If a gray-bearded beer spokesman hadn’t already claimed the catchphrase, there’s a strong chance country music artist Craig Morgan could take the title as the World’s Most Interesting Man. Long before he was an entertainer, Morgan was an EMT, a sheriff’s deputy, served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper, and was a pro-staff advisor for several hunting manufacturers. And he still found time to raise a family.
Morgan’s self-titled debut album appeared in 2000, and since then he’s released seven others including 2005’s My Kind of Livin’, which included That’s What I Love About Sunday–a song that spent four weeks at #1 on Billboard’s country charts. In July 2013, he released The Journey, his second collection of greatest hits, and said he has no intention of slowing down–especially when it comes to spending time outdoors. Aside from music, he stars in his own hunting program, Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors, which is entering its fourth season on the Outdoor Channel.
When he’s not making headlines as an artist, Morgan frequently performs at military bases in the U.S. and abroad and helps raise money for Billy’s Place, a charity he founded that assists foster children. He inadvertently received attention for his good deeds in February, 2011, when he rescued two children from a burning house in Tennessee, and this past June, he assisted emergency responders on and interstate when two tractor trailers collided and ignited.
Who Was Your Hunting of Fishing Mentor?
“My mom was as much of an influence on my passion for the outdoors as my dad was. I shot my very first deer with my mother. She was sitting at the bottom of a tree and I was sitting on her lap,” Morgan says.
“But to be honest, when I was growing up, so many of my hunts weren’t as much about the hunt as about the people I got to hunt with. I remember as a kid, going hunting with my dad, but I don’t remember every deer we killed. I remember experiences of sitting around the campfire, and the homemade bus they converted into a hunting camp. Those are the things I remember.
“I was involved with the outdoor industry as a pro staffer for a few companies long before I was an entertainer. But now things are coming full circle. Since the time they were big enough to go, I have taken my kids hunting with me. I was with all of them when they shot their first turkey and their first deer. I even have a trip to Argentina coming up where I plan to take my 16-year old to hunt water buffalo.”
If you could Hunt One Place, Where Would it be?
“Maybe it’s because I’m so busy and haven’t had time to think about it, but I never really established a bucket list until just recently,” Morgan says. “I’ve only recently decided there are some things I want to do before I leave. One of which is a moose hunt. I’ve never done a moose hunt. I’ve also been to Africa a few times, but I’ve never hunted in Africa, so we’re going to Africa next August to hunt.
“I’d also like to get a mountain lion, I haven’t done that either. I was on a bear hunt with dogs not too long ago in West Virginia, and I decided that I’d like to hunt a lion the same way if I can.
“I’ve also got a new passion for mule deer. I love spot-and-stalk style hunting. But I also love big Midwestern whitetails, like from Iowa.”
What Are You Looking Forward to Hunting This Year?
“Well, I’m already part way through my hunting season. I shot an elk in Colorado and a deer in Kentucky. In fact, I just got back from a mule deer hunt in Utah that didn’t go as good as we had hoped in the beginning–but we were successful at the end,” Morgan says. “I had to fly out before I could recover my deer, but the outfitter found him the next morning, so it was good and bad–bad because I had to leave before I could find him, but good that the deer was found in the end.
“I don’t get a lot of rest. We had a show last night in San Diego, California. After the show, we drove to the airport and got on a redeye flight to Raleigh Durham, and have another show in 5 or 6 hours. After that, I get on another plane and head out to Nebraska for a mule deer hunt, so I don’t sleep much.”
With Such A Busy Schedule, How Do You Find Time To Hunt?
“I do a majority of all my practice while I’m on the road,” Morgan says. “I keep a target on one of the tractor trailers so it’s with me at all times. Then I just pull my bow out when I have time and I’m in a good location where I can shoot.
“I also keep my hunting clothes protected from odor so no matter where I’ve been, I’m not carrying the scent into the field. I might wear my base layer depending on the weather, but I don’t get dressed until I’m in the field. I sometimes wear sweatpants and a T-shirt to the field, but then I take that off, spray down with scent control, put on my base layer and spray that, and then my outer layer. I want every advantage that I can get, and scent control is a big one.”
What’s On Your Hunting Playlist?
“Believe it or not, the only music that’s on my iPod or phone is usually demos–stuff that I’m considering recording. That’s really it. I don’t listen to a whole lot of other music because I’m always focusing on my next album–I’m always writing songs or listening to songs being pitched to me,” Morgan says.