Sticking to his humble roots, David still loves to hunt spring gobblers. Sticking to his humble roots, David still loves to hunt spring gobblers.

One thing I have learned through my tenure in this industry is that everyone I meet is a person just like me. I rarely get nervous talking to celebrities anymore. That being said, when I found out I'd have a chance to work with David Blanton, I got a bit “Star Struck”. I'd been watching David on Realtree hunting videos since I was a kid, and. To me... this interview was a big deal.

 

I couldn't help but be nervous the morning of “the call”. There is a lot to learn from a guy like David, and I prayed that I didn't screw up the opportunity. From the first “hello”, I relaxed a bit, and introduced myself. I shared with him how blessed I am to be where I am today, and he laughed. He admitted to me that he'd also be nowhere without God's guidance and blessings. I began by asking him how he got involved in the outdoor industry, and then wrote as fast and furious as I could as David shared his story with me. As soon as our phone call ended, I knew David's story should be more public. So...with his blessing, and in his own words- here's how David Blanton got where he is today.

 

How I Got Here” with David Blanton

By Jason Herbert

 

JH- How did you get involved in the outdoor industry?

 

DB- I am who I am because God is a gracious and merciful God. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is 'how did you get to be where you are in life?' I want it to be known that I would be nothing without God's guidance and gifts. This isn't stuff that I prayed about. I never hoped to be an outdoor TV professional. But either way, I'm incredibly blessed and here's how it all happened.

 

Two weeks shy of beginning my junior year at the University of Georgia I got a call from a friend. In a nutshell, I was being offered a job to go work at Burnt Pine Plantation. At that time the Burnt Pine Plantation was probably one of the greatest southern whitetail hunting destination in the U.S.. Owned by David Morris (who started North American Whitetail magazine and now hosts the Bucks of Tecomate TV show) I knew this was an opportunity I could not pass up. David hired me to essentially be a gopher and a grunt. I jumped at the chance and skipped that fall semester. I went back to school in January and continued to go back to Burnt Pine while I was in school. This trend continued and I worked my way up to a guide. Eventually, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in agricultural economics. David hired me to be the manager of Burnt Pine Plantation. This was my dream job! I began to learn so much about deer and deer behavior from the staff of wildlidfe biologists at Burnt Pine.

 

I was starting to realize that the long hours of managing a commercial hunting operation was not the greatest for a newly married couple. Later that year, I moved to LaGrange, Georgia and I opened a sporting goods store, LaGrange Outdoors, with a friend of mine.

 

JH- How did you and Bill Jordan meet?

 

DB- Just before my move back to LaGrange in 1987, Bill Jordan started Realtree camouflage in Columbus, Georgia. LaGrange is only forty miles north of Columbus, so my store became one of Realtree's first independent dealers.

 

I'll never forget the first time I actually met Bill Jordan. It was late August and a buddy and I were scouting a kudzu field looking for bachelor groups of summer bucks. Kudzu fields are a magnet for huge deer because they're full of protein. Bill happen to be sharing that same lease with my friend and a few other guys, and our paths crossed that evening. Bill had the same idea and was also glassing the kudzu field. As the sun was setting over the August kudzu, Bill and I shook hands for the first time and became fast friends.

 

My store was going very well and not long after we opened my partner and I were approached by a local cable access channel to create a show for them called the “Outdoor Report”. This was a first for all of us, including the television station. The Outdoor Report was going to be all about hunting and fishing. We were going to discuss current outdoor events, like what the turkeys and ducks were doing, talk about how the deer were behaving, what fish were biting on what lures, etc... We were going to update the viewers on everything outdoors, all while plugging our store. By 1988, our Outdoor Report was so successful it morphed into a weekly episode on the TV station. Like I said, we had no aspirations to become famous TV hunting celebrities, all we wanted to do was talk about local outdoors and promote our store.

 

Soon after, the NBC affiliate in Columbus, Georgia started to air our show on Sunday mornings at 8:30. We honestly didn't even know we were pioneers in the outdoor television industry. Bill Jordan saw the show one morning and got an idea. I remember Bill's words very distinctly, “David... if Realtree is going to make it, and I have no idea if we're going to make it or not, we need to be on national television to promote Realtree.” Right around the same time Realtree was starting to sponsor Buckmasters on TNN because they had such a great relationship with Jackie Bushman. TNN was already running fishing shows, but hunting shows like Buckmasters were rather new to them. One day Bill asked me if I'd like to come work for him at Realtree. His exact words were, “...let's just see what happens”. Well thankfully God had His hands involved in this process, and His master plan included me going to work for Realtree. I did not pray about it, I wasn't hoping to be anyone famous, I loved what I was doing, but this was an opportunity I could not turn down. Thankfully God directed my steps, and I took the job with Bill. As with many situations in my life I was just kind of rolling with the punches and God was picking up the slack.

