This week on the Pennsylvania Woodsman we chat with fellow Sportsmen's Empire contributor Parker McDonald from Southern Ground Hunting. Parker is a stone cold killer that travels across the country hunting and filming his adventures. Not only is he well versed with a stick and string or gun in hand, Parker's attention to detail for bringing the hunt to the viewer is compelling. Parker shares with us the amount of work behind the scenes that goes into one of his videos. Quality is a must for Parker, and he shares with us the tools he uses as well as the process to make it happen. If you're interested in filming your hunts, Parker is the man to take some notes from!
Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woods podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and as you could probably tell, um, I'm kind of losing my voice This week I was, uh, we were dealing with kids getting sick. We had, uh, week one, our oldest, the three year old, uh, he got some kind of crazy infection and he was sick and miserable for almost a week.
I mean, five days of a fever and coughing and sore throat and, you know, had to get some antibiotics and. You know, started feeling better and about the time he wrapped up with that, then the one year old was sick and we were dealing with him being sick and pushing teeth and everything else. And, uh, both the boys are doing fine now.
But now, uh, this week I woke up and I got a scratchy throat and [00:01:00] losing my voice and yeah, just, uh, par for the course. It's just all the phase of life and just rolling with the punches. And speaking of just Roland man, you want to talk about, uh, just. Everything piling on at once this time of year when it comes to this time of year, as far as busy.
I mean, my, uh, you know, this time of year is in, in agronomy and, and walking fields and working with growers. This is just a busy time of year and, you know, I'm never, ever ready for it. And, uh, then it gets here and it comes and hits you like a freight train and just covering lots of ground driving, putting lots of miles on, and having tons and tons of calls.
This year's been extremely, extremely stressful. It's like a year I've never experienced before, and there's a couple reasons for that. I mean, last year we had a, a massive drought. It impacted, uh, my clients greatly. And there, there's a lot of stress and anxiety over that. Now we're going [00:02:00] into this year, uh, we haven't had a measurable rain since April 27th to the 29th, which would've been opening weekend of Turkey season.
You know, a lot of the places that I'm working, we had somewhere between three and six inches of rain. It all came in a very short amount of time. You know, at that time we were down the, for annual rainfall, we were down about four inches. Excuse me, we're down about four inches of rain or so. And you know, the very abnormal we're dry, right?
And a lot of people on paper say, well, hey, we made up for that just in a short amount of time. And the problem with that is, We don't retain a lot of that moisture when it drives through that much. You know, there's so much runoff that goes out of a field and into, you know, creeks and ditches and everything else.
And we, we don't retain that in the soil. And here we are a month later and we've just got very, very little soil moisture. We've [00:03:00] got relatively cool soil temperatures and we haven't been hitting those 90 degree temperatures yet, but we don't have much longer until we're gonna start to really, really see some stress on crops.
And that's, uh, that's got a lot of us concerned. Uh, you know, another thing, we had a, we had a frost, a, a 24 degree night in some parts of the states, maybe even colder, uh, may, it was like May 18th or something like that, you know, uh, Thursday last week. And, uh, that, that cold cost a lot of problems for growers.
So, you know, I'm getting calls for Replants and looking at, you know, fields Extra and, you know, concerns of what this is gonna do to a pollinating wheat crop. And, I know I'm, uh, I'm, I'm talking at you guys and some of you guys are probably, you know, not really, uh, interested in this or, or, you know, it's just me venting.
But that's truly what it is because this has been a very, very stressful year for, for growers and for myself so far. And, you know, this is [00:04:00] just, is just the beginning. You know, we've got a whole growing season to go through and, uh, yeah, it makes me nervous on the, on a lot of things from farming and, you know, that that's gonna obviously trickle down into your food plots.
I think it just goes to show how important it is to run a system that is very healthy for your soil, having your soil actively growing. Active roots, living roots, holding the soil together, aggregation, uh, root channels, microbiology that'll allow water to infiltrate. Uh, also you gotta keep in mind. That above ground biomass or something growing is going to insulate the soil from driving rains.
You know, I'm dealing with a lot of soil crusting. You know, the, the water hits the ground so fast and it basically seals the ground off, uh, when the rain stops and we start to get some sunshine on it. So just, you know, adverse soil conditions. But you know, anybody who [00:05:00] is doing things, you know, following things like the concept that, uh, they haven't vitalized seed and, uh, running a system of, uh, of microbiology that's going to, you know, recycle nutrients, always have something growing, always have the soil covered, you know, stuff like that is gonna have a much better buffer against these adverse extreme conditions.
So, yeah, it's just been, uh, been crazy. But, uh, we're rolling and, uh, coming off of Turkey season, I, I got one more fun, fun. Episode, kind of wrapping up the Turkey season plan for you guys, and I'm hoping you enjoy that one. But before we get to that one, this week, we are going back in the archives a little bit.
So I did an episode with a fellow host, uh, fellow host from Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. Uh, he's a guy that's had a podcast for a long time and he's also got a fantastic, fantastic YouTube channel and I [00:06:00] encourage you guys to check him out. And, um, I'm talking about Parker McDonald from Southern Ground Hunting.
And Parker is just one of those really determined, driven guys, uh, loves the great outdoors and loves to do it his way. And yeah, you see that passion in his videos. But the thing I love about Parker's videos is the, the quality and the, the effort and time that he puts in his videos for such a quality viewer experience.
And I wanted to have him on last year. And, uh, I kept this episode and, uh, I was, was gonna bring it last year, but decided to, to hold onto it till this time of year because, you know, I think listening to this episode now, if you're somebody who's been on the fence or kind of started or you're looking for equipment, this is a great episode because Parker goes through the.
Equipment he uses and the, the ins and outs and the house and whys of what he does from editing [00:07:00] to, uh, equipment in the field and set up maneuvering, things like that. Stuff that's, uh, kind of important when you're learning this on your own and, uh, you know, it's a lot of work, uh, you know, some of the work that he goes through to make this hunt come to life on camera.
For me, there's no way I, I would be able to do it just because I don't have that level of patience with technology and, uh, I, I just, for me personally, right now, at this point in my life, I don't have the value for doing that on my own hunts. Now I'm thankful for people like Parker that do it with theirs, and it's entertaining.
It's one of those things I love to watch when I'm trying to escape, uh, you know, the, the reality of, of life and, and watch them hunting because we love hunting, right? So, Parker's a great guy. We're, we're loaded with great information, great facts, and, uh, I think you guys will enjoy this and, and hopefully you get going, man.
I tell you what, I think it's time for me to stop talking [00:08:00] because, man, I gotta get a sip of water. Mm. Because I am completely losing my voice. And, uh, maybe better that we're doing an episode that I recorded, uh, a few months ago because I don't sound this raspy. Before we get to this episode, real quick, I just want to give a shout out to our partners.
And I gotta start off with Radix guys. Radix is a company that just has quality in mind. If you, if you haven't, if you're on social media, Instagram, follow radis hunting. They post a lot of great pictures, um, from their trail cameras. And the reason I bring that up is because, Their quality of their images to me sets, sets the bar for everything else.
I think they've got great quality images and they're a great, great quality camera. They're easy to use and, uh, they've got everything you would want at an affordable price in a camera. They really do from their gen 600 s up to their m mco cell cameras. Uh, really, really com [00:09:00] uh, hard to beat in my opinion.
And, uh, also gonna give a shout out to Hunt Worth guys. This is a Pennsylvania based, uh, clothing of company. And I will say, you know, I've been somebody that's been, so, do you wanna say tight or a, a cheap wad or something like that over the years with clothing. I mean, I had a hodgepodge of stuff and, uh, a lot of the time it was not very comfortable for that reason.
And this year in Turkey season, I, I ran their Elkins midway. Uh, clothing. And then when it got hotter, I was running, I was wearing Durham pants and, uh, their fleece hoodie. And I, I, I can't get over how comfortable I am. I mean, I truly feel like I am suiting up like an athlete in high school, like going back to my days in baseball and football and suiting up and just, I feel comfortable.
My maneuverability, the clothing is quiet and it, [00:10:00] it's not gonna break the bank to have something that's extremely versatile. I mean, I did not get, uh, cold whatsoever on those cooler morning hunts. And just like I said, the, the fit, the flexibility, it was all something that I really valued. And it's, it's, it's the quality that you get from a high end company, but you're not gonna pay the high end price.
So check out them hunt worth guys. I think you'll really like it. And with that, let's get to this episode.
All right on the phone with us, another Sportsman's Empire content contributor, our friends to the South, Mr. Parker McDonald Parker, how are you? Thanks for coming on.
