KC Smith and Tyler Jones admit they’re different. Smith says he’s “high strung” and that Jones is “laid back.” Smith talks 90-to-nothing sometimes and Jones listens before diving in. They have common ground, though, in their love of the outdoors, Christian faith and diehard desire each autumn to chase whitetail deer in different states.
Smith and Jones are hosts of The Element, a popular YouTube channel with about 36,000 subscribers, and a podcast of the same name. They’re from Texas, two Lone Star State guys who love the vastness of the western part of the state along with the rolling Hill Country in the east. Jones played safety for Southern Methodist University in Dallas and was the lead singer of a band when Smith’s wife saw his social media post looking for a fellow fly-fishing angler.
“It’s my wife’s fault we’re together,” Smith said. “She showed me his post in March 2016 and I didn’t have a clue who he was, but we met and started fishing and things took off. We’re Christian believers and have common ground in that. If we have disagreements we just want what is best for each other and whatever we’re doing, and we get down to that. Honestly, that really helps us in deer hunting, too. If we disagree on a tactic or approach, we don’t get mad but understand that we’re trying to be as successful in the deer woods as possible.”
Jones concurs, adding that, “If you take the words in the Bible seriously and it’s how we both approach it, it’s not for our glory. I trust in the providential will of God and if we don’t kill a deer all season and someone thinks we’re terrible deer hunters, that’s what I roll with.”
After Jones and Smith met and started fishing, they started talking about and planning road trips. They once drove 16 hours to Arizona to fly fish for a day and a half before returning to east Texas. They could’ve spent all that time on famed Lake Fork, near where Smith grew up, targeting giant bass, crappie and panfish. But the trip, and others like it, was worth it as their relationship as friends, Christians and hunters developed.
Today, they’re enjoying life and whatever comes along their path. As hunters and anglers, deer are the focus of their videos and podcasts. But they’re not one-track hunters.
“If I can chase it and figure it out, I’m after it,” Jones said. “One reason we like to hang out so much is we’re the same about that. If we can get after something, try to figure it out and learn about it or pattern it, and then hunt or catch it, and it’s interesting, we’re going to do it.”
Smith concurred, adding that his love of spot-and-stalk for feral pigs and the ample number of those in Texas gives them year-round hunting opportunities. Both of them love gardening and growing heirloom tomatoes. They’re both big bowhunters. Several of their videos are of flinging arrows at big boars and sows. Smith said he spent “a lot of time on the Gulf coast fly fishing for redfish, trout and going after flounder in the bays, too. It would be hard for me to pick hunting or fishing if I had to choose.”
How The Element Uses Cell Cameras For Success
Throughout their travels in Texas and elsewhere to film and hunt, Smith and Jones typically aren’t without a handful of Moultrie Edge cameras. They primarily hunt on public land and, in some instances, will drive around a state to seek better hunting or a different spot if the weather’s bad, they get a tip or just have a wild hair to see new land.
When they have time on these trips, an Edge gives them an advantage.
“We definitely have to camouflage the camera well if we’re on public land because you never know what could happen, but with the cell cameras it seems like fewer of those get stolen or messed with,” Jones said. “They send the images right to your phone and so sometimes we get photos of someone waving at the camera.
“Honestly, I think we maybe use the cameras more on our feeders to see when the pigs are moving through more than anything. Pigs are weird, cyclical and will go after the best food sources depending on the season. So, when they’re moving through and hit a feeder, we can kind of pattern their times and get out there within a couple of days to hunt them.”
Both said that for deer, using their Edge cameras in the post-season seems more helpful. That may sound strange but when hunting public land, especially, it gives them a leg up on the next season. They are mindful of regulations about using cameras on public lands. Some states have begun prohibiting or restricting cell cameras in some hunting seasons. Smith and Jones are vigilant about checking the requirements and laws on their use.
“We use them to identify potential shooters, bedding areas and travel corridors,” Smith said. “Plus, if you’re hanging cameras to get ideas for next season you’re probably putting them in high-value areas where a stand would go. So, you’re thinking about the effort it takes to get in and out, potential trees for stands and all that. You may find some oaks still dropping acorns after the rut and later in the season, or possibly even after the season. Those are good areas to remember, obviously. You’re getting images right now, hopefully, that you can use the following season.”
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