Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos

Appalachian Resilience

The Deer Hunter

I’m still trying to get the hang of this interview thing.

I convinced The Deer Hunter to let me interview him for the video I’m going to share today. He discusses his life and the common Appalachian trait of self-reliance.

We had a little bit of an issue with the sound so there’s some minor static, but hopefully you can still hear his voice.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about The Deer Hunter. Please share this post with anyone you know who might enjoy it—that would really help me out.

If you’d like to read about the Wild Man of Cataloochee we mention in the video go here.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    August 22, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    He is a “keeper”. Lucky you.

  • Reply
    Judy Lee Green
    August 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Enjoyed the interview very much. In fact, I always enjoy Blind Pig. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Christensen Bennett
    August 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I love this video, “meeting” your husband and learning about his life experiences which reflect Appalachia that he so loves. You are doing a great job with your questions. THANK YOU.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2020 at 1:03 am

    So appreciated this interview. (All of the interviews, too.) At age 81, I too, mourn the loss of freedom, self reliance, the importance of family, faith and community/friendships in today’s world. I have often mulled over the ‘why’ of those losses, but I have not come up with any answers. In the meantime, I treasure the sharing and community of this website and thank you, Tipper and Matt and your family for keeping it going and growing. And for all the fine folks who comment; you seem like my neighbors now.
    Blessings on all.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 21, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    Matthew Darren Pressley is the man every other Appalachian man aspires to be. He does what he likes to do. He provides food and shelter for his family. He gets along with his extended family as well as his friends and neighbors. He lets his wife and children have their head but knows he still has the reins. Secretly they too know who is in full control. He leads by example and consents to being led so long as it was along the path he had already chosen. He stands quiet where others bluster. His accomplishments stand for themselves! He is more of a renaissance man than a handyman. A handyman can do a multitude of things but none exceptionally. A renaissance man has many tallents but realizes his shortfalls. He is confident in his abilities but readily admits his limitations. Eagerness to learn is what gains him the ability to all he can do well. Academics are not his forte, not because he doesn’t want to learn but because he doesn’t want to be caught up in a classroom atmosphere where the goal is to teach to the average.
    I have never met Matt. Some day I hope I will for after all we are kin, 5th cousins. Even though, I feel I know him because he is the man I aspire to be although I am 20 years his elder.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    I believe that when I was a kid we got a well rounded education. education. Now high school diplomas are awarded to people with a fourth grade education. I don’t recall my dad ever encountering a problem he couldn’t handle or work around. I rarely hesitate to take a stab at repairing items that malfunction. Most people just throw it away and buy a new one. I figure I can repair or replace parts on almost anything. I grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s on a farm where we had to make do with what we had and what we grew. I also hunted and fished – usually alone. Just this week I fished for 3 days alone and really relaxed. I threw everything back – just enjoyed the solitude.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    August 21, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Deer Hunter, You hit a common thread here about growing up combing the woods and streams hunting and fishing from a boy on to today. I really enjoyed your interview

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I just got back from Dr. Eichenbaum’s office about my eyes. Got to go back the 31st. It’s a money thing. My daughter (youngest) experiences the same problem, coding for doctors.

    I was surprised to see Tipper interviewing her Husband, today. He’s a real good person. I was only 9 when I helped get my first Deer. Me and Daddy, a first cousin Bill Roper, and My brother Harold, heard Dogs running across Nantahala Lake and hurried to get Parked. The Dogs were on Dirty-John and we were on the other side of the Lake. From the top of a Mountain, Harold spotted that Sucker swimming the Lake. It was a Big one, but neither of us including Daddy had never seen a Deer in the Water, so we all ran close to the edge, but stayed in the trees so the Deer wouldn’t see us when he came out of the water. All we could see was two Horns and that was all. The Deer got about 8 feet from the bank and jumped the rest of the way, shook off the excess water, and we all let loose on that Booger, except Daddy. Harold put 7 out of Nine buckshot in him, I put two Punkin Balls in him, and Bill shot plum thru the deer with his 30-30.

    Daddy had told us Boys to aim Carefully, if we saw one. We field Dressed that thing right there in the Ivy thicket he was laying in, between Puckings from Daddy and Me. After we got it to the car, we took it to Hub Holloway’s. He said it was the biggest Deer he had ever seen. It had six or seven points on both big sides of the horns about 3/4 of an Inch long. Hub said that anything you can hang a ring on counted as a horn. It had twelve long horns, but school boys couldn’t afford to have it mounted. …Ken

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      August 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm

      That must of been a really big deer if it too ten chunks of lead to bring him down. My brother Harold shot a quail sitting in a laurel bush with a 7.62 Finn Cub he got from Sears. I saw an explosion of feathers but we didn’t find hide nor hair of the bird.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    I enjoyed your interview of Matt. I can relate on many things especially the hunting and fishing while growing up and didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to. Matt’s skills and work ethics are lost on the young generation. What are they going to do if we go into hard times. Maybe they will have use for us then.
    I got my mater raider. That huge groundhog had eat many of my tomatoes but got caught in a live trap.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I enjoyed the interview with the Deer Hunter.
    Definitely a man I would want by my side when push come to shove.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 21, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Reckon why I think Matt doesn’t mind his own company? I’m guessing he doesn’t care for crowds, except for maybe extended family. I feel pretty confident but if I got you wrong Matt, I apologize. Not my business to tell you how you feel but you remind me of someone I know better than anybody else.

