Ryan McDonald Raised Rowdy Staff Writer and outdoor to the core
Ask some of your friends who don’t listen to country music what they associate with country music and the outdoors and I’ll bet the responses line up pretty similarly:
Rivers, cane poles, and catfish.
While I wouldn’t immediately be taken aback at this response, I’m here to tell you that there are country music artists out there that actually do a little more than just thread a worm onto an old rusty hook. Kentucky boys Kyle Daniel and Kenton Bryant, with apologies to Justin Moore, can actually bait a hook and skin a buck.
The two were gracious enough to lend some of their precious time and give us a peek into what it looks like to be a touring and recording artist who still finds time to get outdoors and live a passion outside of the studio and stage.
With as busy as you are with touring and writing, how much time are you afforded to get into the field/onto the lake?
Kyle Daniel- I make it a priority to get back home during deer season! I don’t always get to be there for the entire time, but I will at least make it out for a weekend every year. It does something to my soul. I feel like I need a little refueling about that time each year, so it’s really good for me in more ways than just the sport. Something about the silence really puts my mind at ease and I’m really able to center myself. I guess that’s what you get when you put a hippie in the woods!
Kenton Bryant- Not near as much as I would like! I get a random Tuesday afternoon here and there. Nothing like the amount of time I spent in a tree stand in the past few years.
How old were you when you were introduced to the outdoor lifestyle? Who brought you in/mentored you?
KD- I grew up in Kentucky, so fishing and hunting are a large part of our culture. Admittedly I was a late bloomer to the hunting game, but fishing is a different animal (literally and metaphorically). Some of the only memories that I have of my grandfather are out with a fishing pole. He passed away when I was young, but I’ll never forget those memories. As for hunting, my Dad has been my mentor. At times, alongside many others I’m sure, he probably wanted to strangle me in the process but it’s been a really great bonding experience for us both. Nothing like seeing your old man light up with pride after you take down a monster!
KB- My dad owned an archery pro shop growing up, so I started early. W
My favorite gun was my dad’s Remington 870 Wingmaster that I took my first deer and first pheasant with. Do you have a favorite gun or rod/reel that still holds a place in your heart?
KD- I don’t have any one gun in particular that holds a special place with me. However, we have quite a plethora of artillery, so I think part of the fun in it for me is trying out all of the different types of rifles each year. My Dad spends countless hours throughout the year getting scopes dialed in and doing long range shooting, so I get to come in and do the fun part.
KB- I really love my dad’s Herrington & Richardson single shot 20ga. I killed my first dove, quail, turkey, rabbit, and god knows what else with that gun. My three brothers did too!
Where do you spend the most time outdoors? What does your dream outdoor trip look like?
KD- I like to be out in the elements. We have numerous blinds, tree stands and tripods on our farm, so I like to get out in it. Which one I’m at is all dependent upon what we’re seeing on the trail cams. Some years we rarely see any in the open fields, others, they’re everywhere in the fields so it all just varies.
KB- I try to spend as much time bow hunting the rut as possible in Kentucky. I usually take a trip fishing in the Quetico canoe area in Canada every year as well. I want to go elk hunting in Montana!
Have you ever been asked why you hunt? What is your response?
KD- I have, and obviously it’s not for everyone. I get that. My usual response is that I enjoy being in nature, completely disguised and alone more-so than the hunt itself. Yes, I enjoy the rush and thrill of a big trophy, but I’m not one to just harvest anything that comes close. I’m very selective of the deer that we take on our farm and have gone years without firing before. I think that people often think that most hunters will settle for the first thing that pops up. Part of that is just a misconception of the sport for most, based on what’s been going on with the gun laws/issues in our country.
KB- Yea, occasionally. Most people don’t understand the intimacy you experience when you’re hunting. Especially bow hunting. I just try to describe what the hunt is like, not just the kill.
What is your favorite fish/animal to pursue? Which one that you’ve caught/harvested has been the most rewarding?
KD- Actually the buck that I got this year was pretty surreal. My Dad and I went hunting in his Texas Instruments blind (with a heater because he refuses to be cold) and let my cousin and his little boy use our new blind in the smaller open field. We were out there for an hour after the sun came up and probably saw 10 deer through that course of time. When the large 8 pointer walked into the field, I readied myself and waited to get the right angle on him. He took about one hop and 3 steps then then my Dad went nuts in the blind. That was the first time my Dad was with me in the midst of the action because we usually hunt different fields, so that was really cool to share that with him. I’ll never forget it.
KB- Mature Whitetails with a bow. No doubt.
I’ve caught 7lb bass, shot 4 bearded gobblers, and spearfished in the Atlantic. There is nothing like a big buck sneaking through the woods!
10 pound Bass or 180 inch Buck?
KD- Buck all day!
KB- 180 inch buck all day
Do you ever try to blend the outdoor lifestyle into your lyrics?
KD- Absolutely! But sometimes it’s hard for me as a writer, because I refuse to write about things that I don’t really know about. I feel like my approach to the outdoor lifestyle lyrically comes from a very nature-oriented place vs me as a hardcore sportsman. I find that when I’m alone in nature, my mind really starts to take to lyrical ideas and/or visuals to write about.
KB- Haven’t yet. Good idea!
What do you see the future of hunting and fishing looking like for the younger generation? Is the motivation and access still available?
KD- I think that hunting and fishing are alive and well in Kentucky! I feel like there are enough of us who understand the in’s and out’s to help educate the younger generation, as well as many programs and 4H camps to help teach kids gun safety. I just hope that we can continue to enjoy the sport as it is and watch this younger generation enjoy it for years to come.
KB- It’s as big as it’s ever been. Lots of great people like Steven Rinella, Randy Newberg, and guys like that are helping spread the word about the great ways to hunt, and hunt the abundance of public ground. Hunting is a great way to connect with nature, and the food you get is top-notch. Cooking your harvest is the best part of the whole deal!
Kyle and Kenton are but just a few of the many country artists who grew up hunting and fishing and will unapologetically talk with you about it. We’d love to hear from you and see you in your outdoor element. Post a pic of you with your favorite harvest or catch and tag us!