Blast From The Past with Blake Echols

Show Notes

If you're a longtime listener of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast, you may know today's guest as the original co-host of the show. Blake Echols joins in for one of the final episodes of SGH, to both re-live the "good old days", and also catch up on what he's doing these days.

Only one more episode left of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. We hope you'll tune in as we say farewell to this chapter, and welcome a new one. It's been a wild ride so far, and we look forward to what's next!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Transcript

Parker McDonald: [00:00:00] All right. Blake's welcome. Welcome to the show. Good to be back. It's been a long time. It's only been a few years, man. Yeah, I know. How many years? About four or five. I think we've been doing this. Four and a half.

Blake Echols: It, it was about, I remember sitting around your kitchen table like we are now, but at your old house.

Yep. Out in the boondocks. Yep. That was a long

Parker McDonald: time ago. It was a long time ago. Yeah. For any old school OG listeners of Southern Ground, you may recognize the sweet sultry tones of Blake Eccles. I don't know about

Blake Echols: sweet Salt, your tones, but I don't even know if that's the right wording.

Maybe just another redneck.

Parker McDonald: Man, how's things going? Going good,

Blake Echols: dude. Doing? Going really good. Yeah, man. Just Yeah, getting older, trying to raise kids now. So I got a few more kids since the last time we did a podcast. Yeah. I think. Yeah,

Parker McDonald: Yeah. You got a bunch of them. Yeah, I got three. You got a bunch of 'em.

So I'm trying to think where we were at. I the last time that you were [00:01:00] on the podcast. I know I'm trying to think. You were, I think you had been starting to get rocky maybe into some Into some squirrel

Blake Echols: hunting. Yeah. Yeah. I think we talked about that. Yeah. So Rocky, my, he's eight years old now.

And yeah, man I'm just trying to, I'm trying to share the outdoors with him where, and meet him where he is at, if that makes sense. So I ki in the beginning I tried to take him deer hunting with me when he was younger and that just that was tough, with a three year old trying to take him deer hunting was hard.

So we got into squirrel hunting. I've never been a squirrel hunter and I love it now, but I just love taking him out. And he actually, he shot his first squirrel this year on his own, which was so cool. Dude. He it, it was all, we were sitting up against a tree. We were in the national forest.

We had paddled to this one place just to make it cool, and I knew there was a ton of squirrels there cause nobody hunts in there. We did the same. Stuff.

Parker McDonald: Oh, really? We could do the same

Blake Echols: stuff, dude. It was so much fun. We camped out that night, like it, it was cool. But we got out to this tree and this squirrel came out and I couldn't really see him good, but Rocky could.

And I was like, listen, if you get a shot, you can shoot him. And so [00:02:00] he takes the safety off and I'm thinking, buddy, he's about to shoot. And then I can feel him shaking like getting buck fever and pulls the trigger. And all I hear is something hit the ground saying, did you get it? And he said, I don't know.

I said, where's it at? And he said, he fell down. I said, let's go get him. So we ran over there and dude, he's dead as a door nail on the ground, and that's so cool. But it was so cool. Just like seeing him get that pumped about it, and yeah, it was awesome. But he picked it up. He was like, all right, gotta go cook it.

Let's see if we can get

Parker McDonald: another one. That's exactly, that sounds like Hawk. The first time I took him, he was like, he, it was not this past February, the February before that, I think it was right after deer season was over. Squirrel season was still going. And I took Hawk out and we shot one squirrel, and he was like, all right, let's go.

Yeah, man. And we went home literally right then and cooked it. We left. That's so funny. Went home and cooked it. Yep. And that kid we sat right here where I'm sitting at. He sat right here on this corner. Yeah, I sat right here and we chowed down on that one. Squirrel.

Blake Echols: That's awesome, man. Yeah, it was

Parker McDonald: so cool.

That's cool. But right now [00:03:00] he's actually, he's getting to the point where he actually, it's not just dad taking him to do what dad likes to do. Like he wants to go do the stuff. Oh yeah. He loves it. I took him fishing. We were at the beach this week. Yeah. I took him fishing. He caught fish.

Saltwater fish now. Yeah. Which, I don't know if you fish much saltwater, but those little like trash fish basically on the piers. Yeah. They're they make a living. Robbing people's hooks, like they're good at it. Yeah. And so I was concerned. I took him out and I had this little kid Rod.

Yeah. It wasn't like a princess or Spider-Man rod or anything. It was a real zco. Yeah. But it was a kid's kid set up and I was like, man, we'll see. We'll see. Cuz these fish, they're fast. You put a little piece of shrimp on there, they're quick. Yeah. And that kid caught three of them. On his own hook set, everything.

He just turned

Blake Echols: four. Turned four. That's good, man. That's good for a four year old man. I was excited,

Parker McDonald: man. Yeah, that's great. I was pumped. That's cool. And he wanted to do it. That's cool. So you've got. Blake, I don't even, how many kids do you have now? We've got

Blake Echols: three kids now. Three kids? Yeah. So Rocky's eight, Isaiah's, [00:04:00] five, six, he's two.

Okay. Two little boys and a little girl. So I'm pumped about getting the little girl in the woods too, man. Girl, dad. Yeah. Yeah. It's different. She's only two, but it's already, she's just so different than her brothers were, man. Yeah. But it's fun. I'm gonna try like with her man, like if she's into it, I'm gonna have her right there with the boys, paddling in and shooting squirrels or whatever we gotta do.

Water access, squirrel. Water access. Squirrel hunting, man. Yeah, it's hardcore. Is hardcore.

Parker McDonald: Gets yeah. Uhhuh. Oh man. Blake, you you were the original co-host of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. The original co-host.

Blake Echols: Yeah. Dude, I miss it, man. Yeah, I miss it. I miss hanging out with you.