Parker McDonald: Hey, Mitch. I appreciate you having me on. Getting fired up for the season and pretty much this time of year, if anybody asks me to come and guess on a pod, be a guest on a podcast, I'm down to do it cause I'm so just jacked up.
That's all I wanna talk
Mitchell Shirk: about you here hunting. You and me both, man. [00:11:00] I've been shooting a lot lately trying to get as much reps in because I'm, I'm fired up. Uh, but, uh, yeah, it's, I I, I do this every year. Like you watch, watch the time go by and, uh, think I got time, think I got time, like I'm trying to do this and that.
Leading into the season, preparing and then flip of a, you know, a flip of a switch. It's like it's over. Like I can't believe, you know, as we're recording today, it's the end of August. I just can't believe how fast this month has gone by. It just, it happens every year, but it's just still never ceases to amaze me.
Parker McDonald: crazy to me now. I remember being younger and man, that off season felt so long. It felt like, it felt like, honestly, like we deer hunted for a small window of time and, but the rescue was super long. And now I live in Alabama and dude, it, it's like we're deer hunting the majority [00:12:00] of the year. And uh, and when it's not deer season, it's Turkey season.
Then we just got a little short window of June and July that is off season. And then August, I mean, I leave for my first hunt tomorrow for my first deer hunt. I already gator hunted. I did a gator hunt last weekend and tomorrow I'm leaving out for my first deer hunt of this season. And it's like, like I know from my wife's perspective, it's like, do you ever not hunt something like.
Do we have more than just June and July? But it's true, dude. Like we have, I'll start with Tennessee Velvet Hunt this weekend. The week after that I'll go for the Kentucky opener, which is a velvet hunt. Um, and then the rest of September. So I was smart this year and I booked a cruise for the end of the, uh, the end of September for my wife and I to go along for anniversary.
Okay. And then once October 1st hits, it's from October until mid-February in Alabama. Like, [00:13:00] it just, it's like when you get to Jan, January and February and you're still hunting in Alabama. It's brutal, dude. Like, it's like, cause you get three buck tags down here and three buck tags is kind of hard to fill.
Like you can fill one or two pretty easily, maybe, you know, but trying to fill three buck tags on decent gear is hard. And when you haven't done that and it's getting into January and February and you're still out there, just. Grinding to death. It's like, man, it feels like I've been hunting since October.
Cause you have, yeah, cuz you have, you've hunting
Mitchell Shirk: for like four months. Yeah. I, I can't even relate to that cuz I mean, our, our bow opener in Pennsylvania is this year, it's October one, now there's, there's three units in our state that you can hunt two weeks earlier from that. So the September 17th. But for statewide and the majority where I hunt, it's October one.
And then, We can pretty much be hunting deer [00:14:00] most of the time from then until right about the third week in January is when we cut off. We have a couple breaks in between there. Like we have a, a break over Thanksgiving. Uh, there's a break over our bear season. You can't deer hunt. And then there's a break between the end of our firearm season and our late season, which is flint lock, muzzle loader and archery.
Uh, so there's a couple breaks in there, but for the most part we can be hunting. But I mean, I know what it takes just to shoot one buck last, you know, and last year, um, I, I didn't even kill a buck. Now part of that was my own fault, but part of it was just, Too picky and time and everything else. And I didn't even kill one.
It, it was a, it was a weird season. So like, I've been watching your channel and seeing you guys grind it out all season long and kill multiple bucks and nice ones for, especially public land, like I, I'm just like infatuated cuz I ca I don't know what I would do with myself if I had more than one buck tag I'd, I'd probably get really, really trigger happy.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. It, it does man, [00:15:00] it it, like, you can't describe it like whenever you're out there and like la So last year I didn't kill a buck, um, in Alabama until December the first. That was the first Alabama buck I killed last year. And dude, from October through November, not killing an Alabama buck that, that hurts.
Like it really hurts. But once December 1st hit, I killed the buck. I killed the buck December 1st, December 7th and December 13th. So I killed all three of my bucks within like a two week window. Um, and another thing in Alabama and a lot of the south, the rut times are different than what the rest of the country is.
So you'll have some of those November ruts mixed in there. But we get, uh, December ruts, um, where I hunt, it's usually the first two weeks of December of the prime time and then, uh, south Alabama and some North Alabama is January and February. Mm. So it's like you can legitimately hunt the rut the whole [00:16:00] time, the whole season.
Just about, um, November, October, end of October, November, December, January, February, you can hunt the rut and um, if you're tagged out in Alabama, you can still go Hunter in Mississippi or in South Georgia or Florida. Like you've got all kinds of opportunities to be able to do it. But back to what you said about, um, like that first, that first one and two buck tags, knowing that you still have another one, you're just like, I mean, if it, if I think it's halfway decent, I'm gonna shoot it.
You know what I mean? Absolutely. It's not, it's not over yet. You know, you, you're like, and some people aren't like that. Some people really legitimately are like, you know, I'm gonna make sure it's mature. I'm gonna make sure it's 130 inches or whatever. Um, but for me, if I see a buck when I've got three buck tags and I see a deer that's like, yeah, that looks alright, I'll shoot it.
You [00:17:00] know, especially for one and two, um, three, I can tend to be a little more picky with, um, like last year, I, I ended up shooting a buck for my third buck tag. That was, he wasn't that big, honestly, antler wise, but body-wise and agewise, he was old, really mature deer and probably had, I mean, honestly, he, he's pushing a hundred inches.
And when I walked up to him, I was kind of disappointed. I was like, man, my season's over. That sucks. And I was like, you know what, that's a mature deer. And this is Alabama. Like, it's also this thing, like we don't have just a ton of, we don't see just a ton of bucks from the tree. Like all through October and November, I saw a spike in a six point here in Alabama.
That was it. That was all the bucks I saw. I saw do, I saw, I killed like six dos, but I didn't see hardly any bucks. Cause the acre [00:18:00] crop was so heavy last year. Mm-hmm. Like, we just, you, the bucks were not moving much because there's literally every inch of the woods was covered up in acre. So they weren't moving around much.
They weren't going into the persimmons. And, um, they weren't coming outta those, uh, those thickets, you know, as long as they had aons close by, they were gonna just stay there. And so, you know, we don't, it's not like the, there's, there's a lot of opportunity as far as tags go. The bag limits are very liberal, but the.
The deer hunting is tough. It really is. Um, and so, you know, shooting a hundred inch deer, I, I, I'd be, man, I would have to be at a completely different level of being a deer hunter to let 110 inch deer pass here because you just, I don't see a lot, you know, it's not like I'm gonna see 'em every day throughout the rut.
I might see one or two or three that are that big, you know, but [00:19:00] it's not, it's not normal. And then, and then you start talking about passing, like, uh, I've heard of up North and the Midwest where, you know, they'll pass 20, 30 inch gear into where I'm at. That's just like, you're dumb if you're doing that.
You're not gonna kill any gear. Cause you're not gonna see very many of those as it's, well, I've, I've
Mitchell Shirk: talked about that on my show a ton. Like tailor your expectations to what you're actually, where you're hunting and what you're actually doing. And like, at the end of the day, Uh, who are you doing it for?
Are you doing it for you or are you doing it for social media or like, like, what's it? Yeah, when people talk about passing deer, I mean, there's an educational aspect to it. If you're hunting an area and you're trying to see deer go to the next age class, and, you know, all that stuff, I'm, I'm all for that.
That's awesome. But like, you can't shoot 120 inch deer in a forest that doesn't hold 120 inch deer either. So like, right, I, I mean, I'm the same like I've, I've, I've never been [00:20:00] to Alabama, but watching your show, watching the places you hunt, how you access the type of habitat, the type of terrain, there's actually a lot of similarities with some of the places I hunt in Pennsylvania.
Um, don't get me wrong, there's differences too, but there's some similarities and, uh, I mean it's, there's places, it's tough hunting here too. And we've got deer in our state that, you know, are hundred. 60, 70, 80 inches. I mean, they're, they exist here. Uh, but they're definitely not frequent. And like if you shoot like that buck you shot, I watched that video of that last one you killed last year, and that was a big mature deer, but you didn't have a high score in rack.
I mean, there's deer that I would shoot in Northern Pennsylvania that are gonna be like, my, my expectation is different when I am hunting the, the public land, you know, near camp versus, you know, a private land piece close to home where I know there's more and better buck. Like, it's just, it's different.
And I'm okay with that. But I mean, I, I've seen buck and, and shot buck that were like 80 inches, but [00:21:00] they were mature deer. And to me that's a trophy. Like I was fired up to shoot that deer. So, I mean, it's just like, you know, it's teach your own, but, you know, I, I always try with one buck tag to like do the best I can with one.