    He reminds me of my Dad also. Dad was a handy man, a family man and a hunter and fisherman. He built most of the house I grew up in then another house in later years for his Mom. He built the barn and a camper, a coal house, workshop, a corn crib, the bed of his old Willy’s jeep truck, whatever he needed. He very much had the attitude of do-it-myself and not ask for help. I am nowhere near as handy but I have a big dose of the same attitude. One of his sayings was, “You can do what you have to.”

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 21, 2020 at 10:22 am

    The Deerhunter is a brave fellow. I’m not sure I’d agree to be interviewed by my wife; she’d know to ask the questions I wouldn’t want to answer.

    Matt’s observation regarding the loss of freedom for children is both true and tragic.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I enjoyed the interview with Matt. I could not help but “think too much” about the reasons Matt became such a well rounded capable man. Those days camping and hunting with his Dad were invaluable, even the quiet lessons on knot tying. Sometimes I get in trouble when I think too hard over my second cup of coffee 🙂 I am also reading in this why we are losing a whole generation of capable people. Back then most could not afford to buy entertainment, so folks made their own whether it be hunting, fishing, sewing, or throwing a ball in a hoop. Now it takes very little to entertain oneself for hours with all the social media.

    I found the story of the Wild Man of Cataloochee fascinating, because no better place than the hills and mountains to enjoy reclusiveness. This brings to mind an encounter I still ponder today. When I drove all over the mountain in sometimes four counties I ran across unusual situations. In adjoining Summers County there was a young man who looked like the pictures of Jesus we have become accustomed to. He even had the staff, and would sometimes walk along the road with his dog. I was so fascinated that I would inquire at a country store and from any neighbors willing to share information. He was so handsome and young that I set out to find out more about him. One story was that he was a rich young man who tired of the city and chaos, and decided to settle in the mountains. Another was that he had built a rustic cabin, and just did not want to be around people anymore. The last time I saw him, I was peering out a window at a patient’s home, and we saw him wrapped in what appeared to be a monk’s cloak walking along a snow covered road. Very odd, and I still wonder about the fate of such a lost young man, or was he onto something? I have shared this story with very few, because I feared it would sound like I flipped my lid.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2020 at 9:06 am

    There is not a better word than resilience to describe a true Appalachian. The Deer Hunter would take first place in any self sufficiency contest. It goes to show what a great man he is when he said his kids and family are his happiest memories.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 21, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Tipper (and Matt)–I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Matt epitomizes the true meaning of the word “handy.” He’s a man who can and does use his hands to good advantage. while I readily identify with about everything he covers–love of hunting and fishing, carefree boyhood, devotion to gardening, and a passion for putting up stuff–I was pretty clearly under a washtub when the blessings of handiness were handed out. Daddy, on the other hand, could study, figure, or tear apart then fix pretty much anything. Br’er Don inherited some of that, which no doubt explains his engineering degrees, but I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to tell you that when it came to practical, make-it-work engineering, Daddy had him beat hands down.

    Part of that, to be sure, was generational, for as Matt rightly notes, younger folks today, with rare exceptions, aren’t handy. Similarly, they would be lost if it came to foraging, raising a real garden and depending of what it produced to an appreciable degree, hunting or fishing to put meat on the table, or indeed living the way almost all our forebears did.

    I bemoan that loss and salute folks who cling to the old ways.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    August 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Thank you so much for the interview with The Deer Hunter. He has had a very interesting life and obviously loves his home and family very much. I had to chuckle at his response to ‘did he like school?’ ‘Noooooo.’ Me either!
    I also enjoyed the story of the wild man of Cataloochee. He certainly lived life on his own terms. Thank you again so much!

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    August 21, 2020 at 8:41 am

    It’s nice to see and hear from the Deer Hunter. I liked hearing of his growing up and adventures his dad and he experienced. He’s very insightful and highly observant not to mention self reliant, strong and courageous. God bless you all. My husband liked listening to Deer Hunter too. If you’ve not been told today, you’re both SUPER COOL AND INTERESTING FOLKS!!!

  • Reply
    Steve in tn
    August 21, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Interesting post. Hats off to both of you for sharing a picture of your life. I can relate. We are all different but the same.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 21, 2020 at 8:34 am

    That’s a wonderful interview. The Deer Hunter speaks well for Appalachia and of course that’s because he is a true son of Appalachia and he loves Appalachia and all her traditions.
    I don’t think there are too many people who honor Appalachia as much as the Deer Hunter.
    Good job on the interview!

  • Reply
    Darrell K Cook
    August 21, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for the video. Matthew did a good job. I am curious what has happened to the quail population? My mom and relatives live in Blairsville. I cannot remember the last time I heard Bobwhite quail.

    • Reply
      August 21, 2020 at 9:14 am

      I learn something new every day. I did not know that Bob White and quail were one and the same. I miss them. tks

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    August 21, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Hi….enjoyed The Deer Hunter’s interview….very interesting and one thing we know for sure …he did not like school!! Too funny….great work on both of your parts. Be Safe in these Covid times!!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Kevin and I loved listening to this together this morning and learning more about the Deer Hunter. What an interesting interview! We could really relate to how things have changed, and it sure makes us sad. We agree that those things are probably lost forever. Thank you both for taking the time to do this. It was very meaningful to us. God bless you all!

  • Leave a Reply