I miss talking about hunting all the time. That was the fun part about it. Yeah. It was a

Parker McDonald: season of life, man. I think that's all it was. It was the seasonal life and Yeah. And you you business owner? I wasn't a business owner at the time. I now completely understand everything and it was like, man, I just don't have the time to be able to put into it. Yeah. But tell us how's business going since the last time you talked?

Blake Echols: It's go since the last time we talked, man, it's going a lot better.[00:05:00] That's one reason, I pulled out is because I just got to a point where I had a lot to learn, man and it was tough.

And having more kids and just trying to grow. Another thing was we, it was really important. For us, for my wife to stay at home with the kids. Like she, that, that was like her dream. And it was like, all right, it's now or never, there, it's not gonna be long. Got a short window here, so we gotta make it work.

And but yeah, now it's good, man. I'm just, still grinding, trying to figure out how to make it work. But

Parker McDonald: how's that going

Blake Echols: better now than it was, have you figured out a way? No I'm Yeah, I guess I have, man, it's a process. Yeah. I'll die when I die. That's when I figure it out.

I'm just gonna have to keep going until I die, man. That's right. And and yeah, I think, one thing that I've learned through this whole journey of being a business owner is you just, you have to wake up every day and get after it. And kinda what we were talking about earlier, you can't just, like hard work is gonna get you really far, but you gotta be innovative.

You gotta think, you gotta constantly be You just trying to evolve in a sense. Yeah. And if you just stay the same, [00:06:00] your paycheck's gonna stay the same too. And inflation is not, like things are gonna go up. It's been proven. It's been proven. Yeah. I, the past few years with me, like you, as soon as you get comfortable and you don't keep moving forward Yeah, you're not gonna, you're not gonna get where you want to go if you wanna go somewhere.

Good. Yeah. Dude,

Parker McDonald: you're so right. And it's funny, you here, we're talking about that at that timeframe, and I was so bummed, man, because I love hosting a show with you. It was so much fun. We had a good time. It was awesome, man. And I was so bummed and but I totally I definitely understand it and it's honestly the reason why we're doing a lot of this.

The merge that we're doing with with chasing Tails and gonna be the Southern Collective that's already started. It's already going strong and it's been a really fun process, but a, it spurred from a moment of where I was like, I'm either gonna have to quit this thing, or I've gotta figure out something else.

Because it was it's not a secret. The hunting industry isn't a money maker, right? I did ministry most of my career. That's also not a money maker. And [00:07:00] and I'm growing this business and I've got a young family just like you were, right then.

And still are in a lot of ways. And and so trying to just figure out how to make all that stuff work and trying to weed out the things that that I could. And there's a lot of non-negotiables. The way that I make a living is a non-negotiable. I can't quit my business Sure.

Because and keep southern ground going. And a quick conversation with Walter and we figured out a way that, hey, we can actually, I think we can make this work and make it better. Which is a lot of fun. But it came from a moment of I don't know if I have the time. I don't know if I have the or the capacity maybe.

Yeah. Time is, I've got the time. I can make the

Blake Echols: time. Yeah. Got as much time

Parker McDonald: as everybody else does. Yeah. I can make the time, but do I wanna sacrifice time with my kids or time in the woods? Even, like there's been times with Southern Ground where even though it's a hunting brand, I have had to [00:08:00] leave a hunt not go hunting, on a hunting trip, blah, blah, blah, because I had to do something for southern ground.

Yeah it has gotten in the way of it before. Sure, man. Podcasting has been tough whenever, when it's hunting season. You're sacrificing a lot of time. Do I want to do that? I don't know.

Blake Echols: Yeah. I get it, man. And I think which first off, like way to get after it and actually make a change.

Cuz I think it's so easy. I know for me for years, man, like I, I got relatively comfortable and I didn't change and I didn't adapt and what that meant is I didn't get what I wanted. I didn't grow the way that I wanted to grow. And I think what you just said made me think about what we kinda talked about earlier is like having your why, what is your why and ha and having a vision.

And if you don't have a vision, if you don't have a why behind it then you're just floating man. Like you're not going in any direction, dude. And dude, you are so right. Yeah. And you gotta have that to. To guide where you're going and that's gonna force you to innovate. It's gonna force you to do new things, and so I think it's awesome that you guys are doing this. I'm excited to see, what y'all do with it. I think it's gonna [00:09:00] be great, but but yeah, awesome job getting after it cuz that's, it's tough to make a change, man. And when I, dude, it was funny when I saw your Instagram posts of Southern ground shutting down or something.

I was like, is that a joke? He kept be shutting southern ground down. It's not even April. Yeah. I was like, it's not April Fools. What's he doing? And and then I looked and I was like, man, he's making a change. He's doing something new. And I don't know, it, it made me real excited for him, man.

Cuz that's, I think it's a good

Parker McDonald: thing. I will tell you one thing that maybe it's it probably happened in my. Around the time I stopped working at the church, it was it was this, you know what it was when I had kids. And whenever you have kids your whole perception of time is changes.

I remember sitting in my driveway one day and thinking my daughter's three at the time, I think she was three years old. I. She's three years old. We get to see my mom and dad and my in-laws maybe, let's say on a good [00:10:00] year, three weeks out of the year. And so then I started doing the math.

If they lived, average age is what I don't know what the average, I don't know man ages anymore. Maybe 80. Yeah. They live to be 80 and we see them for three weeks out of a year. How much time? And it was like less than a year or something Of actual time. That we have left. And so it changes everything.

And I'm like crap. She's three now. Three times what is it? Three times six is 18. And I like, I've only got six more of these seasons left or five more cuz she's three now, yeah.

That's tough to think about. And you're like, Gosh, dang man. Time just changes. Everything changes so stinking quickly.

I don't even remember the point that I was going to Yeah. With that. But it helps you take risks. That's what I was getting at. It does, yeah. It helped me take risks. It's okay, I don't, I only got so much time. I'm 30 now. I've, then I'm, I was 30 then, like I don't have a whole lot of time to make these changes, and one of these days [00:11:00] I can't, you can't just say someday, someday we'll do this and someday we'll do that.

