I recently cancelled my cable because of the pure trash that’s on TV these days, but I regret this move a little when I remember I’ll miss season two of country music singer Craig Morgan’s hunting show on the Outdoor Channel, called “All Access Outdoors.” It’s a good show made popular by a good guy.
Morgan, whose list of deeds done is longer than Santa’s on the 26th, is the star of the show that airs a 50-50 mix of hunting and musical entertainment. Throw in some motocross racing, gun talk and cutting up with his famous buddies and it’s just the type of show would replace “Jersey Shore” on primetime if those decisions were left up to me.
Viewers get to be flies on the wall as Morgan hunts in top-producing states for a variety of animals, such as monster bucks in Missouri, wild hogs, turkeys and big bears in Alaska—then performs to throngs of screaming fans on stages across this wonderful country. Cameras directed by Mark Womack (“Realtree Roadtrips,” and others) follow him behind the scenes to give us a rare glimpse of what transpires backstage at big time country music concerts. And with 14 top-10 hits and songs such as “That’s What I love About Sundays” and “International Harvester” and a new one called “This Ole Boy,” the music heard on stage will likely appeal to most American hunters and fans of the country lifestyle.
But even if you don’t like his music, here’s anther reason to like Craig Morgan: the man. Morgan constantly donates his time and talents to charitable causes—he’s been to Iraq countless times to entertain our troops in the sand—and earlier this year he rescued two kids from a raging house fire near his home in Dixon, Tenn. “I’m no hero,” Morgan said, “but if I see someone stopped on the side of the road, I’m ‘gonna pull over.”
The former 101st and 82nd Airborne soldier, EMT, deputy sheriff and outspoken firearm advocate (he performed in conjunction with NRA’s 2011 Annual Meetings in Pittsburgh this last spring) says he’s proud of “All Access Outdoors” because it’s real. He’s not afraid to let his goofs air, and this is refreshing compared to many of the hunting shows out there right now.
I can attest that this is one star who’s the real deal in the deer woods. I’m embarrassed to say he out-shot me at Blake Shelton’s charity 3-D archery shoot a couple of years back, and I’ve also seen him make some good shots with a scattergun on a clays course (He lent his time to NRA Country's Celebrity Clays Shoot to benefit our wounded warriors this past April in Las Vegas). He says the military helped him foster his marksmanship skills.
And while I’ve witnessed him miss only one gobbler—a calamity I often don’t easily forget or forgive—the turkey was running away rather quickly. And I can’t really fault a guy for taking a crack at it since I might have been the main reason it was running away so fast.
Morgan credits his father with teaching him the ways of the woods at an early age. “I grew up hunting squirrels with my father and other relatives,” said Morgan.
He gets to hunt in many exotic locations now—see the New Zealand episode—but his first hunting love remains turkeys and whitetails. One of my favorite things about Morgan is his courage to stand up for what he believes in despite a star culture that might frown upon it. He doesn’t only preach the Second Amendment, he practices it. He routinely carries a Ruger SR9 concealed, and he passes his knowledge on.
Earlier this year his daughter was home alone—while Morgan was filming for the show—when an intruder tried to break in. Quickly, she retrieved her handgun, locked herself in a room and called 9-1-1. Fortunately she didn’t have to use the gun—the intruder got scared and fled—but Morgan feels strongly that she would have had it come to that. He’s immensely proud of his daughter for her actions.
The NRA is proud to call Morgan a member and a friend, and for that, perhaps I’ll go over to a friend’s house and check out “All Access Outdoors” on Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern. Morgan told me to watch the episode in Alaska involving 8.5 feet of snow and a huge bear. That sounds entertaining to me.