And then, you know, and sometime when you do that, you're really holding that you can eat tag soup in a hurry.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I spend most of my time, like I hunt, not Midwest, I guess, I dunno what you consider Kentucky, if it's still considered Southern, uh, or not. But typically the, the, the age structure and the size overall quality of the deer in Kentucky are gonna be much bigger than, than here in Alabama.
Um, you know, I, I go to Kentucky once or twice a season, one or two weeks a, a season, and I'll probably have encounters with hundred 30 to hundred 50 a year. Like, I cannot tell you the last time, it may have been two, [00:22:00] two seasons ago when I saw a deer that was over 130 inches in Alabama. Mm. Uh, it was probably, uh, man, I think that's right.
I think it was two, two seasons ago. Um, but like, there's, there's not a lot of them. You know, they're not, you may not see one. All year long. You may not even see, like, have a encounter with one all year long. Um, but like, it's the same thing with Florida. If I see a guy in Florida who is consistently killing, let's just say their, I think their record, their book Deer is 90 inches or a hundred inches to be like a, a registry buck in Florida.
So that's a substantial deer. Mm-hmm. When I see guys that are killing 70, 60, 70, 80 inch deer on public every single year in Florida, I, I feel like I have found some of the best deer hunters in the country because if they're doing [00:23:00] that in a state like Florida every single year, put them in, in a Midwestern state for a few days, and they're probably coming out with a mature buck like they are some of the best hunters in the country.
And I, I, I do feel that way about like the south in general, you find a guy from. Uh, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, maybe Tennessee, but la, South Carolina and Florida. Like those, those guys who are killing, you know, consistently killing good lucks. Man, I, I think the south is literally full of some of the best hunters in the, in the nation.
Um, and that's not to, that's not to to downplay anybody else. You know, the guys that are up there in pa, I know a lot of great hunters that hunt Pennsylvania, and a lot of great hunters that hunt in states like Oklahoma and Missouri, like they're good [00:24:00] solid hunters. Um, but the guys down here in our conditions where we, where we live, if they're consistently figuring it out, then they're smart, they're effective, and they know how to adapt.
If they're consistently doing it, they know how to adapt. So they could go to a state like Missouri and probably find a substantial gear pretty quick. Um, and that's why I love this place, dude. That's why I love the south. Um, and I can't remember, I think it was on my podcast, I don't remember, but I was having a conversation with somebody the other day and we were talking about, um, hunting down here and like how appreciative I am of the opportunity to, to kind of cut my teeth hunt, not to cut my teeth hunting in the south.
I grew up in Texas, cut my teeth in Texas, so I grew up on it easy here. And, uh, [00:25:00] moved to the south after high school, moved to Alabama after high school. And I'm really appreciative of that, even though at the time I was like, man, this sucks, dude. Like, I'm not seeing anything. I'm not killing anything. What the heck?
But it challenged me to learn and become better. And now I feel effective everywhere I go, I feel I'm humbled all the time. Oh yeah. Like I'm still, I, I went to North Dakota last year thinking that it was just gonna be freaking Buck Fest and it was not at all. And I ended up on the last day killing a very, very small velvet just so I didn't have to eat my tag.
But I mean, so I don't get me wrong, I am humbled on a regular basis, but I also feel more effective than a guy going from Iowa and hunting. If a dude lives in Iowa and he goes and hunts North Dakota, I'm probably gonna be in a. Better situation than him just cause of my experiences back home. Does that make sense?
Mitchell Shirk: It absolutely makes [00:26:00] sense. And what I was gonna say is like, I think to a degree, anybody who can consistently shoot mature buck across the country is somebody who has learned something that puts them above, uh, uh, like on the next level. And I think those are the people that you put them anywhere else in the country, they're probably gonna be successful.
Now, does their learning curve look a little bit different than somebody in the south versus the north versus the Midwest? Does their learning curve look different? Yeah, but the people who I think get to that level, or the ones who are driven to do so, and when they're driven to do so, yeah. It, it just, it, it allows you to move forward and adapt.
Um, I think that's why. Podcasting is so cool because you, you listen, people can take context really, really wrong. Like, you throw any name out of a, of a big name hunter, you know, um, just say Midwest for instance. And a lot of people think, you know, they're, they're, uh, you know, the end all be all. They're [00:27:00] the best.
They're the best hunter ever. And I, I completely agree with you that there's places in the country that you put people from the south, from the north, or wherever, just. People who want tough conditions and put them in those different areas, like the Midwest or anywhere where it's a, it's a higher odd state or it's they're gonna be successful.
It, it's because in my mind, and you can disagree with me if you, if you do, but like, it's, it's the tactics and the way you treat a mature buck. Because I think across the country, a mature deer is a mature deer. It's just the, the habitat and then the hunting pressure that they experience that ultimately you, you gotta figure out how to actually kill 'em.
But I mean, the, the, the behavior of the deer, I don't think is very different across the country.
Parker McDonald: No. And, and the pressure is, is light use different. So, um, like I said earlier, when we first was talking about this, I, here in Alabama, our gun season runs so long, [00:28:00] it runs from beginning to middle, depending on where you're at.
Beginning to middle November, uh, all the way through February the 10th. You can, you can gun hunt. So you got three months of gun season. I know you guys up north in a lot of Midwestern states, you get like two weeks, you know? Yep. Two weeks and, and you're done. Everybody's gotta hunt with a bow from that point on.
Here in Alabama, you can go to National Forest or WMAs or whatever, um, during the gun hunts and you'll see trucks everywhere. There's just gonna be trucks. Like, there's not gonna be a lot of like getting somewhere to yourself. This is largely why I use the boat to access most of the places that I hunt here, is because you, you really have to worry about a lot of pressure.
I've been to Kentucky, just going back to Kentucky. So during the, the early season, Vel Hunt on the opener, there's a ton of people there during the first week of [00:29:00] November. There's a pretty decent amount of people there. However, it doesn't touch. Almost anything I've experienced in the Southeast. Um, like and then once, once those few weeks are over in Kentucky, in a state like Kentucky, it's a ghost town again.
Cause most of it's a one buck state. So, uh, most of these states are one buck state. So in December, once secondary RO rolls around, uh, you can go to a state like Kentucky and probably have the WMA completely to yourself. Cause everybody's already killed at one buck this season. All the local people already killed in one buck.
Other people, like non-residents aren't planning their non-resident trip for December. You know, they're not planning their out-of-state hunt for late season. They're planning it for November. Right. For at rut time. And so, like, I've been to these places where it's literally like, I hunted one place in December, uh, no, I'm sorry, in like New Year's in [00:30:00] Kentucky, several years back.
And literally there was not another soul on the wma. I was the only one, honey, you're talking about a place where during the opening week there were people from Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee. Like there were people from all over the country in this one place. And you go there December and January and it's a ghost town.
I think there's nobody there. And those bucks still live there and they're still, they're still doing buck stuff. Um, but that just goes back to show you like the pressure in a lot of these states is, it's all, it's all relative to your own experiences, right? So, um, I've been to, uh, in hunting in Florida here in the rut and there's literally dog hunters on every corner running dogs food.
Do you wanna talk about pressure? Like try trying to compete with a pack of dogs, four bubba's drinking beer on their tailgate set up [00:31:00] on every single trail. Um, try to still hunt deer. Like that. I can't even imagine. Like that's, that's pressure. And I mean, you've got three trucks or, or may, maybe you got one truck at a gate in Ohio that you're competing with and people are like, oh, the pressure's bad.
Mitchell Shirk: not really. Well, you can, I can make that out. That claim here, I mean, years ago, I mean Pennsylvania was known for the Orange Army and having insane hunting pressure. But there was, that was then, and this is now, what I mean by that is, 30, 40 years ago, our deer population in the state was not as widespread border to border like it like it is now.
So you had areas kind of in the north, half of the state, I'm gonna say generally, that had higher deer population. So you had a lot of people from the southern half that went to the northern half. That's why you had hunting camps and communities and you had this big push in deer season. And there were times, and I know the mountains that I'm talking [00:32:00] about, some of it's pretty rugged terrain.
And I don't think there really was much of getting away from hunting pressure. I mean, there was, uh, stories I hear of going back in and it gets light and there's a, it's a pumpkin patch all around you and it doesn't matter where you go there, there's pressure. Like nowadays people still talk about pressure in Pennsylvania, and I don't get me wrong, I know there's places that do get more hunting pressure in our state than others, but I, I've hunted a significant section of the, I'm gonna say the eastern half of the state and.