 

David with a gigantic New Mexico bull elk. David with a gigantic New Mexico bull elk.

Bill brought me on board to develop the TV show for Realtree in 1991. At first TNN turned us down, but with our second trip up to the plate, they agreed to give us a shot in 1993. In the meantime we didn't want to waste the footage we had collected, so we developed a couple of VHS tapes. The first few years we distributed our first video “Whitetails in the Wild”. The following year we released “Monster Bucks of North America”. Little did any of us know that Monster Bucks would become the best selling hunting video series of all time. With today's high definition cameras and technology, I now look back and am amazed at how far the industry has come. Ironically enough, right around the same time Will Primos had started his “Truth” series of hunting videos as well. A much younger version of me can even be seen on the “Truth 2” turkey hunting video with the Primos guys.

 

From that point on, it's all outdoor television history. Realtree is here to stay and our video productions and television programs are some of the most popular in the industry. It's been an incredible ride- I have been able to see the greatest hunting areas in North America, and have really had a wonderful experience. I've made all sorts of great friends and met amazing people. I've enjoyed fantastic relationships with many companies in the outdoor industry like ScentBlocker and really couldn't be happier. None of these things would have happened for me, or to me, if I did not let go and let God take control of the direction of my life.

 

 

 

WOW! Thanks David. We here at ScentBlocker are happy to have you on board. You're a great ambassador for the ScentBlocker brand and we're excited to see what blessings God has in store for you.

 

And to our readers, stay tuned! I promise I'm going to “talk shop” with David and we'll continue to share his tricks and advice for scent control and big game hunting.

4 Comments

  • Aaron Zimmerman

    Really enjoyed reading the interview with David. Very cool to see someone who has made it to the top give all the glory to the one in charge.

  • Benjamin DiZoglio
    Benjamin DiZoglio - August 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Such an amazing story! I live in Panama City Fl but grew up in Lagrange Ga and remember the store as very young boy. My first pair of camouflage coveralls was from real tree from Lagrange Outdoors. Anyways never "knowing" God as young boy I grew away from my passion for the outdoors in my mid teenage years and went down a long dark path controlled by self and sin! Still having a love deep inside for the majestic wonders of beings surrounded by only what I could never put in words of birds singing, the creek rippling, squirrels barking just waiting to hear the sound of fall leaves crushing under a white tails hooves or a turkey gobble to my inexperienced calling lol "I never had anyone to teach me or take me in the outdoors but living on several hundred acres of woods with part of the yellow jacket creek running through it I grew to love it! Anyways lol after I was gloriously save at 24 yrs old from a horrible life of sin, God called me to preach and share my testimony "which I would be glad to do at any time. My passion for the outdoors was regained and I started bow hinting again "at this time I had no gun rights from drug charges" but fell more and more in love with Gods creation along with a never before appreciation for it. Now married with two beautiful children one on the way and my wife who loves God and supports me like nothing I deserve, I'm desiring to video my hunts now and possibly have a show "Hunting With The Preacher" lol but have no idea where to start. I hope to video some this year as I travel to Kentucky, Ohio, hunt our property in Ga a lease I got in Al and around hear in Fl starting with some gator hunting in a few weeks :)
    I know you guys probably get hundreds of request to hunt with y'all or be apart of your team in some way but it would be an honor to just get some kinda one on one advise in this field I'm continually being drawn to with such a great passion! I'm ready to invest to make this my new career and run my construction company on the side.
    Thanks for sharing this testimony and taking the time to read my short story of my life and passion for the great outdoors.
    Sincerely, Benjamin DiZoglio

  • melvin campbell
    melvin campbell - October 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    David
    I have been a lover of the Monster Bucks videos for years. I'm not a great hunter but I love to hunt never the less. I love to hear you talk about God an how he is a big part of your life. I've got an idea on how to improve on your sweatshirts. If interested send me an email and I'll send you a short video on the idea and you can tell me what you think.

  • Robert freeman

    thank you for being a GODLY MAN may GOD BLESS

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