Q & A with Craig Morgan
Country music star and NWTF member Craig Morgan, who will perform at the NWTF Convention and Sport Show Awards Banquet Feb. 16 in Nashville, Tenn., graciously agreed to a one-on-one interview with NWTF staff member John Brasier on Jan. 28.
An avid hunter and, active humanitarian, Morgan also hosts the television shows, "Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoor" and "Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge." Morgan and wife, Karen, who have four children, make their home near Nashville in Dickson, Tenn. Morgan is in the process of making an as-yet-unnamed film with "Rizzoli and Isles" television star Angie Harmon.
John: Craig, we know about your passion for hunting and conservation. How did that passion develop?
Craig: My father was an avid sportsman. When I was growing up, I spent a great deal of time in the woods, in creeks, lakes and rivers. I grew up hunting, but we didn't have the quality of big game that we have now.
John: Why do you think the quantity and quality of wildlife has increased so much in your lifetime?
Craig: Organizations like the NWTF that provide basic conservation education is the key factor. Growing up, I hardly ever saw a wild turkey. Now, they're everywhere in Tennessee. The success in Tennessee is a product of that education.
John: You have a busy work calendar. How often do you go wild turkey hunting?
Craig: Every day of the season. (Laughing) I hunt a lot. Turkey hunting is something I can do regardless of what I have to do that day. I'm fortunate that I can book turkey hunting around my TV shows. A lot of times I go turkey hunting in the day when I have a concert at night. I only need about four hours sleep per day.
John: Does much does turkey hunting play a major role in making up your spring schedule?
Craig: Right now, I'm looking at the early season in Florida. We book hunts based on where I'm touring. I'm fortunate that with all the touring I do, I can hunt in a lot of places. At one point, I got slams five years in a row. Come turkey season, I'm like a kid before Christmas.
John: What is it you like most about wild turkey hunting?
Craig: The interaction between you and the turkey is not like anything else. Turkey hunting is not about killing at all. It's a thrill to be able to call a bird in. Lots of times I'll go out in the woods just to call for other people.
John: Your fans know your country music friends include Blake Shelton. Is there a little "hunting club" made up of famous country musicians?
Craig: Several of us used to do a lot more together when we were coming up in the business. Buddy hunts are a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the more successful we've gotten, the less time there is for us to hunt together.
John: Have you passed on our hunting tradition to your daughter and three sons?
Craig: Of my three oldest, all three would rather hunt than eat, including my daughter, the oldest. My youngest son, Wyatt, is starting to become more interested.
John: Besides wild turkey and deer, you've successfully hunted big game such as elk, buffalo and alligators as well as black bears and grizzly bears. What was your toughest hunt?
Craig: Hunting grizzly bears. It was really intense out in the elements in Alaska. That was a tough hunt.
John: In February 2011, you rescued two children from a burning building then grabbed a fire hose and helped put out the fire. How did that affect your life?
Craig: I've told people that I didn't think it was that big a deal - and I wasn't trying to be funny. I enjoy being with people who do things like that for a living. I work hard to do the right things. I pray that I'll be in positions to help people.
John: You and Karen are active in many local charities. What is Billy's Place, a project you've raised $250,000 for in your community?
Craig: It will be a place to live for temporarily displaced children that my wife and I started. We want to do things for the community, and there's a gap that needs to be filled for some children before they go back to their family or they're placed with a foster family.