Yeah. We just gotta make

Blake Echols: it happen. Yeah. You gotta one thing that a friend of mine says all the time is we don't. Do stuff tomorrow. We do it today. And that's been one thing over the past year that I've really tried to implement in my life is not saying this is what I'm gonna do. What I've come to realize, like when I say that and I don't put a date on it, or I don't do it the end, it's not gonna happen.

And I've got to do it like, okay, when am I gonna do it? If I'm actually gonna do it, I either need to shut my mouth or I need to put a day when it's gonna get done, yeah. And man, I think about like talking about like these seasons with our kids. I took Rocky, my eight year old out.

This has probably been. I guess two or three years ago now. And I I guess it was two years ago in October, and I took him out on a canoeing trip. So we canoed out into some public land. We camped that night. We hunted squirrels that night. Dude actually cooked 'em over the fire and made tacos, and he still talks about how good those tacos were today.

I think the whole setting helped out a lot,

Parker McDonald: dude. Oh my gosh. We [00:12:00] just, My dad and I did a podcast for Father's Day, and we were talking about the thing that made me fall in love or made, makes so many people fall in love with hunting. Is that Yeah. It's it's the camp, it's the fire, it's the cooking out.

Dude it's the why. It's the why of our, of this whole change. Go ahead. We're gonna go into that here in

Blake Echols: just a minute. Yeah. And that, and it, and so we went out, we did that shot Squirrels, dude laid there and listened to coyotes, just absolutely howling. Like crazy that night. It was so much fun.

And I got back from that trip and he had dude he brought like a little book with him and colored a picture of him sitting on the side of the beach by the water. And it just, man, I, when I got back, I hadn't done anything with him like that all summer long. And it was October, we had missed so many opportunities and I thought, man, If I don't start getting where I want to get, if I quit, if I don't quit working all the time, I'm gonna miss all these opportunities with him.

And it's not worth, it's not worth it, and so that sparked a big change in me to be like, all right, if I'm gonna have these times with him, I've [00:13:00] gotta have some margin in my life to be able to get out there and do it. Because I, if I don't do it now, I'm gonna wake up and he's gonna be 18 doing his own thing.

And we're, and I'm gonna have missed those times. And that dude, that was, That was one of the best weekends of my life, and it was super easy. It was like 45 minutes away from the house. It didn't cost anything. Yeah. You know what I mean? It was super easy.

Parker McDonald: You're fine.

That's fine. I was gonna turn that off. No worry. It didn't even pick up in the mic.

Blake Echols: It's fine. I gotcha. But but it's just, I don't know, man, if you're not intentional. I think it's one of those I even had this this thought when I started really making some big changes in my life and I was like, man, I could die and not have made these changes and have missed out on all this time with my kids.

My business would still suck. I still wouldn't be making any money, and so anyway, it's important to have that vision, man. Without a vision, you're not gonna get

Parker McDonald: anywhere. Whenever we started, this is good. Whenever we started. The Southern Ground hunting podcast back whenever it was, 2018, 17, something like that.

I remember a lot of our first podcasts we talked about that. [00:14:00] I remember a podcast where we had both of our dads come in and we, that podcast was awesome, man. Yeah. And we had them talk about A lot of the same stuff that we're talk, that we're discussing and and I look back at some of the titles and we talk a lot about hunting camps and I think you had killed that first really nice buck on your dad's. Yeah. My

Blake Echols: dad's club. I was a guest

Parker McDonald: that weekend and we talked about like hunting camp culture and stuff like that. It was really important and it was our why and people really responded well to it, like it did well. It grew faster than I thought it would.

Yeah. But I think that was it. And somewhere in there you kinda lose track of it, then you kinda start getting into the it'd be really cool to be able to make some money. And blah, blah, blah. And you kinda just lose track of things. And you don't mentally lose that.

You just kinda lose track of the business and you're like we've got these great guests and I've gotta get, give credit where it's due. Walter is the one who told me to read that book. Let's start with why. And so I gotta give him credit. He's gonna be pissed that we're talking about it without him on the show.

But he he's the one who [00:15:00] told me to read it, and whenever I read it it just came back and A lot of our why moving into this new change has to, a lot of it has been so easy. Because you're re We, we are I'm refocusing on the importance of that and we've run it these last few weeks, we've talked about it so much, but our Patreon group is the that's the why.

It's the guys, it's the guys like Jbo that that's a part of our group that we had on a, as a guest not too terribly long ago. And he's the why man. He's it and then that's not that's not even a sappy thing, but Jbo has found value in that group because it's helped him become a better person.

It's not me. It's not Walter, it's not any of the guys or any, maybe even any specific guy. It's the comradery. And the conversation and the group, the tribe, that's your people, right? And I wanna say that too, to people [00:16:00] listening to this, like our Patreon group, man.

I'm, we don't push it and we're not pushing it right now. As a way to, to take money from people or to really even make money from people. We're not, it's just not in the cards honestly, right now. It's going a lot back to how do we make this thing better? How do we make this thing a better community and a better tribe?

And that does take work and it does take effort and it's. It's hard work, yeah. It is what it is. Sure. But it is the driving force of what we're doing. It's the community, it's the fire. Welcome to the fire. That's gonna be our little catchphrase, tagline I guess you could call it.

I love it, man. But going back to what you were talking about with your son, man, I think when you see that and it gets. Talked about. You can only talk about things so many times before you're like, okay, that's a trend. A lot of people have the same experience. Yeah. They have that, like that's what originally made them. Fall in love with The whole thing. [00:17:00] Whether you're looking for a new knife for the field or the perfect everyday carry, you've gotta check out, join or Die. Knives from Richmond, Virginia, join or Die is a small shop and a custom knife maker dedicated to creating handmade knives that are cut above the rest that make custom handmade knives to.

