How Country Singer Craig Morgan Got Into Outdoors TV
Editor’s Note: Although country singer Craig Morgan lives in Tennessee permanently, for much of the year he lives on a bus touring the nation, performing his songs. And, coincidentally, the places he puts on his concert tours generally are within easy access of hunting and fishing. A singer for most of his life, Morgan’s only been singing professionally for 15 years. He’s had 15 top-10 hits on the country chart and three number one-songs, including “Redneck Yacht Club,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday” and “International Harvester.” Morgan has been a Mossy Oak Pro for many years, and his TV show “Craig Morgan All-Access Outdoors” appears on the Outdoor Channel. Morgan emphasizes, “My favorite camo pattern has been Mossy Oak Bottomland for years, and I refuse to give it up. I also wear Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity and believe it’s a great pattern too.”
I’ve been in the hunting industry for about 25 years. The late Dick Kirby at Quaker Boy Calls helped me get my start in the outdoor industry, and then I was a pro-staffer for Hunter’s Specialties. Because I’m an entertainer, I’ve been on many outdoor hunting shows as a guest. About 8-years ago, a buddy and I decided to produce our own outdoor show, and we’re filming our fifth season now of “Craig Morgan All-Access Outdoors” that airs on the Outdoor Channel. I was introduced to Toxey Haas, the creator and founder of Mossy Oak, many years ago, but at the time I was under contract with another camouflage company. I knew if I ever had the opportunity, I wanted to work with Toxey and Mossy Oak. Toxey let me know upfront that Mossy Oak was a family type of organization, and that one of the purposes of the company was to bring people into the Mossy Oak family. I really respected Toxey for taking that position, and I wanted my company to be a part of that philosophy and Toxey’s company.
I’m often asked, “Why did you get into the TV business?” I really love the outdoors and the industry, and I’ve wanted to be a part of it. Our show “Craig Morgan All-Access Outdoors” is a lifestyle type of show that allows the viewer to see how I integrate my love and passion for hunting into my touring schedule. I hunt, fish, sky dive and participate in many outdoor sports, but primarily hunting, when I’m on the road touring. I try to set-up my hunts around my touring schedule. Once we set-up my touring schedule, and I know what states I’ll be working in, I’ll check to see what hunting seasons will be open when I’m in that state and determine how I can work my hunting in with my touring. I have about a half-dozen people who help me work-out the logistics of all this. Many times I’ll end a concert late at night, and the next morning I’ll be in the tree stand before daylight, especially during deer season. I get to do more turkey hunting than I do any-other kind of hunting. During turkey season, almost every day I’m in the woods at first light, waiting to hear a wild turkey gobble.
I’m often asked about the best buck I’ve ever taken with my Hoyt Spyder bow. In Illinois, I took a 206-inch whitetail called Big Nasty. He was on the cover of the “Primetime 10” video. The day before, we had seen a big deer in the area I was hunting. The outfitter had put-up a stand and once I got in the stand, I didn’t think it was in the proper position for me to get a shot with my bow. I felt like the stand was too-far back in the woods from a cut corn field where the deer were feeding. I didn’t think I had good shooting lanes to shoot through, or that I’d see a lot of deer. I felt pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to get a buck within shooting range.
However, we only had been in the stand a few minutes when we spotted the big buck we’d seen the afternoon before that would’ve scored 150-160 inches on Boone & Crockett. My cameraman kept whispering, “Wait, that buck’s going to come in even closer.” I wanted to take the shot, because I knew I only would have 2 or 3 days to hunt at each stop when on tour. The deer was at 50 yards, and I felt confident I could make the shot. The cameraman wanted me to wait and let the buck come in closer, but of course the big buck didn’t. So, I was a little frustrated. Only a few minutes later, the monster Big Nasty buck walked within 12 steps of my tree stand. We didn’t know that this 200+ buck was even on the property. Later I felt confident I’d made a good shot, and we decided to pull out of the stand, go back to the lodge, look at the footage and then return the next morning to recover the deer. The next morning, we found the buck only 30-yards from my tree stand.