It is not hard to get away and, and find a place to yourself in, in the big woods of Pennsylvania. And I think it's because our deer pressure spread out. We do kill more deer in archery, so that one buck limit is going to put some people out of the woods to a degree. And we do have a large land mass. I mean, it's, it's pressure is there, but it's definitely not like what you're describing.
And pressure's the name of the game, but hey, we're, we're, it's really easy for me to do this and just start [00:33:00] talking about, about anything under the sun going down rabbit holes, especially when it gets to mature deer and hunting pressure. But man, one of the things I really wanted to pick your brain on is, is your YouTube channel, man.
I have, uh, I started watching your YouTube channel this year and watched a lot of your videos and I'm in love with the content, just not from a, not just from a, a hunting perspective, but, but just. I know how much work goes into making a good quality, you know, viewer experience and different camera angles and I'm just infatuated with it cuz I know how much work you're doing.
I mean, how long have you been running your YouTube channel?
Parker McDonald: Well, uh, it, it's kind of been a, it's been a journey really getting to the point that we're at right now. So, um, I, I've been in like, experienced with camera equipment and audio equipment [00:34:00] and stuff like that. I've got a background in, uh, church ministry, creative, specifically creative aspects of church ministry.
That's what I grew up doing. I, I was a, a worship leader for years. Um, for, I mean, up until last year I was a worship leader the time I got outta high school until I was 30 years old. And, um, and big church. So there's a high standard, lots of. Cool equipment to learn. So I, I kind of got a, a good understanding for audio stuff then.
But I also did graphic design and video editing for the church as well. Um, so I've always learned how to do that. I've always been a big hunter, but I never really merged them until, uh, I would say like four and a half years ago, maybe five. It could be five. Um, but I joined the Sportsmans Nation at the time, which is now a Sportsmans empire with Dan.
I, I think Southern Ground was one of the very first ones to join. And at the [00:35:00] time, Dan's like, you know, I, I, I kind of was like, man, you know, I got this platform now. Should I start filming some of these haunts? Like some really cool stuff happens, like maybe I should start filming. So I bought a camera and then I'm talking to Dan Johnson about it and he's like, bro, like, let's start a Fortunes Nation YouTube channel.
And I was like, that'd be cool. It's basically, basically the same concept as, um, The podcast, you have a bunch of different creators with their own brands, and they post to this one channel, to this one piece. Like, that'd be cool. Well, what, what ends up happening is, um, and it is nothing against Dan. It's nothing against anybody.
I was very driven to do this thing. Like I was very driven. I, I bought all kinds of camera equipment that I already knew how to use and I was creating at the time, you know, video every week I was killing a lot of deer. And so all these videos, so the Sportsman's Nation YouTube [00:36:00] channel kind of became southern ground because, uh, Dan talks about it regularly.
He doesn't care about filming. It's not really his thing. But there was a couple other people that were on there, um, who were not consistently putting out things because that was kinda the whole purpose is like none of us are gonna consistently put out stuff, but if all of us work together, there will be consistent content on that page.
But I was like, I'm consistent, right? Like, I'm like, I want to put out a video every week. I'm looking at analytics, I'm looking at revenue and subscriber numbers and all this stuff. And eventually I, I, I reached out to Dan, I was like, Hey man, I think the best option right here is gonna be for you guys to keep this Sportsman Nation YouTube channel.
Um, and I'm gonna start my own channel. I just kind of feel like most of the people who were, it was really confusing. It was a confusing thing. It's like, is Sportsman Nation Parker? [00:37:00] Is it Southern Ground? Mm-hmm. Is that Southern Grounds Channel? Cause I was just putting out videos a lot, a lot of different videos.
And again, it's nothing against Dan, it was just a different, it, it was time to change. So I started my own, uh, my own channel, Southern Ground Hunting. And uh, I did that two seasons ago and just started kind of putting some of the older videos on there. And then through the last two seasons, obviously keeping my stuff, um, consistent on there.
And then this year added another guy, um, named Matthew Reeves, who has been a co-host on the podcast. And he's been, um, he's been the, the Southern Pursuit Channel on YouTube. And, uh, he joined forces with me. And so he's gonna be, uh, a, a member of Southern Ground Hunting this year and putting a lot of his videos up right now.
And like, so this, this year is gonna be kind of a, it could be a very, very content heavy season for us. Cause we'll have two people, Matt tags [00:38:00] out every year in Alabama on good bucks. And so like, and, and typically I tag out on my three bucks and then I'll hunt Kentucky, Tennessee, you know, Texas, Florida.
So potentially have a bunch of other videos, uh, from other states on there. So, um, but yeah, I've been doing it, I've been doing it for altogether probably four or five years. I would say answer your original question.
Mitchell Shirk: I, I, I'd see how much work goes into, like, the amount of time it takes just on podcasting.
I mean, podcasting takes some time, don't get me wrong. When you add in the video, I mean, what, what multiplying factor would you use when it comes to creating a podcast and airing it versus creating a good quality hunting video and airing that?
Parker McDonald: Yeah, I mean, I'm doing both of them right now. So I do a weekly podcast and then try, I mean, during the summertime [00:39:00] it's hard, and even during Turkey season, it's really hard to have a, a video every single week, which is why I added, um, my buddy Matt to come on and help.
Um, but I mean, you're legitimately talk, if you try to do a video every week plus a podcast every week, you're talking about, you know, at least a full work day. Maybe two, four work days that you're saying, I'm gonna invest this into this one thing that's not gonna have a huge payback right now. Mm-hmm. And so like that was always the thing to me that was like, is this something I want to do for a living one day?
If it is, then I'll invest this time for free. But if it's not, if it's something I just wanna do for fun, just for the heck of it, man, I don't know if I have the capacity to do it as well as I want to. Cause like that's always my thing, is like, I wanna do it really well. Whenever I do something, I don't wanna do it halfway.
I wanna [00:40:00] be the best at it. And so that's why I've always been that way with sports or anything. Like my wife laughs at me because I don't, I will not go bowling. Like most people go bowl. Nobody's a professional bowler. Like hardly anybody's good at bowling. But I suck so bad at bowling and I just won't do it.
She's like, let's go bowl. I'm like, no, I don't wanna go. I'm just gonna realize, just gonna realize I suck at it even more, and I'm not gonna waste my time and my money on something that I'm terrible at. So I'm, I'm really competitive, competitive with myself. And, um, and so I, I, I really try hard to make sure that like all the videos that I do, all the podcasts, like I'm, that I'm as good as I can possibly be.
And it comes with a lot of sacrifices, man, at Deer Camp, while everybody's cutting up and having fun and drinking beer to campfire Parker's, dropping footage, you know, and, and trying to get some sleep because he [00:41:00] has to get up early because, or he's gotta go charge all the batteries. It's just, it's so much.
But to me, like this is something I want to do, right? Like, I'm getting closer and closer every single season to be able to do it for a job. And so, You know, I'm willing to put in a little bit of extra work, but it is, it's a lot, man. You start again when you start getting into January and February timeframes and you've been filming and editing and, and trying to somewhere do work to actually make money.
You're a and spend time with your family, like it is very easy to say, yeah, I think I'm just not gonna take the camera this time. Like, I'm gonna drop the camera off, or I'm not gonna film everything. Like if I make a video, it's gonna be not as good for this. For this video cause I'm just wore out.
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Find out more about this system and get your firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check them out on Instagram and Facebook. Well, and I think that's what a lot of people do. Like they watch YouTube, they watch TV shows, they watch whatever, and think, man, that's gonna be cool. I'm gonna film my hunts too.
And I'm not gonna lie, I was there one time too. I mean, I have a cheap video camera. I thought I'll just bring that with me and, you know, set it up on like a makeshift, uh, makeshift tripod or, or, you know, pod to put in the, in the tree stand with me. And I, I've, I've filmed a couple dough hunts. I filmed a, a [00:43:00] buck I shot one time, and every time afterwards, like I, I, I watch it and I'm like, Well, well, this sucks.
Like, it's not, it's not like a, it's, it's great. The only thing I really like doing now, if I ever do film it is like, it's great for that shot, uh, you know, archery hunting. It's great for that, that shot response. You know, any, any question you have, I mean, I, I know what goes through my mind so much when you've, you let an hour go and having that feedback of is your mind playing tricks on you?
Did I actually see what I think I saw? Like that, that's huge in making, you know, decision for, for wait times and stuff like that. But I mean, actually creating content and then sharing with people, you know, if you wanna share it with somebody, you know, friends and family, that's one thing. But like, doing what you're doing, I think a lot of people really underestimate what it takes in me.
I, I listened to an episode that you did and you were talking about, um, semi, like doing semi-live for a while and just the, the grind that that takes and you, it was just like, I, I could hear the pain and [00:44:00] frustration in your voice and I'm like, I enjoy hunting too much to like let something like that, like I, I feel like it would take the fun out of it for me.
Parker McDonald: It absolutely does, man. Like that specific time. So it was this time, four or five years ago, it was my very first season of I, I'm gonna do this thing, man. Like, I'm, I'm gonna film and it's gonna be awesome. Like, I was so fired up. I bought all this really nice stuff to use and I knew how to use it. Like it wasn't foreign to me cause I've been using camera stuff for my whole life at the church.
And um, so I was really excited. I knew I was gonna be able to create something great and I kicked it off early season September opener in Kentucky. And I was like, we're gonna do this thing. I'm gonna put out a video every single day of this hunt. Like I'm gonna film all day, I'm gonna come home, I'm gonna edit it together or come back to the cabin and edit it together and upload it to YouTube that day.
I'm gonna [00:45:00] do that every single day for this month. Bro, I'm telling you, that was the most mis it set such a bad standard for the rest of the year. It was like, I don't even wanna touch my computer. Mm-hmm. Whenever I go on, like, like, I'm just gonna, I might not even make a video outta this. Like, it, it was, it was not awesome.
So that, that would be like a big piece of advice to somebody. You always see people that really just go ball to the wall whenever they first decide they're gonna start doing something new, whether it's saddle hunting or filming or public land hunting or whatever. And you wanna act like you, you've been doing this for years, right?
Like, look, you see this all the time on YouTube. Hmm. Like, somebody will be like, man, here's how, how to set up on big bucks here with a bow. And it's like, blah, blah, blah. They do all this stuff, they kill their big buck, and then you find out that it's the first big buck that they've ever, it's, it's the first buck they've ever killed with a bow.
And you're like, like, people don't like that. They don't respond well. To that [00:46:00] kind of stuff. Like make sure that you have a system in place and that that's not the first time that you have done that thing, right? Otherwise you're gonna be frustrated. There's a million YouTube channels out there of a group of guys that got really fired up, really inspired by watching another creator and went all out and they have one video of one deer and then they never did anything again because that one video just burned them out because they didn't know what they were doing and they were trying to learn how to hunt and film and do all this stuff at the same time, because they wanted to be t they wanted to be, uh, the untamed, they wanted to be these, these figures and they didn't do do diligence to the very first thing that you have to do is be an effective hunter without a camera.
So for me, that was very important. I'm not gonna start filming. This is why I never [00:47:00] meshed the, and filming beforehand because I didn't feel like I was a good enough hunter to go out and say, I'm gonna put videos of myself up. And once I did, once I developed, and I'm still growing as a hunter in, but I feel confident that I can go out and create good, solid video footage and see deer and kill deer.
Like, but it's because I got there before I even picked up a camera. And so that's the, that's the number one thing. You know, going into that first season of filming in Kentucky, I realize even being an experienced person with a camera and with video editing and all that stuff, it still burned me hard.
Not to the point where I, where I, uh, quit. But I think for most people, they have the, all these ideas of how it's gonna be. And I say just like, Start slow, kill a lot of deer, [00:48:00] like learn how to kill deer. A lot of them that's like, I do it every year. I kick off the season usually man in Alabama, the first four that walk out in front of me are in trouble because I'm gonna kill 'em.
Like I'm gonna shoot at 'em. They're gonna get a shot and it's gonna help me practice my filming. It's gonna be, help me practice my shot execution. It's gonna help me practice my storytelling through the whole, through that whole hunt. Like that's a big thing that people don't think about. They think, oh yeah, I could film a deer when I kill it.
No, dude, you have to start telling a story when you wake up in the morning. You have to, you have to start telling the story. You have to start filming things. You have to set up a pretend story that it hasn't even happened yet, because at the end of the day, you're still so dependent on the deer actually doing something.
Um, and following the script of your story that you're trying to write. And like 99% of the time they don't. So [00:49:00] you wake up every single morning, get outta your truck, and you're filming and you're setting this foundation for a great story. And then it doesn't happen. And so then the next day you wake up, you get outta your truck, you start telling the same story, you start walking in, you start filming B-roll, and it doesn't happen again.
And then the next day you're like, okay, I gotta tell the story again. So you're setting it all up and you're walking outta your truck and you're filming all this stuff that you'll literally never use. But the one time that it actually works out, like whenever it, it's probably gonna be 30, you're do it 30 times before it actually works out.
But whenever it does finally work out, if you stayed consistent and you stayed, um, you stayed hungry, maybe is the right word for that story, that video will turn out to be absolutely amazing because you did it. And all these guys that you see on YouTube. All the THP guys, the Hushing guys, uh, untamed [00:50:00] Catman, well, whoever, they're setting up these stories every single day and you're not seeing it.
All you're seeing is the one or three times that it actually worked out. But they, I promise you, they've done it every single day and they've deleted a ton of footage just because it didn't work out that day, but they stayed with it. And that's why people like their videos. I think that's why people like the videos that I put out is because, like I try, I try to, I, dude, there's so many gigabytes of footage that are thrown in my trash and deleted forever because I had just nothing happened.
Like I tried to set up the storyline. I've got so many cool shots that I took of me and my kayak and like B roll stuff, like really cool stuff that absolutely never got used because nothing happened. So, um, but I think that like, if I could. Give a piece of advice to anybody as far as making good [00:51:00] YouTube videos.
And you can tell the guys who, who aren't doing this, cause they'll have a YouTube video that's like, it cuts on when they see the deer and they're like, oh man. Couldn't get a shot on it. Then they shoot a deer and then the video's over. They're like, you gave up probably your first five times. Doing that this season is probably pretty good.
And if you would've killed a buff one of those times, it would've been great. But you stopped, you stopped filming, you stopped telling the story, you stopped really working hard to make sure that when it does happen, it's good. And I used to, I, I had a buddy that was trying to film and every day he would send me footage and I'm like, dude, keep doing that.
If you'll keep doing that, then eventually that just becomes part of your hunt. Like, it just becomes like kind of natural. I talk to the camera when I'm hunt, when I'm hunting. Mm-hmm. I take weird, goofy shots when I'm in my boat. Uh, like, it's just, it's just a part of it to me. It's no longer like this [00:52:00] huge task that I have to get done.
It's just how I do it. And so now that that's the case, it's, it's almost, it almost doesn't feel like as much work as it used to back in the day. Uh, but man, I'm telling you like, it's not, it's not for the hard. You find people that are No. If you find people that are doing it, that are sticking with it, um, especially if you find people that are sticking with it and continue doing it when they're not killing a lot of deer and they're not being able to produce a lot.
Like, dude, those people are impressive, man. Like, if I went through a whole season and didn't kill anything, but I worked as hard as I do for filming, like, couldn't imagine trying to do that.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. It, and I've been there like it's. It's gotta be. It's, it's like anything, like if you want something to stick, you've gotta develop a habit that it becomes natural.
I mean, I think about like, what I've done this year to just try to prepare for my season, get in better shape and feel better and do like this, like those daily lifestyle [00:53:00] habits. Like I had to be deliberate in the things I did on a daily basis to like lose weight, be in better shape, all this stuff. So, I mean, you, you equate that to deer hunting and, you know, filming, uh, it's the same thing.
Like you, you've gotta have a process. And I like your, what you said about taking it slow, but, and you talk about film and having all the footage you have, I mean, you're usually running a couple different camera angles. I mean, tell me a little bit about like, like I, I see it on your YouTube channel, but I can't fathom like the.
The madness behind what you're doing and how you're doing. Like what kind of cameras are you running? What, what kind of angles are you looking to, to get? Like, like how does that all come together,
Parker McDonald: man? Like, uh, I've got, so, uh, I'll show you three of my main cameras. So this little guy right here is called the Insta 360.
I know people are gonna be listening to this and not viewing it, [00:54:00] but this is the Insta 360 camera and quite possibly one of the most valuable cameras I've ever purchased. It's just a little action camera 360 degrees. It's got a lens on both sides that it stitches, um, the image together, so you basically get a, a giant sphere.
So a lot of the really cool shots that you see in my videos like that, like spin or have a really cool effect. It's just with this Insta 360 camera and Genesis 3D printing. Made this little contraption, this little mount that you can put on your gear strap. If you're a saddle hunter, you put it on your gear strap and you can actually screw this selfie stick.
You screw it to this little bolt that's on this mount, and it comes out on my left side and basically overlooks everything. It's like right here and overlooks everything. And I set it to a, uh, I hook it up to a battery, an external battery, and put it on looping mode, and it [00:55:00] runs the entire course of behind.
So whenever something exciting happens, I'll stop recording and have that clip, and then I'll start recording immediately after. Um, this next camera that I have is the, uh, Sony Zv one. And it's just like a little point and shoot camera, like a vlogger camera type thing. And I'm actually gonna use this a lot for, um, uh, bo season this year because it's got, it's got a pretty good zoom.
It's like, 24 to 70 lens. It's not interchangeable. It's a mirrorless camera. Um, so it takes really good footage. Take high frame rate footage, and it's gonna be perfect for bow hunting. Um, and I can also, it's small enough, it's a tiny camera that I can put in my pocket if I want to. Uh, but I'll use it on a clip that'll strap onto my backpack so that I have a camera right there, readily available at all times.
Um, while I'm walking in, while I'm in, while I'm doing everything, I have a [00:56:00] camera that's outside of my pack and ready to roll. And then my last one, my main camera is the, um, Sony, uh, a 73. And this one, of course, it has interchangeable lenses. I use a, uh, 18 to 1 0 7 power zoom lens for most of my hunting.
And like I use it this weekend in Tennessee for those longer shots. Um, So your kid at any given time, plus that, that doesn't even count like the phone that you have in your pocket, that takes pretty high quality footage. If I'm in a situation where I'm hiking in and scouting, and I don't have a camera right there with me, my phone is a perfectly good option to, you know, if I see a scrape or find a, a patch for Simmons or something like that, something that I can just quickly take a, a video of.
And this is as good as any GoPro that you could find. Plus you can zoom with it. Um, but then you do have, of course [00:57:00] you have GoPros. Like I've got a GoPro hero session that I'll attach to my bow, um, with a little mount that I got from a fella so I can find it. I dunno where it's at. Oh, here, it's so, so this is like a little stabilizer for my bow.
I'll plug the, or I'll screw that in where the stabilizer goes and it's gotta GoPro out on the end of it. So you got those, I got flipping tactic cams and I mean, there's so much stuff and you start talking about all the different cards that you're having to drop footage from all the batteries you've gotta charge.
I mean, dude, I've got a dang one pocket on my backpack that is completely dedicated to batteries, right? And like, cause any one of those cameras go out, then it could affect the batteries run out. It could affect the quality of the hunt that you're gonna get to show. And seriously, man, [00:58:00] like it sounds like a lot, I don't use all those for every single hunt, but they're there.
They're u I usually take them on every single hunt just because if I need it, then I have the opportunity to use it. And so if I were gonna tell somebody just to start somewhere, I would say start with one camera to put on a tree. Um, whether it's a handy cam, Sony makes a great, uh, Ax 53 is the, the name of the camera.
It's a, it's arguably one of the best self film hunter cameras that exist, especially for a beginner. It takes great footage, it's got good zoom, um, buy you camera, arm, and a handy cam and maybe one GoPro and set up a second angle to look back at you and then just, just go. Don't make it complicated. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Especially starting out, like I'm at a point now where I'm trying to find the best thing, right? Like, I'm trying to try new things, but my first couple years I was, I took a camera and a GoPro, [00:59:00] like a, a handy cam and a GoPro, and that was it, and made some great videos that way. I think it teaches you to, to be better with storytelling.
And I, I think people underestimate the, the, the importance of storytelling. Like the shot is really good to get on film, like show a video of a deer getting shot. That's great. People watch my videos, even if I don't get the shot on film, because the storyline is still there. Like you're literally still, everything is the exact same.
You just might not get a shot on camera if I wasn't able to get it on the in print. So
Mitchell Shirk: yeah, there's still something to take away from that. Mm-hmm.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. Yeah. And people still enjoy watching it. It doesn't, if you, if you tell the story good enough, your, your video doesn't suffer just because you didn't get the shot on the film.
If you tell the story good enough. So like, watching these people who are successful, um, [01:00:00] at doing it, watching how they're wording things and the shots that they are, and how they're describing where they're hunting and the situation and the times of the day that they're actually filming, like, watch those things and say, how could I translate that to my own hunting style and my own own?
My own video style that I'm gonna do. And, uh, man, I, that's, that's helped me a lot just watching how these people tell the storyline and not even with hunting necessarily. Like, you can do that with all kinds of, like, look at a movie. Any movie has like a conflict resolution. It has a climax in there somewhere.
Um, it has comic relief in it. Um, it'll have some intense moments like watch how, how these, uh, directors set up Hollywood movies and try to do your own version of that. Like have, show the problems that happen, [01:01:00] show the conflict that you're going through. Like, man, I can't flip and hit a deer to save my life right now.
Tanner Edin is a great example of this. Like he does a really good job of showing the, the conflict on his YouTube channel. Um, have bow wheel travel, and when he shows those things, it, it makes him. Appear vulnerable. It makes them appear like there's a weakness in his system. And no man, especially macho deer hunting men wanna do that.
They wanna act like they're the freaking best at everything. Mm-hmm. But the reality is, is people like watching somebody experience a conflict but also come up with a solution to the problem and they like watching, if I missed five deer, people wanna see that because it makes that one that I do hit when I did whenever I, whenever I finally kill one.
It makes it that much more just special and intense and viewers can feel that. [01:02:00] And that's one been one of the greatest things that I've ever done is say, I don't care if somebody wants to comment and say, need to work on your shooting, or need to work on feeling bigger deer, or You suck, or you know, all the stuff that freaking.
Mitchell Shirk: warriors do. Exactly. Yeah.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. You can. All that stuff. Like, I'm gonna put myself in a place that sets me up, up for a successful video sets me up. Cause the reality is, is most of those people watch the video still. You know, like even the people who have crap to say, they still gave you a view and they gave you a comment.
So at the end of the day, that is what you're, you are trying to get the engagement, um, promise you, Denzel Washington has critics, but you think Denzel Washington may do anything to be living life that Denzel Washington lives. Yeah. But he's also got critics. He's also got people that are, that are talking bad about him and his entire [01:03:00] family, you know, whatever.
That was the most random example I could think of. Denzel Washington. Um, but, but seriously, like you, you create a storyline that gives people the opportunity to agree with you, to disagree with you, to celebrate with you. To ridicule you. Like all of those things are good engagement, regardless of that.
They hurt your feelings or your mom's feelings. Like they are good engagement and that's what you're looking for. Like, you don't want, I don't want everybody to watch my video and say Great book, and then that's it. Then it's over. Like, I want them to say, bro, what the heck are you doing? Like that? That was dumb.
That was a dumb thing. And I respond, well, the reason why it was appeared to be dumb is because I ran into so-and-so and they told me to go over here to this area and blah, blah, blah. And then you've got this, these threads of engagement that you're getting that are just pushing your video like [01:04:00] all over the place.
I've shot small bucks just for the specific, like I shot that small buck in North Dakota. Mm-hmm. Because I wanted a picture of a deer, regardless of what side I wanted a picture of a, a deer on top of the tiny Chevy Spark. Rental car that I got, um, for that trip. Like I wanted that picture so bad. I didn't care if it was a doughy or a big buck.
Like at the, the last day of the trip, I was gonna shoot the first I saw. And guess what? I got my picture. And guess what? Also I got, I got ridiculed for it. So, but you know what? People watched it and they remember it. And I had a great time and the experience was not at all hindered by the fact that I shot a, it was increased because I got do what I wanted to do.
Man, I shoot deer in September, Vel on top, shoebox car, car, like, um, and I feel like I'm rambling on it a little bit, but I think it, it is very important to, to remain [01:05:00] vulnerable, transparent, and show the actual thing that happened.
Mitchell Shirk: Well, the, the thing, I can't stand anymore. Like I've watched there, there's certain channels I, I watch because of the people, but like the.
You, you like, if you, if you read into this stuff, you know that parts of the show are just bogus. It's not truthful. It's staged. Yeah. And, uh, I, I, I think the thing I love about your channel and a lot of the other channels that you just named is, it's real time, it's uncut. It's the truth. It's, it's the way it is.
And I can relate to that because, um, man, nothing about my hunting is, is anything staged, that's for sure. And I have way more blunders, and I think that's why most people, you know, don't even wanna bother bringing the camera in the first place. Because, you know, I think back to, you know, I, I hunted all season last year and, uh, missed one buck, one mature buck, didn't get it done.