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Blake Echols: Did, that's what I think about. Our dads, like, when we did that podcast, I know we talked a lot about hunting camp, and just the times we had at Hunt campus kids.

Man, it's funny too, I just thought about this two weeks ago, me and my dad. We were having a conversation about the our close friends and people that surround us and how important your community is. And he was asking me about one of his friends, and the way that I responded is, yeah, he's a dude that I wouldn't mind Rocky being around the campfire with at at the Hunt Club or something.

And because that, to me, that's I [00:19:00] don't know, man, almost like a sacred place, being around the campfire and growing up for me, that community, man. Those guys that I grew up hunting with are still close in my life today, so I think it's cool, man. And it's, it is, There's something about getting around a campfire, especially when you're hunting together like that.

And dude, me and my brother went on a a bear hunt last year and it was, we, I think we camped six nights or something like that every night. We had a campfire together. Dude, it was one of the best weeks of

Parker McDonald: my life. It was a recurve, a traditional bear hunt, correct.

Blake Echols: For me. Yeah. He had his compound and I had my recurve, so Yeah.

Parker McDonald: And. If I remember correct, you killed one or you put a great shot on one

Blake Echols: and Yeah, I hit, I hit one. Yeah, I shot one. My brother could have, he held back cuz it, it was a smaller bear and so he let it go. Actually we were stalking those bears at the same time which was crazy cuz funny thing talking about the campfire the night before we were sitting around the campfire saying man, we need to just.

Pack up and go home, like we don't know what we're doing. We had, and at this point we had found sign for days, but hadn't seen a bear yet. And it had been an awesome trip, but we [00:20:00] just hadn't seen any bears and we were just like, worn out and dead and thinking, man, there's no way we're gonna kill one.

And then the next morning we both stalk in, within 20 yards. And I shot. So yeah, I shot one with the recurve. I actually shot and missed and he didn't move. I knocked another arrow and shot and hit, I hit him. Like what? The way I, what I think have is I hit him too far forward. With a bear you need to shoot 'em center of the center a little farther back than you would traditionally shoot a whitetail.

And I think I hit him in the shoulder and it

Parker McDonald: hit, but it was a pass through, right? It was a pass through. Yeah. And it had like bubble gum, pink, the blood on the fletching,

Blake Echols: the blood. It was perfect, man. The blood was

Parker McDonald: perfect. You sent me was nuts. I'm like, you didn't

Blake Echols: find that. Listen man, I. I didn't plan on trailing that bear.

I thought he was gonna be 20 yards and done, it looked perfect. And anyway, I, I ended up, I gave him like two hours just cuz I didn't wanna walk in on him, because he did run off. I didn't watch him die. And and where I was at was gnarly too. It was so steep. Like I, it was.

It was so steep. [00:21:00] Yeah. And it was like so it took me a while to get just down the, from where I had shot him to where 20 yards, it was, I kinda had to climb down and so I get down there and start trailing and dude, 12 hours later, still hadn't found him. I trailed him for 400 yards, which is a long way for a bear.

Holy cow. But it took me like 12 hours. In two hours I had almost lost all blood. And then after that I was grid searching, following trails and yeah, ultimately didn't find him. Had another big one walk out in front of me on my way out that night. Like a, the one I shot was, I don't know, 1 75, 200, something like that.

Fairly average, the one I saw on the way out, like I don't. Everything we see is bigger than we think it, or we think is bigger than it actually is. But I would say over 300. He was a big bear dude. He was. Could you have shot him? Would it have been legal? It, yeah. If I would've been ready that, if I would've been ready I was not ready.

I got, I was walking, so I had made my way from basically the top of the mountain to the bottom of the mountain and was coming back up and it was just like dusky dark. It wasn't, I didn't have my headlamp on or anything, and he walked out 10, [00:22:00] 12 yards in front of me. He was huge. Were you scared?

After I got scared well and wasn't even scared. I was so dead, man. I was so tired. Cause I'd been on the side of that mountain all day long. I was so tired cause I didn't bring any food or nothing. And I was determined to get this bear out of the woods, and so he stopped and looked at me.

I looked at him. Immediately started taking it. I took an air outta my quiver and knocked it. And right when I knocked it, he like huffed a few times and was gone. A hundred miles an hour the other way. Huh. And and then, and, but afterwards, my first thought was like, man, He could've done anything he wanted to me before I could've even reacted.

I was so tired already, but it was a cool experience. I just, I heard something and I was like, what in the world? And then he kinda almost materialized. He came outta this real thick privet that was growing. He like, came like from behind that wall almost. And dude, it was such a big bear.

It was so much fun. But I actually looked for the other bear the rest of the next day and never did find him. But it was a fun trip though. But the, but what I think about is, dude shooting the bear was awesome, especially being a [00:23:00] recurve. And I would've been really awesome if I would've found it.

It still hurts to even think about it, but like the time we had together around the fire, driving the trucks, trying to find spots like that that's the stuff that. I'll remember those times for the rest of my life, now it's I see it's gonna be a yearly thing.

We're doing it every year. I can't miss that. There's no way I could miss that.

Parker McDonald: Yeah, man. That's the thing with like Patreon hunts that we do, like you have this, and a lot of decisions are made around that fire. You may not have a, an actual fire, but at the deer camp or at the Turkey camp.

Yeah. A lot of the bouncing like this bird was here, what would you think? Blah, blah, blah. I can think about A, a pretty, pretty great example. The Kentucky Buck that I shot several years ago, a few years ago, nice buck. We were in camp and I had done a lot of scouting, man, just tons of scouting and hadn't really found a whole lot that I wanted to hunt.

And we were sitting around camp and. Just listening to guys like put piece together what each person's [00:24:00] seeing. You start finding consistency in sign, most people are finding sign, maybe it's down in the bottoms that year or whatever. Okay. A lot of people are saying the same thing.

