Since their first release, Prayin for Daylight in 2000, the country-music trio Rascal Flatts has sold over 20 million albums, toured extensively with big country-music names like Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift, and received dozens of accolades, including numerous Academy of Country Music awards.
But honor and acclaim isn’t something lead singer Gary LeVox wears on his sleeve. While he could certainly fill a room with tales from the road, he’s more prone to talk about rutting whitetails and the thrill of following a pack of well-trained beagles keying in on a rabbit’s scent. In fact, he says his band mates Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney jokingly tell people Gary only sings so he can afford to go hunting.
“Anytime I have the chance to talk about hunting and fishing, I’m like, ‘man, let’s do it,'” LeVox says.
Who Was Your Hunting of Fishing Mentor?
“It all started-with a recurve bow and a six-pack of beagles. My stepdad was my mentor. He made a recurve when he was in the eighth grade, and I was probably eight or nine at the time, and I picked it up and just started shooting it at the old hay bale and paper plate outside. That’s where my passion started. I just started shooting. It was something I could do by myself whenever I had 30 minutes to kill,” LeVox says.
“Not too long after that, we started raising beagles. Back in Ohio, there was just some great rabbit hunting and stuff like that, so we raised beagles for a long time, and hunting over those dogs was just such a thrill. I was so fortunate to have been able to grow up that way. It’s still a huge passion of mine. A friend of mine that still lives in Ohio brings his dogs down to my place in Tennessee every year and we hunt.”
If you could Hunt One Place, Where Would it be?
“I’m such a Midwest guy. I killed a 174 inch deer last year with my bow in Missouri with Mark Drury. Then I drew a late-muzzleloader tag last year in Iowa, and I killed a 150-inch eight pointer there,” LeVox says. “I’ve enjoyed every hunt I’ve been on, but there’s just something special about those heartland whitetails.
What Are You Looking Forward to Hunting This Year?
“Like I said, I love the Midwest, especially Iowa. I’m so lucky and fortunate to be able to hunt there, and if you can believe it, I drew a bow tag again this year. I’ll also visit Missouri and go back home to Ohio. I just love to hunt the snow there with my muzzleloader. My mouth waters–I just can’t even talk about it.”
With Such A Busy Schedule, How Do You Find Time To Hunt?
“It gets tough, but my partners, Jay and Joe Don, and I start slacking off in early October, and then we’re completely done touring by Halloween. We work our tours around hunting season. They know that after that, they won’t be able to get me to do anything anyway,” LeVox says. “It also helps when the family is excited about the sport. My daughters have been shooting bows since they were five years old. Brittany killed her first deer last year, so for my family, hunting is really a lifestyle.”
What’s On Your Hunting Playlist?
“Deer hunters, and especially bow hunters, can get really superstitious. But last year, Mark Drury and I, whether we were hunting together or hunting apart, no matter the state we were in, we played Justin Moore. It was the ticket. Every single time we heard a Justin Moore tune, somebody killed or recovered something. It was money,” LeVox says. “Otherwise, when I’m on the way to the stand or something, I just let the radio play. Usually, the theme for the hunt just kind of picks itself out.”