David Blanton chanced upon a meeting with Realtree’s founder Bill Jordan just one year after the company’s inception. Blanton was already working in the outdoors industry at that point and had gone hunting with Bill Jordan a few times and the two men hit it off. Not long after, Blanton was put in charge of producing Realtree’s first big hit TV series, Realtree Outdoors, and then the Monster Bucks video series. He continues to work alongside Bill Jordan to this day and considers himself blessed to have his dream job. But he wasn’t always the avid hunter he is now. Watch the following interview to hear more about his goofy beginnings and his take on technology now.
This article is part of a series of interviews and videos surrounding Realtree and Bone Collector. Interviews are available with: Nick Mundt, Travis (T-Bone) Turner, David Blanton, Tyler Jordan, Bill Jordan’s CEO to CEO and NASCAR.
Additional videos include: Friends, Family and the Outdoors, Behind-the-Scenes and BLOOPERS.
00:00:07 How did you get into hunting and working for Realtree?
Well, what’s pretty unique about the way I was introduced into hunting was that I didn’t grow up hunting or fishing because I was in the sports family, basketball, baseball, football, you name it. Where I grew up in South Carolina we were a sports family. It wasn’t until I was 14 years old and my dad was transferred to south Georgia where hunting is truly a way of life. Where we were introduced into the sport of hunting. Everybody down there hunted. And that’s where the hunting bug bit me at an early age. With a bow and arrow more specifically.
So to be out in the woods with my dad, I’ll never forget the first time we went on a hunt together. We were walking through the woods right before daylight and I shine my flashlight down and I start taking the stand off my back and my dad goes, “what are you doing?” I said, “Well i’m fixing the hunt.” He said, “what do you mean, why here?” And I said “because there’s deer track.” He said “really?” And I shine the flashlight down this mud puddle in the road and there was this deer track. And I had recognized it from a magazine. They had a picture of a deer track! He said, “wow, that is a deer track, cool.” So he took his stand off so I climbed a tree right here and he climbed a tree right here and we sat there and looked at each other all morning like 20 yards apart. Needless to say we didn’t see anything but that was the beginning of our hunting.
00:01:22 I met Bill Jordan back in 1987 the year after he came out with Realtree. I had opened up a hunting and fishing, sporting goods store in LaGrange, Georgia and I met Bill through a mutual friend of ours. He hunted with Bill and he introduced us one evening and the first time I ever met Bill was late one afternoon in the summer time on the edge of a kudzu field. We were watching these deer come out and that’s where I met Bill and we’re sitting looking at these big beautiful bucks. And Bill and I just hit it off, we started hunting together a little bit of course I was selling Realtree in my store and I had started a very very local TV show on hunting and fishing. And Bill being the entrepreneur that he is, he knew… I’ll never forget, he told me one day, he said “David, if Realtree is ever going to make it in this country, we need a national hunting show on a national television station.
Well personally, the biggest opportunity that’s been open to me is to share in my faith about God, my relationship with God because there was a time when this job, this “dream job” became too important. And now, through the grace of God I realize how fortunate I am, how blessed I am to do what I do for a living and I know that I don’t have this job at Realtree by accident, it was a blessing from God. And I try to remember that now in everything I do and it really makes a difference.
00:02:48 How do you use technology to connect with your customers?
Explore avenues like internet, watching live videos on the internet. Realtree.com. Providing constant news and content to the hunters to consumers through the internet is a big deal. Well I love the applications now, the high-tech, the mobile apps. Outdoor Hub.com is doing a great job of keeping hunters, giving them an avenue to stay on the edge, to find out more about deer, to how to become a better hunter, the social platforms, it’s so incredibly interesting to me.
Photo: Roe Photography (roephoto.com)