Maybe we need to focus into these bottoms. A lot of people are seeing 'em around. Water, okay. Maybe bottoms around water, you start doing all that stuff. So I started doing that this night and bouncing things off and we were looking at maps and it was like this.

Oh, that spot? That's the one just from everybody talking. Yeah. And discussing things. And me and Clayton were looking at this spot and I think Greg Godfrey came over and we were all looking at it and I was like, that's where I'm gonna go. I'm going there. Cuz everybody was like, yeah, that looks like it.

That looks like the place. Yeah. And I'll never forget that day or that con those conversations, and having that moment, that's the thing that sticks out, is it's like it all clicked. I get there before I've even got my bow up. That Buck [00:25:00] walks out and I pull it up and shoot him, another big buck comes out, then another big buck comes out, and that was all before the sun even come over the horizon.

You know what I mean? That's awesome, man. It was just the spot. And and that decision came from that. Dude, geez. Almost any time that I've been successful and oth in a deer camp scenario, like where I'm hunting with other people. The decision making almost always happens right there.

Yeah. That's where you're like, how many times have you been sitting back in the lawn chair at Deer Camp I'm gonna go here. Then you hear somebody else say something, ah, yeah, I'm gonna go to this other spot then. And then you go back to the other spot and then you're. You just can't ever make

Blake Echols: your decision.

I know. It's funny, man. Yeah, I think, that's how it was on our bear hunt, dude. We're sitting around the campfire like, for a period of time feeling sorry for ourselves. And then we finally like, all right, we're gonna go. And we threw everything out the, we had learned everything we needed to know about the other spots.

And we're like, all right, we're gonna try something a little different. And it worked out, dude, last year too me, my dad, my brother went and we camped at a national [00:26:00] forest one night and we just found this little spot to camp out. And we're sitting around the fire talking about where we're gonna go the next day.

And we have found an area that we thought would be pretty good and we're all, we're hunting, like relatively close. We could help each other, if somebody needed to pull a deer out or something. And dude, that day ended up all three killing deer, which we all three shot a dough that morning.

And and it was awesome, man. But it, but that, that campfire that night was so much fun. Cause we just sat around, my dad hunted, I think he hunted 150 yards away from where we had that campfire and he shot the first deer. And but it was awesome man.

Parker McDonald: That's so much fun. Yeah. I love thinking about those times and memories that I've had in the woods and Oh dude.

Yeah. Especially with dad, but really anybody. Really anybody. And I look forward to, this year I'm gonna be, Traveling, doing this tagged out thing, and my life is gonna be a deer camp.

Blake Echols: That's gonna be, that's what I, when you told me you were doing that, man, like I was, that's what I was thinking about is the, when everybody comes in after a long day of hunting, like when somebody kills a good one or when nobody's killing anything and you're [00:27:00] all trying to figure it out like you were talking about.

That's so much fun, dude. Yeah. That's one thing. For me, hunting don't get me wrong, I love killing big bucks. I like killing whatever I'm hunting for. But really it's who I'm going with, who I'm around. And now that my kids are getting into it, I'm like, I'm so excited that my kids are gonna be able to hang out with my brother the way they're gonna be able to hang out with him like at Bear Camp, cuz I think about Rocky's eight. So in, dude, I don't know, five years. He's gonna be up there bear hunting with us, and running around those mountains and I'm so pumped about that. Just, it'd be cool if he shot a bear. That'd be great. But really just to hang out with his uncle and me up in the mountains, and so it's something to look forward to. That'd be so much fun. Yeah. Oh, I can't wait, man. That'd be cool. It's so funny. My, my mother-in-law was talking to me a few days ago about, she said something about, When I'm gonna let my daughter date. And I was like first of all, she's really young. We're just not even gonna go there yet.

I was like, but after she shoots a few bears with her bow, we'll talk about it. And I don't know what she thought about that, but kind of minute. She's only two, right? She's only two man. I'm not gonna get her a first [00:28:00] bow. So she's three, so she's got

Parker McDonald: some time. Oh man. Blake, dude. So what do you got planned?

Like what do you got for this season? Planned?

Blake Echols: This season? Yeah. Man. Yeah. This season it's gonna be a big one, dude. I think at the beginning of the podcast I said something about we don't do stuff tomorrow. We go ahead and do it today. I've talked about elk hunting my whole life, and for years I've talked about doing going on a elk hunt.

And so this year one of my friends brought up, The possibility of going and I just went ahead and committed to it. I'll say even if I can't get a tag, I'm just gonna go, which I'm thankfully I'm gonna be able to get a tag, so that's cool. But yeah, man going elk hunting in September and then got a big bear hunt plan in October again, and then just deer after that.

So in October I'll be looking for deer, bear and pigs whatever I see. But may I'll mainly be target and bear, but it'll open in day for deer. Same as bear. So

Parker McDonald: now you killed another pretty dang nice buck. The year after you killed the

Blake Echols: first one, right? Yeah. I think I shot a nine point that next year.

Yeah, it was a, yeah. [00:29:00] So yeah, that was with my son too, at the same hunt club I went to the year before

Parker McDonald: people. Yeah. I know, man. I'm not, you're still out there killing deer. It ain't, yeah, it ain't that. You just. Not podcasting anymore, right?

Blake Echols: No. Yeah. No, man. Yeah. I'm and then this year, man, I plan on this year being a big year for hunting.

Yeah. I've gotten into bird hunting a lot too, like duck hunting. Yeah. I love duck hunting, man. And really it's the kayak aspect. I, everywhere I go, I paddle in. And dude paddling in at night and some of these places where I duck hunt is one of the funnest things ever. There's beavers out there. You know what paddling in's and dude I love it.

