Shooting straight with Old St. Nick about his complicated relationship with venison, staying warm in the sleigh, and whether or not fanning turkeys gets you on the naughty list
Realtree recently signed a pro-staff deal with Santa Claus, making our patterns the Official Camo of Christmas and giving us direct access to the man himself — who many don’t realize is an avid outdoorsman. Santa particularly enjoys bowhunting, duck hunting, and catching catfish in the spring. We recently sat down with him to chat hunting and the outdoors, and though the conversation didn’t go exactly as planned, we did learn that Santa is definitely one of us.
Team Realtree: First of all, thank you for taking some time from what must be a busy schedule, two weeks before Christmas.
Santa: Dude, I make 7.8 billion stops in a night and manage to squeeze down some pretty tight chimneys in the process. That’s busy. Plus, I’ve got people. Talking about hunting for a little bit while the elves are packing the sleigh and hauling some protein feed to the reindeer is no thing.
Team Realtree: Thank you very much. So, I want to ask…
Santa: I’ve actually got a question for you.
Team Realtree: Sure, go for it!
Santa: Have you ever met Bill Jordan? Like, in person. He’s been asleep every time I’ve stopped by.
Team Realtree: The Boss Man? Of course. Would you like an autograph or something?
Santa: Really, I wanted to ask if maybe I could bring a couple of my cousins with me to hunt Realtree Farms next fall, now that I’m on the pro staff. See, we don’t have a real good place to go up there at the North Pole, and it seems like there’s plenty of bucks down there in Georgia. We don’t need to kill anything giant. A 3-year-old 10-pointer or something would be just fine.
Team Realtree: Well, I’m afraid I can’t answer that for Bill, but will be sure to pass it along. So anyway, back to our questions. I wanted to ask about your relationship with eating venison, which would seem complicated, given that …
Santa: I’m serious, and I’m happy to pitch in some added value to be able to hunt that place. Do you know how fast 34 elves can fill feeders and check trail cameras? I haven’t timed it myself, but it’s quick.
Team Realtree: I promise I will pass that message along. So anyway…
Santa: Now Buddy the Elf, well, he should probably stay up here when we come down to work. Lots of quit in that one. But Hermey can…
Team Realtree: By Hermey, you mean the misfit who wanted to be a dentist?
Santa: Look, it’s 2022, and we don’t call any elves misfits anymore. But all Hermey wants to do is look at teeth, and that is admittedly weird. But he can jawbone-age a deer better than anyone. He’s all the time aggravating Comet to examine the dentine rings on his bicuspids.
Team Realtree: OK, we will let Bill know on all of that, too. So, back to our questions. What would…
Santa (pulls out his cell phone): Hey, check this out, it’s a buck I shot down in Alabama last year. I usually go down there after work, since the rut gets going good in January and there’s not much for us to do then anyway, except keep an eye on the naughty list. He wasn’t the biggest deer out there, but he filled the freezer. What do you think he’ll score?
Team Realtree: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 92, 93…
Santa: Dude, I thought you worked for Realtree and knew how to eyeball a deer held close to a camera lens. My cousin measured him at 149 and some change with the ruler on his Leatherman, plus I shot him on public land. That adds inches to a score, don’t you think?
Team Realtree: I don’t think that’s really how it works, but I’m sure…
Santa (pulls two lumps of coal from pocket, rolls them in his hand): Hmm, I see where some of these haters come from. Let’s get on with it. You say you had some questions for me?
Team Realtree: Yes. Our readers love to know about the rut, and I think they’d be interested in the reindeer peak up at the North Pole, and whether or not any of the fawns have glowing noses?
Santa: Look, I’ve been thinking, and I’d be willing to just turkey hunt on Realtree Farms, if Bill would be more comfortable with that? I know Tyler and some of his buddies hunt there, too, and I don’t want to interfere with them. That Waddell and Culpepper both seem like good kids.
They can hunt there after I get my birds, for sure, and I’d even be willing to call for them if they want. In fact, all those boys might get a little more under the tree if they’d quit all that fanning nonsense and try to kill a turkey the right way.
Team Realtree: We really try to avoid those controversies over hunting tactics here at Realtree. We just want everyone to have a good time and be safe…
Santa: I can see why, with Michael Pitts on the payroll. I know when he’s been sleeping, I know when he’s awake, and I for sure know when he hops that fence to crawl 300 yards across the neighbor’s pasture.
Team Realtree: OK, I think maybe we should shift gears to…
Santa: Pitts should at least turn off the tracking feature on his onX before he does that stuff.
Team Realtree: Noted. Pitts did post a statement last year, saying he doesn’t poach turkeys anymore. Maybe you saw it?
Santa: Yes, everyone saw it. But I know what I know.
Team Realtree: OK, so back to my questions. When you’re in a sleigh at 30,000 feet, I assume that it’s even colder than being in a lock-on stand. I bet our readers would love some tips on layering for that, since…
Santa (pulls out phone again): Would you like to see a picture of the trophy catfish I caught last March?
Team Realtree: Wow, that’s a beauty. What’d he weigh, 17 or 18 pounds?
Santa: We didn’t have a scale, but the guy who owns the pay lake guessed him at 30 or 35. I’d have said a little bigger. He bit a hot dog, tight-lined on the bottom.
Team Realtree: Nice. Those catfish are some fine eating.
Santa (removes glasses): This one was a trophy, released to fight another day.
Team Realtree: Yes, of course. Released back into the pay lake?
Santa: Yes, immediately after we finished our photo shoot for Instagram.
Team Realtree: OK, well maybe I should ask you about the new waterfowl pattern, then, MAX-7. I know you have a custom suit this year, and…
Santa: Sorry, son, but I’ve got to wrap it up now. Only two weeks to go until Christmas, and just three weeks to go until Alabama. You think the deer will be rutting good when we get there?
Team Realtree: Yes, sir, I’m sure they will. Merry Christmas. And welcome aboard to Team Realtree.