Michael Waddell is, without question, one of the hunting industry’s most recognizable, and beloved, frontmen. Tracing his small-town southern roots to his rise to stardom as founder of the hit series, Bone Collector, Waddell also describes what backyard life means to him and his family, and how they enjoy it each and every day.
Michael Waddell: I was born and raised in the rural town of Booger Bottom, GA, and have always loved everything about a simple life centered around hunting, fishing, family, friends, and southern food like fried chicken, cornbread and collard greens make. Having the ability, through my career, to hone the hunting skills I learned growing up has helped me to better promote the Industry—and the hunting/outdoor culture—I love.
MW: Although traveling for work keeps me busy, life at home with my wife and our five kids can be even busier. But, it’s in a good way. That said, we love spending time together cooking, riding ATVs, hitting the river in our boat and playing/singing music. (My two oldest boys play the guitar and do most of the singing. I am good enough with music to know that I can’t carry a tune … LOL!!)
MW: Ever since my wife and I bought a farm four years ago, it seems like we’re constantly in the middle of a project related to the 900 pecan trees that are on the property. Although we’ve learned a lot, we still have so much more to learn. And even though tending to them is hard work, we really enjoy it!
MW: Although our kids do hunt, I’ve never pushed them since the opportunity to hunt has always been there. They’ve all grown up around the sport and naturally understand it. They really love to hunt, but in different ways. Even my three-year-old has been out with me several times, and has been part of several successful hunts as a spectator.
MW: We’ve built a nice archery range on the farm, and have also created several designated areas we use for sighting-in and shooting our guns.
MW: We have a great area in our barn to store all of our hunting gear. Bows, arrows, guns, clothes, boots and about every tool known to man. All of our tractors, mowers and farm equipment is stored there, too. It’s like Disney World to us. The whole family would rather be there than just about anywhere else on the property!
MW: I think what’s most special about rural Georgia living is the simple, slower pace of life. Around here, it’s about campfires, grilling out and telling plenty of stories (some of which are actually even true!). And, what’s unique about this type of living is that it really doesn’t take a whole lot to have a lot of fun!
MW: In the area I live in, most people are just like our family. Most of them hunt and fish, and the ones that don’t still understand and support those of us who do. Case in point: even our local high school has one of the most revered bass fishing teams in the nation. (My oldest son Mason and his fishing partner Cal Culpepper won a state championship and placed 2nd in the national tournament while they were there!)
MW: Overall, I’d have to say my favorite outdoor addition—and the one I’m most proud of—is my firepit! It’s made to burn hot and is nice and big. So a lot of folks can sit around and enjoy it.
MW: Being a Georgia pecan farmer, I have plenty of pecan wood at all times. So that helps create some of the best-grilled meats in the world. There’s nothing better than a big ol’ ribeye steak cooked over pecan wood from our trees. For that matter, almost everything cooked over pecan wood is great!