So I plan on duck hunting a good bit. I'm hoping to have a lot of my tags filled by November so I can kinda, cuz it's hard for me to duck hunt when I, when I need to be killing bugs, yeah. So I

Parker McDonald: don't understand

Blake Echols: why people do it. Yeah. It's I can do it, but it's hard. Yeah. I don't,

Parker McDonald: that's People ask me why I don't get into dove hunting.

I'm like, I can hunt velvet bucks somewhere when velvet season's going

Blake Echols: on. I know, man. Dude. Yeah. And I listen, I love dove hunting. That's like an afternoon after work with the kids for me.[00:30:00] I would much

Parker McDonald: rather be, I'm vet hunting. I'm not scheduling things around dove hunting. Ever. Pretty much ever. Yeah. But it's but duck's the same way. I, people tell me, oh, you would fall in love with duck hunting. Yeah. It's yeah. But I can be hunting deer around then, dude, no. You can hunt deer another time and it's eh,

Blake Echols: I think you would absolutely love it.

If you had three buck tags failed in Alabama, then you would really

Parker McDonald: enjoy it. Yeah. Last year after I tagged out after I tagged out, I started looking at duck hunting stuff. Like for whatever reason Yeah. I think I like maybe found some interest in it and Instagram knew it. Yeah. And so it started just showing me a whole bunch of duck hunting stuff.

That makes sense. And I was like, man, that'd be fun to go duck hunting. Yeah. Cause I was tagged out. Sure man.

Blake Echols: Didn't have to worry about nothing. Dude. One good thing about duck hunting, I found some good deer spots getting two duck spots. Yeah. Yeah. I've got, man, I got one spot. It's so good. And it's a duck spot and nobody goes over there.

It's just open. That's awesome. Yeah. Yeah, I actually shot a six point there, man. Yeah. That's a. I lost it. I didn't find that ear. Yeah, that was last [00:31:00] year, right? Yeah. That was a tough one, man. That was really tough. And y'all

Parker McDonald: track that thing for

Blake Echols: two days ever? Yeah. Yeah. I made a I made a bad shot on it.

But yeah, that hurt. But that was one of my duck spots. But that was with a bow too, not a recurve. That was with my compound. That was before I. Switched over for a time. So you

Parker McDonald: got, you got elk. You gonna do archery elk now you doing archery elk with a recurve? As well.

Blake Echols: Yeah. Yeah.

So I'm trying to get, I'm trying to get that set up dialed right now, which I'm pretty much dialed in. But just trying to, yeah, man, I don't know. I'm a little nervous about that. That's gonna be a big one. But we're gonna be there, we got 16 days, so we'll be hunting for 12 days. So we gotta, we'll have some time in the woods.

That's gonna be a lot different country than what I'm used to, heck yeah. You go in Colorado. Colorado, yeah, dude. Yeah,

Parker McDonald: I've never been elk hunting and I've never been western big game hunting, but I've hunted turkeys out there and, yeah, that's right. I. I listen, I love Turkey hunting so [00:32:00] much.

It is, and I love doing it out west. Like I don't travel to hunt out west a whole lot. At all during deer season. Yeah. But I do for turkeys cuz it's just, I don't know why. I just love it. But the terrain and the places that you see. Yeah. Goodness gracious man. It makes sense why people love elk.

I get

Blake Echols: it. Yeah. I think, I've done some I used to backpack a lot. Which I pretty much don't. Don't backpacking. If I'm backpacking now, it's to hunt. Yeah. But part of that is a time thing. I do enjoy backpacking, but now I'd rather be backpacking with a gun in my hand.

It's kinda like fishing,

Parker McDonald: kinda like fishing for me. It's I'd like to go, but yeah, I'll

Blake Echols: do it in the off season. Yeah. Yeah, I would love to backpack in the off season. Yeah. But but dude, just going to new places like last year. Doing that bear hunt in a completely new place that we had never been.

And the terrain was similar to where we're at here but it was just the mountains were bigger. And it was so much fun just exploring that new stuff and learning a new trying to find a bear. That was hard, man. It was it was, I don't wanna say it's very different than Deere, but it was tough,[00:33:00] and and man just doing something new. So yeah. Got elk. Deer or elk bear and yeah, gonna try to get a big buck again this year. I really want to kill a big buck on public land. I hadn't killed a big one on public land yet, this year time's coming. I

Parker McDonald: know you're hunting in the right areas.

Blake Echols: I, yeah, I've had a few opportunities, but nothing crazy big yet that where I like Yeah.

Not the big one I'm thinking of, but I think I'm in the right spot. So you are.

Parker McDonald: Yeah. You're in the, you're in, you're, and you got it. Like you got the smarts. Dude, I've heard people talk about once they started getting into squirrel hunting, that it just like upped their woodsmanship Yeah.

Game A thousand percent,

Blake Echols: That's one thing that I've thought a lot about the past couple years too, man, is just overall woodsmanship like for me, I grew up just died in the wool whitetail guy. Yeah. That's all we did, man. Like we, my dad worked his butt off. So when we were hunting for whitetail.

That's what we did, and now getting into squirrels and we actually got into trapping a little bit too. One, one winner. Me and my boys trap some. Which was really fun. But [00:34:00] man, you just learn so much when you're out there and and duck hunting too, so like these past few years now that I've broadened what I do, I've learned so much more about whitetail, honestly, hunting, like bear hunting has helped me so much with hunting big bucks.

And I've I've gotten so much better at finding beds and different things like that just from bear hunting. A lot of it too is just time in the woods. I think that's the most important thing, man, is just being in the woods. Yeah. As much as you possibly can. Yeah.

Parker McDonald: Thinking about bear cuz I hunted North Georgia one time for deer and you have, you you have to figure out how to differentiate, feed, sign from a deer versus feed, sign from a bear. And that's hard. Yeah. It can be, they're very similar. Oh yeah. Like super similar. And to the point where I was like, I think I found a spot I think I found a dang good spot.

And for deer and took pictures of it, whatever, like posted 'em on Instagram and somebody local responding like that would be bear sign. And it's that's hilarious. I, yeah.

