We spoke with David Holder from Outdoor Channel's 'Raised Hunting' to find out about a very special episode airing October 15 at 11:30 am ET.
David Holder, no matter what he's doing, is thinking about bowhunting. That was apparent throughout our recent conversation with one of the stars of 'Raised Hunting,' Outdoor Channel's excellent portrayal of how hunting can bring families together for the good of everyone.
Holder cut out some time from his hunting season preparations to reflect on the show, and specifically the newest episode, airing this Saturday at 11:30 am ET on Outdoor Channel. Entitled "HOPE," the episode takes a rare look at how being affected by something as painful as cancer can cause a positive change in perspective.
David quickly shared his tremendous pride in the full third season of 'Raised Hunting' and talked about how the show has progressed.
"Season 1 went really well. We won a few awards, even from the Outdoor Channel," he said. "Season 2, it was still kind of 'Okay, they liked it, we gotta do it again.' But Season 3 we were really ready for. We had our legs underneath us, and we believe, without a doubt, this is by far the best season of episodes we've aired. Both in the cinematography we've put forward, and the storylines that are there, and then the way that we've put them together. It's really like watching 13 miniature movies."
He gets a kick out the folks who send photos of 'Raised Hunting' stickers on their trucks and t-shirts sporting the show's logo. He admits the audience has already developed into a community, made up of likeminded followers who can relate to a family like the Holders.
"It's more of a culture that people are proud of being a part of, and we're proud to have them," said Holder.
Reaching those people, with not only great hunting television, but also important messages, is what Holder seems to hold most precious. That led us to the discussion on "HOPE" and the story behind it.
The episode is so interesting "not because David Mitchell kills the largest deer that any of us have ever shot, in this family or anything we're connected with," Holder said, but for a different reason altogether.
Take a minute to let that sink in. A hunting television show captured tremendous footage of the biggest deer anyone in the family had ever harvested, and that's not even the strongest, most meaningful aspect. How common is that?
"The episode is really about one of my best friends and his wife, and their battle with breast cancer," Holder shared. "We just didn't think we could do justice to this. It's just such a sensitive story, and it affects so many people."
When discussing the possibility of not airing the biggest buck taken by the 'Raised Hunting' team, Holder said, "Absolutely. if the story can't be told correctly, it shouldn't be done."
"At that point, it just seemed to all fall in place," he said.
Holder spoke more about Tammy, Mitchell's wife, and knew that her role in the story was bigger than the deer's.
"I don't want to say she didn't care for hunting, but she didn't care that her husband and I spent as much time doing it together as we did," he said. "Going from that place to then realizing, after this whole battle, that 'My husband needs to go do things, too.' Not only did she allow it, but she actually pushed David Mitchell to come hunting with me, and go have that time, because she realizes, probably more so than any of us, how important each and every day is."
The outcome of the experience doesn't end with just a great episode, either. Holder filled us in on the pink arrow wraps that 'Raised Hunting' has started offering, and the meaning behind them.
"How can I get involved? How can I help someone who, maybe I don't know their story?" Holder asked himself. "So that's what we did, we came up with the arrow wraps, that are pink in color, and people can wrap their arrows to show that they know someone fighting the fight. You can represent and make the statement, 'I'm not going to forget what you're going through.'"
The wraps can be found on RaisedHunting.com, and David encourages bowhunters to try them out, share them with other hunters, and show the support. His entire family will be carrying them this season.
Holder also talked about the importance of introducing kids to hunting and the outdoors, sharing some interesting thoughts that aren't always fully voiced. His own involvement in hunting camps has taught him that it's okay if kids don't show extreme interest in the outdoors. A base understanding is sometimes all you can get.
"What we're hoping is that they're shown, at an early age, what hunting's all about," he said. "Then, even if they grow up and decide they don't actually want to shoot animals themselves, they'll be an advocate or a supporter of hunting."
His own kids, uniquely placed in a spotlight that most young hunters will never see, seem to be following David's example. He commented on how he stresses humility and appreciation, so that his kids have a better understanding about the world of hunting.
"The thing that worries me is that this will become easy for my kids," he said. "I hope they'll always appreciate what they're blessed with. One of the things that seems to have happened, not to everyone, thank goodness, but he size of an animal has become such a... well, if it's not a big rack, you don't shoot it, right? And I'm worried that my boys will get caught up in that, and that will be the only thing we'll be looking for."
That's the kind of fatherly advice any young hunter could spare to hear. Holder said his show's main objective is to keep positive stories in the world of hunting, and if you ask us, he's achieving that.