Although Realtree is a giant brand today, it hasn't been around forever. Before Realtree got their feet off the ground, David was going to school and working his way up the ladder in the outdoor world. While getting a degree, he went to work for whitetail icon David Morris as a land manager on the Burnt Pine Plantation. After a stint there, David moved back to LaGrange, Georgia and opened up a sporting goods store with a friend. It was at this time that Bill Jordan was trying to launch a company called Realtree. David says he carried the first Realtree items in his sporting goods store and that opened up an opportunity for him to meet Bill Jordan. David had already begun dabbling in self filming his hunts at that time and after Bill saw that footage, he decided he wanted to have a national television show. Thus, David became part of the Realtree team working to sell videos and launch their own outdoor television show. Since 1991, David has been an integral part of the Realtree team. It's through this experience that David earned a reputation throughout the hunting industry as someone who knows the ins and outs of filming and harvesting big game across North America. What many may not know is that David helped shape the way that outdoor television is portrayed today. When hunting shows first started, everyone was afraid of showing impact, he says, nobody wanted to show the bullet or arrow hitting the deer or animal. David thought that the impact was a crucial element that needed to be shown, though. For a true hunter, he says, the moment of impact is the climax of the hunt and there is so much credibility in showing that. The decision to show impact turned out to be a wise decision that was well received by audiences. Years later, David was involved in another decision that would, yet again, change the outdoor television industry and his career hinged on its success. A show called "Realtree Road Trips" was a brand new concept, a reality based hunting show that showed all the behind the scenes things, not just the hunt itself. Not knowing if it was the right call, if it would be well received or if it would even take off, David told the people at Realtree that if "Road Trips" didn't work out, he would resign. Little did he know at the time, "Road Trips" would be very successful, blaze a new trail and create a model for other outdoor shows to follow.
Turkey hunting seasons are now beginning to open, primarily in the southern portions of the country and David has already begun chasing those eligible thunderchickens. He highlights a recent youth hunt he took part in down in southwest Georgia at a property where he worked as a teenager picking tobacco. David says he had the opportunity to hunt with a teenage girl and her father and with some patience, the young hunter ended up dropping the hammer on a three year old tom that came strutting into an open field following several hens. What makes this particular hunt so great, he says, is that the turkey was killed in the same fields where he picked tobacco by hand 45 years ago. It's a full circle kind of moment, David says. In addition to the youth hunt, David was also recently in southern Florida in pursuit of an Osceola turkey. Although he has been in the hunting industry for decades and filmed countless Osceola turkey hunts, David hasn't taken many Osceolas himself. Last spring marked the first time he had ever shot an Osceola turkey, so he went back to southern Florida a couple of weeks ago and was able to tag and bag his second Osceola ever. David says there is just something about turkeys and to this day his number one passion is filming turkeys and turkey hunts.
David also talks candidly about the highest and lowest points of his career in the outdoor industry, balancing work with family, how he feels about the substantial influx of social media hunters, the Realtree 365 app with tons of great content and much more.