“I’ve always tried to get the kids interested in the outdoors, and I don’t push it on them,” White said. “I ask them if they want to go hunting or fishing. If they say no, I don’t push the issue. I know that pushing the issue with a child who doesn’t want to do something or be somewhere, that can push them away quicker than anything else. I have two teenagers who have killed deer but I think if they don’t again, it wouldn’t bother them. They’re involved with other things right now. That’s fine.”
White grew up being outdoors and hunting with his father, who he says now “is smitten with the grandkids.” He grew up hunting and fishing, like many young boys, with whatever was in season or biting at the time being the target. Deer captured his attention, though, in the steep hills and cold hollows of Virginia and West Virginia. The whitetails there are wary, perhaps a bit more wary thanks to the thermals — and scent — in the mountains. For hunters, especially bowhunters, thermals can present a constant challenge.
After graduating high school, Britton got a degree in radiology from Bluefield State University. The West Virginia-Virginia state line splits the town of Bluefield. He worked for a year after that at a hospital, where his supervisor encouraged him to continue his education at the University of Virginia. White operated the machine that takes computerized tomography (CT) scans of the body. These cross-section images, known as slices, can be studied individually or used to create a 3D image studied by specialists to examine or diagnose issues.
“I wasn’t so sure about that idea, to be honest, but he was pretty persistent and I finally realized it would be a good thing,” White said. “I had a knack for running the old CT scanner, and it was really old. So, I went to the University of Virginia and got my degree there, and have worked for the UVA health system for 18 years.”
With a full-time job and five children, White and his wife are constantly busy. Add the MDE Outdoors component to the mix and it’s non-stop from before daylight until after dark. White said his team’s focus is faith, family and hunting, with an emphasis on getting kids involved in the outdoors. “We hunt whatever season’s open,” he said.
White said the MDE Outdoors team tries to appeal to viewers by hunting local property, either leased, with permission or on public land. By doing this, he says, “I think we’re able to offer a similar experience and relate to them. That was my goal when we started, to put out something people can relate to and understand.”
When it’s time for a break, though, he cuts the cord.
“What do I like to do with the kids – and it’s not hunting related — is we love going to watch baseball games from the majors to farm teams,” he said. “I’m a big Atlanta Braves fan from back in the 80s, and we have a Double-A team in Richmond. We spend several nights down there getting away and watching them play.
“As long as we’re outside doing something together — kicking a ball, shooting a bow, being on the patio, being a little competitive with a game — that’s good. Doing that gives me a break from the MDE side of thinking about filming, who needs to go where, schedules and other stuff. During hunting season I’m solely focused on hunting and the show, putting people in the right places, and outside of that I want a break. You have to have a balance with your family. You have to give them the freedom to do some things they like to do, and find that balance.”
White said anyone thinking about doing an “easy outdoors show” should think twice, and especially if you have a wife and family.
“I’d say the best advice might be to find an alligator, take it into a phone booth and fight with it,” he said. “It takes a lot of time, dedication and money. The hold it can take on a family can sometimes not be good. It can cause arguments between husbands and wives. If you have people working with you, it can cause problems with those relationships. When you go into something like this, everyone involved has to be on board and understand the whole thing. You’re going to be gone a lot filming a lot, editing a lot, on social media, you’re going to not pay attention to your family sometimes as much as you should, and it definitely will cause problems if you don’t do it the right way.
If you’re willing to put in the time, effort and dedication, give it a shot. If you think you can just crawl up in a tree and it’s a piece of cake, don’t even bother trying. There’s so much more involved with it … I’ve been in this for eight years and am still learning every day. Best thing to do is find balance and you can make it work well. If you can’t find that balance, you’re probably not going to get it worked out.”
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