Bass to Bucks With FLW Pro Andy Morgan
Fresh off another successful FLW Tour season, Andy Morgan is ready to put away his boat and pick up his bow. We caught up with Andy before he heads off into the deep woods to talk about his passion for hunting.
Garmin: Does hunting make you a better angler, and does fishing make you a better hunter?
Andy Morgan: Yes, without a doubt. I’m going to refer back to whitetail deer hunting and fishing. Whitetail deer use structure just like fish use structure to migrate in and out of spawning areas, and head out to the ledges during the summer months. It’s all one in the same, except one lives in the water, and one lives in the woods.
One of my favorite places to hunt is around North Platte, Nebraska. It’s flat in the river bottoms, but the only structure in the woods are ditches, and what we call islands, which are little high spots. Those deer use that stuff just like they do at home here in East Tennessee in the ridges, mountains and hollows. They use that terrain to travel just like bass do. Bucks can’t help but frequent those ditches and high spots during the rut. I guess that’s why I’ve gotten into deer hunting so much over the last 15-20 years. You can read them just like reading structure on your Garmin electronics. It’s all one in the same – you do your homework and spend time scouting and preparing. When you come up with a good strategy and gameplan, deer hunting and bass fishing are very similar.
What do you enjoy more – hunting or fishing?
Hunting. The reason why is, I’ve got about 90 days that the law says I can hunt, and you’ve got to cram all that stuff into 90 days. In hunting, and I’ve always said this, in the business we’re all in, selling Garmin units, bows, treestands, boats, motors, whatever it is … the anticipation is what sells your goods. It’s the anticipation of spring coming up; it’s the anticipation of hunting season, because you have a limited period of time that you can do that. I try to cram in as much hunting as I can during that period of time. I absolutely love to hunt. Where I live, I can fish 12 months out of the year, so the anticipation isn’t the same, but when I hunt for three months, I’m ready to go back to fishing, and after fishing for 8 months, I can’t wait to hit the woods.
Is it easy to focus your attention to hunting after fishing season ends?
As soon as we get done with the Forrest Wood Cup every year, I park my boat in the garage, empty it out, turn the lights out and don’t look back until I sell it, which happens sometime during the fall. Come winter/early spring, I’ll have a new one sitting here and I’ll load it up and take it back out fishing. After the championship and I make my last cast, I don’t even think about fishing until January. It’s as easy as that!
How do you balance the responsibilities between your show and your fishing sponsors in the offseason?
If I’ve got a sponsor that wants too much out of me, I just decline. I just don’t have the time and I don’t take the time away from my family. We hunt as a family. I run the camera a lot as well and film my little girl Keylee, my wife Missy, and my little cousin who also hunts with me. I’ve turned down some really good deals just because I don’t have time. Sometimes the money just isn’t worth it. I like to do what I do and if I’ve got too much obligation, I’m going to make room to do what I want to do! I’ve got to take some time to recoup.
Doing the television stuff for hunting makes it a little bit of a job. It’s a huge challenge and it’s never easy when you have two people in a tree trying to shoot a mature buck. It’s a heck of a challenge, just like catching a fish, weighing them in and winning a million bucks in a bass tournament. There’s nothing guaranteed and I promise you that you’ll work your guts out if you’re going to do it consistently.
Once I hunt for three months, I’m hungry again to hit the water and fish hard. I don’t fish just for fun. I’m out to win and I want to catch every bass in the lake. I think that’s how I keep my fire. When I step away from it, my mind is clean. I don’t even consider it, but when it’s time to get back focused on it, I’m focused on it.
What is your TV show “Hit List” about?
Moultrie’s “The Hit List” is about game cameras, putting together a pattern and shooting a mature whitetail, elk, mule deer, or whatever big game animal you’re after. Get your picture, pattern him out, and take him to the taxidermist!
What is your favorite big game animal to hunt?
I went elk hunting one time, and I’m going back again this year. That was really fun, but I’m going to say whitetail deer. Hunting an old mature whitetail buck is a challenge. It’s a lot of fun to pursue them, and they’re all close to home. I can hunt other states, too. You have whitetail in every state in the lower 48. He’s plentiful, so you can go around, get tags in three or four states and chase him all year. I really enjoy the Western big game hunts, but I just don’t have the experience. I’d love to go more than I do to hunt any Western game. Mule deer, elk, pronghorn, I’d like to pursue that a little more, and I plan on it over the next couple years.
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