Blake Echols: Yeah. Thought it was a big buck, yeah. That's so funny. [00:35:00] One thing I, to me, and I don't know if this is a thing or not, but Finding buck sign and finding bears correlated.

If I this go, I started looking for deer sign where I would normally try to be hunting a buck because they compete

Parker McDonald: for the same food sources. I guess so. Isn't that kind of the whole deal? The bear you shot didn't you like first see it because you heard it munching on those acrons or something like that?

Blake Echols: It sounded like a squirrel, man. Yeah, it sounded like. And then I, as I was, it was, I heard it in the dark and it sounded like a squirrel up in the tree, like just jumping around in the limbs. And then I could hear chewing and I was like, oh, man. And I sat there for a second and could hear it moving in the tree.

And I was like that's either the biggest squirrel I've ever seen in my life, or it's a bear. Sure enough, it was a bear just eating white O Okay. Or it's I. Eating them. Like a kid eating candy. Dude, it was so

Parker McDonald: crazy to see. It was like Winnie the Poo, getting it out of the, getting the honey out of the jar.


Blake Echols: yeah. Pretty much. Yeah. And then I had to come along and ruin his day. But it was crazy seeing that bear up there. It was, yeah, it was tearing those acrons up, that's so cool. Yeah, it was awesome.

Parker McDonald: It sounds like fun, man. And [00:36:00] I've, I got to see a bear one time in Florida. Oh, that's cool.

While actually I saw two bears in Florida. The first time was in Beau Range. Like it was Mama and a cub walked out in front of me and I was like, oh my gosh. This is insane. Yeah. For me, like it was wild seeing I was in Florida, it just doesn't feel like I know, yeah. You should be seeing bears.

You know what I mean? It's like walking outta the palmettos. Big old black bear. Yeah. And and. When you see that, like obviously I had no intention of shooting 'em cuz you can't in Florida, I knew if I saw one it was just gonna be, I. Just a fun thing to see. Cool. To watch. Yeah. Cool to watch.

And but then you kinda man, that'd be fun to hunt one of those. I know, man. Once you see one, you're like, that'd

Blake Echols: be cool. Yeah. I've never had a huge desire to kill a bear for some reason. Like I've always I, it's just never been something, I've always had a big I want to kill an elk, caribou.

I've always thought about that kind of stuff. Big bucks, big white tails. But bear has never been something on my radar until these past few years. And I was like, man, that's Real good opportunities really close around Alabama. Cause we got Tennessee, Georgia North Carolina. So you can [00:37:00] get a tag relatively cheap in all these states, and but for me I guess like my, the, like my hunting journey, the way it's gone is I've taken, like now I'm looking at bear and elk and I think I could have taken a different, which may have been a little easier and cheaper, but of trying to kill bigger whitetails, and I think there was almost like a conscious decision made of like, all right, I could either spend my time to try to get a bigger whitetail this year, or I could go to Georgia, and try to kill a bear.

Or I could go to Colorado and try to kill elk. So I think that's the way that I've went cuz I'm trying to broaden a little bit, but now I'm coming back to wanting to kill a big white tail.

Parker McDonald: It's been a while. The good news is in Georgia you can kill. Either one. I

Blake Echols: know. Yeah. Actually. Or killed both.

I almost shot one in velvet last year. He, it was a really big eight point but he never got close enough. And I was on my recurve. That's where it hurt having a recurve. Cuz if I, it would've been a pretty good poke with my compound, but I would've, I'd have taken it, cuz I, I sat there and washed him for a long time.

Gosh. And he just never, he stayed 60 and he is velvet. Oh yeah. Full velvet. Yeah, that's kind


Parker McDonald: funny. And [00:38:00] George's deer season opens like usually on the, like they might be in velvet. Yeah. Early September, the week before, but usually they're hard

Blake Echols: horn. I saw another butt that was hard horn already.

Yeah. But this one was full velvet. Dude, it's funny. I was actually getting up from a spot and heading back to camp and we were gonna cook some lunch and there was, a thousand squirrels everywhere. And I always carried a judo point with me in, with my recurve. So I stood up, see this squirrel.

It was like, and it was like 30 yards away. I didn't know if I'd hit it or not, but I was gonna try to hit him and I was gonna cook him back at camp, dude. So I draw back, going through my process, trying to, and I'm, cuz I'm looking at it as a practice opportunity, and I shoot and I hit right beside that D or right behind that, beside that squirrel.

And then I see three white tails shoot up. So I drop back down and I'm looking, and it was three dos, and they throw their tails up. And look around, like what in the world just happened? Were they bedding down there? They were bedded. I never saw 'em the way it was. They were probably a hundred yards away from me and I never, I could not sit.

They were behind. And you were you on the ground or I was on the ground, yeah. They, and they were behind a log, [00:39:00] big falling down tree. So I shoot and where my arrow hit probably, I don't know, 50 yards from where they were at. So right in the middle of where we were. Anyway. Did you hit the squirrel?

Nope. Didn't get the squirrel. The squirrel took off barking at me and everything, so I go to get my I walk over there to get my air. At this point, the D have moved off. So I like sneak over there to get my arrow and I'm thinking maybe they'll come back in bed, back down, and so I kneeled down to get my arrow.

I looked to my left and there's a cell camera right there, like I'm touching it with my shoulder. And and I'm sure my arrow and stuff was in the field of view of the cell. I don't know what they saw. And so I'm sitting there looking at that and I'm thinking, golly, I can't believe somebody's already been in this spot.

And I look up and here come up the other side of the ridge. Here comes a buck, just walking. Up the ridge, right where those dos had been. I thought, oh my God. So I knocked an air and just, I sat there and waited on him for 10 minutes and then a, actually a coyote started howling middle of the day that deer perked up and walked off and that was it.