And, uh, that was it. That was the only encounter with the mature buck [01:06:00] that I had. And, uh, I, I mean, I think about that, like you said about. Be good at killing deer first and then consider it. Well, I I, I'm probably gonna go my whole hunting career and I'm never gonna be like, you know what? I, I think I'm at the point now where I'm really good at killing mature deer.
I think I'm gonna, I, I just don't think my mindset is ever gonna get to that. Um, even though it would be something cool to contribute, what there's, there's a ton we could probably cover, and we're, we're, we're yammering about this for a long time, and I love it. I, uh, watching you with a saddle and, and the camera setups I've seen guys use with the saddle, like, in my mind, that actually looks harder than out of a tree stand.
I don't know if it is, but like watching the way you set it up and, and I'm, I'm relating this to the way, you know, my experience with saddle hunting. Like I've, I am no expert saddle hunting. I'm very, very much a novice and I've only used it, um, sparingly on public [01:07:00] land. Where it, it fit the shoe kind of deal.
And what I've grown, uh, really, really comfortable doing is using a ring of steps. I like that maneuverability around the tree and kind of using the tree for covering this and that. And, uh, you use a, a platform and a lot of people have gravitated towards using a platform. Um, maybe that makes it easier because you are stationary.
You just might not have the same maneuverability. I mean, what's been your experience with your camera angles and that, like, are, are you just thinking ahead of time when you set that tree up? Like, I have to have my camera arm set up this way because I'm expecting deer moving to come this way. I mean, I'm thinking too on that weak side shot, and I'm assuming a lot of time your camera's all on the weak side.
Like, it just looks like it's a lot going on when I look at a camera angle in, in your show and a lot of other people's show.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. So, um, it really isn't that bad. I, I still have 360 degree shooting capability. [01:08:00] Around my tree. Um, usually if I'm gonna use some saddle hunter lingo here. So anybody who's not a saddle hunter may not quite understand it.
Um, but when you're set up looking straight forward at the tree, I'm going where I want the wind to blow to is gonna be about at my four o'clock. Right? So, so kind of the weak side, weak side behind me just a little bit. That's kinda where I'm setting up to say I don't want a deer to come from that direction because already that's gonna be my hardest as a
Mitchell Shirk: right-handed shooter.
Parker McDonald: As a right-handed shooter, as it's my four o'clock. I, I'm already limited by this camera here. Um, so I'm just gonna try to make my wind go that way. And if I, if at all possible, that's gonna be my least likely place a deer is gonna come from. Um, that's not to say that it never happens. It definitely happens where they come from that direction, but you know, you just kind of.
You [01:09:00] try to adapt and you try to set up for that shot. Um, here's how I set up. I have my camera arm set up. I use the long wolf custom gear pocket arm. I have it set up about waist level. Um, when I'm standing straight up on my platform, it, the camera ends up sitting up just a little bit higher than that.
And so it's kind of right there at my comfortable, you know, comfortable to get it around the tree in between me and the tree, between my stomach and the tree if I need to. Um, sometimes I can pull it up underneath my bridge. Um, I have full maneuverability, maneuverability of my camera when it's in that spot.
Um, but what the way I set up my platform and my stick, my stick, my top step of my stick is parallel, or is that the right word? It's even with the, the platform. So, so if I have my platform, Coming out, [01:10:00] you're gonna see it a little bit different. If it's coming outta the tree, I'll put the stick on the left side, even with the top of the platform.
So basically what I have is I can walk all the way around that left side of the tree to shoot around the tree, still have not get in the way of my camera and shoot that weak side area, shoot to my right. Um, and that's, that's pretty much how I always set it up. If it's a skinny tree, then I may not do it that way on a skinny tree cuz I can just kind of push off of my platform mm-hmm.
And shoot around the tree. But most of the time I'm gonna have that top step of the top stick, even with my platform. So I can walk around the tree similar to the same concept as like a, a ring of steps. You have a half a ring of steps basically. And if you have a half, if, if, if you can walk half of that tree diameter, then you can pretty much shoot.
Anywhere, any, any, any [01:11:00] shot outta that tree. So that's kind of how I'm always set. And I've never had any issue filming out of a saddle. I have had issues filming out of a tree stand. Um, okay. I shot a deer in Kentucky last year, um, on my buddy's lease. So long story, I missed a giant buck on public. I shot a, a good one on public the day before and didn't recover it.
And so I was kind of in a bad place. My buddy's like, Hey, go help my lease. It'd be easy, you can find a spot. Ended up shooting a buck on, on that lease and I was in one of his tree stands, trying to set up my dang camera and do everything. And like, dude, it was a cluster. It was terrible. Um, because I wasn't used to it.
So that goes to my next point of like, if you will set up a system, if you will figure out your system for filming, regardless of what you're using, it might be a tree stand. It might be a saddle, whatever, if you're hunting on the ground, find the [01:12:00] system and work it to death. Like figure out how it works the best way and get the best, um, the best bang for your block, I guess, uh, with your, with your filming system.
There's, there's easy, if I, if I film from a tree stand a hundred percent of the time, I would probably say, yeah, man, filming from tree stands easy. Saddle hunting is where you get hard at because that's just, you know, that's what I'm Right,
Mitchell Shirk: that's what you've grown accustomed.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. You just learn how to do it.
Mitchell Shirk: Like I've, and you said about creating a system as I was listening to, you go through with all your different cameras, your camera angles, your batteries, this and that. Like I have a heck of a time throughout certain parts of the season, like as the seasons are changing, the temperatures are changing. Like I might be packing different clothing.
I might have a walk, like finding a system just with my hunting gear in the first place. Like that's a chore in and of itself for me. So like you add in the, the camera side of things. Yeah. Like in order to be EF efficient with that, um, the last question I really had, [01:13:00] and I I, you don't need to go too long on this one, but I, I mean, where would you get anybody started on editing?
Because that is huge. I, I mean, that's the biggest part of it. And there's a lot of people that would point a camera and shoot and not have a clue what they're doing with it afterwards. And like, it's, that's probably where a lot of the, uh, the people get lost in the weeds.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. Editing is, uh, I, I don't enjoy it.
You know what I mean? Like, it's one of those things like every once in a while I'll have a video like the Gator hunt that I just did. That was a fun edit. Like I was literally excited about editing that video. Um, a lot of times, especially self film hunts, you're having to really work hard in the edit process to make sure it flows right.
And because you're filming, you're the cameraman and the hunter and the subject of the whole thing. So it's, it, it can be hard work to make it, [01:14:00] um, to make it good. And I, the way that I say is don't, don't get crazy with it. Learn basics. YouTube is your friend in learning how to do anything these days. So go and say like, basic video editing for stupid people.
Like type that into YouTube. Um, and somebody has come up with, Something to, to show you how to get started on editing, whether it's in iMovie or Adobe Premiere, or Adobe Rush, or, you know, final cut, whatever. Um, there's something there for you. So I would say do that. Don't get carried away. Just make simple things.
I, I think, uh, uh, watch channels like, uh, Catman Outdoors, um, Catman is insane because his videos are [01:15:00] so good and he doesn't have a background in video editing. Like, he's, he's not ever doing anything crazy, fancy, you know, it, it's pretty entry level as far as his edits and like, stuff are concerned. But his storylines are always so good.
Um, his content is good. He's teaching you things, um, and he's like, watch guys like that, and be like, okay, he's not doing anything crazy. He's not a Hollywood producer. Right. He's just a guy with a camera and he is learned how to film a style that works for him and watch people like that man, and, and make it just grow in it.
Make a vi make your first video. All you do is just cut stuff and put it in a timeline and go and export it. Um, that's the easiest way to do it. And sometimes I have videos that I do even still where I'm like, man, I didn't even do anything to this, but the, the storyline was so good. You didn't have to, um, [01:16:00] you know, and then just grow from that.
Like, so you got your first video done and you're like, that's cool. Maybe you watch one of my videos and you're like, Hey, I love how he used some like graphic, uh, graphic design type stuff, or I love the, the animation of his transitions or whatever. Then go to YouTube how to make a, how to make a jumpy glitchy.
Transition between shots in Premier Pro, somebody's made a video on that, on how to do it. And that's how I learned, man. I was just gradually learning. I learned basic stuff, was proud of it. Then I decided I wanted to learn how to do something a little bit different. So I would Google how to do that, figure it out, do that for a while.
Then, I mean, by the end of it, you can, you know, hopefully the goal is, is that you have a video that looks as good as anything real trees put down. Um, and, and most of those [01:17:00] people, they just learned, they learned on their own. Uh, I know a lot of guys in the filming world of hunting and most of them don't have a formal education in it.
