Kevin Costner Tells The Emotional Story About The Moment He Bought His First Bird Dog: “My Life Changed Forever”

Kevin Costner Yellowstone

Kevin Costner is already and undoubtedly a very accomplished actor.

Now, he can also classify himself as a world class sportsman thanks to the PCQC awarding him the 2023 T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award.

The PCQC stands for the Park Cities Quail Coalition and is located near Dallas, Texas. If you were like me, I still needed further clarification. Their website states the mission of the coalition as this:

“Our mission is to sustain and restore hunt-able wild quail populations, to encourage and educate interested youth, and to celebrate our quail hunting heritage in this region.”

Hopefully that clears it up for everyone, but that isn’t the main reason for the story of course.

Every year, the Park Cities Quail Coalition gifts the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award to those who they feel are great representatives of an adventurous sportsmen. This year the award went to none other than Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner.

Costner spoke at the event as he accepted the award and told the crowd how grateful he is that hunting changed his life. Costner was gifted a shotgun for his 12th birthday, and he spoke about how that present from his Dad ignited his passion for the sport:

“The next day I took my hunter’s safety course. All I knew was that I wanted to hunt… all day and every day. I didn’t care about seasons or limits.

Everything I knew and dreamed about came from watching Curt Gowdy’s American Sportsman TV show. I needed to know, I was in awe… did these places really exist?”

He continued on and said that his family and their lifestyle caused them to move around a lot when he was young. He sometimes struggled to fit or find his place, but then a small moment between a man and his dog in California set Costner on the path of hunting:

“I was lost, but then something changed my life. I saw a man out in the fields of Visalia with a dog as I was driving. It looked like he was hunting and I pulled the car over and I just watched this private interaction between this man and his dog.

He was hunting and I could see the gun carried to his chest. It was like art to me. It was picture so perfect, so frozen in my mind and in time forever.

But it wasn’t on TV, it was right there in front of me, and my life changed forever. The next day I went out and bought my own bird dog a little German shorthair, and suddenly, the world wasn’t flat.

We hunted every ditch in that county. Scaring up maybe one pheasant if we were lucky before school started. But it didn’t matter. What mattered is that I was out.”

From that moment, Costner set out to hunt as much as he possibly could. However, that deep passion for nature and wildlife led to some run-ins with game wardens. The two time Academy Award winner couldn’t act his way out of breaking the law.

There were many times in his high school days that he would hunt or trespass on land that wasn’t his. After being busted more than once, Costner knew that if he was going to dedicate a majority of his life to hunting, he wanted to do it right:

“From that point on I was determined that I would never have to run off land that I was hunting, and that I would take my father and brother to the best places in the world if I was able.

I was blessed to be able to do that, to take them to places that were as God intended.”

The entire acceptance speech can be viewed below:

The T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award is a very coveted award in the hunting community, and now the PCQC can add Costner to the lengthy recipient list.

The award has also been given to country music icon George Strait in 2014 and founder of Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris in 2019.

You can watch George Strait’s acceptance speech from back in 2014, below:

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