But he sat there and fed around where those dos were beded for forever. Holy cow. [00:40:00] Yeah, and right. So I went up there after he went over the hill. And just to talk about how Bears and Bucks kinda had the same areas. There was a big rub pole, like where the bears will rub up against the tree and bite the bottom and top of it and stuff.

And so that was cool. But yeah. That's cool. It'd been awesome. But yeah he stayed about 60 yards out

Parker McDonald: You're a trad boy now. Ah, so trying to be so the next part of this show isn't really gonna interest you that much, but we're giving away a bow.

Oh, nice man. It's not a trad bow. Nice. So if somebody wins this thing, they can't be in your club.

Blake Echols: Oh, that's okay, man. It's. They'll get there sooner or later.

Parker McDonald: I don't know, man. I don't know that I'll ever be there.

Blake Echols: I don't know. Every time I miss an opportunity, I dream about a compound boat. Yeah,

Parker McDonald: I'd like to kill something with a recurve, but I, and I've got one and I practice with it, and I'm decent, with it.

I'm just not there yet. Not where I'd want to be, but I don't know if I want to invest in. In it anyways. Yeah, man. We're giving away a CP 28 [00:41:00] from bowtech, man. Yeah, we talked about it in the last episode, but it's pretty easy to get. All anybody has to do is just subscribe on YouTube. That's it. That's not bad at all.

We're gonna give, that's easy. We're gonna give give it to somebody. Now here's the cool thing. Talking about the Patreon community and all that stuff Each of our tiers the two tiers, there's a $5 tier and $10 tier. If you're a part of the $5 meat buck tier. And I could be wrong.

I want, I'm actually positive. I should have pulled it up what the actual tiers

Blake Echols: were. I like meat buck, man,

Parker McDonald: I like that a lot. Actually, you know what? I'm just gonna edit this out. I'm gonna find it real quick.

Blake Echols: I do like meat buck though. That's my kind of tier right there, buddy.

Parker McDonald: That was, I made those ones, I made those names.

That was ours. Our names,

it's meat buck and shooter buck.

Blake Echols: That's so good. I like

Parker McDonald: that. Yeah, it's [00:42:00] $5 and $10. Cool. Just wanna make sure. But here's the cool thing for talking about our Patreon community. We've been talking about that a lot. If you are a part of the $5 Patreon tier which is the meat buck tier, you get your name three times in the hat.

That's not bad, basically. That's not bad if you're part of the shooter buck. Tier, which is $10 a month, you get your name in the hat five times. I like that man

Blake Echols: extra. It's like buying a bonus point out west or something like that.

Parker McDonald: Yep. Yeah. And we have a way that we're gonna do it. I know how exactly, how we're gonna be able to, people are like, how are you gonna be able to figure that out with your YouTube subscribers?

I've got a way. How's that? Got a way. I can't tell people how the, I can't tell people the process, but I do have a way corporate knowledge. I've been thinking about this for three days. Like, how are we gonna make this? How are we gonna give people. Three entries and five entries on a YouTube subscriber

Blake Echols: list.

Like I'm gonna have to unsubscribe and resubscribe. You can throw

Parker McDonald: a system. Dang it. [00:43:00] No. But it's that, that's what it is. And so the bow is a CP 28. It's a 28 inch axle to axle, so it's super compact. I used last year. That's, And it's got a rip cord air arrest, a tight spot shift lock quiver, and a black gold pro hunter hd that's set up man site.

So it is set up. That's awesome. It has killed deer. It's been used. I, but it shoots great.

Blake Echols: Did you kill those deer with it? I did. Oh, man. Yeah. That adds a lot of value, dude.

Parker McDonald: Yeah, I definitely, the internet I killed. Let's see. I meant to look up how many I actually shot with that bow.

Blake Echols: It probably wasn't many.

It was probably like 10 or 12, something like that last. Yeah, I think it was

Parker McDonald: like over the past few years, I think it was like five dos and. And one buck last year. That's awesome, man. With it. That's awesome. It's something like that. So it's been used, but it's it's a great bow. Good bow. Yeah. It's practically new and we're giving it away, so

Blake Echols: Yeah, man.

And it comes from you, buddy. So are you gonna sign it a little extra before you send

Parker McDonald: it off? If they want me to. Oh, if I win I'll get, but

Blake Echols: I [00:44:00] wouldn't want me to. If I win it,

Parker McDonald: I'm getting you sign. But I will. Absolutely. But yeah, all they gotta do is go subscribe to YouTube. Go do that. We're gonna announce it on On another episode.

Awesome, man. Not bad at all yep. You better do it quick. Get to it. Yeah, we've got, I think we've got a couple more to go bef of before Southern ground just cease, ceases

Blake Echols: to exist, man. So when is that coming? Is that in August? August 1st. August

Parker McDonald: 1st man. August 1st is gonna be when the Southern Collective just all picks up and.

Takes off.

Blake Echols: That's awesome, man. So I'm real excited for you guys.

Parker McDonald: I appreciate it, man. I appreciate you coming and yeah, dude,

Blake Echols: been

Parker McDonald: a bit and sitting down, man, it's been fun. We'll have to do it more often.

Blake Echols: Blast from the past. Dude, I, Hey, holler at me, man. I'd love to come sit down and talk for a little while.

Awesome, dude.

Parker McDonald: Do you remember Blake, when we, whenever we we used to sign off. In the old days with the God gave you dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and the beast of the earth. Let's go out and exercise that. That's thousand. Yeah, I remember that. Yeah, we still do it.

Yeah, we still do it. But that is one thing I like. I wanna try [00:45:00] to figure out a way to keep it cuz I like it. Keep it man. I wanna keep it in there somewhat somewhere. I'm gonna have to make sure Walt

Blake Echols: let you throw that in there. He's okay with that? Yeah. Oh ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Parker McDonald: For now, God gave you dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beast of the earth. Let's go out and exercise that dominion. Talk to you next time.