They just taught themselves. They just kinda had an eye for it. They knew what they wanted and they knew how to put it into words. And they would write it down in Google and Google would teach 'em
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. How to do it. School hard knocks. Yeah, it's, it's. When I think about the level of detail that I try to put into shooting a mature buck, and then adding all of what you just talked about with a camera and then making that a cinema, you know, you know, uh, uh, what's, oh my God, I can't even say the word.
I want to use the cinematic. Yeah, cinematic, thank you. Making it a cinematic thing for people to view like that just, it just overwhelms me. It really does. Because I mean, I think about the things that go into some of the deer I've killed and then adding that one more layer in, I don't know if I would've had the capacity to get it [01:18:00] done in that case.
But, um, you know,
Parker McDonald: to that, like, I would say this, it, you'll learn very quick if you've got it. Like if you've got the bug or if you just want a little bit of recognition and don't know how to do it. And, and I don't mean that, I don't know, I don't mean that like negatively. Mm-hmm. Like everybody, every kid that loves deer hunting watches these guys on YouTube and they're like, I wanna do that, you know?
Who doesn't wanna be a movie star, who doesn't wanna be a professional athlete, who doesn't wanna be recognized for doing something great? We all do. But some people just haven't found that thing yet. So like, some people are gonna listen to this podcast, they're gonna go by a camera and they're gonna be like, crap, I hate every part of this.
And if that's you, then don't do it. You know, like, just don't do it. Maybe if you want, if you wanna build a brand, maybe start a podcast, see if that's the thing. Or start a t-shirt company, make some cool designs for a t-shirt, or, you know, [01:19:00] whatever. Like there's, there's all kinds, there's guys out there right now who are not doing anything in the digital space, but everybody knows their name in the hunting world.
Um, because they're just good beer hunters. Maybe that's, maybe that's who you, you wanna be, you know, be the guy that is a guest on every podcast or like, whatever. Um, don't do it if it's not fun. Like for me, it is actually fun. I have frustrating moments and there's, uh, an amount of work that goes into it that maybe I don't always like.
But man, it, the payoff is, is amazing. I love watching that last, that final edit of a video and the uploading it to YouTube and watching what people say about it. Like, it is so much fun for me, um, to where like, man, if I shoot, I, I haven't shot a deer that I just didn't film anything on in a long time, but I don't think the experience would be the same for me if I [01:20:00] didn't have a camera.
Like I, I, I really, really value being able to go back and watch videos. Like my dad, um, he hunts with me every year and uh, I'm pretty excited about it this year cuz he was gonna get to hunt together a little bit more. But the first couple times that we shot a deer together, one of us killed a deer and I was, had started filming hunts and dad was like, this is stupid.
Can we just go back to camp already? My God, do you have to get that last video clip? Do you have to get that drone shot of the deer in the boat? Like he was getting so frustrated a couple times because like for him it doesn't, like he loves watching the videos and stuff, but for me, like that's such a big part of it.
I'm gonna spend two hours after I kill a buck guarantee I'm gonna spend two hours in the woods getting cool shots. [01:21:00] Like it's just gonna happen. I'm gonna sit down, I'm gonna take good shots, I'm gonna take my time. I've got til dark. You know, like if I've got til dark, then I might up all that time. As long as I get home at a decent hour today, like I'm gonna use up all that time.
And, uh, because that shot is so valuable to me, but whereas, you know, when I go with pretty much, it's not just my dad, pretty much anyone else that doesn't film, they're like, can we just go, can we leave? No, no, we gotta make this thing good. I just, I see there's so much value in it for me, I go back every season and watch all my videos again, especially the ones with me and my dad.
I know one day, whenever he is dead and gone, I'm gonna really find a whole lot of value in being able to watch those hunts together. Um, and, and, and that's important to me. Like the views are cool and, you know, I wanna do this one day for a living and that's all good and grand, but [01:22:00] man, the whole experience of being able to go back and relive it is, is unmatched for me.
I love it.
Mitchell Shirk: And I, I, I think I'm going to wrap my final thought up on the whole thing in this general sense that. You gotta do what you want to do because you want to do it and don't be doing it for anybody else. Um, you, you're, you're filming hunts in a way, you're filming for people, but you're doing it because it's what you want to do.
You're not, you're not, nobody's forcing you to do this kind of deal. You know, I think about that in any aspect of hunting. Like, I just, I just, uh, responded to an email about, uh, an episode that Josh Rayley from, uh, Wisconsin Sportsman, and I just did, we were talking about managing, uh, managing your, your priorities in life in conjunction with, with all your, your hunting, your, your passion of hunting.
And you know, Josh and I, and you know, you're the [01:23:00] same way. Like we're all. I, I try to live, you know, God, family, friends, you know, and put, put my priorities first. Then somewhere down the line is, is hunting. And it's, it's easy to say. It doesn't always get well executed. Yeah. But, um, you know, I, I responded to this guy, you know, he was, he was appreciating that episode and I just said, you know, I said, there are times when I sit back and I just think, man, I wanna be like the biggest badass bow hunter, getting it done, all this, all this and that, and push this content.
But at the end of the day, the truth and the reality is, it's not me. It's just not going to be, I'm gonna do the best that I can with my ability and what my passion is. And, and I'm gonna, you know, you know, especially with this podcast, I mean, I wanna do the, the best I can with our show, but at the end of the day, whatever that looks like for you, and you could go down any rabbit hole you wanted from the type of deer you shoot, the type of equipment you shoot, where you hunt, how you hunt.
It's just, do you And have fun with it.
Parker McDonald: Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead and have fun. And I think that's why like, [01:24:00] I think that's why my videos resonate with people. Um, I think that's anybody who you see who's doing well in the video space, it you, you can obviously tell that they're enjoying it. Like people, that stuff's contagious through those videos.
People experience it the way you do. If all you're doing is sitting there being pissed off at yourself or, um, being mad or you're not having a good time, people are gonna tell that. And you're not gonna do very well in that space. And it, it's gonna translate. So like, go out and have a pond. That's the, that's the number one thing to do.
It's like, go out and enjoy the time that you get to spend. And if that's with a camera, then great. And if it's not and you figure that out, like it's not that, it's not wrong. Nobody, everybody doesn't have to be a content creator. Like some of us just can go out and enjoy it. And that's okay too. You betcha.
Mitchell Shirk: Parker, uh, you got, uh, probably some stuff going on here to [01:25:00] get ready for your trip tomorrow and probably some last minute family time here. I don't want to take any more of your time than, uh, than I have to. I really appreciate you, appreciate you coming on chatting about us, chatting about your season, chatting about, you know, hunting, mature bucks, and, uh, talk about filming hunts because it's, uh, it's definitely a hot topic now.
Parker McDonald: Yeah, absolutely ma'am. I appreciate you having me on. And yeah, I've got a, I've got a, uh, like I said, that first deer hunt in the season coming up this week and I'm leaving tomorrow and it's gonna be rough, 90 degree temperatures, um, sunny the whole time. Mosquitoes ticks, but I get to use a rifle for this hunt, which is kinda cool really to use.
Use a rifle rifle for this hunt this August, uh, velvet hunt in certain zones in Tennessee, the CWD areas you can, you can use rifle on. Interesting. It's a cool opportunity. You know, I have a buddy a couple years ago, uh, one of the co-hosts on the show [01:26:00] actually killed 164 inch buck on public land, the opening day of the velvet hunt.
So it's like anything is possible on this hunt. Like you legit have a chance of being able to kill a world class white belt. Um, more than likely you're not, more than likely you're not gonna see anything cause it's hot and stupid and miserable. But there's a good, like, if you see a buck, there's a good chance it could be a good one before they're, they're really, uh, pressured.
So I've got a lot to get ready. I'm trying to figure out if I'm on a saddle hunt or ground hunt or anything like that. I gotta get all my cable stuff done, but
Mitchell Shirk: that's exciting. I am, I am pumped up to see those videos because they'll be good. You know, the, the, the thing you brought up when you talked about heat me skis and everything else, the one reason I could probably never be a really, really good hunter, especially in the south.
Is I cannot stand snakes.
Parker McDonald: Yeah, they're they're real out here. I mean you, uh, yeah, I hunted North Dakota last year [01:27:00] and they were like, yeah, we don't have snakes. It's like, what? So I can just walk through this palm grass and not have to watch my stuff? It's out here, dude. It's like, I mean, I don't, I've never been bit by a snake or anything like that, but they're there, you know?
You just gotta be careful. Yeah.
Mitchell Shirk: Well, good deal. Hey, good luck and, uh, can't wait to see you get it done. So good luck this season. I appreciate
Parker McDonald: it. Thank you.