Is Hank Williams Jr. Country Music’s Greatest Outdoorsman?

Hank Williams Jr. country music

Few people in the country music industry are as into the great outdoors as Hank Williams Jr.

The man is a living legend in the music world, but hunting, fishing, and the great outdoors are deeply engrained into some of his most popular lyrics.

His most famous song, A Country Boy Can Survive, includes several great one liners that reference the self-sufficiency that comes from having the skills and ability to hunt and fish for your own food.

“I can catch catfish from dusk ’til dawn.”
“We can skin a buck, we can run a trot line.”
“My grandpa taught me how to live off the land.”

Good thing he’s as tough as the lyrics in that song make him sound though.

A lot of people know that whiskey and women tried to kill him in the mid-70’s thanks to the lyrics in his song Family Tradition.

“…I have loved some ladies
And I have loved Jim Beam
And they both tried to kill me in 1973…”

Fewer people realize that just two years after whatever escapades he referenced in those lyrics, he almost died from a mountain climbing accident in Southwest Montana.

Back in 1975 a snowbank he was traversing collapsed and sent him tumbling 500-feet down a rocky cliff.

He suffered a slew of skull and facial fractures that required several reconstructive surgeries and had to be airlifted off the mountain.

A close-up of a newspaper

His recovery from the incident lasted more than two years and he had to learn how to talk and sing again. The accident left him with significant scarring and disfigurement and to cover it up he grew out his beard, started wearing sunglasses at all times, and put on a cowboy hat. Soon that image became his signature look.

Despite the fact that the Mother Nature almost took his life, his adoration for wild adventures never simmered.

His love for the great outdoors is on full display in the unheralded song Outdoor Lovin’ Man. 

“…Give me a cane pole and a shotgun
And I can have a whole lot of fun
A soft ole pair of hiking boots
A pocket knife and a campfire too
You go out in the woods alone wonder where the big buck’s roam
What’s that noise and your heart beats fast
Then you smile when a squirrel runs past
I don’t have to get a bear just want to breathe that country air
I’m going out every time I can
I’m an outdoor loving man…”

Recently uncovered footage of him picking the banjo and singing the song in Montana back in the day shows you just how much the song resonates with other people who love the great outdoors.

The crowd goes wild for this one.

As with most 72-year-olds, Hank isn’t exactly super active on social media but a good number of the posts on his Instagram account display just how much hunting and fishing mean to him.

They’re not just lyrics to him, they’re his life.

From catching freshwater fish like bream, crappie, bass, and walleye to showing off saltwater trophies like redfish and sea trout his love for fishing is obvious.

And oh yeah, despite being able to afford the the finest fishing equipment in the world he really still does use a cane pole sometimes.

Deep in the vaults of Youtube, I found this absolutely incredible video from 1970s of the legend himself fishing for large mouth bass in Guatemala.

The footage was originally filmed for a television show in the 1970s.  It is narrated by Hank himself and includes some live music as well. He also catches the largest bass of his life up to that point.

It just might be the coolest fishing video I’ve ever seen.

Big Hank doesn’t just fish though, he’s also a big time hunter. His Instagram also includes some of his fondest memories hunting waterfowl, white-tails, bears, pheasants, and elk.

Several of the hunting pictures on his profile also feature his two sons, so it’s great to see he passed down these time honored outdoor traditions to his kids.

He is also a steward of his own land. He manages his properties for wildlife and does much of the work himself, whether it’s bush-hogging shooting lanes or planting dove fields.

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you can also tune into some of Hank’s most memorable hunting trips including a deer hunt in Kentucky, a turkey hunt in Tennessee, and an elk in Colorado.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock